Friday, 27 December 2013

27th December 1933 - Terrick to Mary


27th December 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant

"Down the Sky" was lovely.  I sat and chuckled through it all Christmas afternoon and evening.  You were a dear to give it me when you were so broke - and to take me to "Havana Windows"!

The quotation that E.V. Lucas took the title from is very appropriate for us:

" - I remembered how often you & I had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky."

Talking, in fact, is what we do best.  It is often nonsense, and it's often lies (!) but it goes on sixteen to the dozen.

I started to write you a long letter on Sunday morning telling you what I had been doing in Grindelwald together with a few philosophical observations on love and Mary Ormiston, but then I found that in this Modvinity-Devil-forsaken spot there were no posts out till today.

I am not going to the dance at Oxford on the 29th as I have to work till 5.30 p.m. now and that gives me no time.  So what about "the Cherry Orchard" that evening.  I have an idea that you have something else on, but if not let us go to the Old Vic (or is it Sadler's Wells) that evening (a) because I have an anniversary to celebrate (b) because I have either two dances or one dance and a journey to Switzerland next week.  I'll ring you up this evening about it, probably before you will get this letter.

We have heard from Eileen this morning.  She is arriving in London on Saturday evening.  I shall get Renny to meet her and see if he can get someone to partner her to the Criterion on Sunday if his foreigners will come.

If you are out this evening I'll ring you up to-morrow (Thursday) morning.

In the meantime, a kiss for every word of this letter, and

My Love


                         Terrick xxx etc

Monday, 16 December 2013

16th December 1933 - Terrick to Mary


16th December 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

Various developments.  First, don't choose Monday to come shopping as I am lunching with Neat and going to a dance in Wimbledon, where I stay the night with a cousin of an aunt's.  At least I think that is who I got the invitation from.  But I had never heard her name having only met her at the lunch party with my uncle that I told you about.  A few days later I got this invitation signed Elizabeth Royds and was entirely mystified until I remembered that this girl had said she lived in Wimbledon.

Second, I can't see you on Thursday, because I may have to go to Grindlewald, getting back on Saturday.  I hope to get out of it as it will cut a day off my time at home.

Third, I am due to go to Grindlewald again on January 5th, the day of the Empress Rooms affair.  I may get out of that but cannot know until half an hour before the train goes, as it rests with the clients whether they shall be conducted or not.

So I will arrange with Neat on Monday for us to go to the E.R. another day.

Fourth, Paul is too broke to go anywhere on New Year's Eve, so I may get my brother to come, or/and you could press Norah.  Still, I daresay, if the worst comes to the worst we could manage to put up with our own undiluted society for one evening.

This afternoon I am going down to Carshalton for lunch, tea & dinner.  Ring me up tomorrow, Sunday; I shall probably be at home all day revising Edwy and going into one or two questions in the Family History.

I shall have to see you more than once in seven days in future.  It seems months since I last talked to you.


      Terrick   xxx

I am free at 4.30p.m. On your shopping day will you come and dine at 186?  We could get in a flick first.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

4th December 1933 - Mary to Terrick



Dear Old Thing,

- My hands are so cold I can't manipulate my pen properly.

Thank you very much for just the kind of letter I needed - perhaps it would be a good idea to keep it for reference, it will save me making a fool of myself to you next time.

Thank you also for the 10/-. The one I lost hasn't turned up, but I can manage alright - the devil looks after his own! - Also, while on the subject, I believe we still owe you 2/1 for elevenses on the Saturday morning of the weekend you stayed with us.  I was going to send it to you last week, but waited until Sturday to ask Mummy if she'd given it to you.  Please excuse lateness.

- I shall see you tomorrow at 8.0,  but I think it would be a mistake to make it a regular thing - it would spoil the 'special' feeling about it.

I'm sitting with the IVth for exams at the moment - and should be doing the III & IV part of Ulysses in Polyphemus's cave - I wish you & Jack were here!

I'm feeling alright now - except for my usual recurring feeling of having no faith in myself - you know, not being able to rely on what Mary Ormiston's going to do next.

Yours sincerely 

M.P.O.   xxx

P.S Hand of honour I don't LOVE you, old thing - unless one can love in patches, which I don't believe.  But I've come to the conclusion that the feeling I had at the beginning is growing stronger - only it's not 'love'!

Monday, 2 December 2013

2nd December 1933 - Terrick to Mary


2nd December 1933

My Dear Mary Pleasant

Whether you had asked me to or not, I should have written and told you not to be a cry-baby.  Remember that:

"It's a great life"
"- if you don't weaken".

What would you have been like, I wonder, if instead of being at the dance, you had been having four teeth out and had to stay in bed next day.  After having a good time the night before you ought to be able to take a spot of bother in your stride.  If I have had a good time I consider it as a balance in hand, and if a bad time follows I feel I can afford it.

 And if you want sympathy from me don't be self-pitying.

You will have (at least I jolly well hope so) returned to your sensible self by now, so you had better file the above till next time.

What a snag losing 10/-!  Do you think you left it in one of the houses you visited?  Have you rung them up to ask?  It is just as well I had already told you not to get me a present - but now that you have led me to expect an abstract one, mind you don't forget it.  In the meantime I lend you ten bob which you can keep till after Christmas.

It was wonderful on Friday, wasn't it!  Having the first criticism of "Edwy" and sitting out with you on the stairs.  It's a lovely sensation, living a moment, an hour, that you know you will never forget.

In writing that last sentence I meant "you" in the sense of "one", but read it the other way and it is just as true.

I laughed over your dream.  I didn't dream about you that night but I expect that is only because I do it enough while I'm awake.

You love me.  And knowing that makes me so happy all the time that in the office or in the digs nothing ruffles me and the annoyances that the other take seriously make me smile.


The bell went and I thought it was Marge for her lesson.  I am sitting in the digs waiting for her to turn up, but is is now twenty minutes late so I expect she won't come.  I hope not.

