Monday, 30 September 2013

30th September 1933 - Mary to Terrick

On Board

Terukuni Maru

30th September 1933

- Have you run out of note-paper too, then? - It's much more economical because it was about the first letter I've had from you with only the blue stamp on. - so I thought perhaps it was to say "Starting for England today - leave all news until I see you" - But I somehow knew you wouldn't be coming yet - I won't rely on anything now until you're actually here. - and even then I don't see how we can arrange anything - because I go into my nunnery on Oct 9th - and I positively shan't have any spare time when I start there.  I'm going to try for B.A. - probably on Latin (!!), English, Geography & one other subject - have to take Latin for an arts degree so have got to start from the very beginning & slog at it - I hate it too - isn't it a curse?  (Go on - tell me it's a delightful language & will be frightfully useful to me later!  I know!)

What have they sacked the rep at Nice for? Poor old thing.

- By my Highland Hotel p.c. I wasn't necessarily referring to anything that had already "gone agley" - but you never know what plans may. (Still cryptic?) - (perhaps you're not old enought to understand!)

- Listen - about my feeling of 'instability' - (I've wanted to put in another spoke for some time - although I believe I've told you all this before)  You know sometimes in your letters you fill several pages on such entertaining topics as 'what you know, feel, think or imagine about me' - 'your good will & intentions towards me' and 'you and me' - well, somehow I don't think you should - you see my troops are a bit young and haven't really experienced any defence work before; and when you say that I can see my opponent hasn't 'advanced a foot' upon them it just shows you can't realize how weak some of my defences are.  The one thing I find it impossible to train them in is 'self-confidence' (so absolutely essential) - and if my opponent continues writing them little private notes to the effect that in the end they'll find they want to give in to him - whatever strength they had is apt to become a little undermined - and they begin to leave me (full of a steady purpose) feeling a bit stupid and not knowing how to escape graciously.  Can you feel it a bit?  In a hand to hand fight I find I am learning to be a match for anybody - but when my delightful opponent attempts to speed up the attack by letter-arbitration and auto-suggestion on paper he removes so many of my defences before we actually come to mortal combat.

- So now, dear old thing can you see what I mean?  Please do - & don't think me silly - I love your letters - I've never had letters from anybody before that I enjoyed so much - & it's  because I like them so much that I imagine I like you - and that's where I'm wrong because I didn't like you nearly as much before you went away - & vice versa you probably like me better just through my letter which is so much nicer than myself - I'm a bit afraid for us both when we are faced to realise what horrid people we really are!!

So whaddya think about that? -  & thank heavens I've got all that off my chest.

*          *          *          *

- As perhaps (with your usual integrity) you have already gathered - I am writing this 'on board'.

- We sailed from Royal Albert yesterday evening at 10.0 - we were scheduled to start at 9.0 (owing to tides) - and at 9.0 they pulled in gang planks etc. with ah frenzied Miss Eastman on board who was forced to enter the Captain's cabin unaided and upon her two fair knees beseech him to replace gang-planks etc until the postponed arrival of her co-mate Miss Ormiston - who, having dined sumptuously at a low Lyons, drove up ½ an hour later escorted by the police who informed her they had held up the boat especially for her and would she please hurry.  

- I've never been so choked with embarrassment in all my life - I fell over my skirt and gulped several times as Norah escorted me to our cabin in a white heat temper (quite justifiable!) and there left me! - oh - it was horrid - but now seems to have a slightly humorous side.  You see they said on the ticket thing - sailing about 10.0 - & I thought ½ an hour early was ample - curse it!

But now we're having a lovely time.  The ship is wonderful (miles of it!) and our cabin is sweet.  I slept like a top last night - but N. didn't because of the noise of the engines.

- Today we were held up 3 hours at the mouth of the Scheldt owing to fog.  But I didn't mind a scrap.  (I went to sleep again in a deck chair!).

- There was a race-meeting - you know- dice & wooden horses - & Norah & I bought the winning horse in three successive races !!!! - & won, all together 33/- !! - Beginners luck.

- We have just arrived in Antwerp (5.45p.m) - from here it looks rather drab. - We're dancing this evening as well (Whoopee!)  - Quite a lot of people on board - half of them passable if a bit 'sissy' - and the other half from Lancashire.  - But one always gets the latter half - doesn't one?

