Sunday, 23 June 2013

23rd June 1933 - Mary to Terrick



I thought - 'well I'll just have a nice clear 20 minutes to start Fitz's letter and finish it when I get home this evening' - but 'the best laid plans of mice & men etc' - 3 telephone calls form obscure customers who would like to have an ounce of this & that ready in half-an-hour etc., have only left me 5 minutes.  But still, I suppose I might as well start.

Thank you for letter - and very much indeed for all the postcards - are you spending the whole of your limited income on stamps to me? - you should just see our ancient postman gallantly staggering up the front path, completely obliterated under Dinard and surrounding places of interest!  I think he's decided to take his family there for annual holiday - he finds your descriptions of the excursions so entertaining!  Your letter, by the way, was largely labelled 'London, France'.  But I expect someone who had Matriculated at the G.P.O., had it on good authority that London was actually somewhere in England.

- I love your white bags! - I somehow hadn't imagined you wore them - because I always see you in your new plus-fours smelling vilely of petrol!! - I'll try & remember & enclose the snaps back in this - haven't you got lots more I would enjoy looking at? - I've just had another lot of mine done - they're rotten as usual but I'll send you the best to look at - only send mine back too! (note comments on back for further enlightenment).

- It's a long time since I last wrote to you isn't it - I've got heaps to tell you about "me" - but I'll start on asking questions about you.  What are your plans at the moment - are you moving? - anyway we're not coming anywhere near you for our holidays - on talking it all over & discussing ways & means - (& Norah having spent a whole afternoon at the Ploy. place being told that we could only leave on a Thursday or Saturday - if the former we should have to pay 2 extra days - if the latter, we should have to come home 2 days early, or something) - we decided it was just a bit too expensive - so our latest idea is a boat to Oslo - in which, it appears, for the lucre we're prepared to expiate, we both have to sleep with someone else's feet in our mouths - or similar discomfort to that effect! But it would be rather fun - something different, anyway - only I'm afraid George Lunn won't provide us with anything interesting in the shape of guide, instructor & friend!! - But never mind, perhaps we shall both manage to pick up a hairdresser (bound to be heaps!) - and, anyway, they are useful! - I haven't decided what to do for the other week yet - something with but minor expenditure I fear! - Isn't money - or rather the lack of it - a curse?  The family are all going to Devon for 3 weeks on 1st August - so I have to be pushed around on various fond relations!

Is Ian staying on at Dinard? - He sounds a bit too O.K. for me - I do like something calm! - Is he in love with anybody specially - I fail to see why his 'complementary' remarks on snap of me in dashing jumper should be put down to 'only his good manners'! Fancy old Paul still being keen on Brenda - do you think she's worth it? - I think he's too young - & she sounds too experienced (I always think of Paul as a small boy compared with you!) - men should never  marry until they're 30 - and women when they're 24-25. - men need a good 12 years to 'run the gamut' as t'were - women tire of it after 5 - at least - those worth anything do!

- Your discrepancies over "resolution" made me chuckle in my beard for ages - should it make me feel like that? - it's absolutely impossible for me to understand what you get out of it at all - I simply can't put myself in your place just to see - or in the females either, for that matter - do they really enjoy it? - I could just understand it after knowing a person for 3 months - but 3 weeks seems ridiculous. - but, who knows, perhaps it won't one day! - the first & last time I happen to have kissed an eligible male was in the dining room over a glass of lemonade - & it was entirely unintentional anyway!

*     *     *    *   *

- The Tattoo was glorious - & it kept fairly fine too - Norah & I sitting on our cushioned forms, wrapped in the car rug - with our feet on the suburban newspaper! - I sat (on the other side) next a youth to whom every single item on the programme was 'wizard' - not once - but about 40 times - until I could have hit him - he had quite a nice youth next to him who said 'mauve' exactly like you would.

We had a topping picnic supper afterwards, in the car - and went for a walk afterwards wrapped in the one rug - at about 2.0 a.m. - it was magnificently cold - & stimulating. Going back N. nearly fell asleep over the wheel - so we had to stop & drink hot coffee to wake her up!

- Yesterday we went to see 'The Green Bay Free' by Mordaunt Sharpe at Golders Green - most amazing play - practically entirely symbolical in meaning - too deep for me altogether I think - but thoroughly enjoyable and "thinky" - 

Katie has been giving me another eyeful this week.