I shall ring you up tomorrow, as promised, at about 12.30.  I suppose you won't get this letter till Monday morning.

Here she is!

Lesson over.  Must now prepare for dance.



             Terrick    xxxxx

Sunday, 1 December 2013

1st December 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Old Vicarage School

Friday 6pm

Dear Old Thing,

this is a letter from the depths of my heart - (if it has any - which I'm beginning to doubt)

At the moment (being the night after the morning before) I'm simply bowed down with misery - I'm so damnably unhappy and self-pitying that I felt I had to write to you instead of making a fool of myself by bursting into tears. (Bear with me a little!)

It's mostly because I'm a tired, thankless and discontented little beast - and I long so frightfully much just to have you looking at me again.

I had such a wonderful time last night that this anti-climax is too great for me - so I don't know that you're altogether good for me.

Also I've had a stinking day as Miss Olsson had 4 teeth out last night and has spent today in bed - so I've been part taking her classes.

This afternoon I backed out of games (feeling them quite beyond me) and took out an assortment of tickets for our Old Girls Dramatic to sell them to people I knew in Richmond.  I got 12/6 - returned home dead but triumphant to find I'd lost the 10/- note. - It's absolutely gone and I suppose I'll have to fork out - curse, curse, blow, damn!

 - Anyway, now you'll have to content yourself with an abstract Christmas present - because I haven't a bean!

I woke up this morning dreaming we were in a long narrow room crammed with men & girls in evening dress all holding hands and looking at you - and you were systematically dancing with each girl in turn - until I suddenly lost my temper completely and said "you are a fool! - you can't possibly get through them all!" - But it was quite nightmarish the number you intended to wade through!

Another thing that reflects on my present disgruntled disposition is just having seen Mummy and the whole family who are meeting Mr Lingwood and all going home to a hot dinner! - "oh, you envious, selfish, callous, disagreeable little cad, Mary - what is the matter with you"?

Please, Terrick, I can't help any of it just for the moment, and I feel so hellishly as if I was going to cry - Heavens, I must stop this!

Let's pretend I'm standing in a crisp wind on the top of a Scotch mountain - with a red face and cold feet - and you've looked up from the bottom and seen me, and you're climbing up towards me in your new plus four suit which smells so nice and comforting and tweedy that ---

Oh gosh! I don't know - but it'd be jolly good.

Why, oh why, am I such a weak fool? - Pray God I shall grow stronger one day.

Mary P. Ormiston

(and I haven't had any tea either)

P.S. write me a nice sensible - bossy - superior letter - will you?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

20th November 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Old Vicarage School

Nov. 20

- Have just received post-card from Rev. Bernays, which I think perhaps I'll enclose.  Mrs Bernays suffers from dreadful fits of depression - hence the reason not to enquire after her health.  - But when I read his (poor man!) in brackets, I suddenly felt as if perhaps it wasn't quite fair to ask you to come with me - just because you won't be able to help feeling vaguely 'on appro.' with him.  But I'd like you to come simply to rub it in that your not.

I won't, won't, won't have people thinking I'm carting you round to show you off! - It's horrible - and I'd rather not see you all the time you're in London than have you labelled 'Mary Ormiston's dear-little-boy' (which I received in a letter yesterday, simply because I sat next to you on the Malaprop evening!) - and yet I suppose I just run my head into the noose all the time because I want to do things with you.  Why are people so futile? - I suppose the only and soul reason is that you're 'a nice-looking-eligible-bachelor' - can't you get married or something?

- (I am an ass!)

Anyway, will you come on Friday? - It'll be evening dress (horrors!) - very dull - and, according to the Rev., a bit awkward.

But I would love to show him how wrong he is!

And what about Saturday morning?  Do try and get it off.  Let me know as soon as poss. won't you?  - and if you honestly feel O.K. about Friday I'll pick you up at the Refectory, Golders Green again at 6.30. plus case for weekend - then you could come back to Dunally for the night anyway - and go up with Jack on Saturday if you have to.

- Another point - having joined Richmond Dramatic last week I've got two free balcony seats for their annual "revue" on the Saturday.  - It'll probably be fairly putrid - but we needn't use the tickets unless you'd like to go.  The nicest part of these performances is the coffee during the intervals and meeting Richmond 'en masse' - but there again perhaps it would be more prudent to leave you sitting behind on your balcony seat!!

Norah came to see me yesterday in her new car! - Small ford - peacock blue with yellow wheels - sunshine roof - synchronised gears (?) and heaps of room for four.  As I was all alone (my family having gone out to tea) she took me out to tea in Richmond - it completely changed the whole colour of my weekend! - She thinks you look too young in your new photograph! and she's looking forward to seeing you again - would you mind if I asked her on the 30th? - Because I have. (you asked me to suggest people didn't you?) and she's going to find out from Blem (cousin) whether he can afford it!  How soon do you have to know? - Because I thought if she came I could go home to Barnet for the night and we could drop you at Haverstock on the way (Do I strike you as having an untoward passion for arranging things for other people?)

- Well, I don't think there's anything else - especially as I should be in the throes of Latin at the moment!  Horribly foggy this morning. - Hope you have a nice time this evening.  Think of me, and write soon.


    Mary  xxx

Mr Bernays' Postcard - 

The Rectory

Dear M.P.

It will be delightful to see you & the great HIM, (poor man!) on Friday.  Come at 6.45 - dressed nicely.

Mrs Bernays is at home.  Try to talk naturally to her and don't ask about her health.  I can't tell you how difficult my life is just now, but it is worse for her poor thing.

My love to you.

Yours ever affectionately

SFL Bernays (Rural Dean)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

14th November 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Wensley Rectory

14th November 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

I am sorry for you with your eye.  I hope it is better b y now.  Take a double dose of the blood mixture before you see me.

Can I give you supper after lectures once a week?

