Thursday, 30 May 2013

30th & 31st May 1933 - Mary to Terrick

The Office

Tuesday 1-5 pm
 & Wednesday

- Thank you for both letters.  i'm sorry I didn't thank you more promptly - but, as I expect you gathered, every minute, up to Sunday, was full up. And it needs a good steady hour for me to even settle down to write to you.

This morning I have an acute pain somewhere inside - probably due to scanty breakfast - & it's making me feel that I'm all 'inside' - I wish they'd send me home.  However, it's not so bad as it was, & I'm ?? my mind by thinking about you. - I felt they wouldn't let you come to London - so I wasn't getting a bit excited - I suppose if you had of come (sic) for a night you would have seen me - would you? - Because I believe I'm beginning to take you a bit too much for granted, you know. - It's a most queer feeling at the moment - you're becoming just what I make you - just what I should like you to be - & it's rather dangerous - because I'm losing the real you - & just writing to someone I've made up. - You see, I didn't know you very well, did I? - So it's a bit difficult - I can get all your feelings & ideas through your letters - & they sometimes jolt me back & I think - 'oh, of course, he'll always be as odd as he seemed at first - & have queer ideas that don't fit in!' & then I remember a bit of the extraordinary person I picked up (!) last winter - but that's all - I wish I knew you better - not the person who writes such nice letters.

- perhaps I will one day - do you think I shall have to go through a lot of disillusioning?

- I'll enclose that snap of me you like in exchange for the post-card you don't - it's not very good, I agree - & you might just as well have the nicer one. = Send the p.c. back, will you?

- I've been hunting everywhere for your letter about the 'fascinating' effect of your bathing costume - in fact I've been through about 50 to find it - bit it's absolutely disappeared - Anyway I bet you did look fascinating in it - or didn't you have your glasses on?

- Norah & I are now cogitating on a motor caravan holiday! - we've seen a lovely one - only it would swallow poor old Horace up - heavens knows what we should look like - but it would be great fun. - I should love to come to Dinard too - & Mummy thinks it would be topping - but, you see, it is a bit difficult, isn't it? - or perhaps you don't see - but even then it doesn't make much differences as far as Norah is concerned - from her point of view, I mean - & anyhow putting myself in her place I shouldn't like the idea of it - would you? - or do you think it's a bit of a mole-hill mountain? - But if I had piles of money I'd bring mums over - & that would be topping - only I haven't! - and you'll be home in October - won't you? (Gosh - you'll be 'Terrick the Myth' by that time!

- Do you know - of all the things in me that feel mentally; the sense that makes my imagination work most vividly is my sense of smell - the smell of curd soap in square blocks always takes me back to my wonderful week of School Certificate at Holloway Polytechinic! - I had to take it up in my case for us all to wash with & my case smelt of it for ages - I love it! - Olva soap makes the 'hate' rise up in me - Katie uses it in the office cloak room. - Strawberries open up the whole vista of summer - green lawns & sun - & just little smells here & there conjure up special occasions.

- Last week Thursday was an awful day - On the Wednesday evening - (while washing up after supper) Norah informed me the only thing I lived for was an appreciative audience - It struck hard for just 24 hours - & then I decided it wouldn't be an 'appreciative' one if I threw myself under the train! - but  - oh- how beastly true it is - I've never never done anything worth mentioning that wasn't purely selfish - even now I'm not doing anything that'll help other people - I hardly ever think of anybody else - I know we weren't put here just to live wrapped up in ourselves - & here am I just a rotten mess of "me" - I supposed other people are the same (I can't think of any) - but, you see, it's only me that worries myself - & perhaps that's where I'm wrong - sort of tearing round in a vicious circle all on my own - & I don't know where to get out.  It's a bit difficult, isn't it? - (This is what Hickie calls 'my physiological measles'!!)

