Friday, 1 November 2013

1st November 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Old Vicarage School

Nov 1st 1933

Dear Fitz, 

It seems all wrong getting a letter from you bearing an English stamp! - and also arriving the day after you wrote it - I somehow don't feel being in such speedy contact will work so well.  One shouldn't be able to remember too clearly what one said in the letter before - I find it a little apt to jar!

This letter is going to be difficult.  I feel inside me that it ought to decide something important - but for the life of me I don't know what it is.  Perhaps I'm imagining it - but I think it's not having known a man so much before - Anyway, whatever it is, please believe I'm speaking in all honest-to-goodness sincerity - and am asking you to be kind and make things all clear again - because I'm just a bit lost.

- Let's turn over & start at the beginning - (please don't smile)


- I've known you 13 months 15 days - and during that time have only seen you about 12 or 13 times?  I should say we know each other fairly well mentally - our likes and dislikes, past lives & hopes for future - thoughts on things and people & books - ideals & beliefs - and general outlooks on life (the Great One!!).  But physically - or rather, materially we've neither of us got much to go on. - You know what my family is like (partly!) - and I've gathered quite a lot about yours - but about your material self - your everyday-other-people-self, I'm absolutely in the dark.  How do you treat other men?  How do you live when you're by yourself?  How do you behave with people you don't like?  - not personal things - but things you have to know out and out to be a person's friend - Don't you think so?

 - You once said to me quite stupidly and simply "I love you" - I laughed, - first because I didn't know what to say - and secondly because I knew you had mistaken a funny feeling inside for something requiring ten million times more knowledge of my "material" self than you could possible ascertain in 4 months.

- The most important thing to love a person for is NOT:-

(i) Physical attraction that, through the necessity of nature, cannot - help itself - or
(ii) A perfect communion of spirit brought about by meeting a person you like and talking to them for hours on things you think no other man & woman have ever discussed before! 
(although these may both beneficially come into and help the 'ideal union'!)

- But the Greatest thing is to love a person whole-heartedly for the way they live - for the way they treat and effect other people all round them - for the way they get on with children and animals - for the way they feel for anything in pain - for the way they clean their teeth - for the way they walk through autumn leaves against a blinding drizzle and say 'England' - and for the way they can lean, worn-out, upon their plough-shares and pruning-hooks and say 'This is a great life!'.

- Can you see? - Do you feel 'love' should be anything like that? -

I know it must.

I know I must be wrong somewhere - & I know heaps of people have thought this all out before - but I've so tried to make you see that we really haven't started 'loving' each other yet - have we? - And that's what's such a tremendously good job - because I can't love anybody for at least 5 more years! - and you should easily have been able to discover someone older and wiser who has the most perfect 'way-of-living' - by that time!!

- I loved meeting you again last Thursday - I had been so excited about you all day that I blushed a bright puce on hearing there was someone on the 'phone for me! - I planned asking you to come on Friday long before I saw you - and loved having you there - your letters & post-cards always send a warm excited feeling through me - and I always think 'oh - he is a dear' after reading them - BUT it's only because you're the only person I've ever had - the only person who likes to be near me - the only person who flatters me - I haven't got anybody else to do all these things - and because I'm like every other woman that ever breathed - I revel in it!!

- I love what you do and say (appertaining to "me") - not what you are - or what you do and say to anyone else - 

- So I'm all wrong - aren't I?

- I don't like you kissing me because I like you so much - and if I once kissed you like I feel I sometimes could kiss someone, it would bee horribly misleading because it would only be a feeling of the moment.

*           *           *          *

- So please try and see what I'm getting at - It seems so mean and deceptive for me to let you go on liking me - & saying the things I should love to hear any man say - when I don't feel a bit the same to you.

- You're the best friend I have (except Norah) - and one day I'll walk & walk miles and miles with you over the most glorious hills and fields - and we'll talk & talk for hours - and probably not say anything at all!

- But I want to do lots of things with you - dances - and pictures - and walks - just because you're the person I'd choose to do things with - and of course it's impossible in this world to do anything of the sort - because if Heaven & Earth decreed it I'd refuse to turn any 'good comrade' into a 'Boy-Friend' - (oh- loathed, abominable, and pestilent word - never - never shall I lower myself to such a pitch)

*           *           *          *

- Thank you so much for bearing with me thus far? - Or have you skipped bits? I wonder what your mother would think of the length of this if she saw it! 'Terrick's latest girl-friend' - I expect!! - and she'd just about hit the mark - wouldn't she?  - Please, why must my photographs stand on the mantelpiece? - they're not at all good (I can't remember them) - and so many people must have stood there before.

I'm glad about Eileen - but doesn't it feel strange letting another language right into the family?  How old is he? - Is he a Natze? (sic)

Be quick with Edwy.  I went and saw King Lear this afternoon - not too well done - but of course it's hellishly difficult and I suddenly had the presentment that Edwy would be a success - but I'll let you know again after I've read it!

- When are you coming back? - Can you spend the weekend of Nov 25th with us? - or does this sound "pushy"? - But if you could we'd arrange a 'perfect' weekend - go out somewhere on the Saturday - & have our walk all Sunday!! (Squash me if I err!) (I am rather inclined to be bumptious!)

 - And on Friday 24th I'm going to dinner with Mr Bernays and on to a 'social' afterwards - if you could come for that weekend - I suppose you wouldn't like to come with me to that too? - Because you were invited!! - or do you think we should look a bit silly? - I'm rather in a haze about these matters!  But I would like you to meet him.

- Well - I must stop & do some work - I'm casting two plays for them to do next term!

- I wish it was this time last week - and please write and tell me I'm silly - 

The next letter will be quite sensible again!

Best love, 

                 Mary Pleasant Ormiston

P.S. Bee good enough to stop exaggerating my physical side will you? - I should loathe 'lips like plums' & you can't have 'rose petal' cheeks with a great boil on one of them!

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