And can you on the 30th November come to a dance at the Savoy with me.  I am trying to get up a party, but if you can't come I shan't.  It is given by the American Society in London and the members of the English-Speaking Union are invited with their friends.  I am trying to get Paul and fiancée, and Renny with a party of his foreigners. If you know anyone else who would like to come, ask them' the cost for them is 9/6 a head including buffet supper, which is wonderful for the Savoy.  It starts at 9.30 p.m. If you don't know anywhere to dress in town, I'll ask my aunt to let you do it at her house.  You woudn't have time to go back to Richmond, would you?

This afternoon we are going to Windermere for tea.  I know the populations because before we came here I wanted to get an idea of the size of the place and got it from that.  To give you an idea of waht the place was like I thought the same thing would have the same effect.

I hope you have got through your Latin test all right.

Edwy has not come yet.

What do you mean:- you 'have written to ask Mr Bernays if I can come'?  I thought you said I was invited.  Am I to be thrust on the poor man?  And what have you got to school me in?   Can't you trust me to behave with tact?  I hope I can go, it sounds as though it were going to be screamingly funny.

Do you think we might make up a party to dance somewhere on New Year's Eve?  I have been wanting to ask you for some time (10 ½ months) but I thought you might accept and then wish you hadn't.  What about getting up a jolly gang of your nicest friends and mine and going somewhere smart and gay?

Did I tell you taht I had to take my plus-four jacket & waistcoat to be let out.  They wouldn't meet their obligations.

No Great Danes today, thankyou.

The G.F.S. crowd were, I suppose, the usual kind:  Daughters of the local tradesmen.  Being a clergyman's son I have to put in an appearance at some of these does when possible.  It keeps them from going over to Rome.

I chuckled over the idea of your interfering to save me from something in a hand-knitted jumper.  You would be wasting your time:  with my eye definitely and matrimonially on some female you will not be able to prevent me getting there.  So get used to the idea.

I arrive in London at 7.15 p.m. on Thursday, and get out to Hampstead about twenty mintues later.

Could I give you supper on, say, Monday?  You wouldn't get back late.

Today I got my L.N.E.R. passes for my return journey.  i don't mind my holiday coming to an end a bit.

Oh, yes! And I got a letter from Paul today, to say that he considers the moment propitious for breaking the news of his engagement to his and her family.  Sensational.  I am not sure if he has picked the right one.

We are now right in the throew of reckoning how much Eileen's wedding and tgrousseau will cost.  it is going to be held in London in the first half of February.  Apparently Herbert (the fiancé) has an extate of five thousand acres, a deer forest, thorough-bred horses etc and so the old girl will be O.K.   It is rather interesting to see all the things taht have to be considered when one goes and jumps off the dock into matrimony.

Write or ring me up at Haverstock Hill about having supper with me.  I can't wait till the 24th to see you.  Why that would be a month!

There are tons of films and shows on in town that I want to see.  I still have £8 intact in my pocket.

Well, goodbye old thing.  I think we should have a good winter.


Monday, 11 November 2013

11th November 1933 - Mary to Terrick


In Bed

Saturday 10 pm

Dear Old Thing, 

Your letter just arrived most beautifully this morning - so it started my 'off' weekend well.

Please excuse Jack's typing paper and pencil - but I'm sitting up in bed amongst my blue sheets in my pink woolley (sic) looking most beautiful - except for the negligible fact that I have six feet of bandage round my left eye owing to another loathsome exuberance thereon!  In fact, they've been bread-poulticing it all the evening and have sent me up early to bed.  Anyway, I have invested in a large and expensive bottle of 'Clarkes Blood Mixture' for 'Rheumatism, Lumbago, Eczema, Ulcers and other skin diseases'! - So let's hope for brighter days ahead!

Thank you for p.c too - which arrived with letter - in fact, an entirely 'FitzHugh' post.

How ever do you know all the populations off like that? - I supposed it's really only because you happen to be the rector's son - because it's very clever!

- When Mummy & I saw a picture of Baghdad in an Imperial Airways film last Tuesday we both came to the conclusion that it looked a 'Fitz-y' town - one solid block of flat roofs!

- I had a lovely evening last Thursday after French lecture.  Another girl there, a Miss Baker, I've got to know fairly well, & when we came out together her brother was waiting for her outside with his M.G. sports & when she introduced me he suggested going somewhere for a drink (whoopee!) - so we all three squashed in (frightfully tight fit!) and he took us to his club - heaven's only knows where1 - where we sat round a blazing fire and I had two cups of gorgeous coffee.  We smoked & talked for about half an hour (they're both much older than I am - but they didn't know!) - and then he said as they lived in Purley could they drop me in Richmond! - so I had a wonderful drive home right to school door - I was frightfully bucked.

I've got a Latin test on Monday - half term! Heaven help me!

Jack's gone to a party at Norah's tonight.  I was asked but it's too far when I'm only just home for two days a fortnight.  I don't seem to be seeing enough of her these days, I hope she's being good without me to look after her!

- I've written to ask Mr Bernays if you can come too on the 24th - but if he says no we'll have to lump it - Because I don't think Mrs Bernays is too well at the moment. - But I do hope it'll be alright - although I shall have to school you both in a tremendous lot of things before you meet!  - Gosh! - or else I can see myself spending a 'puce' evening!

- I'm sorry my Commem. Ball remark looked like a hint - actually I hadn't seriously considered going - I don't think perhaps it would be too good unless I knew some more who were going.

Oh - I do hope I get asked to piles of dances in the Christmas hols - It's years since I've worn my evening frock! - 6 weeks, anyway.

It's lovely being in bed at home again.

- The main reason I'm at the O.V.S. without being paid is that the fee for evening classes at Kings per. annum is about ¼ of the fee for the day course - oh - less than that - anyhow - Mummy couldn't have really afforded the ordinary course ( as well as keeping me and providing pocket money) - so we rather treated it as a god-send getting a job at O.V. - as, besides, I can never do a stroke of work at home - and then there would have been fares up & down every day - and far too many distractions etc. - and Miss Cross promised to let me have all the time I needed off to work in - and provides my board & lodging - and it is experience (!) - so I'm quite content!

