Wednesday, 12 August 2015

12th August 1935 - Terrick to Mary

35 Nevern Place
S.W. 5

My Own Darling,

I do miss you, in more ways than one.  How are you getting on at the Aumunds.  Can you relax from the "being polite" feeling?  What is Gunther like?

You know there were only three people in my compartment when we left the Friedrickstrasse Station, well at the zoo four others got in: one of them a baby!  I had pulled out my seat & the one opposite & put my two cases in the gap between where they just fitted both for height & width & was prepared to have a very comfortable night.  But it ended with the baby having the corner opposite mine & the mother sitting on my cases:- the compartment was only indented for six.

Just before we got to Hanover station the train pulled up with a tremendous jolt & a crash and then, after an interval, slowly pulled into the station about a quarter of an hour late.  There it was discovered that something had gone wrong with the carriage in front of ours, so everybody had to get out of it, our back half of the train was shunted away and a new carriage was put on.  I filled up the time by eating würstchen (small sausage) with mustard and a roll.  Do you remember Inge telling her parents with all the proper emphasis and astonishment that English people at mustard "with ordinary meat"? Well würstchen was one of the things she quoted as being proper to eat mustard with.

After all this performance we got to Cologne about half an hour late.  I went into the restaurant and had breakfast although I had already eaten Mrs Aumund's sandwiches (which were very good) on the train, & had a cup of coffee.  After eating as leisurely as I am capable of doing I dragged my bags onto the platform for the Ostend train which was 5B. Remember that; it will probably be the same for you.  On the walls of that passage below the departure stations you will find notice of the Ankunft (arrival) and Abfahrt (departure)of trains showing the proper Bahnsteig (platform).  So make sure by looking at an Abfahrt notice and seeing which Bahnsteig the 10.02 goes from.

Once on the platform I had about an hour to wait so I sat on my luggage and finished "Saraband for Dead Lovers".  It is rather odd that the lovers have been entirely overshadowed in the mind of the writer - and hence the reader - by the characters of the girl's mother-in-law and of her (the girl's) rival; so that the sad ending doesn't strike one as very melancholy, and the final scene itself is played out between the two elderly characters whom the author apparently found so much more interesting than the lovers.

I was sitting reading away when a female voice said: "Ah, Mr FitzHugh! Can you tell us, please, whether we have seats reserved on this train?"  I looked up & there stood three Poly clients.  Of course the party that I had brought out were going back on the same train.  In my blissful forgetfulness of everything Poly I had never bothered to think of that.

I stood up and said firmly:

"I don't know.  I'm on holiday"

"Oh I'm so sorry!"

I relented at that and said:

"Not at all.  Our man is sure to be on the platform soon.  He'll be able to tell you all about it."

Then, after very polite civilities about whether we had enjoyed our respective holidays, I smiled a farewellish sort of smile and sat down again to my book while they drifted up the platform to where they could see a local train that they thought might be the Ostend express.

Until I finished the "Saraband" I kept my head well down over it so that no more high-pitched, slightly cracked, flat-tones voices should break upon my aristocratic solitude.  When I had finished I watched the crowds of tourists: Poly, Cook's, Worker's Travel and others drifting past like only semi-fish fish (the kind like anemones that are half vegetables), and I was revolted.  On the outward journey I had thought that I despised the English tourist, but now - after a fortnight at a Schloss and in the company of only educated (I won't say enlightened) people - my despision (?) what ten times as great.  They looked to me like figures out of a farce.

I avoided the Polyites till the train came in.  There was a terrific rush by all the crowds (all English) on the platform.  Practically every carriage on the train was reserved for some touring agency.  With my greater experience and superior speed I dumped my hat in the window corner of a compartment in the only non-reserved carriage, and went back for my luggage.

I did wish you were there then.  There was a very nice couple opposite me who, I think, were honeymooners.  In another corner was a woman who answered everyone who put their head in and asked if there was a vacant seat: "No, four seats here are reserved for the Ling party".

As there were, including her own, only three seats available for the Ling party (the honeymooners had Cook's tickets), and there were no reservation labels up, I was very tickled by her simple faith and the miracles it worked in sending the intruders away, but the female honeymooner, less accustomed to - and therefore less tolerant of the ways of tourists, asked:

"How does one know the seats are reserved.  There is nothing to show it."

"I don't know", admitted the member of the Ling Party (she had a label with 'Leslie Ling's Private Tours" on it).  "But the porters know somehow or other.  We told ours we had special reserved seats and he brought us here."

The train started late and got later and later as it went on.  The Germans took my paper showing how much money I had brought into the country - I had it in my hand as a sign of honesty and above-boardness - but did not however bother to ask how much I was taking out.  The Belgian customs simply shouted up from the platform at a man who had his head out of the window: "Are you all going to England?" and when the man, guessing wildly, said "yes", took no further notice of us.

In England I forgot the beer mug and said I had not "acquired anything abroad" so my bags were scrawled on without a word.  Again I got my corner seat.

I don't know whether there is a special Jewish holiday in the middle of August, but out of the 1400 people that were supposed to be on the boat, I think that not less than 600 were Jews.  Never in my life have I seen so many.  My carriage from Dover had seven Jews in it and three in the corridor just outside.

The train that was supposed to arrive at 9.40 only got to Victoria at 11.00.  I took a taxi & got here at quarter past.  I tried to ring your mother but could not get any answer from downstairs, so I went over to Renny, who was asleep in bed, & talked to him.

I was famished so I ate my German sausage, or at least a lot of it.  Get something either in Berlin or at Cologne that you can eat in your compartment on the way to Ostend.  A refreshment car is on the train when it leaves Cologne but is taken off at the frontier.

Today I worked in rather a lack-a-dasical fashion & talked to all the people who came and asked me about my holiday.  Your mother rang me up at about 11.00 and invited me down at the week-end.

I am getting Jill particulars of trains to Spain.  I told your mother how nice & how kind the Aumunds were & assured her that you would be well looked after.

This evening I went to a pub with Renny & had two pints of beer just after dinner while we discussed all that had been happening since we last were there.

You know I have become so used to your presence that there is a big gap beside me as I go about, particularly when I am alone.  I did not think it possible but I do feel that I love you more than ever.  Thank Heaven, it is only a fortnight and two days now (only a fortnight or less when you get this letter) before I shall see you again, and that seems long enough.

I must, I must, I must get a better job, so that I can live with you for ever.

This evening Renny got a letter from Eileen saying that on the way back to Schwaneberg from Berlin they broke a cable (?) & only got back at 11 p.m.

I suddenly feel very sleepy.  You do too perhaps after this long letter.

Goodnight dear, and the longest, tenderest kiss you can imagine.

I love you.



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