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.
May 3, 1940 This is our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. I thought
perhaps we might have celebrated it a little; but no, Ted
remains disagreeable and aloof. I don’t think he has
spoken to me once today. Well, this is the end of another
seven-year period. What will the next seven-year period
of our marriage be like? Shall we grow less critical and
kinder? I wonder.
May 4, 1940 I was awakened during the night by the airplanes,
which were screaming about quite a lot. This is not a bit
unusual nowadays. One day this week a German bomber
crashed at Claxton, causing one hundred and fifty-six
casualties and destroying two streets. This was not deliberate bombing but an accident. It had been mine laying,
so carried much explosive. Well, even here, I heard what
must have been the detonations. Ted doesn’t hear these
night noises, but is able to sleep right through them.
By the way, our forces have evacuated themselves
from Norway during this week, a very disturbing setback
for us. So far, it seems to me Hitler wins everywhere
he strikes; and as for Mr. Chamberlain and Winston
Churchill, public opinion begins to be that they are too
complacent and then too late. This isn’t a war record.
Joan arrived this morning. She has come for the weekend.
George returned to France April 16, and Joan is staying
in Hammersmith with mother for the present.
May 5, 1940 Joan remarked that she had been going up to
Westminster Cathedral, intended to visit the Brompton
Oratory soon and asked, would I take her to church with
me today? Well, I said I would, so we got ready and I took
her to High Mass at St. Mary’s at Hornchurch.
When I was explaining the missal to her I noticed
that I had marked the collect for this day in the missal.
It is: Almighty, Everlasting God, grant that our will may
be ever devoted to thee, and that we may serve thy majesty
with a sincere heart. Through our Lord.
All this is something strangely coincidental. For
I have been thinking of late whether perhaps I might
resume attending mass again. Noting all these various
finales which seem to occur now, with the beginnings of the new periods, and the taking up of residence in a new
house, and all the events occurring about now, the time
especially associated with the Holy Ghost, that member
of the Holy Trinity which is so especially appealing to my
crank mind. I had thought that perhaps I would resume
the practice of my religion right now at this Whitsuntide. Then along comes Joan, who asks me to take her
to church today. So we went. It was good, easy, peaceful,
Although Joan had no idea how to follow the mass,
yet she was pervious to the atmosphere of serenity and
devotion. As for myself, I entered into peace; it was as
though I had never missed mass at all.
May 6, 1940 News from Cuthie, he is back at Driffield. He writes,
Scotland is a pain in the neck.
May 7, 1940 I am very sleepy. I think it is the Spring Day. Anyhow
I’m tired from so much talking with Joan. I only see her
about once a year, so we talk like a house afire.
Ted is still very disagreeable, and I expect he will
remain so, until he has past his last bill. He was very
sarcastic at lunch about me not writing to Dorothy. Last
week he climbed up into the attic, to find out what was
there, and found two large trunks; one of ours, one of
Dorothy’s. He said if I ever wrote to Dorothy I could tell
her to have it fetched away. I replied, I never wrote to
her, and I didn’t know her address anyhow.
At lunch today, he asked me had I written to Dorothy.
I replied, of course not. Why? I asked did he wish me to
write to her? Then he was off! Ten unending minutes of
biting sarcasm about my indifference, etc., ending with,
Well, will you write to Dorothy? I reply as, No. It’s his affair as much as mine. If he wants her to take her trunk
away at once, why can’t he write to her about it? Why am
I a sinner because it hadn’t occurred to me to do so?
Oh, funny man! He does make me tired. Another
thing that makes me tired are these mid day meals.
Three square meals a day, and Ted at every one of them.
We see too much of each other. A woman needs her day
to herself. Mid-day dinner is a nuisance. That is what we
have had ever since we returned to England. It means we
are never free of each other for more than four hours at a
stretch, often only three hours; contact is too unbroken,
no wonder there’s so much friction between us. We need
rest from each other, and space between meetings. I
need rest and spacing from the household chores. Even
if I could have only one long day a week to myself it
would be a blessed relief. But no, domestic life hasn’t
been arranged that way. Life in England is a treadmill.