- As well as it being very good for me being away from home for a bit - and hard work never hurt anyone.

- Tomorrow I've got the two French girls and Miss Olsson from school - coming to tea - as well as Miss James of 'The' cruise and two more friends - so we shall be quite a genuine 'hen-party'.

- I suppose you're not in need of a 10-days-old pedigree Great Dane puppy?  Miss Cross has six most heavenly ones she's trying to sell - 7 guineas each. - and anyone who sells one for her gets commission! - I'd give anything for Mummy to have one - but she's afraid it would get too big.  Their eyes are just open - you should have seen us feeding them out of a bottle when they were 2 days old!

- What ever was the G.F.S. dance like? - I simply can't imagine you at it? - or weren't the damsels the usual G.F.S. type? - Don't lose your heart to anything in a hand-knitted jumper suit and a black velvet bandeau - will you? - because I'm afraid I should nearly feel it my duty to interfere!

- We'll go to Streat that Sunday - leave here directly after lunch - it would be great fun.

- I really must stop - go to sleep - my head is banging against the back of the bed.

- This will be the last letter I shall write to you for ages - won't it?

- What a save in notepaper!

- I shall think of you on Thursday as I trot up to French once more - what time do you arrive in London?

- I hope you're feeling all 'London-y' once more, after riotous living.

Mary P
x    x   x

Saturday, 9 November 2013

9th November 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Old Vicarage School


- Gosh! I feel as if I had been running hard and had just found time to sit down!!  I really tried very hard to squash in time to answer your letter on Tuesday - then Wednesday - and now Thursday! - with not a single free moment in between!  And even now I'm missing a musical concert which I'm supposed to be attending in the gym - but, thank heaven for that!  Twenty minutes ago I got in from taking the 4 foreign girls to the Lord Mayor's Show!!  Just imagine it! - with not the foggiest notion of where the Guild Hall was! - and all the traffic being stopped we had to walk miles and miles - while all the time (thinking I'd better give them their money's worth!) I pointed out what I'd always imagined was the old Bailey and the Mansion House!! (anyway they couldn't contradict) - then we sat on a bench in Lincoln's Inn Fields and masticated sandwiches and apples. (I felt quite "Lamb"-y)  - I should honestly think the entire East End was there - I feel "measle"-y all ready (sic), - I love bands and horses and clean little sailor-boys!

Thank you very much for letter - I'm not very fond of typed communications - but I quite see what a save in paper it must be.  Only, never send me a typed envelope, will you? - It would completely spoil the wonderful feeling full envelopes give me - Specially as there's no question of having our appetites spoilt for breakfast here!  You've jolly well got to sit and contemplate the envelope all through porridge - & bacon - and toast & marmalade!! (I try not to think of what your mother thought of me when you opened my letter!!)

Thank you, too, for the steady stream of interesting post-cards that pour in through the door!  It's awfully decent of you to keep on remembering me in your wanderings - I should have thought you would have found one long epistle a week your limit, by this time!  You must help me put them in the album I'm going to invest in one day!

How's all your munificent cash going? - I've just discovered that we've got a very aristocratic Commem: Ball at King's this Session - Dec. 8th or 9th I think at the Waldorf Hotel - 9 - 4am - but perhaps, after all, it's a bit above us! - and heavens only knows what a Commem: Ball's like.

- I'm awfully bucked about the 25th weekend - I've bagged the car after lunch on the Sunday!! - Shall we take it somewhere and go for our walk? - or we can have the family too if you like - and all take our tea with us. (I should hate to feel you had been 'forced'!)

Another great event of this week is that on Monday last, Nov. 5th 1933, between the hours of 6.30 and 8.30 p.m - in the precincts of Kings College during Latin- I cut my last wisdom tooth!! - And about time too - it's been hurting like blazes for about 3 months. - I've also go tot go to my friend the dentist for 3 fillings next Wednesday! Bless him! - and I've got another boil on my eye  curse it! Isn't life Hell, comrade?  (Password, please)

Last Tuesday Mummy took me to see the film "Poil de Carotte" at the Rialto, after I came out of English - I loved it - the small boy is wonderful.

- Fancy it costing all that to type a play! - I'm longing to read it - I always have the whole of Wednesday afternoon off - from 1.30 to 4.30 - do you think I shall be able to adequately digest it in that time?

You know, I told you about my cousin Helen not being able to marry the boy she wanted to because he was too young & only earned £1.10 a week - but, anyway, you've met her haven't you?  Well, she told me on Wednesday that she's got a job as a house-keeper in Dorking and Philip & she had split up all together as they agreed it was the most sensible thing to do - and now she's got hold of someone else!! Whoopee!  But I've never known anyone want to get married and have babies as much as she does - perhaps it's a sign of old age?  - So apparently Philip won't shoot himself after all - and Helen says there is not real path of true love - it's merely a pit-fall!!

We've got a Lacrosse match in the Park tomorrow, in which I'm playing centre for the school ! Heaven help me!

I'm just in the middle of typing a play (cut from the original) which I'm helping produce next term.  It is taking an age!

Wensley looks a wonderful place - and I love the pew.

- Can I have two more letters please, before next Thursday? - or would that be piggy? - no - perhaps (on second superior thoughts) one will be enough!

      Mary  xxx

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

6th November 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Wensley Rectory

6th November 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

Your last letter was marvellous!  I regret that I can find nothing to tell you you are silly about except when you say that you can not fall in love for another five years.  But that is quite enough silliness for one letter.  All the same the remark had one salutary effect on me.  It reminded me that though one can't of course help being in love one oughtn't to make love to anybody on £2 14s 0d a week.  Still, even by the most Victorian ideals of what is "done", it is sound commonsense for me to keep my eye on you in readiness for 'der Tag' when I shall start getting, say, £10 a week on the same principle as having the plans for my flat-roofed house all drawn up.

