Thursday, 17 January 2013

17th & 18th January 1933 - Mary to Terrick

                                                                                                                           In Bed
                                                                                                                           Tuesday 9.45

Dear Terrick – (Fitz can’t express all I’m feeling at the moment) I am the most blithering- beasted – thankless fool that ever walked the earth – oh - & I mean it all a thousand times! - & you’re a dear to take all my stupidity like you did.  I’ve been feeling like this ever since I sent Mitchell out with that last letter – because I wrote it in the heat of the moment – really believing you were being cross with me - & it was all horribly childish because I lost my temper in the end – just because I couldn’t stand thinking I was going down in your estimation just when I so badly was trying to go up. - & you’re not a bit “self-righteous” – only I thought all the time you were blowing me up for something you’d done for years - & I’m dreadfully sorry that I hurt & please forgive me – but I know you have already because your letter raised me from the slough of Despond to radiant heights (although it is the night of the “vicarage” party!)

- oh dear – if you only knew how miserable I’ve been - & how nice it is to feel you still like me, & don’t think me silly – because I am, you know, specially in letters.  – But lets forget all about this “flirting” business – we both understand each other now – so we can laugh at “mine” together - & imagine “yours”!

I’m sorry this isn’t going to F.W. but you see I’m back at the office now & didn’t get yours till 7 o/c tonight, so it’ll be ready for you when you get back.

This one's going to be an absolute model of sensibility! (what does “senuous” mean? then)

- To begin with I’ve just had a topping hot bath as I’m going to Norah’s tomorrow night - & three good hours have elapsed since I leapt round the room with relief after receiving yours! – so I’m not writing this in the heat of the moment - & also mummy doesn’t know I’m writing it because she would think I was dotty or fast or something – but it won’t hurt her for once, & I’m not- so who cares? (or am I?)

- will you come here to tea on Saturday – dress here – go up to the dance with us – come back here & go up to Norah’s with me on Sunday? – or would that be strictly against your principles? – because I would like to you – unless you think it would be silly.

Shall I wear my black or green frock? – My black’s a bit big unfortunately – but I’ll try it on again & see.  Mummy has just bought me some lovely new pyjama material – I’m going to have them made all in one, with wide legs. - & on Friday I’m getting a new hat – but you’ll probably tell me its not becoming or something! - & - oh I forgot – that bit about “my good figure” – in your letter! – good gracious me, boy, my figure is my great drawback! – I’m miles too fat! – but I’m glad you liked my complexion - & frightfully glad I’m “your sort”!! – that might mean such a multitude of things!

I don’t know what N & I are going to see tomorrow – but I want to see “The Blue Light” on Friday – if my filthy lucre still holds – but of course it would be the twins' birthday on Saturday!

- thanks tons for the p.c – as it happens Norah & I only got quarter as far as that! – we slept all that afternoon you know – that was the time you were going searching for the cave or something – where the piper played ghostly tunes.  Have you ever found it?

- Well – I must stop – here come family – but – oh my dear old thing, its most frightfully nice to feel happy again - & thank you ever so much for putting up with me.

Wednesday  Office. 1-5

- Just finishing this off – shall think of you speeding back to London tonight – you’ll pass within about 100 yds of N & me at about 7 o/c! – Don’t forget to notice the bunting I’ve had specially hung round King’s Cross – will you?
- Please ring up on Thursday evening if you’ve got a minute to spare
- Much love until we meet once more on Saturday – whoopee!

Mary Pleasant

Be good.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

16h January 1933 - Terrick to Mary (again)

The Highland Hotel
Fort William

16th January 1933 

Dear Mary Pleasant,

I have not gone dotty and forgotten that I wrote to you only this afternoon; but I wrote that letter when a spot on the distraught side and said all sorts of things I would not have said in calmer moments, such as disparaging your intelligence – What I mean, but I have forgotten to put it in is: I am sorry -  and, as I had very little time to write it in, being determined to get it off by the next post, I left out tons of things I meant to say.

To start with, though I have already told you that I understand the “rampant-sparkling feeling” perfectly and am not misconstruing it, I’ll say it again.  Then, just as important; even suppose you did “with voice husky with passion”, make violent love to somebody, you can be sure that I should never say a word about it to you seriously, though I might do so jokingly , because, however much I cared, I think that jealous people are a bally nuisance and I shouldn’t dream of inflicting myself upon you as such.  As it is, when you took my letter seriously, you must have thought I had the dickens of a nerve to criticise.

Another thing I wanted to say was: if you have not been to “The Blue Light” by the time I get back to town, will you come with me?  If you were going with Norah, let’s all go together.  I think I can get some more free seats.

I am writing in green ink because the wretched puppy has spilt the inkpot plump in the middle of the comfortable arm-chair.  

Another thing that I was too selfishly occupied with my own feelings to say is that I do hope your voice has come back and your cough has stopped.  Be careful with yourself because (a selfish reason) you must be able to come to the dance on Saturday.

