Tuesday, 16 July 2013

16th July 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Bellevue & D'Italie

Menton (A.M.)

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

Your threat would have caused great difficulties because I shouldn't have torn up a single letter.  Thirty-six birds in the hand!  And then perhaps after writing the thirty-seventh you would have 'walked off with somebody else'.

I am positive the last postcard was not a repetition.  The other one I sent you of the garden showed the drive and part of the hotel.  Or do you mean the one before the last, the general view of Montone?  I thought the other one I sent you was taken from lower down.

Thanks very much for the Woolworth paper idea.  But I do get this paper free - though it is not so nice as the Woolworth kind - and, chief reason, Notepaper hasn't been budgeted for in my 2½ Month Saving Plan.

I am saving £15 because I always have to put aside as much as possible in the summer in order to get through the winter, when my board and lodging has to be paid for, in comfort.  Until 1st July when I started the scheme I had not been able to save a penny because of the rate of exchange being against me and the winter and spring prices on the Riviera being so outrageous (Did I tell you that a shop in Cannes asked 65 francs [15/6 to English people now; 11/6 at par] for a beret!) And also I had an income tax demand for two years to pay off.  One I have paid.  The other will be saved up for by the end of this month.

At the end of my second week I am level as per budget.

I am glad to hear you are accomplishing your ambition of leaving the office.  You are too good for office work. I hope you find out what you are really keen on.  You ought to try writing; you would be jolly good. I will bring down from Yorkshire a book I have there called "The Art of Versification and Technicalities of Poetry". It explains all the things about metre, stress, pause, rhyme, rhythm etc.

Now do deal with your reasons for thinking you are not my sort.  First "Energetic" is not the opposite of "lazy". "Industrious" is the word.  I am too apt to employ my energy both physical and mental on amusing myself.  I am really incorrigibly lazy.  So there's one point in my favour.  "Fond of towers, steps and gables" is a mixture of "Heart of heart conservative" and "Grossly sentimental".  Just as my "partiality for flat roofs" (I understand you use this a a symbol for a trend of opinion) is the outcome of my orange-box and "knobs of sense" (!).

So that leaves only four points to consider.  Of these Conservative and sentimental is what I was at your age.  You'll change.

To say that Independent and Dependent do not fit in is "bunkum".

Your taste is Plebeian, Question Mark!  I think you have a taste decidedly above the average in brows.  Assuming for the sake of argument that my taste is higher in the brow than yours, it is far higher now than it was when I was nineteen.  Then I could still enjoy detective stories, dance music when I was not dancing, and even, I think, the pictures on chocolate boxes.

With the quality of mind that you have got you will soon have a higherbrow taste than I.  Some of your discriminations amaze me.

It is because your mind is the kind of which highbrows are made that I think you ought to try and write.

First, though, I define a highbrow as a person whose intelligence and culture enables him to appreciate the first products of the various arts.

And a low-brow as a person whose mental energy is not sufficient to enable him to try to understand any example of any art, that is not immediately obvious and who therefore only likes those things that are turned out by the million for the million.

The low-brow manifestations of love are the maudlin and even the romantic.  Anyone with your conception of love is no low-brow.

So that seems to dispose of your objections.  All except the high brow one were surface objections.  As long as our minds communicate on the same level of thought, a certain difference of opinion is rather a good thing than otherwise.

Re this kiss business, you didn't quite get what I meant.  I didn't say anything about whether you knew, or did not know, that I was going to kiss you.  I said that if, as I understood from your letter, you did not know that you were going to let me, the I was up on you, because I knew it.  You do not understand yet that you are not going to walk off with somebody else.  I am unperturbed, because I know it.

I am simply dying to see you again.  It is just five months that I have been away.  When I left, although I knew it was possible I should be away all season, I never really thought I should be for more than three weeks.  I am glad I thought that.

Before I got your letter I had intended to start this one with the words: "Edwy the Fair will be finished before I write again!"  But being still rather low-brow and maudlin forgot all about it and everything else except the contents of your letter.

I have been progressing like wild-fire with it.  Al I have left to do now is Act III Scene II and the first half of Act I which I revised so many years ago that it needs doing again in the light of the experience in play-writing that I have gained by writing the other acts.

One conversation in Act III Scene I was so bad that it wouldn't be revised.  So I shut it up and re-wrote it.  Then I compared the two versions and found that although the second was much the better, there were several points in the first that ought to be brought out.  But I couldn't see how to insert them into the other, so I got a large sheet of paper, drew a line down the middle and wrote all the parallel passages side by side.  By cancelling out one against the other I eventually got everything right.  Altogether I wrote out that conversation six times.

When it is all ready I will send it to an agency to be typed in the conventional form, and then I will send it to you to read.  You are to criticise it.  Unless you promise not to just say: "jolly good."  You can't have it.  Even if it is jolly good you must be able to find something to criticize (sic).  And don't say it is good if you don't think so, but if you don't think so, please say where you think it could be improved.

Personally I don't know if it is good or not!  I am as much inside it as I am inside myself.

Did I tell you that Mr Ashe stayed here for about ten days?  He came into the office as I was writing Edwy and I think he saw that I shut the books up rather deliberately. 

My father will get about £250 a year out of what his aunt left, but I don't know whether that includes the bit he knew about or not.  He also gets a third of the pictures, furniture and china.  My mother is going to the division on Friday.  I do hope she gets the family portraits; and there is a picture of one of the Kemble girls by Lawrence, that was left to my great-great-grandmother by her best friend, the girl's mother, the great Sarah Siddons.  They'll all want that.

I must go now and meet three new clients.  I hope they will give me time this week to finish Edwy.


Two have arrived, a woman and a man, the latter very dirty.  Another man is arriving by a later train as he had a sleeper.

The haunting female is not bad looking.  She is dark, intelligent-looking and has an eton-crop.  I'll write to you all right while she is here.  She is staying for a fortnight; she was going to stay at Dinard for three weeks but can't afford it down here, so I am spared something

Why should you gnash your teeth, when you are liable to walk off at any moment, you inconsistent feminine creature?

Just now as I was driving back to the hotel with the clients I met an M.G. Midget with a couple in it.  It was a sudden, unpleasant reminder and I nearly threw a hat-box at them.

How did you like Ballets 1933? The costumes for "Les Songes" were rather weird, weren't they?  I have seen pictures of some of Derain's drawings for them.  I should like to have seen "Anna-Anna".  It was a change from most ballet because it had singing in it.  I think that a decided improvement though I believe some people objected strongly.  Did you like it?

I should like to see a show consisting of the most perfect dancing to the most perfect music with the best singing of the finest poetry, in the most beautiful stage decor and costumes.  I think that that would be the perfect combination of all the arts.

Did you understand "Anna-Anna"? I believe it is meant to express Prof. Freud's psychological theories.

Your letter was headed Thursday, but posted on Friday so I don't know when you meant you were going to the Ballet.  If you went on Saturday you had "Errante" instead of "Les Songes". The stage decor is supposed to be the best part of that.

I am glad you have got my money order safely.  Thanks very much for your offer re other things.  There is nothing that I want at the moment.

Do send me some more poetry soon.  Don't think "Despair" awful.  It only wants to be made consecutive and it should be jolly good.

How are all your admirers? I haven't heard of Reggie lately.

I am a bit handicapped, having to do my admiring by correspondence.  Still, they had better make hay while the sun shines, because winter is coming and I with it.

Bother, I shan't be able to get on with Edwy today because the conductor who brought the party out is staying here till to-morrow instead of at Nice.  Still I'll have a good go at getting through with it before I write again.

Write soon.

       Love   Terrick xxx

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