I think you are wrong in saying that love is not (a) physical attraction nor (b) communion of spirit, but is fitting in in non-personal things.  Do you remember that in a letter I wrote you from Fort Williams I told you how I thought that true love had three parts, and that the difference between it and a "pash" was that the latter had only one or two of the parts.  I labelled the three parts: Subhuman, Human and Superhuman.  And they exactly correspond to the three things you mention being respectively:  physical, social and mental or spiritual.  You put the social above both the others; I, while insisting that all three must be present, am inclined to put the mental first.

Certainly the "Human" is the side that we know least about each other.  I know more about you in that way than you do me, because I have seen you with your family.  The only time you have seen me with other people was at Fort William, and the only friend of mine you have met is Paul, whom when you were with me, (because you were with me) I absolutely ignored.  We hardly saw each other except at supper-time.

Still, we have tons of time to get to know each other thoroughly because I have yet to find a way of making £10 a week, and I am such a fool at financial matters.

My mother did remark on the length of your letter, because it was lying on the breakfast-table when I came down, and to have left it unopened would have destroyed my appetite. 

"Edwy the Fair" is at a typing agency in Queen Victoria St.  As soon as I get it back I shall send you a copy.  If you can, read it all through at one sitting.  That is how a play should be read I think, because it is meant to be seen all at one go.  I have been made rather doubtful about it by finding a short story that I wrote when I was eighteen.  It is so easy now to see the faults in what I once thought splendid, that I am afraid that it only requires an alien eye to see hundreds of faults in "Edwy".  Be sure to tell me them all even if it takes up several pages.  Thank you for your presentiment.

I should love to come and stay the week-end of the 25th with you.  I'd like to come to Mr Bernays' do too, though I shall probably feel a bit of a fool, a bit "on appro". But that will amuse me so don't let that hinder you from taking me.

I wasn't "exaggerating" your physical side, I wasn't even trying to put it poetically.  Plums are my favourite fruit.  They are the only fruit that give me pleasure to look at as well as to eat.  And when I look at one just as I am going to bite it, it is a luscious feeling.  Your red lips reminded me of the smooth soft surface of a red plum and the idea of putting them to mine brought up even stronger the plum feeling.  So I just said the plain undecorated truth when I wrote that to me they were like two red plums.  As to the rose-petal cheeks, I wanted to express the fact that your personal appearance and youth had nothing to do with my opinion of you; and I had just had some dried figs for desert.  In comparison with the juicy fresh figs I have been eating all summer on the Riviera they reminded me of the yellow wrinkled face of an old woman who had been colourful and round and soft in her youth.  This came in handy when writing to you, but as in the letter I had specifically mentioned your face, I couldn't compare that to a fresh fig, which is purple (!), so I cast round for something else that bloomed and could find nothing more apt than the customary rose-petal, which certainly fits your complexion if it fits anybody's.  The boil is no more of a blemish than a veil to "the eye of faith", because it knows what is behind them.

I shall never take to writing poetry about you; as even when I write prose I have to explain all the thought processes behind each personal remark!

I arrive back in town on Thursday evening week.

On Friday morning we had a big funeral here.  The local squire's daughter died after having a still-born baby that she had no business to try for.  I did not go as the only dark suit that I brought up I had sent to be cleaned.  Afterwards we went into Leyburn market and I met some old friends, one of whom rang me up in the afternoon and asked me to partner her the same evening to a dance in Newcastle.  Another girl from the dale was going; and my partner, Dinah Topham, warned me not to ask any questions when I came round to her house about the other man in the party, as he was one Hildebrand Green whom they hadn't dared to tell her people about because he didn't come up to the dale's snobbish social standard and also had the name for being rather a bad lot.  We had dinner at Barbara Swayne's house and it turned out that Hildy Green had gone into the Bolton Arms at Leyburn and was incapably tight, so after a lot of phoning we got Nicky Cooke-Yarborough, whose brother I told you has just gone to Rhodesia.  What with the delay and it being sixty miles to Newcastle we didn't get there till half past ten; and then they girls were very put out because they had brought a bottle of gin and a bottle of Martini which they wanted to consume outside in the car at intervals during the dance, and it turned out that the nearest place to park the care was a garage a mile away.  Then it turned out that the place wasn't licensed for drinks so Nicky and I went out ans smuggled the gin in.  I think gin is a silly thing to drink.  It never cheers me up in the slightest.  The dance was quite good.  It finished at two and the drive back was rather cold.  We warmed ourselves by pouring the Martini into the gin bottle mixing them into a cocktail and then passing the bottle round like roadmenders.  They are the kind of girls who think it smart to carry drink round with them.  We got back to Barbara's house at about half past four and cooked ourselves a breakfast of sausages, eggs and bacon and coffee, and then we separated to our several homes.  I got into bed at half past five.

This afternoon we are going to Harrogate again to see a film.  I think the old folks are afraid I should think it dull at home, because they don't generally go to Harrogate so often.  But I just love being in Wensley.  It is a very pretty village with less than two hundred inhabitants.  As you saw on my postcard, it has a green with a huge old elm that has to have props for its branches, and a village pump, and an old church full of valuable wood-carving and mural paintings and quaint family pews like opera-boxes.  Beside the village green is a big gateway opening onto a drive a mile long that leads to one of "the stately homes of England", Bolton Hall, where Lord Bolton lives.  Just inside the gateway beyond the lodge is Wensley House where the estate agent, Cooke-Yarborough, lives.  On the same side of the village green are the walls and gate of Wensley Hall, the dower-house, which you saw on my second Wensley post-card.  Lord Bolton's son, Nigel Orde-Powlett, whose wife has just died, lives there.