Never in the last twenty-five years have a I written to a person twice in one day.  It may be only the first symptom of old age, but I am afraid it is a sign of something much more drastic.
If my mother had seen me open your letter this morning she would have thought that, at the very least, it was from an archangel announcing the end of the world.  She always says that I irritate her because whatever happens to me it never ruffles my cheerfulness or calm.

To have seen me open a letter, read a bit of it, and then, without continuing, hurl myself on pen and paper and start answering it, would have electrified her.

Why I mention it is because that very difference is typical.  As I am always travelling about I make friends easily and forget them easily.  However much I liked them I have got used to the idea that I am only with them for a short time before moving on.  But about you I think differently.  I want to be real friends with you, whether I am standing beside you or a thousand miles away.  Losing other “friends” has never ruffled me an atom, but a breath of a misunderstanding with you shakes me into instant precipitate action.

Ach! My letters always look so affected when I read them afterwards.  It is because I write them in the same style that I use in writing a story, using words and expressions that one doesn’t in conversation.   That is wrong, but, with me at least, it isn’t affectation.  I just haven’t a separate, letter-writing style.  now, your letters are perfect.  The are not the clumsy half sentences that one uses in talking and which are quite incomprehensible apart from the expression they are said with;  and they aren’t, unlike mine, bookish.  You have the perfect letter writing style, a blend of the conversational and bookish styles.  Sometimes you use expressions that are positive bits of genius in rightness and vividness.   “A glorious rampant sparkly feeling” is wonderful; any writer from Shakespeare down would have been proud of it.  And saying that your feelings “lost their sanctity” – that is Style with a capital S.

I have just been down to the cinema and seen “Brother Alfred” by P.G. Wodehouse.  Gene Gerrard is rather good in it.

This letter can’t go till to-morrow so it won’t arrive until after you have written, if you do.  I have had ten letters from you now.  I number them on the envelope so that I can be sure that none has gone astray.  What about that photo?  I haven’t got that one of me with the ruffled hair up here, or I would have sent it.
Get well quickly, and don’t cry too much.



16th January 1933 - Terrick to Mary

The Highland Hotel
Fort William

16th January 1932

My Dear Mary

I am starting this before even I have finished your letter, because either, my dear, you are the world’s compete idiot or I am the world’s worst letter-writer.  I am quite willing to admit the latter, anything so long as I can correct the present misunderstanding.
I don’t seem to have made myself intelligible in a single word.

When I wrote about you “flirting again” I was only joking about what you told me about the various men at your dances.  I didn’t for a moment imagine that you had been really vamping.  And besides the word “again” would have meant that I really thought you had flirted with Paul, which is absolute rot.  And my being “self-righteous”! I suppose you mean my saying I was a “nice steady lad”.  If you can’t see any irony in that you are solid ivory from the eyebrows up.  I hate self-righteous people. They are the most ridiculous kind of people there are.

I understand perfectly what you said in your letter just after the New Year Dance.  I thought we had agreed on that.

Now I’ll read some more of your letter so far every word has hurt like hell.
I am terribly relieved to see that you don’t loathe me as much as I was convinced you did from reading the first two pages and the post-script (I looked at the end in case you finished up “and don’t write again”)

It is no good saying my letter was a good one because it was not, or it wouldn’t have been so completely misunderstood.  I expect that, though, may have been because I write quite differently from the way I talk.  I have to because I am a most incoherent speaker.

The only thing, of that sort, in my last letter that I meant was the dig about the file, (excluding the exclamation at the end of it) but that was because I had misunderstood your letter.

I am quite terrified to write anything now that is not to be taken literally, because I admit my alleged jokes are obscure.  I always make them to please myself rather than the person I am talking or writing to.  Silly perhaps, but its great advantage is that I don’t have to rely on other people for a laugh.  I often laugh out loud in the middle of the night at some joke I have cracked with myself.

Just a minute while I read your letter again.  I couldn’t concentrate before; I just rushed over the words like a cat on hot bricks.  Every one simply scorched me.

It isn’t quite so awful as I thought a first – I take back anything I said in my first two pages that you don’t like – but you see it was the very last thing I expected.

As long as you understand now.

I don’t take any more interest in the banker’s daughter than you do in all the people you spoke of.  I only mentioned her because she came in à propos of the rot I was talking.  I wouldn’t “retaliate”, even if there were any need, because that sort of thing wouldn’t seem the same again.

To be honest, although I did not think you had been vamping, I did think that you had told me about Frances Lederer’s cousin etc expecting some sort of reaction from me.  That was why I said: “You, little beast!”

You are not a little beast; I think you are the nicest girl I have ever known.  I should hate to think that there was any time in the future when we should not be friends, because there would be a distinct gap.  When I first saw you I liked you because you had a good complexion and figure and red lips.  When I got to know you I liked you because you could see all the fun in life.  And now I like you because – well it is rather difficult to explain in detail but it amount to:- because you’re my sort.

