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.


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