You remember Chewcud & Daisy Bell?  Norah thinks one of the men is just like you - but I hope she's only being 'catty'!  Thank you for the photograph.

- I danced at the Empress Rooms last Thursday - Mervyn got up a party of six.  It was gorgeous - wonderful floor.  It was a terribly foggy evening & we had to drop one of the girls at Northwood!  - So what time do you think I arrived home?  It beat all my records hollow - 5.45!! - We simply had to crawl all the  way with one eye on the curb - & spent 3/4 of an hour in the H.P Estate Harrow - continually following roads that ended in piles of bricks!  But it was fun.

- I'm afraid, you know, I'm not really the nice young person you imagine me.  I seem to have grown up tremendously in the last 6 months - if 'experiance' makes one grow up - does it? - The more men one comes up against - & the less experienced one is - the more one realizes what dirty - or inane lives some people lead.  - I think men have more opportunity to be dirty than women - do you?  - But I suppose the virtue lies in how they drive home to one the cleanliness of the clean ones.  - But isn't it strange what fascination 'dirt' (in small quantities) can have?

(Let's shift the conversation a little higher!)

*          *          *          *

I was glad about your 'God'.  You call it 'anti-Christian' - does Christ come into it then? - It seems strange to think that up to the time I met you & Mr Hodson I said my prayers to somebody every night.

- Of course, I still do on certain occasions (mainly 'Thank-you' or 'Please' ones) - but the whole business suddenly became too complicated for me - I know in myself what I believe now - but I don't know if it's satisfactory or not.  I've made it so difficult for myself. But I'm pleased about you - find something  & tell me about it - will you?

- I've got 'For Sinners Only' to read this week.

- I really must stop this & go and have my bath now - Norah is cursing me for writing all this - but you did need a long one - didn't you? - & I haven't had to think of anything to write this time!

- My love until I see you

- Your at-the-moment-entirely-self-confident 

Mary Pleasant 
                 x x x

& Heaven defend same.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Late September 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Bellevue

Dear Mary Pleasant,

There is no more hurry about getting in our three letters.  I have jut heard that when I leave here at the end of this week I am only to go back to Nice.

Damn!   Damn!   Damn!

As I was afraid, the Nice man is getting the sack & I am to take over from him.  I shall be there for at least a fortnight, probably longer.

Today I haven't the heart to cross off yesterday on the calendar.  It seems that as fast as I cross the days off, more days spring up ahead.  Is there really a place called England, or is it only a lovely place in a dream?

Having got my moans off my chest I will now get on with it.

Even before I heard about my holiday being indefinitely postponed I had to write and tell Paul we couldn't have him.

Last week my mother was suddenly taken ill with a stoppage of the pancreatic duct and a doctor was immediately summoned from Darlington to operate.  Fortunately the stoppage shifted quarter of an hour before he arrived, so the operation was not necessary.  She has been in bed all week and on Friday an uncle of mine who is a doctor took her to the hospital in Moffat in Dunfriess-shire where he lives, to be X-rayed and kept under observation.  An operation my yet be necessary.  She has a very dicky heart so my uncle hopes to get her right by treatment if possible.  At the moment she seems to be getting on all right.

Do write me more than one page!  What with one thing and another I need a nice long letter.

There is no need to tell Paul "no progress since February 1933".  I haven't reported any since then.  And yet although there is no progress as far as you can see, there is definite progress in one way.  When I left you it was full of the proper ardentness etc and with goo resolves not to look at anyone else; but, although I wouldn't have admitted it then even to myself, there must have been tucked away in my subconscious the memory that for the last few years no pash of mine had survived a Poly season, and also that even while the pashes had lasted they hadn't been strong enough to prevent me, or even hinder me flirting with other girls.  Now there are no lurking doubts.  I don't have to declare to myself that "This is the real thing".  It would be as inane as to tell myself: "I am Terrick FitzHugh".  It is something that has passed into the nature of me.  You are to my mental life what cooking is to my physical life.  It would be possible to live mentally without you, but just as to eat everything raw would entail adaptation in my very tummy, besides making physical food distasteful and ridiculous, so you are utterly part of my mental digestion and I should have to change considerably to do without you.

The three back-slidings I had in May & June confirmed me in my change.  I do not have to guard against another; the experience has taught me that that sort of thing is no longer interesting.

