Monday, 12 August 2013

12th August 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Bellvue & D'Italie
Menton (A.M)

12th August 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant

I hope you have had a good holiday.  It sounded lovely.  I am very sorry I have not written before but I am in the thick of the high season.  My busiest week has just finished, numbers drop a bit next week.

The Haunting Female is here.  I think she believes it's dogged as does it.  She never gets flirtatious or coy or even personal, she just sticks to me like glue wherever I go: Bathes when I do and when I have to leave the others in the water in order to get some work done she comes out too.  In the motor-coach she squeezes into the front seat beside me leaving her friend to sit where she likes.  However I have told her I like to be quiet when motoring so she sits still without saying a word and I forget about her except when I come to stretch my legs.

She is causing a great deal of jealousy among the party!  I am the only young man among twenty women so it is only natural.  They come to me and libel her behind her back, and one girl cuts her and another is rude to me after having made crude efforts to make me affectionate in the bus.

A year ago I should have revelled in being a centre of female attention; and now it merely amuses and irritates me, and none of them gets tuppence worth of change out of me.

I finished "Harold", picked up several useful tips and went on with "Edwy", but the rush week caught me eight pages from the end; so I shall have to wait now until August is over.

At lunch time on the beach after bathing I am reading a French book on the feudal system for "Robin Hood".

Here is a photo of me and some of the party in a cafe on the Grand Corniche.  The beret was sent me by some clients after they got back home.  It is a terrifyingly bright blue.  Only seven more weeks and I shall be home.

Paul's departmental boss in Head Office has gone on holiday so he has been suddenly recalled from Keswick, much to his delight.

He also was  trying desperately to get Brenda to go there in the first week of August and even went to the length of getting his mother there as chaperone.  But she couldn't manage it.  Two days later he was recalled to London and is now in the Seventh Heaven.

Most of the party left today, I am glad some more are coming tomorrow because the people who are left are divided into two camps which are at this moment at opposite corners of the lounge whispering among themselves.

Two people sat in the sun too long on their first day and were in bed for two days.  Now they look like new meat.  This week has been terribly hot especially in the evenings.  The day before yesterday I had a moonlight bathe at midnight - followed of course by the Haunting Female.

She has decided to say a third week.  I suppose she sees it is going to take longer than she thought.

It is too hot to stay in the hotel now.  As it is nearly nine I think I shall go to the open-air cinema if they have changed the programme.  I shall have to be slippy or the H.F. will be close behind.

Have washed a shirt and two collars, and bathed, and I must now finish this letter and start my accounts.

Yesterday I picked up in Cook's Office and L.N.E.R. booklet on Scotland with ripping photos.

I have been glutting my eyes with the description and pictures of the Moor of Rannoch and the Road to the Isles, and forgetting the heat and the bright colours and the Latin faces of Mentone.

Everything here is pretty-pretty, like the decoration scheme of a nursery: sky, bright blank blue; houses, splashes of yellow; people, copper with black hair dressed in vivid reds, blues and yellows; the sun, an unbelievable gold; the flowers all the most startling of hues.

Give me a highland sky, gentle blues and whites and ruddy golds melting into one another and changing and transmutating and draped with mists that wave and dwindle as you watch them; give me the fine fresh air instead of this constricting atmosphere; give me the soft purple of the heather, the dove grey of the grasses in June with the dew on them, the rusty browns of the grasses in autumn; the  fresh ruddy faces of the people and their low lilting English.

When I used to go climbing alone in Switzerland I used to think that the mountains were like Jehovah of the Old Testament, a just god but merciless.   As long as one kept to the narrow way and was bold and sure, you were taken up to the summit and the world was spread out at your feet.  But turn aside from the right way, tread with hesitating foot, put your weight on weak holds and you were dashed down unemotionally, pitilessly

But the god in the Scottish mountains inspires you with thoughts of beauty and glory as you climb up and even if you turn back, and if you fall fatally would seem somehow not to be throwing you off but to be claiming you, taking you from the world to his bosom for the love you bore for him in wanting to climb him.

Climbing here in the Maritime Alps is like being a flea crawling over a dead cat.  The mountains are just piles of rock, nothing more.

I must stop now or I shall miss the post.  Write a good long letter this time.

Love from



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