Friday, 15 March 2013

15th March 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Brice

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

Pages 1-4

Your last letter was the nicest you have written so fay.  Chiefly I think because it showed, when you talked about what you think, that you are more exactly "my sort" than anyone, I thought, ever could be.

Life is just living, giving and dying [loving and giving are the same thing, if it is proper love); seed-time, summer, and harvest.  Birth going on all over the world at the same time as death: births of men, animals, insects, trees, flowers and ideas.  At this infinitesimal moment in eternity it is our won turn.

The simplicity of it is lost sight of in the infinite vanity of complication into which the human mind dissects it: things like Hedonism and Salvation.  The more intellectual people get, the less they can see the wood for the trees; but you who are still young can see one tree and we know that it stands for all the wood. [Too like G.K. Chesterton]

Also, I found from your letter that I shall have to get you to collaborate with me in a future book that is in my mind.  I might write it myself, but it wants the person who can write things like "Me lying on my tummy in the orchard reading a book and eating an apple".  I'll supply the complications and you'll supply the marvellous simplicity, and in a thousand years time people will still know that Mary Ormiston was different from all other women (in spite of trying to be).

You must help me with this book or you will simply have lived and died, and given nothing.

I got the idea for it when I was in Belgium two years ago and read a book by the Flemish classic writer, Charles de Coster, called "The Legend of Till Eulenspiegel".  Till was a traditional figure in the Low Countries, about whom all sorts of stries were told, and who might have really lived or might not.  (I think Til only has one l)

Pages 13-16

Good Lord! My thirteenth page, and I haven't started writing the letter proper!

I yelled at the picture of you behind the aspidistra.

My dear old thing, when you cease to be "Simple and interested" it will be because you have become "complex and interesting"

So glad to hear that you didn't have to endure agonies at the dentist.  It must have been my absent treatment.

My two clients are getting a bit fed up with me.  I neglected them entirely lsat night to write letters and "Edwy the Fair", and again this morning to do some more Edwy, and now this afternoon they are sitting in the hotel garden under the palm trees expecting me out any minute.  They are a mother and daughter.

"Edwy" is getting on.  I have revised and written out up to about a fifth of the way through Act II Scene II.  I go at it pretty steadily.  It is slow work as I examine every sentence before putting it down.  And sometimes I catch myself altering one to make it read better while it makes it act worse.  If "Edwy" does get acted I shall have more experience for my second play as regards knowing what will act well and what won't.  When I have finished "Edwy" - in about a fortnight's time - I'll send it to be typed and then to you.

So the dentist chucked you under the chin, did he!  Damn his eyes!

Poor wretched, Miss Phillips.  Life must be a queer sort of thing to her.

Oh yes! Something I meant to start off with :-

I was not sniffing at Mr Bernays! I said he sounded the sort of man a clergyman should be, which is more praiseworthy than being a clergyman.  I meant that he is the kind that Catholic priests are in theory: people you can confess to, receive advice from and feel your heart unburdened.

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