I am sorry you have no means of referring to my last letter but two.  Your new file doesn’t seem to be much good.

I am not, as I have already explained, saving kisses for the banker’s daughter.  I am going to invest them in something safe.

I haven’t got a dictionary here but I think an innuendo is something said obscurely, much the same as a hint.  Voluptuous means, I think, sensuous.  The Prisoner of Chillon was a man called Bonivand who was imprisoned at Chillon Castle which stands on a rock jutting out from the land into Lake Geneva.  He was chained to a pillar and I have seen the grooves caused by him and other prisoners walking backwards and forwards and round the pillar as far as the chain stretched.  Byron wrote a poem about him.  Persiflage is speaking without much meaning.  I used it, I think, to mean talk as opposed to its meaning.

My compliments were not put there “to east things over”; I wrote them because I thought them, and I didn’t write them to please you but to ease me.

I am going to have some fun tomorrow.  The sheriff’s daughter, the belle of Lochaber except for one week last summer, has asked me to play Shinty at Achnacary.  She said it didn’t matter my not knowing the rules, so I am letting the cook-waitress go out in the morning instead of the afternoon, and I am taking the afternoon off.  I borrowed a book of the rules on Saturday and watched Fort William play Spear Bridge, and I think I shall manage.  It is like hockey without the restrictions.  You can lift your stick as high as you like and you can play with both sides of it.  This is to be a mixed game so it will not be too fast for a beginner.  When I was at prep school I was rather a shining light at hockey but I haven’t played since.

I simply must stop now and pack up my laundry.

I shall get back to King’s Cross at 7.30 a.m. on Thursday morning.  If you get this tomorrow, Tuesday and post a letter in the early afternoon I shall get it here at mid-day on Wednesday.  I should like to know that you do understand that I do understand what you meant, that I know it is perfectly natural and has nothing to do with flirting.  If you do write and there is anything to answer I’ll ring you up on Thursday evening after seven.

Goodbye, old thing.


Sunday, 13 January 2013

13th January 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Christchurch Road
East Sheen

Friday 11.45 a.m.

Dear Fitz

- You can have the banker’s daughter – personally I couldn’t stand anybody who cast voluptuous eyes at me. – so I’m letting you know by return of post that you’re a silly ass.  You don’t make me feel good to the extent of concentrating on you and not getting the full enjoyment to be got out of multitudes of others. – but you – so far – are the first person I’ve wanted very badly to come over on to my side so that we can laugh at things together.

- Oh – but I don’t suppose you can understand yet - & I’m so bad at explaining.  I’m young - & consequently just learning the exultant feeling that comes when someone (naturally male) makes a bee-line for me out of hosts of other girls who I was quite certain I shouldn’t stand a chance with – its a glorious – rampant – sparkling feeling & means nothing at all – except that one day (miles ahead) I shall get fed up with numbers and enjoy myself far more in the singular – but so far I dodge seriousness like the plague – remember how young I am and how little people mean of all they say & thank God I wasn’t born with a squint!

- you’re old – I make you feel good to the extent of cutting out the others.  I’m honoured – most frightfully honoured - & honestly – old thing – I’m not worthy of it – But I have consolation in knowing that I’ve told you just what a beastly little brat I am - & that, while you’re still interested enough in me.  There’s not a single thing I wouldn’t tell you – that the only reason I told you all about Frances Lederer’s cousin etc. – so you needn’t be so damnably self-righteous about it - & if you think I’m letting you down on your resolution I should retaliate - & if you don’t feel it any more than I do, your conscience can be quite clear – only it always comes harder on the male – especially one like you - & anyway I should hate it – because, you see, you have no reason whatsoever to doubt me when I flirt with other people – whereas I should (quite justifiably) think a lot of things about you - & if not exactly break my heart (I have got one – only I don’t show it to strangers!) – probably pine away at the thought of your shattered resolution

- Well – I don’t suppose even after all that you can feel all I want you to – but one day I’ll tell you what I mean – only , just for now, please believe I’m not quite such a dirty little underhand rotter as you might think I was – and that I’m most terrifically bucked in your taken any notice of me at all - & I don’t consider you in the same street with anybody I’ve ever met before – except perhaps Norah – because to you I offer friendship – whereas to all my “conquests” I only give a little bright repartee & the “glad eye”!

- So now – that being over (much to my detriment) – Thank you very much indeed for the letter.  I’m out of bed now, but have lost my voice & have nothing to do.  I finished Jane Austen on Wednesday with quite a feeling of regret.  But Norah arrived in the afternoon & cheered me up tremendously – her bedside manner is unimpeacable – I wanted to put my arms round her & hug her all the time! (effects of the flu again!) – she’s, by far the nicer of the two – much more steady & understanding – you should have a go a her & all! Shes the most satisfying person I know - & - above all – knows exactly how to treat me!  Just the right mixture of contempt at my stupidity, encouragement for my ambitions, snubs for my forwardness & sympathy for my feelings!