May 10, 1940 Germany has invaded Holland and Belgium, and
completely over-runs Luxembourg. The news came
through soon after six this morning. They have landed
troops at the ports, and men from the air by parachute.
The attack from the air has been terrific also. Both
Holland and Belgium have appealed to us for help, and
we are going to their assistance instantly. Half an hour
ago our government, through the B.B.C. broadcast to all
our Civil Defense Forces to stand-by and to be ready for
any emergency, and to civilians to resume continuous
carrying of gas masks, the putting of all home defense
precautions in order, and for everybody to immediately
acquaint themselves with their nearest air-raid shelter.
Attack on England is imminent. The Germans may begin
bombing us now, at any moment.
Perhaps the Germans have been encouraged to this move by the Rebate in Parliament this week on the
Norwegian operations, the Division in the House, the
criticisms of Mr. Chamberlain, and the Cabinet crisis.
Who knows? Anyhow, here’s the war, in hellish earnest.
Ten p.m. Mr. Chamberlain has resigned, and the King
has appointed Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. So,
another cabinet shuffles.
May 11, 1940 A special order has been passed to eliminate the
Whitsuntide holiday. Monday will be a business day. All
special Whitsun sport events have been cancelled, all
rail and road excursion traffic, and all factories, banks,
stock exchange, government offices, etc. will carry on as
May 12, 1940 Whit Sunday
A gloriously beautiful day. It’s blueness and sunshine
is like the September weather when the war started.
Reports from the Netherlands are most serious. The
Germans are landing parachutists by the hundreds.
These German’s are disguised. Some even wear Dutch
uniforms. Some are disguised as priests and even nuns.
They are very young men, and many are dressed as
women. When caught they are “wiped out” the report
says. As usual the Germans are bombing everything in
sight, and especially the refugees along the roads. For
pure wanton destructiveness they are even machine
gunning the cattle in the fields. I went again to St.
Mary’s, for High Mass this morning and was able to pray.
May 13, 1940 Princess Juliana and her two babies, and Prince
Bernhard, arrived in London this morning; and late
this afternoon Queen Wilhelmina arrived also. She had been brought here on a British warship. Both the King
and Queen met her at Liverpool St. as well as her own
children and she has accepted the hospitality of the King
at Buckingham Palace. She had to flee for her life. The
Germans meant to abduct her. In Norway, too, they tried
especially hard to capture King Haakon. The fighting in
Holland and Belgium is simply terrific.
May 15, 1940 At seven a.m. we heard that the Dutch have laid down
their arms. After the Germans re-captured Rotterdam
yesterday, the Netherlands Commander-in Chief issued
an order to his troops concerned, to cease fighting. To
continue resistance was hopeless.
Now the struggle for Belgium proceeds. Already the
battlefront extends over one hundred miles, from the
Albert Canal to Llugwy, where the Germans are expected
to try to break through the Maginot Line. There is furious
fighting at Sedan, and a very great battle is expected in
front of Brussels.
May 19, 1940 I made an effort, and it was an effort, both physically,
and of the will, and went to St. Edward’s for High Mass,
at eleven. Now I have resumed, I will continue. Coming
out of church, joined by Mrs. Jude and Mary Bernadette,
and Mrs. James. When we got to the Laurie, I was very
pleased to see Ted waiting for me at the entrance to Ives
Gardens. Here a Mr. Simpson, who appropriated Ted,
and walked ahead with him, joined us!
However, I was deeply pleased Ted had come to meet
me, all the same; and I pray to God there is a new beginning for we two together, to be added to my other beginnings.
May 21, 1940 We received three letters from Cuthie this morning.
Two for me and one for Ted all posted from Driffield. So
he is safe, so far, Thank God. The battle now raging in
France and Belgium is the greatest of all time. It goes on
without ceasing, day and night.
General Petain, now eighty-four years old, has been
recalled from Madrid, where he had been sent as Ambassador at the end of the Spanish Civil War, and made
Deputy Prime Minister of France. General Weygand,
now seventy-three, has been recalled from Syria and
appointed Chief of Staff of National Defense, in place of
General Gamelan. It was these two great soldiers, under
Foch, who finally brought victory to the Allies in the
Great War, twenty years ago.