On the other side of the village a lane leads past the church to the low walls topped with a beautifully clipped yew hedge that surrounds the rectory.  A circular drive leads up to it with a little round lawn in the middle.  The rest of the garden is secluded from the eyes of visitors by the high thick yew hedges that I showed you in the photographs.  The tennis lawn, even if it is a bit soft, is the prettiest in the dale, with appletrees standing in long grass on the south side and a circle of tall elms and firs behind them; yew hedges on the west; the rose-garden on the north; and on the east, beyond a dyke, a broad meadow where in spring lambs run races, and in summer the grass and clover grows feet deep and hums with bees, until at last, with a louder hum, but just a monotonous and sweet, all day long the horse-reaper moves round and round the meadow, mowing in smaller and smaller circles, till in the evening we leave tennis and jump the dyke with sticks in our hands to kill the rats as they bolt from the last patch of clover.

Beyond the rose-garden there are two walled-in kitchen gardens and beyond that the hen-run, back yard, outhouses and duck pond.  To get from the back of the house to the front you have to go through several low doors and winding paths with the high yew hedges on each side and an arch of yew over the top.

You would love the place.

We have just come back from Harrogate.  I have been lucky each of the last two times we have been there.  I had bought this typing paper so that I could type out the ballads of Robin Hood from my Oxford Book of Ballads, but in a second-hand bookshop in Harrogate on Saturday I found a little book full of just the Robin Hood ballads and containing far more than I knew of before; and today in Boot's Library I have got out a book on him.

Today my people wanted to see "Adorable".  I told them that Jack had said it was rotten, but they were very keen to see it so we went and were disgusted.  It is terribly silly.

I have still tons to say but if I go on I shall miss this post.

Write soon, old thing,



Friday, 1 November 2013

1st November 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Old Vicarage School

Nov 1st 1933

Dear Fitz, 

It seems all wrong getting a letter from you bearing an English stamp! - and also arriving the day after you wrote it - I somehow don't feel being in such speedy contact will work so well.  One shouldn't be able to remember too clearly what one said in the letter before - I find it a little apt to jar!

This letter is going to be difficult.  I feel inside me that it ought to decide something important - but for the life of me I don't know what it is.  Perhaps I'm imagining it - but I think it's not having known a man so much before - Anyway, whatever it is, please believe I'm speaking in all honest-to-goodness sincerity - and am asking you to be kind and make things all clear again - because I'm just a bit lost.

- Let's turn over & start at the beginning - (please don't smile)


- I've known you 13 months 15 days - and during that time have only seen you about 12 or 13 times?  I should say we know each other fairly well mentally - our likes and dislikes, past lives & hopes for future - thoughts on things and people & books - ideals & beliefs - and general outlooks on life (the Great One!!).  But physically - or rather, materially we've neither of us got much to go on. - You know what my family is like (partly!) - and I've gathered quite a lot about yours - but about your material self - your everyday-other-people-self, I'm absolutely in the dark.  How do you treat other men?  How do you live when you're by yourself?  How do you behave with people you don't like?  - not personal things - but things you have to know out and out to be a person's friend - Don't you think so?

 - You once said to me quite stupidly and simply "I love you" - I laughed, - first because I didn't know what to say - and secondly because I knew you had mistaken a funny feeling inside for something requiring ten million times more knowledge of my "material" self than you could possible ascertain in 4 months.

- The most important thing to love a person for is NOT:-

(i) Physical attraction that, through the necessity of nature, cannot - help itself - or
(ii) A perfect communion of spirit brought about by meeting a person you like and talking to them for hours on things you think no other man & woman have ever discussed before! 
(although these may both beneficially come into and help the 'ideal union'!)

- But the Greatest thing is to love a person whole-heartedly for the way they live - for the way they treat and effect other people all round them - for the way they get on with children and animals - for the way they feel for anything in pain - for the way they clean their teeth - for the way they walk through autumn leaves against a blinding drizzle and say 'England' - and for the way they can lean, worn-out, upon their plough-shares and pruning-hooks and say 'This is a great life!'.

- Can you see? - Do you feel 'love' should be anything like that? -

I know it must.

I know I must be wrong somewhere - & I know heaps of people have thought this all out before - but I've so tried to make you see that we really haven't started 'loving' each other yet - have we? - And that's what's such a tremendously good job - because I can't love anybody for at least 5 more years! - and you should easily have been able to discover someone older and wiser who has the most perfect 'way-of-living' - by that time!!

- I loved meeting you again last Thursday - I had been so excited about you all day that I blushed a bright puce on hearing there was someone on the 'phone for me! - I planned asking you to come on Friday long before I saw you - and loved having you there - your letters & post-cards always send a warm excited feeling through me - and I always think 'oh - he is a dear' after reading them - BUT it's only because you're the only person I've ever had - the only person who likes to be near me - the only person who flatters me - I haven't got anybody else to do all these things - and because I'm like every other woman that ever breathed - I revel in it!!

- I love what you do and say (appertaining to "me") - not what you are - or what you do and say to anyone else - 

- So I'm all wrong - aren't I?

- I don't like you kissing me because I like you so much - and if I once kissed you like I feel I sometimes could kiss someone, it would bee horribly misleading because it would only be a feeling of the moment.

*           *           *          *

- So please try and see what I'm getting at - It seems so mean and deceptive for me to let you go on liking me - & saying the things I should love to hear any man say - when I don't feel a bit the same to you.

- You're the best friend I have (except Norah) - and one day I'll walk & walk miles and miles with you over the most glorious hills and fields - and we'll talk & talk for hours - and probably not say anything at all!