I didn’t go to the dance last night – mainly because it didn’t interest me.  So I’m afraid, Mr FitzHugh, I cannot oblige with one of my usual interesting account – anyway Mummy has just informed me that Reggie is coming to tea on Sunday, so I’ll get particulars from him – poor lad – weeds are so unecessary & he does try so hard.

Flip & I are at present sitting alone in front of the fire.  Mummy's out at Bridge & Jill’s gone to a dance at Norah’s – I’ve got a beastly cough which hurts horribly & makes me feel I shall soon be dead.  But I’ve just bought some wool to knit a jumper with so  I mustn’t die for at least a year until its finished. & also I’m looking forward to the 21st most frightfully – chiefly because I didn’t realise how much you were until now

- You get back on Thursday – do you? What time? The Blue Light's coming back to the Rialto – I hope to go next week.

- I’m just drinking your letter in again – its gorgeous – you add just the right bits in the right places – thats what makes you seem old! – I put down just what comes & dont think what the recipient will make of it – but you, oh ancient & experienced one, just worm yourself into being liked by saying exactly the right things to the people you want to. - & whats and “innuendo”? - & whats the “something more important” you’re going to fill pages with after Easter?  I do hope I shall like it as much – because at present, I’d hate a change. & whats “persiflage”?

I’ve only got one thing I bargained for in your case – oh- thats a hellish lie! – I, honestly, didn’t bargain for anything – I just said that to sound grown-up – why, must I have a conscience when I’m telling you things?

- I’m just going to send Mitchell out to post this – as I should hate to see groves in the floor next time I go to F.W. & think what had caused them  who was the Prisoner of Chillon?

- you won’t like this letter - & I’m jolly glad because bits of yours were abominable - & made me want to say – “well, whatever did he want to have anything to do with me for, if he thinks I’m as beastly as all this – he can jolly well go & stew his head for all I care” - & I don’t angle - & I’m not an “aspiring Cleopatra” – all my letters were going to be from the same person – so there – you cattish old perturber (?) of women – you’re only a very B.F after all. _ & even all those “thinly veiled” compliments didn’t have any lasting effect because I know they were just put there to ease things over. – so now you may call me “Little Beast” over rice-pudding because I deserve it - & I shouldn’t take any more notice of me if I were you – so you’d better start saving thoses kisses for the banker’s daughter.

- Mary Pleasant

P.S. I had this all done up ready to go – but have to add: ‘Kindly inform me again about the “confirmed flirt” clause – I fear I have no means of referring to your ‘last letter but one’.

What does “voluptuous” mean? – I must practise!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

12th January 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Parts of this letter thrown away by Mary (written on the top at a later date by Terrick)

The Highland Hotel

Fort William

starts on page 3

mouthfuls of rice-pudding: “You little beast!”

So you have been flirting again.  Please let me know by return of post if you are going to continue, because if so my reformation becomes null and more or less void and the daughter of the bank-manager here is casting voluptuous eyes at me – I am invited there to-morrow, too soon to get your reply unfortunately, but if the rain keeps off there will be plenty of time.  And anyhow, she is exempt from the resolution under the “confirmed flirt” clause (see my last letter but one), though up till now I had been sticking more to the spirit than the letter of it.

Incidentally, even if I do decide to keep the resolution, you will be exempt from it too under the same clause.

No, cancel that.  I’ll leave the banker’s daughter alone.  She is not so attractive as you, and I like the best when I can have it.  I’ll exempt you from the resolution as a Confirmed Flirt, out-flirt you, and possibly break your heart. (The word “possibly” in this context denotes doubt, not as to the writer’s ability, but as to the recipient’s possession of a heart to break)

No again, on third thoughts, I think loads of time will be the best method.

Anyway the bronchitis is probably a visitation from heaven, and you don’t deserve to have a nice, steady lad like me writing to you.

How much of this were you angling for?

The reason why you did not get my letter before is that after 4.5 p.m. on Saturday there is no post at all out of here till 1.42 p.m. on Monday.  I thought when I was writing that it was 8 a.m. and wasted a ½ d stamp by getting two penny stamps out of the slot machine because I had.

Continues on page 7

I can’t see myself whispering to you – at least not about being introduced to other damsels.  When you are about, other girls don’t seem very conspicuous.

I am glad you like my letters.  But wait.  Just now it is how I write, rather than what I write that is interesting.  The bare bones of my letters are little more than veiled (thinly I admit) hints and innuendoes.  Wait till I go away at Easter.  We shall have danced a good many dances and sat in a good many pits, and then you will get letters that will be letters.  I shall have something more important to fill the pages with than persiflage.
I don’t know what you bargained for in my instance (I wish I did) but you can be dead, damned certain that you won’t get less.

After Lunch

I have just had a short note from Paul.  He has not yet done anything about the office of the Scheme but he is about to do it; a state he has been in ever since Christmas.  How shall we spend that shilling?

