Monday, 7 October 2013

7th October 1933 - Terrick to Mary

Hotel Brice
Rue du Marechal Joffre

7th October 1933

Dear Mary Pleasant,

Now for a lovely morning writing to you!

Thanks for the letter and the card, which has just arrived.

I have been having a good week.  Who should be the conductor or the party that arrived on Sunday but Paul!

He was on holiday when the Asst. Gen. Manager rang him up and asked him to take the Nice party.  He refused, but the A.G.M. said that if he would like to stay with his old pal Fitz for a few days the railway pass was not urgently needed!  So he did.  He was here till Wednesday.  The hotel charged him nothing, and I got him free excursions.

We had great fun on Monday.  In the afternoon we started on the excursion to the Gorges de Loup and Grasse, and when we had just got through the Gorges the car broke down.  I tried to fill in the time of waiting for the party by taking them to see a waterfall and to have tea, but when that was done the car was still likely to be a long time so I let the people wander where they liked and I set out with Paul to find the old footpath that had been the only way through he gorge before the road was built.

We found it and it led straight down into the river.  I suppose it had been washed away.  Anyhow we didn't intend to turn back so we got out onto a large rock in the middle of the torrent and then had a bit of difficulty as to how to get any farther.  Paul is a splendid fellow to go climbing with.  He gets the "I must go on" fever.  So many people say, "I don't think it's worth risking".

After throwing heavy stones onto a patch of mud to test it's firmness, I took off my shoes and socks and, holding onto the rock with one hand and to Paul with the other, lowered myself onto a ridge just under the surface of the water.  This was crossing the Rubicon because we now could not get back.  We had a terrible time getting any farther too.  Our faces were cut in tons of places by branches and the leather was scraped off our shoes by the scree, and all the time I was thinking: "perhaps the car has been ready for ages and they are all waiting for us".  When we eventually did get onto the road again we looked as though we had been fighting; tangled hair, sweat and blood on our faces and hands, and our shirts coming out of our trousers, and as happy as the dickens.  The car was not ready for another two hours.  Paul and I must do some really big climbs together some day.

I had another very funny excursion, the last week I was at Menton, the Monte Carlo by Night trip.  There were five in the party.  After coming out of the Casino we could not go to the Summer Sporting Club as it was closed, and the Knickerbocker was not yet busy.  So to give the latter time to warm up we went to a fashionable bar and the whole party started standing each other drinks.  they had so many that the barman gave us one on the house, which is not the usual custom here.  Then we went on to the Knickerbocker and had some more.  In the end we took one woman home unconscious, and two men were sick.  The other two were sober because one was rather a prim old maid and the other was the husband of the unconscious woman and was too busy looking after her.  If I hadn't been sober they wouldn't be back at the hotel yet.  All the same I had a bad head the next morning.  The woman felt so bad that she and her husband, who were leaving that day, had to put it off till the next day.

And now I am in bally old Nice and people are still booking up.  As far as I can see now I shall not be home before the 22nd October.

You have obviously never worked hard for any length of time before, if you think you can work through a term without any relaxation.  Your work would soon suffer if you tried it.

I was very annoyed with myself for not sending you a postcard of Bon Voyage before you started.  I got mixed in my dates and found I had left it too late.

You don't think I am going to give up hope and abandon the campaign just because the Poly sends me a thousand miles away.  I am out of sight but I don't intend to be out of mind.  Or when I come back I should have to start right at the beginning again.

I am glad you are getting experience.  It was the only thing you lacked to make you perfect.

Except when they're in love, men are always as dirty as they dare be.  It doesn't matter so much to us as to women.  If you find any man trying to be dirty, tell me and I'll pull his guts out.

I don't like you any better because of your marvellous letters, only differently.  When I am away from you it is entirely your mental and spiritual part that I find so completely satisfying.  When I am with you, however much I know that it is your inside that matters, your outside will insist on playing an important part.  Somebody once wrote:

Why do her lips control
The kisses of a summer night, 
When I would love her soul?

Got set her brave eyes wide apart
And painted them with fire.
They stir the ashes of my heart
To embers of desire."

Etc;  there are a good many verses.  And that expresses it exactly.