Every day for a week Dutch and Belgian refugees
have been pouring into our southern ports, and, as in
nineteen-fourteen, we are going to take care of them, for
the duration of the war. They have nothing left them but
their lives. Many of them are wounded and are brought
ashore in stretchers. Some infants have been born whilst
their mothers were in the boats. The Germans deliberately machine-gun the refugees as they walk along the
roads. War! German War!
May 22, 1940 Last night at seven p.m. we received a telegram from
the air ministry, to say that our son, Sergeant 581052,
squadron seventy-seven was reported missing. A letter
would follow. The nine o’clock broadcast news reported
that during the night a large force of R.A.F. bombers
attacked troop concentrations in Cambrai Le Cateau St.
Quentin area and that from these operations five of our
aircraft failed to return. So we suppose Cuth was in one
of these five.
The battle is frightful. The Germans have taken
Amas and Amiens, and have reached as far as Abbeville
in their drive to the coast. God help us all!
When Ted went out last night, to church, for benediction, for the May devotions, he showed the telegram
to Father Bishop. About nine o’clock Father Bishop
telephoned us that he would offer this morning’s mass,
for Cuthie and for our intentions. This was kind. I could
not go out to Mass but I pray just the same. Today work
has gone on as usual, Mrs. Bull here cleaning, Miss
Coppen calling. Poor Cuthie, poor Cuthie!
May 23, 1940 The letter from the Air Ministry arrived by the first
post this morning. They tell us that Cuthie was with the
squadron that was sent out bombing in the vicinity of
Amieus, in the morning of May 21, but that his machine
failed to return to its base, so he must be counted
missing. They add that this does not necessarily mean
that he is either killed or wounded, and that if and when
they receive extra knowledge of him, they will report
to us at once. Yes, there is a hope he may still be alive.
Sometimes crews escape from destroyed machines. He
may be a prisoner behind the lines. He may be lying in
a German hospital or he may be with God in heaven.
Wherever he is, we will pray for him without ceasing.
The terror is surely upon England now. On Sunday ten
thousand more children were evacuated from Kent and
Essex; they were sent to Wales.
On Tuesday night we had raids over this neighbor-
hood. The guns began about one-thirty. Neither Ted nor I
were asleep. We had gone to bed grieving for Cuthie, and
were wakeful. At two-ten a.m. there was a most terrific
explosion, which we supposed was a bomb. We did not
get up, because no warning was sounded, so we inferred the action was not immediately over Romford. The firing
went on for some time, thud-thud, and airplanes seemed
to be screaming about everywhere. Then everything died
down. Soon after four o’clock the racket began again,
though there was no great explosion as at two. Last night
was quiet, or else we were so tired that we slept through
The weather is beautiful. This morning’s times say
the British have counter-attacked between Anas and
Donai, but the results are not known and that the French
morning communiqué reports the re-taking of Arras.
May 25, 1940 Agnes Brauncy brought her fiancé here this afternoon, to look at our Jacobean dining room suite, and
they bought it outright. I had intended to go to confession today, but these visitors prevented me. This evening
utterly exhausted, and cannot possibly go out.
May 26, 1940 A day of public prayer, asked for by the King, and
observed by every sect and denomination. I went out to
early mass with Ted, at St. Edwards, but could not go up
for communion. The church was packed and practically
everybody going up to the rail, as at Christmas or Easter.
When we returned home Ted told me that he had asked
Father Bishop to say tomorrows mass for Cuthie. So I
asked Ted to telephone Father Bishop for me, and ask
him would he hear my confession today. He set the time
for four forty-five p.m. It had been my intention to ask
him tomorrow to hear me, so that I might take communion on Tuesday, for Cuth. Father Bishop very kind and
May 27, 1940 I went to Communion with Ted at seven-thirty mass
this morning. This mass offered for Cuthie.
May 28, 1940 I went again to communion this morning with Ted. It
is a week today since Cuth was lost. At eleven o’clock this
morning came news that King Leopold of the Belgians
had ordered the army under his command to cease
fighting. This is most shocking news. M. Reynaud, the
French Premier, gave the news in a broadcast. He told
Paris, and the world, that the Belgium Army, on the
order of King Leopold, who acted against the advice of
his responsible ministers, has surrendered. Since four
o’clock this morning the French and the British armies
have been fighting alone in the north against the enemy.