Still no one has come to the hotel, even for a drink.  The night before last I felt the loneliness get a bit oppressive so at 9.p.m. when no one had turned up, I dashed down to the cinema in time for the big picture, “Polly of the Circus” which was utter rot.  Tonight I shall have to wait till nine before going round to the MacNivens’.

The management of the hotel has gone very smoothly except one day when I issued coarse salt from the stores instead of granulated sugar and the woman only found out after she had made the pudding.  With castor sugar I always taste it because it looks like salt, but I have never seen

Thursday, 10 January 2013

10th January 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Christchurch Road
East Sheen

Tuesday 12-5 pm

My dear good Boy – (kindly N.B maternal note)

Your letter arrived 20 minutes ago – with a joyous rush & clatter through the letter-box, in lonely extacy (?) - I first expected it on Monday morning - & for each of the 3 posts since – when it has failed to arrive – my temperature has gone up 3 points!! – you see I spent last weekend with my friend Miss Eastman at Barnet & on Sunday contracted the vulgar disease known as flu – all Sunday night my temp was 103 & I had the most rotten bronchitis & wept pints out of undiluted self-pity – so on Monday morning, with great rush & palaver, Norah rushed me home & put me to bed – where I have sweated profusely ever since – feel rotten & better by turns – read one book of poems – School for Scandal - & if dogs could write (damn, I can’t find any blotting paper) - & waited for a letter.  I had a rotten night – burst into tears this morning because Mummy told me to take two aspirins with my bread & milk & I said they’d only go down with water!!! – slept until 11-30 – woke up – cleaned my teeth twice because I hadn’t for two days! - & was just sitting down to the 22nd (!!!!!) chapter of Pride & Predujice (?) when heaven sent arrival of mercury from G.P.O with the best tonic for flu yet invented.  (just a mo: while I hold my nose & take my horribly material one). * * * (those are three gulps & thank heaven that's over for another 4 hours) – But to proceed – Before opening your epistle I did my hair (which is absolutely devoid of all “ondulation”) & surveyed my beauteous self in mirror – a most fearful sight – yellow eyes – blotchy countenance – 3 spots – red nose – & straight hair! – Thank heaven you’re in F.W.!!

- Anyway I cast away Pride & Predujice – snorted at my grapes & split the envelope.  Since then I have spent chuckling & guffawing & smiling gently (maternally!!) - & altogether I feel ever so much better.  Thank you ever & ever so much for it.  You see, yesterday evening  was so very much down in the dumps (N. having gone home) that I even went so far in my imagination as to think perhaps you’d forgotten all about writing to me – or had thought, after Thursday, I wasn’t as much your sort as you’d thought at first & altogether I was a bit of a frost!! – (Flu’ does these sort of things for one you know!) – anyway – everything’s O.K. now - & I shan’t start thinking anything so silly again until the next one doesn’t arrive!

- But here I must clear your mind on a point  my eagerness for your letter sprang from a purely ulterior motive – its main cause being – that directly I had yours I could reply with mine!! – very selfish – but nevertheless true – you see, ever since you got out at Dover St. on Friday I’ve thought of little else but what I was going to say in this (so we have something of the “social” in us!!)  Why do grapes have pips? & skins? *** (demolition of 3 grapes.)

- Well, first I think I’ll tell you all I’ve done since Friday - & then I’ll give a most beautiful running commentary on your 10 pages. – so let me excuse myself for how long this letter is going to be now - & then I needn’t stop to do it again _ & anyway you did ask me to write a long one- & that it should be about “me” – (but the last was quite unnecessary – you’ll soon learn that its impossible for me to write a letter which isn’t all about “me”)

- On Friday evening at the tick of 7.30 I thought of you puffing off – so I hope you were! – I felt thoroughly disagreeable (p.p office) & the last thing I wanted to do was to dance. – specially with nobody nice to dance with – (after the truly ideal assortment of the night before! (!) ) – Anyway it wasn’t too dusty – my green dress always cheers me up – only 4 decent men in the room.  The first, Frances Lederer’s cousin from Budapest – distinct foreigner (in everything) – like me (N.B – most females present over 40) – danced beautifully – inquired where I had taken my lessons in flirtation – where I got my beautiful eyes from ? (!!!!!) (perhaps Paul knows!!!) - & told Roger Standing he was in love with me (oh lord – distinct foreigner!) – anyway – he thought I was beautiful (heavens!! – first person to tell me so!!) until I said I was too fat – then he agreed with me

- the second, a callow youth – only on list because he didn’t know me from Adam & came back for three dances running – too dull for congenial conversation.

- the third (are you bored?) Mervyn Spraig – a boy I haven’t seen for seven or 8 years – we acted in fairy plays together – therefore found common ground for conversation & got on quite well.  Very ordinary – but bossy – I do like bossy men. – but as I believe there is no female who doesn’t please treat this announcement in strict confidence (to like something everybody did would go against the grain so)

- number 4 easily took the cake.  he was M.C. & only danced two dances. the first with his sister & the last dance of all with me – I was so bucked I threw over Mervyn for it – it is nice to get what you’ve been angling for all the evening – probably one day I shall get more than I bargained for.  Serve me jolly well right.