1) I'm a very wicked child for saying I enjoy thunderstorms because an old gentleman was killed by lightening in a cemetery last week 
    (Hadn't thought of this before!)

2) The scent I use makes her feel absolutely bilious, so she is unable to work
    (actually talcum powder - Carnation - jolly fine!)

3) She hopes I will take no offence 0 but unless I keep a tight hold on myself my figure will be ruined - & I shall spread & spread.
     (just like she's done! - Heaven help my hold!)

4) - I'm far too young & innocent, but when, Miss Ormiston, you have been in business as long as I have, you'll realize that nine people in ten are dishonest at the bottom - & you can never trust anybody whose eyebrows meet in the middle (per usual - as lib)

- Gad - she is a worm. - She's got tomorrow morning off because she's got a cist on her head & has to go to doctor - perhaps he'll certify her or something!

*     *     *    *   *

Your postcard has just arrived from Paris - the postman looked quite excited over the change - only he's afraid there won't be any more for sometime as we've had all the ones from Mentone (how do you pronounce it?)  - anyway you'll have to make up with letters - because you'll have lots & lots of time! 0 oh shall I come over and be the fourth client?  - Perhaps the Poly would loan me one of their sea-gulls to fly on! -

Mr Lingwood says the stamps on your P.C. being stuck on sideways means either 'a large slobbery kiss' or else you were out late when you posted it! - let's hope it was merely the latter!

- Can you explain German politics to me? - by 'to me' I mean nice & easily and lady-likely - Who is Hitler? - & Nazis? - & Ogpus? - & Socialists?  - Oh they do all muddle me - & I'm not really interested, only think I ought to be.

Why don't they let you come home for a weekend? - & we'll go for a picnic & bathe for hours & hours - Oh isn't this foolish 

- I must go & clear my infantile mind with a bath.

*     *     *     *     *

Haven't had bath as kitchen fire has gone out & consequently water is cold - but am now in bed.

- My elocution course (which you always try so hard to sound as if you were interested in!) - will take at least 2 years - probably more as I'm so lazy & unenterprising - but who knows, one day it may be my privilege to administer unto the minds of the young and impress the beauty of sound and rhythm upon them! - Will you send your eldest daughter to me? - I'll be awfully good by that time! - I've just got 'Second Selection from Modern Poets' - a lovely book - the one I like best so far is 'Sonnets' by Gerald Gould - you must read it one day just to see if you like it too.  - & "Miss Thompson goes shopping" is a glorious thing too.  I enclose a small piece I found in it because it's so exactly how I've often felt about myself - have you?  I love it - it's so true.

- All the things you put in my letters - are they things you really mean - or do you put somethings because you think that's what I expect you to put?

- Ah, well, it's time I stopped rambling once more, I suppose, & went to sleep - grown-ups are playing bridge.

- My holiday starts on July 15!! - Whoopee!! - If it wasn't for Norah & summer holidays I should feel like the sign-post on the road to Marlow "This way to the Cemetery - There is no road beyond"!! (I think that's perfect!) - Susan (my white woolly rabbit lying beside me) sends her love and so do M.P.O., Mary Ormiston, Pleasant Mary & Me.

                           - Mary   xxxx

P.S. Please write soon - & get on with Edwy

P.P.S.  Will haunting female & friend now re-book again for Mentone?
          - I bet you really feel flattered - in spite of your casuality
          - Do tell me if they do - poor dears.  - They'll deserve a warm reception anyway!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

18th June 1933 - Terrick to Mary


18th June 1933,

Dear Mary,

A man and his wife have arrived with a tandem bicycle!  Ian and I nearly fell overboard laughing when we heard of it.

I may be going back to Mentone, curse it!  The man there is the fellow who has been in charge here for the last three years and he is arriving today because there are only three people in Mentone.  The Poly want to get out of having a man at Mentone, but if the hotelier makes no objections to having a rep. free with so few people they will have to.  I should like to have tackled a season here because it is so complicated, but obviously Franklyn of Mentone is the proper fellow for the job.  The Staff Manager wrote: "We want to make it quite clear that this is no reflection whatever upon yourself.  We feel however that with large numbers at Dinard and in view of Mr Franklyn's seniority and previous experience at Dinard, it will be in the interests of all concerned to move him from Mentone where at the present moment there are only two or three clients."