So although my opponent (You!) can see quite plainly that I haven't advanced a foot upon her defences.  She can not see what is going on in my camp, that I am no longer occupied with possible traitors in my army, that all my powers have been called in from the skirmishes in which they used to fritter away their energies, that now, totally secure and utterly single-minded, my chances of success are ten times as good as they were when I left England.

Whaddya know about that?

You may be interested to hear that I am considerably less anti-Christian than I was when we last talked religion.  The book called "For Sinners Only" started it.  The Oxford Group submit all their actions to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they harbour no unfriendly thoughts of anybody or if they do they instantly go and tell them and make amends.  To people who say they don't believe in God they say: There are as many arguments against a God as for one, but if you try living utterly surrendered to a Good Spirit you will soon find by experience that there is one, that it works.

Then I started reading "The Acts" from a German Bible I found in the hotel and I don't know whether it was because I had read "For Sinners Only" or because I was reading it in different words from the ones we are so used to hearing recited during the Lessons in church; it is probably a bit of both; but anyhow the whole thing came alive and exciting and when the writer described St Paul raising someone from the dead I somehow couldn't doubt that it had happened just as he said.

In a lending Library in the town I found a little book called "Reasons for Faith" by the Bishop of London and when he gave his rational and scientific reasons for believing in God I veered round again to my unbelief.  What he said I had seen exploded over & over again by atheists, pantheists & others.

But in this week's "Listener" in the series entitled "God & the World through Christian Eyes," is an article entitled 'Man and the Unseen World,' in which the write says that reasons for and against God are not convincing, but that if one lives one's life according to the ideal of Jesus one soon finds by experience that there must be a God.

And this seems to me very reasonable.  Nothing can be fairer than to say: "Well, try it and see."

So I am going to try it.  When I get back to London - if ever that blessed day does arrive - I am going to get in touch with the Oxford Group.

I wish I could be in town on the 7th October.  They are having a big service in St Paul's.  The Bishop of London is going to be there and people from all different kinds of churches and chapels.  It has been growing apparently for years and this is the first time it has come out in a big cathedral with episcopal approval.  There is no particular doctrine to it.  It does not try to found a church of its own but to work within all the churches.  It was started by an American called Dr Franck Buchman.

After Dinner

My sister Eileen has just heard from a girl friend that the man she is in love with is engaged  to someone, though he never told her so.  Rather a blow to the poor girl if true.  However there is a fellow wanting her to marry him who seems to be a very decent sort and to have plenty of money.  She likes him very much but is not so far in love with him.  When she heard about the other fellow being engaged he nearly caught her on the rebound, but fortunately his father died suddenly so naturally there can be no question of it a the moment.  I hope that she has restored her equilibrium by now and if she does marry, does it for a better reason than rebounding.


There is an article on the Oxford Group Movement in the Continental Daily Mail today.  Various people are attacking it because some people they know who have joined the movement have done silly things.  Of course silly people will do silly things  whether they are being religious, playing golf, or travelling with the Polytechnic.  I see the Archbishop of Canterbury is receiving five hundred of them at Lambeth Palace on the same day as the service in St Paul's.


Your letters have become most cryptic lately.  I couldn't understand what you meant had "gone agley" on your postcard.  I loved seeing the old Highland Hotel, it brought back such marvellous days.  I'll keep it for you.  Also I couldn't quite understand how my last letter had made you feel unstable.  However you say you can't explain that.


What arts degree are you going in for?  Modern Languages?  History?  Mathematics?  You are lucky.  I should like the opportunity to study what I like.


"Damaged Lives" sounds interesting.  The films can bring things like that home to people so much more forcibly than a book can.


I wrote to ask Mr Kerr senior if he knew where his son had got to, but until the staff manager wrote to him about Ian's disappearance he didn't even know that Ian was with the Poly.


Here is a snap of me and one of our train conductors taken outside the hotel.

My address from 30th September will be Hotel Brice, Rue du Marechal Joffe, Nice.

I must stop now.  I have umpteen other letters to write.  I think the mention of you has succeeded in discouraging the poor Haunting Female.  She hasn't written since.


                     X X X

Thursday, 19 September 2013

19th September 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Tuesday 9.30p.m.

Thank you for your letter - it left me with a faint - very faint - feeling of instability - or perhaps a quavering doubt in my own strength - but I'm all right now - and I really can't expect you to understand why I felt it, so that's all right too.

