Monday, March 7, 2011

Wednesday 7 March, 1945, Marks Hall

My dear
             I intended to write yesterday but was kept busy all day. Your letter of Saturday arrived last night to cheer me up when my labours were over for the day. It's a find long letter too. I'll be keen to hear your opinion of the "Companion to Eng. Lit." As you know, we ordered it with a very vague notion of its contents. Thanks also for your promise to inquire about the etymological dictionary: I hope you don't object too much to these commissions.

             Your account of the children's party makes my blood run cold. Perhaps love of the young has still to unfold in my hard heart; let us hope it is latent there. But at present a little incident like the one you describe (in saying the grace) leaves me feeling very bleak.

            A letter from Lloyds today tells me that the £200 has now been transferred to your account. I don't know how they contrive to do it so quickly. I like to think of a special messenger hurrying north with my £200 in his bag, but I don't suppose the process is so dramatic. Anyway, use it as you please.

            On Monday night I went with two other (Griffiths and Taylor) to Colchester. We saw a long picture programme comprising Dark Waters and History is made at night. The first was dreadful, with Merle Oberon, looking very haggard, wandering incessantly in swampy forests. The second, with Jean Arthur and your old pal Chas. Boyer, was amusing in spite of a wildly improbable plot. I did not see much of Colchester, but was not greatly impressed. The best thing of the evening was the hot supper dish which was awaiting us on our return to camp.

            I am continuing my study of Fowler. I confess to some surprise when I learned that "Should you like a bath?" is correct and the use of 'would' in such a sentence is a horrible solecism. Evidently in questions in the second person, shall, will, should or would are used according to the answer expected. Fowler confesses that only the Southern English use there words naturally in the correct way, and that the rules governing their use are so involved that other speakers find them impossible to understand. So it seems that we must continue to give forth barbarisms.

           One of our cypher officers got himself into a fine state of agitation last week. All mail from his wife suddenly stopped and frantic letters from him produced no reply. He considered every morbid explanation from illness to sudden death or an American. Yesterday, while scanning the Mess table in despair, he noticed a great pile of letters in a docket which had been allocated to him ten days ago without his noticing it. Now he is wondering what his wife will make of the letters he has been pouring out these last few days.

            My next leave will definitely not be before the beginning of May so you won't have to make any special arrangements with the Corp. on my behalf. You'll be a "lady" by then and no longer a school teacher. I'm sure you must be looking forward to the rest. I am glad to hear that the holidays you took on my behalf have proved less expensive than was expected, though like you I can't understand the Corporation accounting in this case.

            You are extremely reticent about people's reactions to your intersting condition. Was Miss McLean overcome with shyness? How many of your dear friends have you told yet? Have you warned the school that they'll be losing you soon? I'm sure you are a most unnatural creature to fill your letters with Beethoven concerts at a time like this!

              I'm charmed to learn that you are now getting stuck into the mild and eggs. I warn ou that I expect to find you in overwhelmingly radiant health when I see you next - something like a Sanatogen advertisement figure, though not quite so amorphously dressed.

             You sounded quite chirpy last Sunday in spite of the fact that I surprised you in undress. I find these pleasant Sunday conversations come round very quickly: the weeks are slipping past in an admirable fashion. I keep my eyes fixed on my next leave and, at some unknown distance beyond that, my exit from the RAF. And after that, an endless paradise with you. ...

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