- Are you bored to tears? - Well, do you know one infallible way I've found of cheering myself up (still about 'me', you see) - When Katie goes to wash her hands (with Olva soap) - I open my stamp book (where I enter every blessed stamp I stick onto every blessed envelope!) at Sept 15th 1932 - It was a Friday - & see how scrawly & hurried each name is down the page - and then on 16th Katie's need hand has entered up the post in quite a different feeling! - Oh how I hummed with excitement - all my cases stacked in the cloadroom with Poly. labels & Fort William stuck all over them - my clean blouse - my new hat - my camera - oh it was wonderful - nothing will ever beat it - bumping out of the office for a whole week!! - meeting Norah - buying two sprigs of white heather - a taxi to Victoria coaching station - standing in awe-struck silence, while all the luggage was stacked on - scrambling in - waving good-bye - off int Victoria & Great North Road - oh - magic magic enjoyment of youth - why can't I go back & back - until it doesn't matter what mistakes I make - because they all come right in the end - oh Fitz - I did love it so - & meeting you on the platform & following you up - & crossing the loch in the ferry boat & sitting on the front & seeing a porpoise - & climbing mountains & taking my stockings off - & not being able to climb down steep laces - & Norah was such a dear -

- perfect - perfect week - that can never never be quite the same again - isn't it sad?

- but I've still got the stamp book!

- What made you say 'how young you are' in your last letter - I never feel very young now, you know, unless you make me by laughing at me!

How long will you be at Dinard? - the rest of the summer I suppose.

- I have a sudden feeling of longing for a nice dance - somewhere expensive - & a new frock 0 & someone to make a fuss of me - what a 'feminine' inclination - but then I'm so very feminine & ordinary to the depths of my moth-eaten soul.

- Tell me, what good can I ever do? - How can I set about it? - you see, I'm so dependent on other people - 

- dear old thing, I shall make you despise me, really & truly, one day, shan't I?

- Oh, Mary, shut up -

- Thank you for asking after my elocution - was it an effort - or spontaneous? - It's going fairly well - my diction & breathing are very rocky still. - They've given me the part of Mrs Malaprop in a few scenes from 'The Rivals' we're doing at a Concert in October.

- Won't Edwy soon be finished enough for me?

- Jack won his Junior Eights at rowing on Saturday, at the Chiswick Regatta - he's goat a topping cup, & we're all awfully bucked - he sends his love - by the way - although you are a Communist - or something that rebels against his conservative ideas!

- Jill also send hers - in spite of having spent today in bed, owing to something eaten over the weekend - we fear!

- Flip, in his robust & grinny manner, salutes you with the blight-killing syringe with which he is, at present, engaged on the roses.

- Mums says she would like to come to Dinard & Mr Hodson remains deep in 'Social Ethics of Economics' or something.

- Must stop & go & talk to poor old Jill

- Please, please, write soon - your letter is my 'happy haven' from the turmoil of the week!

- Think as well of me sa you can, 

My love

Mary Pleasant

P.S. I had another funny dream the night after - I'll tell you one day - if I remember.

Friday, 24 May 2013

24th May 1933 - Mary to Terrick



Dear Fitz

- I drempt (sic) about you last night (this isn't nearly as touching as it sounds!) - Me & lots of family had all gone to (it appeared to be!) an RAF display in a church - rows & rows of dark empty seats - & we all sat in the choir-stalls - & we knew you were coming back from Nice to meet us there & I kept on trying to leave an empty place beside me, but Mums kept on saying you were going to sit next to Helen (my cousin) because she was a much better person than me! (she is - too - as it happens) - so I remember feeling most horribly disappointed while horses & soldiers & things leapt up and down the chancel - & during the interval you walked in the door in the darkness at the very bottom behind all the empty seats - I ran all the way down & sat on the end pew & said 'oh - this is funny' (very weakly!) - & put my head on one side - you just smiled (you had on a navy suit - dreadful brown trilby - it looked like one of Jack's - & looked very thin & peaky!) - & just as you were going to say something - Jack came in from the bathroom & said "for heaven's sake get up - it's past 8" - so wasn't that a nuisance? But I think that's the first time I've dreamt for weeks - & you've never come in them before - I hope you haven't fallen over a cliff or something!

- We had a most galumptious thunderstorm yesterday evening - cwt upon cwt of rain soaking into parched earth - & splashing from leaf to leaf on thankful trees.  The sky was the darkest, darkest grey and looked stupendous with millions of greens lighted up against it. - Everywhere was hotly still & I sat with all the windows open - just looking & listening - it was marvellous! (horrible over-rated adjective!)

