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

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