- My 'stamp-book' days are truly over - at any rate for 3 years - but, since discussing it with King's yesterday, it looks more like 5 now!!  As, to obtain an arts degree, I learn, one has to take Latin or Greek!! - Whoopee! - and as I only got as far as "Mensa", it's going to take me a beast of a time.

This freedom and leisure is magnificent - I'm simply basking in it and, I believe, really appreciating it.  Yesterday & today I have spent mostly in town, pretending to shop - which I find practically as exciting as actually having enough money to buy things - even if the result proves less satisfactory!

Yesterday I spent 3 hours in Oxford Street munificently treating myself to the most gorgeous gloves and shoes and hats and evening wraps; to arrive home with a length of material for a new skirt and I doz. wooden buttons!

- Today I bought some brown material for a coat and a new brown hat - and hungered tremendously for a brown and white striped silk scarf - but remembering it was no longer any good relying on Friday's envelope I staunchly refrained.

Yesterday, too, I saw the film 'Damaged Lives' at the Coliseum.  The actual film, of course, is fearfully weak and merely the bait to get hold of people to impress upon them the increasing necessity for care, cleanliness and general medical examination in the process of having babies.  The second half of the film is frightfully interesting.  All diagrams showing how genus that are common in the case of sexual intercourse, attack various parts of the body - and they showed us actual examples of men & women in various stages of idiocy - who, through neglect, had passed infirmity on to their children.  It impressed me enormously.

The 'House-Warming' on Saturday & Sunday went off beautifully.  The drawing-room floor was quite good and at 11.30pm about 10 of us bathed - (I doing so, needless to say, purely to show off!!)  We got to bed about 2.0. - We had 4 men all in the camp beds in the boys room which we called the 'Dormitory' - and during the night the rest of the household were intermittently awakened by the successive collapsing of each bed.  We had 14 to breakfast - I'll send you a snap of them taken afterwards if it's good.  The treasure hunt was topping - good rhymes - and ended to time.  The main hitch being that the Eldorado Ice Cream Man on the Hog's Back who mummy entrusted with the clues on the Thursday go the sack on the Friday!! -  So we spent most of the afternoon (17 of us) driving round Aldershot trying to find where he lived.

We had a picnic lunch on the top of Box Hill which we nicknamed 'The Debauched Orgy' as we all lay full length on top of each other in about 6 sq yards, munching apples & dozing in the sun.  The weather was perfect and still is, we've had a wonderful summer.

I thought you had at least a months holiday when you got back.  Two weeks won't seem anything, will it?  I'm glad Paul's staying with you.  Has he still a slight aversion to me?  Didn't we have fun that evening? - with Elizabeth - and discussing Communism in paper hats and Paul driving home - corks - it seems ages ago!

When will you know for certain what day you come home? - not until a day or two beforehand?

I don't think I quite meant giving 'cowards counsel' about "Edwy" - I really meant don't build on it's success - don't be so sure that it leaves you dangling if it lets you down - Because I know for a fact what an effect that would have on some people - but perhaps I haven't endowed you with enough common sense - and anyway I didn't think very hard before I wrote it - I just thought of myself failing in something I'd put my heart & soul into - & I had a fearful vision as to just how it would hurt me.   I'm sorry.

All three of us have had an invitation to a topping dance next Friday - 9-2p.m. and terrifically aristocratic!! - am longing for it.

- Here come the family - they've been out to dinner somewhere - must run & put kettle on for cup of tea.

- Do you mind your next letter being only one page? - It's all I've got left of this pad.

-   Love
         Mary xxx

P.S. Would you mind post your next bulletin to Paul as:- 'Definitely no progress since February 1933'?

Thank you.


Sunday, 15 September 2013

15th September 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Bellevue

15th September 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant

All right, we'll make it three letters.

The last act of "Edwy" is now finished.  I have to re-revise the first half of the first act because I did the first revision soon after I finished the first writing of the act, without waiting until I had had the benefit of the experience gained in writing the other two.

The beginning of a first act is one of the most technically difficult parts of a play, because you have to let the audience know what has gone before without making any character stand up and describe it in so many words.

Also, a bit farther on I had a bit which sounds like a crib out of the second scene of "St. Joan".

Not to let anything mean frightfully much to one, in case one might get hurt: is a coward's counsel.

Unless "Edwy" meant frightfully much to me, it couldn't possibly be good.