- We've been having baking weather lately - why can't all our summers be holidays? - How I long for sun and water & summer frocks.  Wouldn't it be nice if our lives were planned perfectly beforehand - so that we shouldn't have to push ourselves hectically into square holes for fear of not getting a hole at all - but I suppose we should all get fat & lazy then. - I am now.

- There are lots more small things I was going to say & simply can't think of one - directly this is licked up they'll all come trooping back.

- I laughed at you looking 'fascinating' in your blue bathing costume - What a feminine remark - do you wear glasses when you bathe? - Because I'm sure I should hate you without.

- I look most 'entrancing' in my new bracelet - everyone asks me where I got it from - & I answer loftily 'oh - a friend abroad - you know' - & nearly always their curiosity gets the better of them & they simply have to ask 'male or female'!

Katie called Jack and 'optimist' yesterday for carrying an umbrella on a glorious sunny day - I said (humbly) I didn't think 'optimist' was the right word - & got thoroughly snubbed for my pains!

- I can't fathom her look-out on life at all - only thank heavens it isn't mine! - (or perhaps mine's worse?)

- Have just spent 2 hours on entering up part of the stock.

- Well - heaven only knows what I've written all this for - perhaps it's senile decay creeping in - or some of my 'physological measles' as friend from Aberystwyth calls them!

- Any how - thank God for endowing my friends with a little humour and much tolerance.

- Send me a nice post-card again soon

- Love


P.S. please excuse graphite

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

21st May 1933 - Mary to Terrick



Sunday 4.15

- I'm beginning to have a firm belief that all my letters are highly inconsistent.  That's probably why I so seldom sound sincere- & why I'm a dreadful person to make a friend of.

- Your letter arrived on Monday - and the 'souvenir of the occasion' at exactly the correct moment on Wednesday - when we all arrived in from the theatre at 2.0 am.  I found it on the hall table.  Thank you very much indeed, old thing - exceptionally good taste and my favourite colour.  It's exactly the right size. (awful feeling I shouldn't be able to get it on!!)

- I paid 1/- duty on it or something - I just tell you this because we should both be so horribly embarrassed if you found out later (at least I should) - & if you dare so much as suggest paying me back, I shall send the whole thing back & you'll have to pay the other end anyway! - Amen.  - But it was simply topping of you - & I love it.

I had a lovely birthday (my 19th - by the way - so thank-you very much!) - The garden party was quite a success - everybody turned up who accepted - including a few who had refused! - I had lots of small presents.  Racquet, balls, nice bag, 3 pairs gorgeous gloves, sponge bag, 2 powder puffs, Broome Stages (Mr Hodson) - a woolly rabbit to take to bed from Jill - & I bought myself a complete Shakespeare with Grannie's present. - oh & enormous cigarette case from Roger Standing who appeared at party ½ an hour early!!

On Thursday I busted myself in Hyde Park - crowds of people watching us - it was great fun.   And yesterday we had my supper picnic - 24 of us all together - 11 males - 13 females - they partnered off in the 10 cars quite well (with a frightful lot of manipulating & tact from me!) - I went with Mervyn in M.G. - joyeous - I sat up on the back coming home - with our head-lights on down long leafy lanes & a warm breeze blowing through my head - I sang & recited & made up poems until Mervyn was quite convinced I was barking! - It went off jolly well though - we played rounders in a pine wood - had bananas & cream for supper - & ended up at Shere - (as ever!).

The weather this weekend has been gorgeous - hot as Hades - I've just played 3 sets of tennis & eaten a Walls choc. ice.  The family have gone somewhere to bathe in sea - & Mums is watering garden.

- Can you give me the slightest rough calculation of how much it would cost N & me for 2 weeks in Nice? - there's not the venist (sic) remote chance of chance of us coming, but it would interest me to know - you can't suggest any nice small place in Devon or Cornwall - sand - sea- sun - not many people - cheap - can you?

I regard Aldershot Tattoo as (1) something to look forward to for weeks (2) 3 hours original entertainment inspiring admiration of discipline and delight in effects (3) an extra specially wonderful picnic supper afterwards (chicken & salad & strawberries & cream) and (4) staying a night with Norah. - I bet you the majority of the audience do the same - (in their different ways) - I never look upon it as something "military" at all - but when you come to actual war, that's quite different. - & it's not use my trying to tell you what I think of that, because I don't know enough about it - but I'm not sure there's not something to be said for a bloody 'eye for an eye' doctrine, it if the only other alternative is a patched up, hypocritical 'love they neighbour as thyself' one - of course circumstances alter things - & I suppose we're now arriving at a sincere 'love thy neighbour' one - but you're probably thinking out all the knock-out arguments you'll treat me to in your next installment for talking such rubbish - so I won't sound my mind on the subject any more.