- But I want to do lots of things with you - dances - and pictures - and walks - just because you're the person I'd choose to do things with - and of course it's impossible in this world to do anything of the sort - because if Heaven & Earth decreed it I'd refuse to turn any 'good comrade' into a 'Boy-Friend' - (oh- loathed, abominable, and pestilent word - never - never shall I lower myself to such a pitch)

*           *           *          *

- Thank you so much for bearing with me thus far? - Or have you skipped bits? I wonder what your mother would think of the length of this if she saw it! 'Terrick's latest girl-friend' - I expect!! - and she'd just about hit the mark - wouldn't she?  - Please, why must my photographs stand on the mantelpiece? - they're not at all good (I can't remember them) - and so many people must have stood there before.

I'm glad about Eileen - but doesn't it feel strange letting another language right into the family?  How old is he? - Is he a Natze? (sic)

Be quick with Edwy.  I went and saw King Lear this afternoon - not too well done - but of course it's hellishly difficult and I suddenly had the presentment that Edwy would be a success - but I'll let you know again after I've read it!

- When are you coming back? - Can you spend the weekend of Nov 25th with us? - or does this sound "pushy"? - But if you could we'd arrange a 'perfect' weekend - go out somewhere on the Saturday - & have our walk all Sunday!! (Squash me if I err!) (I am rather inclined to be bumptious!)

 - And on Friday 24th I'm going to dinner with Mr Bernays and on to a 'social' afterwards - if you could come for that weekend - I suppose you wouldn't like to come with me to that too? - Because you were invited!! - or do you think we should look a bit silly? - I'm rather in a haze about these matters!  But I would like you to meet him.

- Well - I must stop & do some work - I'm casting two plays for them to do next term!

- I wish it was this time last week - and please write and tell me I'm silly - 

The next letter will be quite sensible again!

Best love, 

                 Mary Pleasant Ormiston

P.S. Bee good enough to stop exaggerating my physical side will you? - I should loathe 'lips like plums' & you can't have 'rose petal' cheeks with a great boil on one of them!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

29th October 1933 - Terrick to Mary


29th October 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

I am so glad to have seen you again' but how complicated everything becomes compared with the simplicity of writing to you.  In a letter one can isolate what one wants to say and shut everything else out, because it is much easier.  In a letter time and place mean practically nothing.  If I am writing from Dinard to you in Shepperton it is just the same as when I am writing to Mentone to you at, say, Hamburg.  It is the inside, mental me writing talking to the inside mental you.  But when we meet, there are Lyons's other customers and the orchestra and a million material things that obtrude between the conversion of our minds and make it far more difficult.  And there is another thing that steps in too and mixes everything up, the physical side.  As you are talking I suddenly think how your lips are like two red plums, and forget to listen to you.

So that if I can't convey what i mean when I'm with you, you can't be surprised.

Our meetings are like a ballet such as "Anna-Anna".  You have to have the meaning explained to you in writing of the apparently meaningless and futile actions of the dancers.  So this letter is a sort of footnote to Thursday and Saturday night.

In my previous affairs the physical has always played the main part, though I used to try and think it didn't.  And I saw on Thursday that until February it had played (as it probably should) a very big part in my interest in you, because now that I experience it again it comes as a great surprise and I find it rather in the way.  My eight months away were definitely for the best because it has shown me that my interest in you is independent of your physical charms, that I should feel just the same if your cheeks were like dried figs instead of rose petals.


I had decided that I wouldn't kiss you because if you let me it would only be from the same friendliness with which you let the others do so, or, as when I kissed you before, out of a sort of pity; and I didn't want either of those kisses.  I decided I would avoid anything at all that might look "sentimental" because it always looks so silly to a person who is not in the same mood for it.

But I  can't be near you and just coldly put theory into practise.  I wanted to kiss you on Thursday.  Coming home in the car on Friday I wanted to more and more, and in the garden I didn't care whether you kissed me from friendliness, pity, passion or love, as long as you kissed me.  But to save my face I cut it short and said clumsily: "A friendly one."  I am a fool.


The village post office only has one decent card of the village, the one I sent you yesterday.  They have sold out of the others, but I'll have a hunt round for some more.


My mother who is dozing over a newspaper by the fire has just woken up and said "Still writing!"  My people can't help seeing the photographs of you now that I am home, because they are on my mantelpiece.  I have torn up the two I showed you of Gilberte.  I only kept them to show you in case I should think it necessary.  And I thought I would after your fortnight's kissing orgy!!


I travelled up in great comfort, the only one in my compartment, and from the moment I got home became frenziedly busy.  Herbert Kühne had just written to my father for his consent to his marriage to Eileen, and as he doesn't speak a word of English and my people had both forgotten their German grammar, I had to do a hurried translation of my father's reply before post time.  I just got to the post office in time to be able to write you that card.  I could not think, in the minute I had to do it in, of anything to say except that I had had a jolly good tea!!  It wouldn't have done to put anything about Herbert on it as the post mistress here is also the village news-organ and the engagement is not yet announced.  My father has asked all about his (Herbert's) ability to support Eileen in comfort etc.  It was rather difficult translating the technical terms.  I know now what questions I shall have to answer when I get off.

Then from the post office I went on to see Bryan Cooke-Yarborough, the son of the estate-agent.  He was born stupid and after getting the sack from umpteen jobs his people are shipping him to Rhodesia on Wednesday.  I took him a goodbye present from my people.  I am going round there to tea today.

I got back just in time for dinner.  Then I went all round the house looking at our new furniture and pictures.  Wee have got thirteen new pictures, five in oils, two in watercolour, two prints and four photographic reproductions of oils.  Eight of them are ancestors, one of a house where one of them lived and one by my great-great-grandfather.  There are awfully nice inlaid tables and trays, a grandmother clock and tons of FitzHugh-crested silver.


Monday Morning

It looks as though it is going to be a fine day.  It is great to be back.  I'll read through Edwy today to make sure it is all legible and when I have got it off I'll go for a walk.

I wish you were here.  I love walking and talking and walking and not talking with someone I know well.

One day we are going to motor over the Pennines to Morecombe to lunch at a marvellous modern hotel that has just been built there.