But I think it is that subtle mixture that distinguishes love (sexual love I mean of course) from friendship.

I expect you have read:

And the white roles breathes of love.
O, the red rose is a falcon
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a pure white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips, 
For the love that is purest and dearest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips."

I may not have remembered the words exactly.

Have you read "For Sinners Only" now?  I had to leave it behind at the Hotel Bellevue, and also the German Testament.  not wanting to be without either I wrote to Renny and asked him to send me my "New Testament in Modern English", but he has left Haverstock Hill and is at the other end of London.

I read the fortnightly articles that I told you about in "The Listener".  But reading lectures is not the same thing as reading of somebody who has actually lived the life desired.  "An ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory".

I have found what I told you in my last letter to be very true.  Whatever the difficulties you have in finding out what is the truth about the Great Things beyond our knowledge, I think it is uncontradictable that "It must be right to do right".  Philosophers say: "Yes, but what is "right"?" but I think that a perfectly satisfactory answer to that is "What ever you think is."

And I have found just lately that if you try to live a life of absolute right at spiritual one-ness with everybody then you do find, unaccountably, that the New Testament, Resurrection and all, does become credible.  But when I forget in the heart of business to stick to this attempt at perfect living, and then read about God the Father, it sounds all very thin and rather childish to say that he loves this and hates that, and is all-powerful etc.  I will lend you Spinoza's treatise "On God" some time.  It is very difficult to read, but when you understand it (It is the pantheist conception of God) the Christian conception seems very primitive.

Christ comes into it because it is his description and example of God that Christians believe in.

It is all very difficult.  I cannot believe in saying "please" prayers even if you believe in a personal God; because he is supposed to have made the universe and set it to run according to the Laws of Nature and for him to keep butting in at people's special request, would make him, as Bernard Shaw puts it, a law-breaker as well as a law-giver.

Also I don't believe in "thankyou" prayers for benefits received, because if it wasn't for him you wouldn't be in this mess of a world at all.

The only prayers that I think legitimate are ones to strengthen one in living according to the high standard of perfect love.

My mother has got gall-stones and is still up in Dumfrieshire staying with my uncle who is treating her for it.  On is in rather an awkward place, but he thinks he can get rid of it by treatment.

Do you remember that a fool of a client told me that I should come into some money at the end of September on the death of a relative?  That gave me a bade scare.  I don't wonder fortune-telling is prosecutable.  My mother will be home again this week.

The rep has got the sack owing to reduction of staff.  My successor at Dinard has also got it.  It is these hard times.  At the end of last summer all the reps were sacked except three (including yours truly) whereas we generally keep on about fifteen.  This year will not be quite so bad.

Ian went off with £60 odd of the firm's, something of my successor's, about £10 of his fellow assistant's and various items from clients!  So unless the Poly call in the police, which I hope they won't, we shan't see him again.  The Staff Manager went to Edinburgh to interview Ian's father last week, so Paul told me.

The haunting female has written again!  You do seem to have been lucky at the ship's races.  I used to love them.  I am dying to hear of all you have done on your holiday.  Have you found a "1933 model"?

I had gathered by reading between the lines of some of your letters that you were having "experiences" (I expect you meant me to).  I felt rather jealous at the time - because I was only reading between the lines I expect, - but now that I have read it on the lines I am not.  It was always bound to happen and will help me in the end.

That does sound so conceited, but it isn't that.  If you have two nuts, three nuts and four nuts, when you add them up you will find you have nine.  That is the only possible answer, and it is an answer that exists whether you do the addition or not.  I think that all our ideas and ideals are the two, three and four nuts, and that our idea and ideals put together are as inevitably what I say, when we come to add them together, as the 2, 3 & 4 make 9.

I have been two and a half hours writing this letter.  Fortunately I have no one to curse me for it.  Give Norah my love.  I sympathise with her, waiting & keeping the ship waiting.  I hope she looked after you at your ports of call.  What you really needed was a man with you two, someone who is used to looking after innocents abroad and could speak French for you at Antwerp (or Flemish), Dutch at Rotterdam and German at Hamburg, preferably too someone who knows the ins and outs of liner life.

The post goes in quarter of an hour so that will just about give me time to read this through.



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