- I had enclosed photograph done on Wednesday - (they, most thoughtfully have stamped my birthday on back) - it's not very good ('family judgement'!) but it shows off my new jumper to perfection - & you can keep it if you like - but send it back if you don't because I wouldn't like to waste it. - the snaps are all definitely bad - but I said I'd send them , to here you are - but send them back - Haven't you got some of yourself with "Margate" all around you yet?  I would like to see some.

We're going up to the May races at Cambridge on June 10th - gorgeous!

Mr Allen's a wood-lice and Katie is a jellied-eel - & I must stop & do some elocution for tomorrow - do you know 'Real Property' by Harold Munro? Lovely.

Mums sends her love

- Mary Pleasant (aged 19)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

12th May 1933 - Terrick to Mary


Hotel Brice

12th May 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant

Your reason is quite satisfactory.  Formalities are rather foolish in our correspondence - like putting up a notices "You are requested to put out the light before leaving the room" in one's own bedroom.

You are a queer customer - far odder than I am.  Still, as long as our two odds continue to make a pair, I don't complain.

Talking or writing to you is like being in a whispering gallery.  There you whisper something to the wall, the sound travels round until it suddenly strikes something and a voice far more clarion-like than your own proclaims to you your whisper.  Our conversations are the same.  Something I have whispered only to my most innermost soul travels round the limitless world of thought, finds its sounding-board in you, and I am amazed to hear you come out with it.


Do you mean to say that you only got my letter on Monday? I posted it on Thursday, the day I got your second letter.  Please let me know what is the postmark.  I think there may be some hanky-panky going on here.

I can't quite remember but I think it is twenty you are next week - or is it twenty-one.  My brain's undergoing considerable racking as to a suitable souvenir of the day.

I am rather annoyed.  I had a marvellous bathing suite of turquoise blue that was universally pronounced "fascinating" and now some wretch has bagged it while I was at lunch in a hotel in San Remo.  Luckily I have one of Renny's here but it is nothing like so fine as mine.  My body is beginning to get quite a nice colour.  My face and hands have long been coppery.

I am afraid I am here for the season now, so I shan't be present at your garden-party or at your birthday theatre.

I should like to see you perform in Hyde Park. You out not to go to the Aldershot Tattoo it encourages all this old-fashioned militaristic nonsense.  The only moment in my idle school-days that I have any right to look back on with satisfaction was when, on being told I ought to join the corps, I replied that I was too old to play soldiers.

Christianity only became a popular, world religion when it recanted on the most vital point of its doctrine by condoning war.  What would Jesus have said if he could have seen my father and others who called themselves priests of his following going off to the Dardanelles in 1915 to help soldiers by praying to him for victory?

The Church that does that forfeits all right to speak in His name and all claim to respect from the people of the world.  Any movement that daren't stand by it's principles deserves to perish in contempt.

If the world ever does get the peace that it is longing for, it will have to be through some loftier-minded, more steadfast power than the so-called Church of Christ.

In the meantime, I have nothing but scorn for those people who in peace-time declare that war is cruel and wicked, and, directly their government declares war, throw their convictions in the dust-bin and enlist.  If ever I do that, tell me that I am a worm, and tear up all my letters.  In spite of all the excuses I may find, you will only be the whispering-gallery voice of my inmost soul.

I had to look up the number of the sonnet because it interrupted the sense of the letter to quote the part I wanted.  That was the only one of the sonnets that I knew but when I looked up the number I dipped into some of the others and found them so interesting and lovely that I have started at the beginning.  It is amazing how Shakespeare could keep up the flow of such marvellous poetry, line after line, sonnet after sonnet, page after page.

Is it 90? I thought it was 89.  It shows how much interest I take in it now.  anyhow you are not in the same category.  On My 29th it will have lasted for five months.  As I wrote to Paul a little time ago, it makes me laugh to think that I ever confused my other affaires with the genuine article, or that I ever thought that the genuine article would be the same only higher and better.  There is no connection between them at all.

