Monday, January 31, 2011

Thursday 25 January 1945, Earl's Colne

My Margaret
                     No Keatsian hare ever limped more tremblingly over more frozen grass than did I coming on duty this evening. As for the limping, I am glad to say my rheumatism is considerably improved; hours spent massaging my leg in front of a red-hot stove are at last having their effect. But I can truthfully say I never saw grass more frozen or trees more heavily coated with hoar frost than what we have here. As a winter landscape it is all rather fine but we live too near the margin of discomfort here to be able to appreciate fully he beauties of the frost. I hope you are not having the same kind of weather in Glasgow: if you are, you had better leave several fires burning at 66*, day and night.

                      Your letter of 22 Jan arrived yesterday. Like you I am not yet entirely accustomed to the surprise and delight of getting letters so quickly and frequently. Please get rid of that sore throat at once and don't hesitate to stay off school if necessary. You know perfectly well that you get little thanks for struggling out to school when you are not really fit. Sorry to hear about your aunt's death. I knew she was not well but did not realise just how serious her illness was. I hope it has not upset your mother too much. How is her cold? She can't be anticipating a very lengthy convalescence when she has chosen such a small book as Pride and Prejudice for sick reading.

                     I've been talking to some people who have spent the whole war dodging around home stations and am astonished at their querulous attitude. One complains because he has been posted 50 miles away from home after being billeted on his wife for over a year. Another moans because his leave is two months overdue. For myself, I am so glad to be relatively near you, to get letters every other day, and to hear you once a week, that I keep my fingers crossed to preserve this happy state of affairs. People at home haven't got the same philosophy as those poor wretches overseas who simply had to make the best of service life or go completely round the bend.

                    That sounds a perfectly bloody tea-party that you are going to on Sunday.  It's hard to imagine a more deadly combination unless perhaps M_______  could be added to the brew. I'm glad you can use my phone call as an excuse for getting away.

                    Your description of your own soul as being a vacant lot ready for possession by several hundred devils is extremely alarming - that is if I am meant to take it seriously. Also, it is disturbing to be told that I am responsible for this dangerous state. I can't help you with my own "convictions" because convictions are emotional things and I feel it rather presumptuous for anyone to be convinced about religious truths. All one can do is to suggest modestly that certain things seem reasonable while others are an affront to reason.

                    Someone has been inconsiderate enough to bring in some work so I'll have to stop. I keep hoping I may see you again in the not too distant future, so keep me au fait with the painters. Look after yourself, darling.


*66 Novar Drive, where their flat was. The letters are all addressed c/o Stewart, 155 Hyndland Road, where his wife stayed with her parents for much of the time when DF was away.

1 comment:

  1. I have now learned that it was the habit of DF's mother-in-law to take to her bed with a book if she was ill, and announce that she would not be leaving it until the book was finished. Hence the reference to the relatively brief book on this occasion.