Which was a comfort because when I started reading the letter I thought something must be wrong with what I was doing.

I especially want to stay here now that Ian has arrived.  We get on perfectly together when I am in my more irresponsible moods.

Knowing the gay time we had had together at F.W. I was expecting to find him rather a handful now that I should have to prevent him doing things that I had done with him last year.  But he, like the good fellow he is, also saw the difficulties of the situation and came here pretending to be a reformed character!  I believed him but was a bit cynical about its lasting, but when it turned out that not only had he been kicked out of his home by his family but that, as far as I could make out, his nefarious career had lasted practically up to the day he left London, I began to wonder when and how his reformation had started.

He is a graceless fellow, but, like Falstaff, one can't help liking him.

He has a girlish pink and white complexion, a small mouth and golden hair and looks at first as though sugar wouldn't melt in his mouth.  You soon find a devilish twinkle in his eyes, a lack-a-daisicalness in his bearing, and then his tiny mouth opens to an incredible extent and he lets out a hearty, cynical laugh that makes everybody laugh too.  There is only one Ian.  I must put him in a book one day.

I should rather like to stay here as first assistant, though I feel that with Ian here to encourage my frivolous side my resolution would be in smithereens in no time.

Talking about the resolution it was broken in deed but not in spirit last week with two people but public kissing didn't count towards the hundred so I don't consider theses flippancies as breaking the resolution, it takes a proper flirtation to count for each.  But I admit that the ideal is not to do it at all so I now swear off doing it in fun or for any reason whatever.

I haven't written Norah yet because I have not had the time.  It has been work from early morning (5 o'clock this morning!) till sometimes after midnight.  I don't mind the excursion part of it and can even put up with doing the accounts but the part that bores me so is the part I used to enjoy most: entertaining the people in the evening.  They are all so platitudinous and undeveloped mentally.  Why doesn't the Poly have more people like you who make one think?

I think I have only met one other interesting person in the parties and that was a girl called something Martin who looked like a scivvy, talked like one and was a film scenario-writer.  She is not one of the 89 (or 90) and never could be, but she interested me far more.  She had the vitality, genuineness and ambition that are the ground work of the characters of great people.

Do you remember my telling you about the girl who sent me "The Small Dark Man" to Fort William?  She wrote to me in Nice to say that she and her friend (who were at F.W. last year) were going to book for Nice.  I wrote back and said I should be here all summer so they booked for here for 4th August to my annoyance.  But now poor things they look likely to be done in the eye.

Anyhow if there are only two or three clients at Mentone I shall be able to finish "Edwy" which I should never do here.

Here are two photos.  The pencilled remarks are by the clients who took them.  Please send them back.  I sent you a post-card of the Manoir de la Conninais. Why do you want one of your photos back? If it is only because I've "got too many as it is", I assure you I haven't.

Ian saw the two photos of you in your jumper on my desk and made complimentary remarks, but that is just his manners.

We were going out to the island of Cézembre this afternoon but had to cancel it as the sea is too rough.  The party are expecting me to arrange entertainments for them in the hotel but I have said I am "too busy".

How long will it take you to complete your elocutioning course?

Paul is now rep in Keswick.  He is trying very hard to get a better job so that he can marry Brenda.  He nearly got one at £200 a year just before he left London.  He proposed to her in parting and got "an encouraging reply".  Her particularly doesn't want to be out of town just now, chiefly because it handicaps him on the job-hunt, but also because an ex-fiancé of Brenda's who has lately started writing to her again is coming back from China.

I forget to whom I said that you were older inside than out.

Life is a funny thing.  There is no sense in it - that we can see.

What a platitudinous remark!

It is a shame your father died.

It is quite a shock isn't it when one first finds that one's parent or parents are not omnipotent, omniscient and have all the money in the world.  It is then that one really stops being a child.  For quite a time my sister did not realise that she ought to be helping with the darning etc.  She used to sit and read all day as if such jobs did not concern her.  My mother used to say that she was "a visitor in the house".  I went away from home for a short time and came back to find Eileen making her own clothes, darning socks, washing things and being amazingly useful all of a sudden.