But don't worry.  Being hurt doesn't matter, unless one is a very weak soul.  And then it doesn't matter except to the weak soul himself.

What should I be if I had never written "Edwy"? ( I may be nothing even now I have written it).  If I had never written it I should never even have tried to be something.

I almost certainly shall get hurt.  Everything really worth attempting is damned difficult.  I shall have to lump it, because I couldn't bear to stop the attempt.


I am glad you love the Highlands because I shall want you to live there later.


The weather is now gorgeous again.  Sunny but not too hot.  As I have had only six people this week I have been able to do a lot of bathing.  I was just trying to find a suitable board for surf-riding when the rough seems to have stopped.  They never last long in this part of the world.  I am now getting back some of the tan that I lost in August when I was too busy to sunbathe for long stretches.



My holiday lasts a fortnight.  Paul is staying with me for the first week.  I have warned him that it will be very quiet, but he says that a country-rectory-holiday is just what he needs.  Also he wants to do it cheaply as he is saving up to get married!  It makes me roar to think of it.

Paul doesn't misunderstand why I wanted to tell you.  I advise him of all progress - or otherwise.  I am dying to meet Brenda.  Paul says she is so marvellous that he is doubtful whether he ought to introduce me to her, but I have told him it is quite safe: I am blind, deaf and stupid to all female attractions except yours.

Apropos of that, can I keep that photograph of you and Jill?

I haven't a photograph of the 'haunting female'.  She showed me a very good one her friend took of her on one of the excursions, but I thought that if I did the polite thing and said I would like it, she would take it for encouragement.

She is writing again by air-mail.  I think it must be because my French stamps have an aeroplane on them, and she thinks that I am sending letters to her by air-mail.  I am sorry for her too, though I may not sound it.  She doesn' t look a bit like you.  She is on the small side, black hair eton-cropped, twinkling dark eyes, a little round face with quite a nice smile.

My fifteen pounds is now duly saved.

To-day last year you started in the bus from Victoria, and today I suppose you see the last of your stamp-book.  Good luck to you!

I believe in variety while one is young.  Otherwise one only sees life from one angle.  Often I find in conversation with my tourists that they have the funniest one-sided outlook on things.  Paris is a good example.  In the respectable suburban homes of England "to go to Paris" practically means to go to the devil.  They think that Parisians spend their day and night in one long round of immorality.  They never seem to think that it is a town where people work - for much longer hours than in London- where the commercial life of the country is created, where members of parliament meet to make the laws and cope with crises, where there are bus-conductors.  To them it is just one huge "low dive" and to cross from one station to another on a tram at midday is to endanger one's soul.

Also any way of doing things that other countries have that are different from our way of doing them are automatically labelled, by some people, "primitive".

Very rich people too, I am sorry for.  They have very little chance of seeing the world from any angle but the funny, unreal one they are born in.

Nobody can see things form all sides, but, though I may have a queer way of looking at things, if it doesn't include five or six different angles it jolly well ought to after all the changing and moving about I have had.

I hope you get something  you want out of your new work.  I envy you studying at King's.  Last year I was thinking of going in for my B.A. degree as an outside student at London, but the Poly moves me about too much and in summer I should always have to drop studying.  And now it isn't part of the programme I have decided on.

I am going to work hard this winter too.  Swotting subjects for "Robin Hood": such as history, agriculture, and a spot of R.C. theology and church history.


I love your letters.  I get plenty of sense out of them or I shouldn't read them so often.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

12th September 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Dunally Lodge

Tuesday 7.30pm

Dear Fitz

- Your letter didn't arrive until Tuesday evening, anyway.  I have been disgruntled for at least 2 days, waiting for it to come. - not, you understand from any feeling of 'longing' - but rather one of the incompleteness of my week without it..

- Anyway, I have duly absorbed its satisfying contents, 'hummed' & 'haa'd' in the correct places, refolded it and gazed into space for required 3 minutes and have now, as custom demands, settled myself at desk in study to reply.

The family are all out somewhere.  Jack has taken a strange female to a flick for the first time and the rest have been rowing a skiff from Staines to Windsor all day.  They should be back by now.  The appetising odours of stew from the cuisine assail my hankering frame, and its also a bit chillsome as we're celebrating the notable occasion of our first rain for 20 days!