To change the subject, don't you think this is a marvellous saying of Schopenhauer's (or it may be Nietsche):

Halt heilig deine h√∂chste Hoffnung, und wirf    den Helden
Hold holy   thy     highest  hope,       and throw the  hero

in deinem Herzen nicht weg
in thy        heart    not    away

Which might be translated: "Keep your highest hope holy, and follow the hero in your heart".

That contains all that life should be.  What is your highest hope? Perhaps you don't know yet.  Until I was twenty I thought that the greatest thing I could do would be to write great books or plays - but there was the entirely selfish motive behind it that I wanted my name and writings to live so that I should not be forgotten and so, in a way, not die.  In this period I wrote a verse which I have a Hampstead but can only remember vaguely.  It went something like this:

When I have reached the allotted hour
And earthwards falls my withered flower,
I like to think some perfume ...... etc
Will linger on the breezes yet
Sweetening the garden's later day;
That e'en the Gardener my say:
"Some aren't so useless in their way".

But then I suddenly found that the world that I had always taken for granted was not as it should be, and although I had not yet read the Shopenhauer quotation I found myself unwillingly obliged to jettison my ambition as selfish in the face of a loftier conception, and I decided, conscientious little fellow that I was, that I ought to spend my time trying to put the world right.  Investigation of this subject led me to Socialism.  But then I found myself obliged to study economics, a mathematical science, while I am hopeless at mathematics.  And then I almost decided that as man's physical well-being was always entirely relative to the state of civilization at the time, it would be much more important to turn to his mental well-being; which led back to writing.

At the moment I don't quite know whether my highest hope is sociological or literary.

I roared with laughter at the ending to your letter.  You are rather a dear.

Don't forget the snaps in your next letter.

I can't tell if your letter was too kind.  It was highly inconsistent.

My French has already improved enormously since I last wrote.  It only requires a determined attack.

We bathe on excursions nowadays.  The water is beautifully warm, there is no tide and there is a baking sun.  I have got a good rim of sun-burn round the tops of my legs and my waist.  I wish you and Norah would come here.  I am pretty certain that I can get the two of you for the price of one a the Hotel Cavallero and on all the excursions.

13th May

I have found something you may like for your birthday.  I have tried to get something French, but for all I know they may be wearing this kind of thing extensively in England now.  If so all the better.  I have better stop now; you will be waiting for this letter.

Everything here is simply beautiful now.

All the flowers are in full bloom.  The sky and sea are incredible blues.  I spent most of the morning in a bathing suit on the beach.  The girls go about all day in beach pyjamas.  I suppose I am very lucky, but I should, just for one week, like a sniff of dear old England.

I should hate to be an exiled Russian.  How dreadful it must be never to be able to see your own country again!

And how many millions of people would gladly change places with me for a week!

For the first time I appreciate to its full extent Browning's "Oh to be in England now that April's here!"

Do you find that suddenly, in the course of living, you realise the full meaning of something you have once read.  I am constantly finding it.

You are a great person to write to.  I can just jot down any stray thought as well as confess to all my more important ones.  I can see what a relief it must be to catholics to get all their sins and troubles off their chest in a confessional.  If there really is a personal God he is unbelievably good to me; when I flatly refuse to believe in the efficacy of a heavenly Virgin Mary, to send me an earthly one who has the same effects.

Cheerio, old thing.  You needn't be afraid to send your love.  I promise not to misunderstand you.

Love from


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

8th May 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Christchurch Rd.
East Sheen


It isn't to be different - but because a beginning is never adequate when you're writing this kind of letter - it leaves you formally stranded and takes a lot of getting over, - when you're meaning what you're saying - as I am at the moment.