My successor is due to arrive in three-quarters of an hour.  he may know if I am going to Mentone or not.  I'll go and meet him, post this on the way as the post is just going, and send you a card as soon as I know what is happening to me.


Terrick  xxx

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

11th June 1933 - Mary to Terrick


Dear Fitz (Summer is here & I now think of you as being all "Reppy" again) - I think you would look so smart in a royal blue polo jersey with the white "poly" bird bang across the front!! - thank you for very nice long letter - greatly appreciated - & post cards (talk about intriguing the post-man - it would have been family who would all have arisen at unearthly hours specially to read them before I got hold of them!!)

- I'm afraid there's not much hope of us coming over - but I shall have to see what N thinks first - we haven't fixed anything so far. - I should love it - because you've told me how nice it is (because we've always considered it rather "hair-dressery" before - do you get many, metaphorical, hair-dressers?)
- Perhaps if you just wrote her a line to tell her what it's like - to make her feel that it's "her" you want to come - & not because "I" can come if she comes with me - which she probably thinks - 

- although I keep on rubbing it in that it's not. - but see what you think. (I hope your letter, also, wasn't a little 'subtle propaganda'!)  When would be the best time to come, if we did?

I shall never be able to act because I'm far too self-conscious - but I wouldn't mind the great, imperturbable, charming Sir Terrick V.H. FitzHugh meeting me at the station in his Rolls Royce, one day, will you?  I shall probably have Poly labels on my luggage & be in in last year's cotton frock - but you wouldn't mind that, would you?  My elocution's just about enough to let me teach - & I love teaching, so that would be O.K. - only I'm afraid I shan't be able to get any pupils!

Yesterday Jack, Mr Hod. & myself went up to Cambridge to the May races - we had lunch at Queen's College with cousin Verney & friend - saw all round everywhere - including several good bumps and arrived home about 12 - having stopped at Clock House, Welwyn on way back for coffee etc.  - I've never seen one town containing such bevys of devastatingly handsome youth in my life - Jack drove through slowly, specially for my benefit!!!

- Last week at the office - Mr Cullen, Katie & myself spent ¾ hour just deciding whether I could have this Saturday morning off or not - as Mr Cullen had also planned to go away! - the pettyness of it - in the end Katie said 'if I was good, I could go"!!!! - just think of it - the beastly little sneaky pig - one day, when someone with a little more sense than me, gets hold of her, she'll find she's bitten off more than she can chew!

- I saw some very nice modern flats with flat-roofs the other day - which made me think of your house. - Another thing, you'll have to invent a hot towel rail off which towels can't slide - I spend hours picking up ours off the bathroom floor - just because the rail is so stupidly round & shiny.

I'd like you to return one of those two photographs please - I don't mind which - but I must have one back - you've got too many as it is - & I don't want to put you to the, perhaps familiar, inconvenience of starting a fresh album!

Norah & I spent a wonderful evening last Wednesday - we went down to the bungalow just by ourselves - sat on masses of cushions in the boat & ate gallons of strawberries & cream after a heavenly bathe - rowed up river & watched the largest moon I have ever seen come up behind black pine trees and shine across the river until about 12.o/c then paddled home, slept at the bung just by ourselves - had another gorgeous bathe before breakfast & then up to town - It was perfect - & last weekend I invested in a new bathing suit - bright emerald green with straps crossed at the back.

- Anyway we spent Whit Sunday on the river and bathed all the time & it was greatly admired & I got quite brown all over, with a lovely white cross on my back & a white ring round my wrist where your bracelet went!  I came home sitting on top of the car with my legs dangling through the sunshine roof - causing some disturbance on the Great West Road & giving several policemen palpitations! - It was gorgeous.

Next weekend I'm spending with Norah & we go to the Tattoo on the Saturday.  I do hope it's hot & fine - I also have to go to the dentist again sometime soon - it doesn't seem nearly as long as 3 months since I last went, does it?

Life travels so quickly it swallows me up.  I shall only feel I've started living properly when it's time to die - because I shan't leave the office for years & years & years - & there are such a lot of things I want to do, that I'm afraid I shan't have time before I'm too old! Katie looks like a 'Mummy' already.