Saturday N. & I went to the school dance – frightful frost – all little backward boys who had to be brought up to you – only one any good at all - & he needed teaching such a lot there wasn’t time - & it wouldn’t have been worth the trouble in the end! (Heavens – shade of Paul!) – Sunday I felt too rotten for words – I have to discuss you so carefully with the Eastman family – or they’d think – oh well – its really immaterial what anybody thinks! – I’ve known them for 7 years N. is easily the dearest of the lot - & they’re the very antithesis of our family – but they’ve all got the very best of hearts.  Which – after all – is one of the mail points in this grabbing life! – well – as I said before I went to bed & wept pints (you’ve yet to learn what a little it takes to make me weep! – anything from sunsets to seedlity powders will !!) – (I had to have alliteration).  But Norah sat up all night & held my hand for me – she is a dear - & just the right person to be my friend – simply won’t be sloppy - & keeps all her feelings inside – whereas mine loose their sanctity by being thrown indiscriminately around.  But I’m getting better!

I’ve just read your letter again - &, dear old thing, its super! – But you MUST BE CAREFUL. – I loved every word of it – simply because its so frightfully well put & fills me with envy & admiration – But it made me feel just like I did last Thursday night! (only bits of it, at least) – you know “we’d – both – be – so – much – nearer – if – he – took – three – paces – backwards” sort of feeling – mainly because then I’m in full command of the situation – whereas when you run on like this I have to keep up with you out of pure inquisitiveness for whats coming next! – You see, your last two letters have put me to the expense of buying a new file – they’re absolutely my first of a kind – whereas you must have been writing similar ones for donkeys years. (nasty! – I’m sorry – but I must try & quell a pat-on-the-back feeling I have when I sometimes go so far as to imagine you’ll need a new file for me!)

- As for the running after me business – don’t worry yourself too much on that score – because so far (unless goaded) I’m only sauntering – so don’t overtake me without recognising me – will you?  Because I’m not sure whether I should have the will-power to catch you up again!

What does B.F stand for? Bloody Fool? Thats all I can think of that fits in!

- Fort William sounds gorgeous – I could just do with lots of wind & rain & no hat – do you think they’d let me come up there to recuperate after my bad illness? – Poly reps. are specially chosen for their recuperating propensities (& smiles) aren’t they?

- the next time we shall see each other will be the 21st – it won’t be a particularly bright dance – but its usually quite fun - & I shall know everybody there – so anyone you’d like to be introduced to just whisper! - & also I’ll show you some of the special places I love most in the world – because you see school was the most perfect time of my life - & I know every stick & stone of it.

- yes – when you come back – we’ll find some things to do in “cold-blooded” daylight – but why on earth start with an aeroplane? – as a matter of fact Norah & I were going to try one day – but you say “& then do more prosaic things afterwards” – my dear – it would be too most horribly prosaic for words 

– I should be violently sick immediately we started & not stop till we came down again! – So you would enjoy yourself!! – But perhaps you could go first trip & me next – then I could prop myself up against you when I landed!! – but we’ll see – I very badly want to stand for a ? with you – one can learn such a lot about a person when standing in a queue!

- well – please write soon again - & don’t pull this too much to pieces because I have enjoyed it so.

- Mary Pleasant

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

8th January 1933 - Terrick to Mary

The Highland Hotel
Fort William

8th January 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant

I have just finished breakfast.  I promised to write to you to-day (that is why I did not write yesterday) and the earlier I start the better because if I am to say all the million things that have kept occurring to me since I left you, I shall have to rush to catch the 8.0 am post tomorrow.

Which of them to put down first, I don’t know; but that is a small difficulty compared with those I have been up against lately.  Now that  I am well away from you and using a pen instead of a too inflexible tongue I am more or less a master of my fate again.

When I told you that I had to stifle too incautious repartee it was quite true of the time I was speaking of.  But it isn’t true any longer.  I am losing my grip.  In the last 77 of my previous 87 cases, when I used to look upon it all as rather fun, I was always one move ahead of the game.  I could always give Paul a pretty exact answer when he asked what was going to happen next.

But now, with the score at 88, when I have long looked upon myself as an M.A. (F.) I find I am hopelessly behind.  I not only don’t know what to do next but I don’t even know what to do at the time.  In fact I’m just a B.F. after all.

In the train on Friday night I wondered why I had got so behind.  And I found the reason.  Until now I had always kept a pretty faithful observance of “the good old rule, the simple plan”, which is: “Never run after a bus or a woman.  There’ll be another along in a minute”.

And now, although handicapped with a good resolution, I am enthusiastically running after you.  Therefore, in the nature of things, I must be behind.

I am sorry, Mary Pleasant, that I referred to the score being 88 just now.  It was only for ease of reference.  In reality the whole 88 are now, like the Ten Commandments, summarized into two.  The first eighty-seven are 0/1 and the last is 1/0.