- I'm afraid this is going to be a bit personal too. - I have told you before that I'm one of the world's worst for emotionalism - haven't I? - Quite ordinary things seem to hurt me out of all proportion or else send me into ridiculous heights of bliss. - & (the greatest of drawbacks) in either case it usually finds it's expression in tears - when anything is particularly beautiful, magnificent, loving, pathetic, tragic or disappointing I immediately feel something get bigger inside me and I run over with it all in the most degrading manner possible:-

- I had written you a horrible, unworthy letter, followed by, what, afterwards I thought, must have been another, disclosing my most hideous lack of self-control and unlimited amount of self-pity - you didn't answer either for ages & ages - so I'd absolutely decided you'd at last decided what a really empty conceited shell I was (you don't even know what a beast I can be yet!) and weren't going to take any more notice of me - I spent the weekend with Norah - & every time your name was mentioned, went a delightfully deep cherry pink - (my conscience coming out!) - so when Jack brought up your letter to the office this morning for me to scan hurriedly while making the cocoa I honestly felt quite sick! -

Oh, my very dear acquaintance, how could you be so positively 'setting-of-all-things-to-rights' in 6 blissful pages? - Four heart felt tears dropped into the hot milk in thankfulness; I cut my finger on the bin in 'emotional extremis'; and sniffed in paeons of praise to heaven over the cups! - Take this with a small but substantial pinch of salt & you'll get the actual facts - but thank-you over & over again for being so kind and such an unintentional samaritan to a snivelling child who considers she'd rather good at presenting a sensible, matter-of-fact face to the world.  - If I'd lost the first male friend I've ever tried to make simply through my own stupidity - I shouldn't have had the heart (not the same one, at least) to try another - in the same way - I want this to be such a successful friendship (I nearly put 'experiment') - please - old thing - I don't want to marry you in the slightest - & I don't love you - but I have a tremendous respect for you - and would just like to sit under a tree with the sun coming through for hours & hours & talk to you - and when there was nothing else to talk about just sit and listen to nothing - so only you or Norah, would do. - Sometimes I wish quite different things - but only for moments when earth smells damp and the lilac's coming out & I'm a bit light-headed! - Nature in the new always goes straight to my head - & I live in such a constant fear of acting like a fool, that I do say things I don't mean at all. - Can you understand? - or do I tax your imagination too much?

- Poor lad, he must be a bit sick of all this - now for a little of the other me!

- Mummy is giving a garden party on my birthday! - She's invited 50 dear old things from the parish, work-party etc. - whom I shall probably have to recite to:- "I remember dear little Mary when she was so high"!  - It's a matter of fact I rather revel in old lady's - flattery again, you see! - But in the evening Mummy is taking Norah, me and Mr Hodson to the theatre! Whoopee! - if only you'd come home you could come too! - BUT when you do come you've got to spend a long weekend here - and then - oh boy! - I don't expect it'll be nearly as nice as I imagine it - or you either, for that matter - & I shan't know what to say or do - oh dear, isn't it difficult?

- But you will come, won't you? - any weekend you like. - Mums & Mr Hodson will be away the May 26th weekend - so it would be rather fun if you came then & helped me look after the family! - only the car won't be home - blight.

- On May 18th I'm doing my League of Health & Beauty stunts in Hyde Park! - on June 17th N & I have booked our seats and car park for A! - & for our summer holiday we've decided to go to some nice English hotel right on the sea & sand - miles from anywhere (?) and just lay in the sun (?) for 14 days! - we shan't go Poly. - I find it a little risky! - & I simply couldn't manage 2 - although I suppose I've got 87 to come yet. (I think, as a matter of fact I'm 89 aren't I? - so you must be in the 90s by now).

- You know, it was a coincidence you quoting Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI (did you have to look it up?) - because I've never had anything to do with Shakespeare's sonnets up till now - & it just happens, for my first elocution lesson this Friday, that is the actual one I've got to learn up! - It made me smile in my beard - & now I'm much more interested!

Mr Bernays was a dear the other Sunday - only he will call you Cuthbert & annoy me! - I hope he's coming on the 17th too - but I don't suppose he'll be able to manage it.

- I'll enclose some various snaps of family - hope you're duly impressed - but remember to return them won't you?

-Well - I must learn my sonnet - it'll be quite easy now!

- Please, please come home soon - I think I must be forgetting, you know!

- Thank you, again, for your last letter - & please write again soon - I think I like you sentimental.

- Mary Love Pleasant (sorry my family name - when loving)

P.S. I'm sorry I've left the snaps at Norah's - I'll let you have them next round

P.P.S. Did she enjoy being initiated as "90"?

(I hope this letter isn't too kind - is it?)

Friday, 3 May 2013

3rd May 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Brice

3rd May 1933

Dearest Mary

I got your second letter this morning.  Sorry you are depressed, but glad that you thought of writing to me about it.  Things are not so bad as I thought - though I am afraid they are worse than you think.

