History is never quite as real as when it is told by those who lived it. Ruby Thompson, living during the World War ll London Blitz bombing blasts history out of the realm of dry, dusty names and dates and places the reader in the midst of the terrifying events as they unfold. This is very important documentation and will have tremendous appeal to those who have an avid interest in the effect of the war on ordinary citizens.
I have finished Mary Austen’s Experiences Facing Death. Mary Austin was a woman of genius. Reading her I see what little tawdry talent is my own. Now I shall never write the books I have always ached to write; I am now too old, the necessary concentration and effort is beyond my powers. I am a failing old woman: I know it. I wish I were a better-educated one. If I had, had a better education, and then if I had, had a different life, then I ought to have written a few significant books. It is too late now, too late. All I can do is carry on with my reading, and to console my frustration by cherishing a deep hope that amongst my descendants there will be one to whom I have passed that talent I have, and that one may be able to do good work with it. I have been mis-cast in the play I have to play. I have played my part, dutifully, but I could have played a different part better, and with zest. There is no zest in life for me, as I have to live it. What a pity! There it is, and I can’t do anything about it at this late date in my time.
Saturday June 10, 1944
Last night I was dreaming again of Tenafly, and again I was visiting in the Eason’s home. Ruth was showing me through the house. It has been re-arranged since I saw it last, and two extra stories had been added to it. It was crowded with furniture, like a warehouse, and as Ruth took me through the rooms I saw that they held all the furniture we Thompson’s had ever possessed; pieces which I had forgotten were there in the dream, for my recognition; and at last, in the attic, there stood our original round dining-table, with the marks of the hot flat-iron which Katie Connelly scarred it with still asserting themselves. This furniture was Ruth’s, not mine any longer, and I didn’t care a damn, I was only aware of feeling relief of being rid of it. It is easy to interpret this dream, I think; it is a lumber dream, and lumber of the old furniture stands for the lumber of the mind. The different pieces stand for the different hopes and theories, and ideas and beliefs, which in the course of my life I have struggled for, attained, and then discarded. This is quite obvious I think.