Next Saturday we have our House-Warming.  'At home' in afternoon - dance in evening - Motor Treasure Hunt on Sunday.  We're putting 8 people up for the night!  Pray heaven it's fine - at the moment we have too many men coming - unusual.

I do hope you don't arrive on Oct 1st - how long will your holiday at home last? - my week from Sept 29th - Oct 8th is fated.  Everything important is happening in it.  - it makes me late for school - later for College & I miss the interview beforehand.  - Tennis Club end-of-season dance on Oct 7th - a good bit of money spent that I could so easily do with - and, now, missing you! - But, anyhow, I'm still looking forward to it.

Do you do any surf-riding?  It's a thing I've always wanted to try.

*           *            *    
Family rung up to say they have missed the bus and won't be home for half an hour - Could stand cold no longer so have lit the fire (first time here) - & it's going beautifully.  Am reposing on cushion in front of it and trying to forget familiar gnaw on my inside due to lack of nourishment since 1.0p.m.

Poor haunting female - I can so easily feel the rather sickening feeling inside when you mentioned 'her' - specially if she really likes you.  Haven't you a snap of her that I could look at.  I always think of her as rather like myself!

- Whatever does Paul think of your asking his permission to tell "me" he's engaged?  Does he think you've 'arrived' at last?

- What do you think his people will have to say about it? - Quite a lot, I should think.  - But I suppose it might work out all right. - (How horribly sceptical!) - I expect it will.
(What a beastly lot of 'thinks')

Had a ghastly p.c. from Old School Association this morning reminding me I had promised to write an account of the winter Reunion for the magazine.  As this all took place last November things look a little hopeless.

- What are you doing polishing up the first act of "Edwy" again? - You'll have revised it into something quite different by the time I get hold of it!! Don't let it mean too frightfully much to you, will you?  I should hat it to hurt you.

366 days next Sunday - oh gosh, if we could go back! - It's impossible, I'm afraid, for you to realise what that week was to me - specially as, I expect, looking back encloses it in an even goldener haze! - Even the word 'Scotland' still sends a thrill through me - and as for 'Fort William' - practically a vision of heaven on earth!! - even to 'Daisy Bell' & 'Cheward'! - oh - and Mr. FitzHugh! At the moment I feel as if I shall always & always remember:-  - being late for breakfast and not minding - Norah's 'yo-yo' - cold sparkling mornings - the mountains across the loch - buying films - walking into bogs - climbing a wonderful mountain & being frightened I should funk it - Norah loving everything & me - the smile of the Poly. rep. and telling him how to bandage his ankle, his new plus four suit and the wind in his hair (not as bad as it sounds!) - and the train & the scenery and freedom & people I liked - and Norah - God, thank you so much.

*          *          *          *

I shall like you - so you will 'be bothered' to accept my invitation - won't you?

What a strange lad Ian must be - Perhaps they didn't use enough 'psychology' in his upbringing - it seems rather a waste of good material.

Only 2 more letters before you come home - unless you like to make it 3 just for a special treat!  I suppose, by this time, we can consider that we know each other rather well, can't we? - only perhaps a little differently from the ordinary 'knowledge' of another person - better in some ways and a disadvantage in others. - oh - corks - how I'm longing to see you and 'hear' you say something - I shall, in reality, probably, be appallingly casual & 'Hail, fellow, well met' (Horrible!) - and say 'Hallo Fitz - how are you? - oh no, I mustn't - & after all - it won't matter terrifically, will it?  we'll see!

- Well, as usual, my Tuesday night bath calls - as I stay at Norah's tomorrow - and I'm deadly tired - I think it must be my successful fire.

I'll take you to see Katie on day - Jack will show you over the works!

- Goodnight, old thing, the best of luck always.


       Mary   xxx

P.S. 17 has always been my lucky number, strangely enough, because I was born on the 17th - so we'll share it!!

P.P.S. The greatest asset in this world is 'self-control'


(What a beastly mess my letters are - do you get any sense out of them?)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

10th September 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Bellevue et d'Italie

10th September 1933

Dear Mary,

I have just come in from a most gorgeous surf-bathe.  I have been lying in the water and letting myself be carried shorewards on the tops of long waves, ranks and ranks of them.  And sometimes they broke just as they reached me, and then under I went and came up spluttering and chortling with the Great Life Feeling.  Anyhow there was only one person to hear me laughing and think me mad, and that was a fat woman doing exercises on a rock.  I hope she didn't think I was laughing at her.