I expected your letter last Friday.  When it did not come in the evening, nor on Saturday, nor on Sunday (we have Sunday posts) and nor on Monday, I told myself that temporarily I had lost, that one letter left unanswered for days might be due to anything, but when the same thing happened again soon after, it marked the beginning of the end (temporarily).  I thought to myslef: Laddie, you made an impression, of some sort, strong enough to last two and a half months, but now it's out.  Epitaph: "the correspondence wavered and became desultory".

(I should have warned you.  This letter will be very personal)

My spirits fortunately are marvelously resilient.  When they do fall it is in order to bounce.  But on Monday they were falling like a stone.

In my murky past, if I thought that number so-and-so was cooling quicker than I was (the poor thing had to be a record-beater to manage that) I used to say to myself sour-grapily: "Well, you don't care tuppence for her" and all was well, but I had found already after New Year's Eve when Paul gave me his false impression of you, that the old sour-grape formula no longer applied.  And on Monday my symptoms recalled this depressing lack of independence [See Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI] I found that I did not alter, when I alteration found.  But I thought "Now you needn't be so damn careful not to flirt.  She is only interested in it academically". And, fed up, invited her out, and saw her home, Number 89.

Next morning I got your first letter and felt confirmed in my worst anticipations.  I was not a bit sorry about the night before, but my spirits had bounced, and before I had finished reading your depressing letter for the second time, I was full of ideas and optimism.

For a person whom other people consider cynical, my approach so far has been the rankest sentimentalism.  Sitting on a bench in a square with your letter on my lap I revised my plans to fit with the facts of life and the teachings of experience !!!!

I admit that, as you say in your letter, you are sure one day to "go completely batty and lose your memory".  You will do it several times.  You will fall in love anything up to, say, half a dozen times, and each time you will climb out again, shake yourself and be the better for it.  And you will "be able to discuss them with" me "without first wondering what I am thinking", because I can tell you now in advance what I shall be thinking.  To summarize, I shall be thinking, "Go ahead; this happens to everybody.  Think what a horror the World's married life would be if everyone had rashly married the first person they fell in love with.  Every bit of experience you are getting is bringing you imperceptibly perhaps, but surely nearer to me".  This is not colossal conceit, it is the result of my experience.

And this morning your second letter came.

And now I don't care if it is as a sentimentalist or as a cynic, by impetuousness or prudence, I am going to win you soon or late, and if late, still as soon as possible.

And I am sorry now I acted so quickly about the French girl, because my resolution was, and is now again, as safe as the Bank of England.

I have a good deal of spare time on my hands just now and I am employing it, not in writing "Edwy the Fair" but in studying the intricate idioms of French.  It is an opportunity I shall never have again, and once I am fluent at French I shall have extracted from the Polytechnic all the experience they have to give me, and I shall start looking for something better in London.  In any case this looks like being another bad tourist season, so I may expect the sack at the end of the summer.  Paul thinks we shall get it.  he was down here again on Sunday and left on Monday afternoon.

So far neither he nor I have heard anything about my coming back.  Probably it will be a week before Whitsun when Fort William will start getting busy.  Try to remember enough to recognise me by when I do arrive.

Cheer up, and wrote soon.

Love Terrick  xxx

Tell me, do you leave out the beginnings of your letters in order to be "different"?

T.V.H. FH.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

1st May 1933 - Mary to Terrick


May 1st 1.00

Am seized with hopeless & quite uncontrollable depression - mostly , I expect, because I've got a stupefying headache. - & also my last letter was so stupid & infantile that I keep on worrying about what you're beginning to think of me - oh heavens, isn't this stupid -

But I do wish I was back again sitting on top of that hill - all by myself with the wind in my head blowing my thoughts into the wrong places - & you playing hide-and-seek with the children at the bottom -

- and I do so wish you'd come back - so that I could remember what you're like - instead of imagining a hopeless sort of person who is just 'somebody-to-write-to' -

Oh - I've completely forgotten - why can't you - or somebody else - anybody - come back?

- This place is unbearable - & it's all my own fault

- Why can't I stay sensible always?

- Love Mary (HORRIBLY UNpleasant)

(It'll pass 'she's often like this!')