They still hold Calais, but the B.S.F. have had to evacuate
However, at noon today, Mr. Pierlot, the Belgian
Premier, broadcast from Paris, repudiating King
Leopold, calling him a traitor, and accusing him of
breaking the Belgian Constitution and saying that the
Belgian Government intend to form a new army and to
fight on. The battling is terrific. God help the world!
May 30, 1940 This is my last writing in this house. We move into
number Seventy-Eight Western Road tomorrow. I am now
about to bury this volume in my hatbox, so Au-revoir.
God help us and keep us all. Amen.
April 5, 1940 I received important family news today. Ted and
Cuthie have bought a pair of houses, numbers seventy-eight and eighty Western Road. They were auctioned on
Wednesday, as one lot. Walter Wachett bid them in after
they had passed Ted’s set limit of seven hundred and
fifty pounds. However, Ted especially wanted number
seventy-eight for us, and offered Wachett a profit to
split. This Wachett refused. He had bought them as one,
and would only sell as one. The upshot is, that Cuthie
decided he could buy one and have it paid for by the time
he comes out of the R.A.F. So, it has been so arranged.
Ted introduced Cuth to the bank, opened an account for
him at Lloyd's and two deeds are to be drawn up; one for
Cuth on Number eighty and one for us on seventy-eight.
Number seventy-eight is vacant, and in eighty, Mr. and
Mrs. John Thomson reside. (No connection of ours just a
April 7, 1940
Artie managed to get home for dinner. I told him
the news about the Western Road houses. We celebrated
with the last of the Christmas pudding and a little bottle
of champagne Cuthie had smuggled in from France.
April 8, 1940 Cuth ,left for Driffield soon after nine this morning.
He says he’ll probably be over the Rhine tomorrow.
April 9, 1940 The war spreads. Germany invaded both Denmark
and Norway this morning, at six o’clock. She announced
to the world that she had taken these countries under
her protection, to “protect” them from the wicked allies.
Her protection works like this: she bombed Oslo from
the air, from two a.m. to five a.m. this morning. I suppose
she “protected” Poland.
April 12, 1940 I went to the hairdresser’s, to have my hair curled,
the whole head. It should be done about June or July but
with the war intensifying and spreading as it is doing,
I figured I better have a long session with the machine
now whilst things are still quiet in Romford. I don’t
think many women are going to sit around in the beauty
parlors once the bombs begin dropping.
April 14, 1940 Edna Renacre came here for tea. She borrowed some
more Balzac, and in addition I gave her six odd volumes
of fiction, to keep. I suppose we must have at least a
couple of thousand books in this house, and the problem
is, how to move them? The answer is: dispose of as many
as possible. Some we can give to the public library some
send away for the soldiers, and some we can give to our friends. There still will be hundreds we won’t want to
part with. This move is going to be similar to our move
from Avenue A. Bayonne, to Bayside, Long Island. We are
removing to a house, which is only half or less the size
of this one. It’s a good thing. I’ll be glad to get rid of
April 15, 1940 I remain queer. In fact, I seem to have renewed my
cold. Also I’m walking very badly. I went down town this
afternoon, and hardly knew how to walk home.
Ted is very late for tea. He had been to the Western
Road house with Skilton, to get ideas about the plumbing.
Before he had finished eating, callers arrived. They were
the John Thomson family from Eighty Western Road.
They stayed very late, but were agreeable company. In
his youth John Thomson had knocked around Canada
and America, as a free-lance, much as Ted had done in
the nineties, so they had a good time swapping stories.
April 18, 1940 I am fifty-six today, in poor health, and poor spirits.
I heard from Artie this morning, but no word from
Cuthie. He is probably out bombing over Norway. I have
not heard from him in over a week. English troops have
been landed in Norway, but, so far, it seems to me, the
Germans are winning; certainly they are holding their
own, in most of Norway. The allies have taken Karvik,
and mutilated the German navy, but today’s news says
that the Germans are holding the iron-ore railways north
of Karvik, and are fighting well.