Help! Resolution!

It is very different up here from the last time I came.  Ever since I arrived the rain has been falling in sheets and the wind whistling like mad.  I have only seen the top of Meall an-t-Slamian opposite for a few minutes, and the Rough bounds behind Corpach have never come out of the mist at all.  The pigeon-cote was blown off its pedestal a few days ago.  The Howes saw it go and said it never touched the ground until it had gone right down the drive out of the main gate to just short of where the road runs past, by the church.  Nobody is ever likely to come and stay in this weather, but I have to stay about the place in case.  I can’t get out as much as last time because the porter has been sacked and there is no one who can serve at the bar.  As I shan’t be able to go to the cinema there will be nothing to keep me from sitting down in the evenings and getting on with “Edwy the Fair”.

I turn on the light inside the front door as soon as it gets dark to show any possible traveller that the place is open.  I feel like a light-house-keeper.

“The Small Dark Man” was jolly fine.  I read a good deal of it in the train and went on as soon as the Howes had left.  I finished it last night.  Maurice Walsh writes a good love story.  He really makes you believe that it is “the real thing” that his characters are up against.  And it shakes them and deals them blows that make them ache, which is what love does, I think.  With most authors who are not really great, you feel that the love motive is what Robert Louis Stevenson called “a mild preference”.  But there are, I think, three main parts of love, and Maurice Walsh makes you feel that his characters are really affected by only two of them.  The other he, being a Celtic, mystical sort of chap, rather ignores.  What I mean is:

In the case of my philandering career (now filed and for reference only) I found it useful to be able to put my finger immediately on the kind of attraction that I felt in each case.  I found that there were three different kinds of attraction which I classified as: Subhuman, Human and Superhuman (Paul and I generally call them Sub, Human and Sublime).  Subhuman is a mere animal attraction for a person’s looks.  The Human attraction is having everyday tastes in common i.e. both liking the same amusements, the same friends etc. The Super-human is the attraction of ideals and the things that make man more than a civilised ape.  You might rename them Physical, Social and Spiritual.

For examples: “love at first sight” must nearly always be sub because it depends on the person’s physical attractions.  ? and the Beggar-maid were ideal Maurice Walsh characters because they are bound to have ignored the Human element where they had nothing in common.  In Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett the superhuman almost certainly predominated, both being poets.

I think too that if all these three attractions exist together then the result is love.

Friendship with people of one’s own sex can be divided into the last two.  That is where the flaw in the friendship between Paul and me is plain.  Humanly we agree everywhere; Superhumanly there is hardly a single point of contact.

Maurice Walsh, as I say, ignores the Human attraction.  In “The Key Above the Door” his hero and heroine live totally different lives and he does not tell you which changed.  In “The Small Dark Man” the difference is not quite so great though Hugh is a country-schoolmaster and Frances Mary is county.  Probably the sub and the super attraction more than made up for it in their case.

My German fiancée and I agreed superhumanly.  Her outlook was very Prussian.

A most astonishing thing happened when I got here.  By the first post a parcel came for me obviously containing a book.  I opened it and there was another “Small Dark Man”!  Do you remember my saying that there was only one other Poly person at Fort William who still wrote to me?  It is a girl, No.82 or thereabouts, [I don’t know how you can like me.  I only tell you because I like you so much that I don’t want your opinion of me to be based on ignorance, and because I am afraid perhaps that, if I didn’t, you might find out years hence, and then hate me for it].  Well, this girl keeps writing and phoning me and wanting me to go out with her and I keep finding an excuse.  Just as I was about at an end of them I was able to say I was coming up here again.  Knowing that I liked “The Key Above the Door” she has lent me “The Small Dark Man”.  I am rather glad that it was something I don’t have to read because you have lent it me first.

Paul has promised to get on with the scheme.  In order to be certain of making some profit out of it I have bet him a bob that he does not start it.  I hope I lose.  I think the bet stung him up a bit, so he may move.

There are still several hundred things I have not said.  Some had better wait.  Some are better viva voce.

One thing I must not forget.  That is that when I get back we must meet and do things together in the daytime, on Saturday afternoons or Sundays.  So far we practically only meet in evening dress and to music and moonlight.  All very necessary to the complete friendship, but even more necessary is the sensible atmosphere of cold daylight.  Let’s if we get a fine day, go up in an aeroplane.  That would be a good start because it is not too sensible.  Then we can go onto more prosaic things.

You will probably think this letter awful rot.  Please write me a nice long one.  Tell me what you are doing and thinking.

Do thank your mother for the dance on Thursday.  I am sure I forgot, and if I didn’t, I enjoyed it so much that some more thanks won’t be any too many.  Give my love to your family and keep lots for yourself.  When I have finished this letter, however busy I am I shall really only be waiting till your letter arrives.  Some kisses you can’t dodge, 

From Fitz

Thursday, 3 January 2013

3rd January 1933 - Terrick to Mary

186 Haverstock Hill

3rd January 1933

My Dear Mary Pleasant, 

I am so glad you wrote to me.  Although I tried to seem amused over the phone, I did so want you to explain.