I am glad Norah's party came up to your expectations.  I was going to send her a card, but could not remember her address.

I daresay I can manage to spend a night at Dunally Lodge before going north; but I am beginning to think that the day I am most likely to arrive is 1st October.  In which case I shall have to wait until I finish my holiday to see you.

After all my indifferent treatment of the Haunting Female I thought that she would take the hint and not write again.  But about a week after she left I got a letter from her in which she said: "I realise now how lonely you must be among strangers coming and going continually, and I am going to write to you more often" !!!

Also she asked me to let her know when I should be coming back and she would meet me at the station.  I wrote back and said that a friend was already meeting me and I was going to spend the night with her (triple underlined) people at Walton-on-Thames.

I hope you don't mind me using you as a scare-crow.

Oh, yes and she has sent me an iron to iron my clothes that I wash myself.  I have asked her to let me know how much it cost plus postage.  She is the most persistent girl I have ever met.  I can't accept a present from her when I know shat she won't get what she wants in return.

Did I tell you that the reason why I started to wash my own clothes was that as I had to leave Dinard at two hours notice I had to come away without nearly all my things, which were at the wash?  I asked Ian to send them after me and also to post a parcel of my winter things to Wensley.  Neither parcel ever arrived and Ian did not answer any of my letters until at last I wrote and threatened to report the matter to Head Office if he didn't write by a certain date.  The day after that date I got a wire from him to say that he had written, but the letter did not arrive until five days later.  In it he said that he had posted my washing to me a week after I left, but said nothing about the other one.  I made enquiries at the P.O. but was told that that would have to be done at Dinard.  So I wrote and told him to do it and asked what he had done with the other parcel.  No answer; so a fortnight later I reported the matter to the staff manager and asked him to do something to help me get my clothes back as I could do nothing myself here.  I forgot to tell you that when Ian arrived at Dinard he had lost all his own clothes.  So the case looked pretty black.

Well I got a reply from the Staff Manager to say that on the same day that I had written, my successor at Dinard had also written to say that Ian had disappeared!  He didn't say whether he had vanished with belongings or without; but they are making every effort to find him and will let me know about it later.

Ian's trouble is just utter weakness of character.  He is a good-hearted fellow but absolutely unable to resist the slightest temptation.  What he wants is a helping hand from friends who are able to withstand the insidious, charming, bad influence that he has over everybody.  If he can be found and is still living in London away from his people I'll try to get him to live at Haverstock Hill.

It is very good of you to give me an invitation subject to your still liking me.  I'll accept if I can be bothered when the date comes.

I am quite sorry that I shan't have a chance of calling for you at the office and seeing Katie.

My sister Eileen seems to be hesitating on the brink of matrimony.  She always used to say she never would.  He is a German and seems to have lots of money, but she is also very attracted by another German who is in the film business and apparently has no money.

Talking of matrimony I have a most important piece of news.

Paul is engaged to Brenda!  They are hoping to get married next year as Paul's boss may be leaving the Poly which should give him a big boost up, and she would at first carry on with her mannequin work.  They haven't told their people yet.

I knew about this when I wrote to you last but Paul had told me not to tell anyone so I had to write and ask for you to be exempted.  The party here has now dwindled to eight to last night I picked up "Edwy the Fair" again.  I got to within three pages of the end and also did some revision of the first act.  I think I'll wait to have it typed till I get to England as so many things go astray in the French post.  (I sent Eileen thirty francs which she has never got).  If "Edwy" was to get lost I should be in despair.  I'll have it typed while I am in Yorkshire and will send it you from there.  Then you can give me your opinion when I come to town.

The weather is much cooler here now and I feel full of beans.  Even the fact that I may be transferred to Nice after the season finishes here has a silver lining in the money I shall be able to save to pay for my new clothes - if the old ones don't turn up.

You remember that when I came here at the beginning of July I started a Two-and-a-Half Months Plan to save £15.  Well, the time is up on Friday when I get my weekly £2.14s.0d. and as I have saved £13.10s.0d. already, the trick is done.  I have had to be very strictly economical these last three weeks to catch up with the amount I got behind during a fortnight's slackness in August.

The self-discipline has been very good for me.

Next Sunday is the anniversary of the day I first met you.  I am not superstitious but 17 always seems to be my lucky number.

