Tuesday, 29 October 2013

29th October 1933 - Terrick to Mary


29th October 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant, 

I am so glad to have seen you again' but how complicated everything becomes compared with the simplicity of writing to you.  In a letter one can isolate what one wants to say and shut everything else out, because it is much easier.  In a letter time and place mean practically nothing.  If I am writing from Dinard to you in Shepperton it is just the same as when I am writing to Mentone to you at, say, Hamburg.  It is the inside, mental me writing talking to the inside mental you.  But when we meet, there are Lyons's other customers and the orchestra and a million material things that obtrude between the conversion of our minds and make it far more difficult.  And there is another thing that steps in too and mixes everything up, the physical side.  As you are talking I suddenly think how your lips are like two red plums, and forget to listen to you.

So that if I can't convey what i mean when I'm with you, you can't be surprised.

Our meetings are like a ballet such as "Anna-Anna".  You have to have the meaning explained to you in writing of the apparently meaningless and futile actions of the dancers.  So this letter is a sort of footnote to Thursday and Saturday night.

In my previous affairs the physical has always played the main part, though I used to try and think it didn't.  And I saw on Thursday that until February it had played (as it probably should) a very big part in my interest in you, because now that I experience it again it comes as a great surprise and I find it rather in the way.  My eight months away were definitely for the best because it has shown me that my interest in you is independent of your physical charms, that I should feel just the same if your cheeks were like dried figs instead of rose petals.


I had decided that I wouldn't kiss you because if you let me it would only be from the same friendliness with which you let the others do so, or, as when I kissed you before, out of a sort of pity; and I didn't want either of those kisses.  I decided I would avoid anything at all that might look "sentimental" because it always looks so silly to a person who is not in the same mood for it.

But I  can't be near you and just coldly put theory into practise.  I wanted to kiss you on Thursday.  Coming home in the car on Friday I wanted to more and more, and in the garden I didn't care whether you kissed me from friendliness, pity, passion or love, as long as you kissed me.  But to save my face I cut it short and said clumsily: "A friendly one."  I am a fool.


The village post office only has one decent card of the village, the one I sent you yesterday.  They have sold out of the others, but I'll have a hunt round for some more.


My mother who is dozing over a newspaper by the fire has just woken up and said "Still writing!"  My people can't help seeing the photographs of you now that I am home, because they are on my mantelpiece.  I have torn up the two I showed you of Gilberte.  I only kept them to show you in case I should think it necessary.  And I thought I would after your fortnight's kissing orgy!!


I travelled up in great comfort, the only one in my compartment, and from the moment I got home became frenziedly busy.  Herbert Kühne had just written to my father for his consent to his marriage to Eileen, and as he doesn't speak a word of English and my people had both forgotten their German grammar, I had to do a hurried translation of my father's reply before post time.  I just got to the post office in time to be able to write you that card.  I could not think, in the minute I had to do it in, of anything to say except that I had had a jolly good tea!!  It wouldn't have done to put anything about Herbert on it as the post mistress here is also the village news-organ and the engagement is not yet announced.  My father has asked all about his (Herbert's) ability to support Eileen in comfort etc.  It was rather difficult translating the technical terms.  I know now what questions I shall have to answer when I get off.

Then from the post office I went on to see Bryan Cooke-Yarborough, the son of the estate-agent.  He was born stupid and after getting the sack from umpteen jobs his people are shipping him to Rhodesia on Wednesday.  I took him a goodbye present from my people.  I am going round there to tea today.

I got back just in time for dinner.  Then I went all round the house looking at our new furniture and pictures.  Wee have got thirteen new pictures, five in oils, two in watercolour, two prints and four photographic reproductions of oils.  Eight of them are ancestors, one of a house where one of them lived and one by my great-great-grandfather.  There are awfully nice inlaid tables and trays, a grandmother clock and tons of FitzHugh-crested silver.


Monday Morning

It looks as though it is going to be a fine day.  It is great to be back.  I'll read through Edwy today to make sure it is all legible and when I have got it off I'll go for a walk.

I wish you were here.  I love walking and talking and walking and not talking with someone I know well.

One day we are going to motor over the Pennines to Morecombe to lunch at a marvellous modern hotel that has just been built there.

I have got tons to say to you  but I want you to get this letter this evening or tomorrow morning, so I'll stop now and carry on in my next letter.

Coming back from the Rivieria and London to Wensley is like going back a hundred years.  My father and mother have such a funny way of looking at things and people sometimes.  it seems terribly snobbish to me, but it isn't that, it comes quite naturally to them because they have never mixed much.

But they are such sensible, practical people in most things that I find it amazing that they really believe the naive things they say about working-class people.  I remember when I was younger I used to argue with them about it.  I don't now.  It has become second nature to them to look at things that way and nothing will change it.

They are real dears though.




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