- It was funny your mentioning "Galatea" - I once took the part in a school play - all draped in a sheet with my face chalk white & when I came alive they just dabbed rouge on either cheek on top of it all - Consequently I looked like a toy soldier about the complexion & my gilt filet round my head went all squew because my hair wouldn't hold it up - & therefore I caused considerable merriment amongst the audience when I had to gaze into a mirror & remark in a soleful, awestruck voice "How beautiful I am!".  - Heavens, what years ago that seems - I resurrected my two dolls "Elizabeth Anne" & "John Hiledace" from the loft this morning - & felt most ancient.  I'm glad I seem older than I am - who did you say it to?

How is Paul & his latest? - oh, I am longing to see you again - 

- I think the hardest thing to give up in this world is "worrying" - it confronts me every way I turn - & it's really not worth it, is it? - At the present Mummy worries me dreadfully - I've always thought if a thing were left to her it was absolutely sure of turning out right - & now she's asking me to help her & it seems all wrong & makes me want to run miles & miles away.  No good God would have taken Daddy away from her like he did.  She's just managed to put him behind her while she brought all four of us up - & now we're all growing independent and she has nothing to occupy her mind & longs for Daddy again - & is just going to pieces thinking about herself - & I'm so terribly inadequate - & so like her in feelings that I can't help much - 

But this is all beside the point & you're probably quite lost in understanding it - only it just came.

- Write soon, 


Mary  xxx

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Early June - Terrick to Mary

Starts on Page 11

You need not worry very much about everything you do being selfish.  Psychologists have pretty well proved that everything one does is selfish, even to the people who give thousands to charity anonymously or their lives for their ideals.

As long as your selfishness doesn't mean that you only do good to yourself.

About your wanting to teach elocution.  Shaw said: "Those who can do; Those who can't teach" If you become really good at elocuting or acting you won't waste yourself by teaching it to school girls, you will act before wrapt thousands.  All the great cities in the world will know you.  Weeks before your arrival gigantic posters in Paris, Rome and Vienna will announce the coming of the Incomparable Mary Ormiston, for three performances only, steats bookable in advance 100 francs.

And I, the by then world-famous author of "Edwy the Fair", "Robin Hood" etc, will be proud to go back to my old job for the duration of your tour and meet you at the stations with a Rolls Royce to take you to your hotel and notify the police to keep back the crowds.

What about it?

Your spelling, my dear, has all gone to pieces.

It is futile the way most people just live in order to keep themselves interested until they die.  But you won't be like that.

So September 16th was the day I first met you!  I only remember what happened I thought of you before I got out the map of the Highlands by the fact that I picked on you to explain the excursions to first, and by the disappointment I felt when you seemed to be snobbish and difficult.  I remember thinking: "A pity, because they looked so nice."

Meeting you at the station and coming up to the hotel I don't remember at all.  But after the map I remember everything.

I love the way you speak of the "enjoyment of youth" as if it had all happened forty years ago.

The great thing for people like you and me is that we can be sure that we shall have a "perfectly happy" time again, and not once, but again and again; because it is inside us and not outside.  We are lucky people born with the Joy of Living.  It is having a season ticket to Heaven on Earth.  Everybody can know the password, which is of course: "It's a great life". But, like the Jews who had to pronounce Shibboleth properly, they aren't let in unless they can say it with confidence and conviction.

I only said "How young you are!" because I was surprised to find you only nineteen, chiefly because I was under the impression that you were twenty but also because you seem a lot older than nineteen.  As I once said to someone, speaking of you: "she's actually only twenty, but in many ways inside she is far, far older."

Yes I expect to be here the rest of the summer now.  Say you will come and then I shall have another motive than mere efficiency to learn up all the history and legends of the Breton castles.  If I could be thinking that my knowing all the facts would eventually add to the enjoyment of your annual holiday I shouldn't miss all the money I spend on books that the firm really ought to buy me.

So far I have bought "Anne de Bretagne", "Les Saints Bretons de la Cote d'Emeraude" and "Les Légendes du Mont Saint-Michel" and I have my eye on several other good ones.

I sent you a card today from Mont St-Michel.  The reason I stopped sending them from Nice is that you had practically all the good ones and I couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't have intrigued the postman.

Goodbye' Come here.