I had gathered the time I came to your house before Xmas and also, and especially, at your dance last Thursday, that you had a good deal of coquetry in you.

With my criminal record it certainly never occurred to me to criticise you for it.  But I admit I was rather shocked at what Paul said.

Then I decided that it was poetic justice and that I was only feeling what I must have made lots of girls feel in the past.

And in the end I found that though I might think differently about you, I felt about you just the same as ever.

But now I understand and I ought to have known it all the time.

We both seem to have a good effect on each other.  I hope you like feeling good; some people don’t.  It is partly through you that I am mending my ways.

I had an affair with the girl who was the antithesis of you, and I broke it off on the Sunday before Xmas, partly because I had found at Fort William that with two so different girls writing to me, it was your letters I looked forward to, and you to whom I enjoyed writing.  She was a nice girl and I felt a rotter at jilting her.  I resolved then that I wouldn’t flirt any more, except with confirmed flirts, and I wouldn’t’, if seriously keen on a girl, tell her so until I had really had time to know her – because I was so changeable.

That Sunday night when you were motoring me back to town (just before I wrote to the girl) and on Thursday night at the dance, I nearly contracted lock-jaw in restraining repartee inconsistent with my resolution.

And last Sunday night that sigh in the car that I told you, truly, was for my bad qualities was induced by the fact that I knew that I was going to relapse directly we got to your house.

And you see, the reason why I asked you help me patch up my resolution is that I don’t want to be my old self with you.  If you don’t quite make me feel I am good, you make me feel I want to be.

I know when I read this letter through I shall find it perfectly sickening.

I am sure I do not seem “obviously experienced” to you, because I don’t act or feel like it a bit.  I feel as though I am your own age.  That was a bit of your blarney, or, if you prefer, your coquetry.

Isn’t it a curse about the 8th and 12th? Thursday must be wangled somehow.  I think I can manage it.

The South African is a fellow called Foster-Towne and he is staying at the Strand Palace Hotel.  He wants somebody to go about with him until he leaves for Paris on Friday.

If he insists on having someone for Thursday evening I’ll try and palm Paul off on him without the Poly knowing.

I am very glad you wrote and told me all about your disreputable character.  You are a dear!

I like you terribly; and am looking forward to seeing you again on Thursday.

Love from 

Terrick xxx

2nd January 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Christchurch Road
East Sheen

Dear Fitz

I must write this after all – mainly to uphold my reputation.  Listen – Paul’s quite right I am a flirt - & you can show him this because I’d like him to realize I know it!

But I must stick up for myself somehow – because its such a beastly thing to have said about me & I’d like to try & justify myself a bit.

You see I’m very young (first excuse!) - & you can have no idea what a fascination it is to try & make people like you! – especially innocent youths.  I’ve tried it about half a dozen times & in some cases I’m successful & feel a pig & in others I’m hopelessly floored & feel much better.  My cousins Verney & Reggie I can do anything I like with & consequently don’t want to.  Skip Tayler – the first person I ever really admired - & you take all the wind out of my sails & leave me feeling most horribly young & stupid.

Skip has never spoken to me personally in his life - & you’re so obviously experienced & amused in my childish ways & means – that you make me feel most frightfully good & humble & silly all at the same time.

So there – now you know my murky past - & I think I’d rather have yours – because mine is all made up of hypocritical stupidity - & pretending to be much cleverer than I am – whereas yours doesn’t intentionally inflict any harm on the other party & is entirely natural.

This letter is appalling - & just the sort I shouldn’t be allowed to write – but how can I tell you all this – you’d think (or rather Paul would) that I was doing it just for effect – whereas, this time, I’m perfectly sincere!

Anyway – with regards to Paul – nothing was farther from my intentions on Saturday than flirting with him – please make him believe that will you? – honestly Fitz – I’m not as brutish as all that – only I was so terrified he wouldn’t like me - &  I really dreaded him saying to you afterwards “what on earth did you pick that up for” – so please will you forgive me? – because it doesn’t matter so particularly about him – only I should hate you to think I was just like all the others – it would be the worst humiliation I can think of.
At the present moment I’m sitting up in bed just about to start on the 10th chapter to “high-browity” – I like Elizabeth too – mainly because you said she was nice.

I’m looking forward to Thursday frightfully – but at the moment I’m sure nothing can ever come up to last Saturday.  It was the nicest evening of my life - & thank you ever & ever so much for taking me - & looking after me.

I don’t think there’ll be much need for me to start keeping you up to your principles as we had intended I should – now you know just what sort of a fast hussy you picked up! – But then you should know by this time that all women are a sham & delusion !!

But Please, Fitz, always believe that you make me feel good – so that I still can be & anyway you’ll have Norah there on Thursday – as shall I.

Yours with ever so much friendship

Mary Pleasant