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.



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