I have got tons to say to you  but I want you to get this letter this evening or tomorrow morning, so I'll stop now and carry on in my next letter.

Coming back from the Rivieria and London to Wensley is like going back a hundred years.  My father and mother have such a funny way of looking at things and people sometimes.  it seems terribly snobbish to me, but it isn't that, it comes quite naturally to them because they have never mixed much.

But they are such sensible, practical people in most things that I find it amazing that they really believe the naive things they say about working-class people.  I remember when I was younger I used to argue with them about it.  I don't now.  It has become second nature to them to look at things that way and nothing will change it.

They are real dears though.




Tuesday, 22 October 2013

22nd October 1933 - Mary to Terrick



I am just home for the day - going back this evening.  It is nice being home again.  I expect you're getting awfully excited, aren't you?

I got your letter yesterday at tea-time.  I wonder if you really will arrive at 6.0 on Wednesday! - I'm afraid I can't see you that evening, though, because it just happens to be our dress rehearsal at school (Finchley) for the concert on Friday 27th.  At 6.0 I am calling in to see Mr Bernays for half an hour - then on to school - Norah comes to fetch me at 9.0 and we both go back & sleep at Grannie's so that I can run across to school early Thursday after breakfast (Did I tell you the school was just opposite Grannie's flat on Richmond Hill?)

I shall be up to French - 6-8pm on the Thursday evening - if you could possibly be outside King's at 8.0 I could have an hour to spare then - which I should love! - But will it be worth it? - I mean, it seems a bit silly to stop going home all Thursday just for a mouldy hour in the evening - when you will have lots more time to rake me out of my nunnery when you come back!

- I'm longing for you to come home here for a weekend.  Which will be the earliest one you can manage? -

                         - Oh - arn't we fools!

- (or Grannie's is RICHMOND 0797
                -after 10.0 on Wed evening)

P.S. I hope this reaches you in time!

Monday, 21 October 2013

21st October 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Brice
44, Rue du Maréchal-Joffre

21st October 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant,

As every post time goes by and no cancellation of my recall arrives I get quietly happier and happier.  I have been very restless at the thought that it will be put off again but now I am sitting humming loudly, like a cat purring.  This letter is nearly in poetry, to go with the time I have in my head.

I am so glad my letter bucked you up.  I wish I had been on hand to receive the hug.  Even though I knew it was only loneliness that caused it -, it would have suited me because it has been dashed lonely down here and a hug is what the doctor would order me.

When I ran into Marina on Sunday I nearly bust with pleasure.  She is an old flame of mine, a Russian refugee, and very sensible to talk to.  I didn't feel like hugging her but I took her out to Monte Carlo and spent nearly a week's wages on her.  By playing with my money she did what I can never manage for myself - I have giving up trying - won me some money at Roulette.

How are the various studies going?  What fifth form are in you for French?  Are you learning at the school as well as teaching?

The "Experience" tip was specially put in for you.

I got just the same impression of the London students as you, when I went to a sort of concert affair at King's once.  Steel spectacles is absolutely the key-note.

"For Sinners Only" certainly is 'vulgar propaganda'.  I told you the style was terrible journalese.  It may be that it was only because I was in the mood that I put up with the manner and absorbed the matter.

I admit I had suspected Mervyn Spragge, but, as in a detective story, one can only suspect the people who are mentioned, and I couldn't find any other possible one named.

I don't see anything so terrible in your third case.

The fellow I should like to kick in the pants is the one who wanted "to finish off his day well" that way.  If that is all he wants he ought to pick someone more appropriate.

Still, my sense of humour informs me that lots of reverent swains, if they only knew of me, would be thinking exactly the same about me.  So I let him off, if ever I see him.

After I had posted that letter to you I thought it rather cheek of me to have asked you about the above, and if I could have got it back, I would have cut it out.

I don't suppose your mother would have a fit if she knew.  She must have been the same.  On holiday it comes so much more naturally, doesn't it.

I should love to see you as Mrs Malaprop.  Sometimes, you know, you are a bit that way yourself.

Have you changed much to look at?  I am longing to see you give one of your "reminiscent" smiles again, when you are amused at something you are thinking of saying.

Look, if you have your lectures before your supper couldn't you have supper with me at a good fuggy Lyons and I will take you to Waterloo - by the longest way there is.  I don't care if I do forget everything I have to say.  There have been plenty of mere words between us these eight months; it is seeing you that is going to be so stupendous.

Let me know somehow, send a message to await me at Haverstock Hill, where and when I can see you that evening.  I would ring you up but I don't know where you are just after six on Wednesdays.

The card I sent you yesterday was from an island called St. Honorat off Cannes.  We had great fun there picnicking just where the card sh0wed and later scrambling over rocks and paddling and going over the old castles and (men only) over the monastery.  Then we went to the island of Ste. Marguerite where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned when he tried to escape from the Bastille.

tonight I have no clients left.  One arrives tomorrow.  But as he is at a different hotel, I am moving there too.  I shall be at the Pension Cavallero - but then you won't have time to write.  I shall come back here to pick up letters.

This evening I have been invited to go to the Casino Municipal with a most absurd fellow who is staying at the hotel.  His father runs a little tourist bureau in Putney, and he has come down here "to find out what's what". He has travelled "extensively" - to two places in Belgium; and he told my last lot of clients that he was going to pump me for useful information about the way the Poly did business.  He drinks no wine "except really fruity port" and doesn't like Belgium "because the morals are so lax".  I am going to try and have some fun with him tonight.  It is a pity I haven't got more cash on me, to make his hair really stand on end.  Nice is the place to make people sit up and blink.

The post goes in five minutes or I'd write pages more.

I am living for Wednesday evening.

Till then
  Lots of Love


(written up the side of the page) I don't believe you have got ugly, fat and spotty, but don't care if you are the ugliest, fattest, spottiest thing in London.  You are quite right about platonic friendships.