As soon as I finished "For Sinners Only" I started reading it again, a thing I have never done before.  The first chapters are more understandable on second reading when you have already been through the whole book.

I must stop now or you won't get this letter till Tuesday.


                  X X X X

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

3rd September 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Dunally Lodge

Sunday 3/9/33

- I found this pen in the drawer of the desk we've picked up for the study - so I'm not too sure of the nib.

Thank you for y our very nice letter.  I thought I would wait until after Norah's 21st to answer it, so that I could tell you how it went off.

She had some most wonderful and useful presents - so many gorgeous clothes & suit-cases and hand-bags etc that I have a great fear I shall be taken for the servant when we leave on Sept 29th!!  Her cousin gave her the sweetest Aberdeen terrier - 3 months old - pedigree. His name is 'Marmalade McCarthy' - he's perfect.

We couldn't have had a lovelier evening for the dance - after a boiling day - with a brightest full moon and masses of stars.  Great Fosters is perfect - oh Fitz you couldn't have helped being in your seventh heaven!  I was! - The grounds (miles & miles of clipped box hedges & yew trees) were all sprinkled with fairy lights - and ponds with tiny fountains & sunk rose-gardens - and then you could just wander right outside it all to where the moon simply bathed the heaven & earth in light like day & there wasn't a single sound - Oh, corks, - as I said to Mervyn - a place where one could quite easily lose one's head!

- And then we ran round the flagstones edging the pond and made the frogs go plop! plop! plop! into the water as we ran - 

Wonderful floor (a bit small) and band, lovely bathe afterwards - and perfect drive home at 2.0 in the morning with the moon still high, absolute stillness everywhere and rabbits scampering across the road in front.

- Oh Gad, old thing, you must be a bit fed up with my raving - but I can't get over the perfectness of it - I never knew such a place could be - its one great drawback being (somewhat naturally) its appalling expense!  You must go there one day, though - with "Edwy's" £4,000!

The house has progressed well this last week.. Our room is finished in its blue & grey and everyone likes it.  The study is done, I finished arranging the books this morning, the stair-carpet is down and Mummy has started digging up the garden!  We're having the most lovely weather and bathe about four times a day over week-ends.

Jill has also got a job for next term in a school in Sheen.  Helping with games and drill.  She's going up every day and they're providing fares and pocket-money - Whereas, as Mummy says, I shall now be the dead weight of the family, while Jill earns!!  It'll be very good for her.

- Only 2 more weeks of 'office'!  It's only now that I realize how valuable I have really become - the new girl (very pretty!) comes in on Monday to train for a fortnight with me, for, as Mr Allen profoundly remarks - 'It will take a long time for her to reach Miss Ormiston's standard of proficiency  ad I shall not be able to rely on her, as I do on Miss Ormiston, for some time to come'!!

Do you mean there's a chance of you coming home before N & I get back? - But if you only get back on the Sunday, couldn't you go straight to Haverstock & do all the packing etc. that night - leaving Monday night free?  0 Then I'll arrange to go into school on the Tuesday.  - Do try! Because I want to show you the house so badly.

You'll be in town in November sometime, won't you?  Because my friend from Aberystwyth (whom I so badly disillusioned) is coming up for a week with a male friend of hers, and she suggested we made up a four & went out somewhere one evening - but we'll see later (when I've seen if I still like you enough, or not!!) - & of course, I was forgetting I've got to work awfully hard too!

- I haven't read 'For Sinners Only' - only the critiques - but I'll try & get hold of it.

- One thing I can't imagine - possibly - is you either leaving a vacant seat between yourself and any female (let alone a masked one!) - or being quiet when similar female has suggested 'being mad' - but I suppose one lives & learns!!

I went and had a manicure yesterday for the first time - N & I said we would on her 21st!  It was great fun - I had one person waving my hair and another doing my nails! - I felt like someone out of a Hollywood film ! - they made a good job of it, anyhow.  - I made them laugh by saying next time I would try a 'Facial mud Pack'!

- It's dinner time - I'll stop this for today as we're going to Norah's this afternoon - will finish tomorrow.


We had a very nice time at Norah's again yesterday.  Just lazing up a backwater in the sun.

- The new girl as arrived at the office - so I've had a strenuous morning showing her how to do things!

- No more news at the moment - I'm afraid you won't have to pay overweight on this again!


      Mary xxx

write soon