As prophesied, the spring slaughter has begun.
Artie is still with battalion in Sussex, but for how long
there now? No news from America. I received her usual
sort of a letter from Mother.
The weather is abominable, very cold, very dull, and
windy, and now commencing to rain. After a very severe
winter, we are having a retarded spring. Frost every
night this week. In Norway snow is still falling, and as
in Finland the troops are fighting on skis. What a war!
What a world!
Well, this is the end of another seven-year period for
me. For nearly a year I had been counting on it, looking
forward to it, and thinking of it as another beginning,
another fresh lap. In a way it will be, because of the
purchase of the new house, the moving into yet another
home. This event was quite unforeseen by me. All though
last fall I felt wonderfully well, and I imagined I was
entering on a new period of fresh vigor, resilience, and
good health. Apparently not, it was not to be. For weeks
now I have been feeling wretchedly ill, and weak, and
I have no zest left for anything. I am completely weary,
in body, mind and soul, and continuously I feel more
ill than I remember feeling for years. Maybe I am only
exhausted by the severity of the winter, and the strain of
the war; but it is not like me to feel like this.
Well anyhow, it is still the end of one seven-year
period, and the beginning of another. My life seems to
fall into these natural periods more than most women’s.
At twenty-one I married. During the next fourteen years
I had my family, finishing with the twins when I was
thirty-five. At forty-two came the end of Ted’s business
life. It was in nineteen twenty-six that he resigned from
office, and in nineteen twenty-seven he brought us back
to England. In nineteen thirty-three, when I was forty-
nine (seven times seven), I made my last trip to America,
and it was then I made my wonderful unforgettable
round tour of the states. Now that I’ve reached fifty-six
(seven eights-or, rather, eight sevens), I find that I have
reached quiescence about the lots of mental troubles: all questions about belief, or beliefs, have left me. I am
not concerned anymore about what I can or can’t believe.
This is a great gain and a great rest, this.
I have attained to an inner peace, and I think it is
a peace I shall never lose. I can recognize what doesn’t
matter, and never again will an argument ever coerce
me. Circumstances may compel me to courses I shall not
like, but they can never again compel my inner woman.
She is free. What will she do with the next seven years?
When I reach to sixty-three, if ever I do nine times
seven, how will the world be, and how shall I be in it?
Will my inner woman still be free and serene? Yes, I
think she will be. What I have learnt I have learnt; what
I have reached into, I have reached into; and my joy no
man can take from me. Absolutely very literally no man
can take this from me. My husband may have become a
bigger fool than ever but my secret self he can never touch.
I am myself, and I own myself, no matter what he thinks.
For now I know the things I know, and do the things I
do and if you do not like me so, to hell my love with you!
Of course I shall not be so outspoken as Dorothy
Parker. Nevertheless, what Ted believes, or what he
wishes to force me to believe, can never again have any
effect upon me. I have outgrown him, passed him by.
So fifty-six is definitely some sort of an ending. What
I am going into now, I do not know but it is a new phase,
I am sure. Perhaps destiny presents me the new house as a concrete symbol of it. April 19, 1940 At tea tonight, speaking of the illness of young Clem
Coppen’s husband, a man of thirty only, with cancer,
hence passing on to speak of mother, and all her various
operations, and her indomitable health and toughness,
I remarked that Mother hadn’t been able to pass her health and vitality to her children, not one of whom had
ever been as strong as she was; to which Ted replied, Of course not. That isn’t surprising at all. Children
naturally take after their fathers, and though your father
was excitable enough, and vehement sometimes, he never
had the energy and activity that your mother had. He was
a slower tempo and less strong altogether. It is the father
who stamps the children, always. It is the father who is
the important one, always. That is why our Lord couldn’t
possibly have had a human father. It couldn’t have been
seemly. You couldn’t imagine Saint Joseph being visited
by a female angel, and begetting a child upon an angel
could you? Of course not! With the Blessed Virgin it was
different. She could be overshadowed by the angel, the
power of God and not be contaminated by human intercourse. She received the seed from heaven, by the power of
the Holy Ghost. It is simply unimaginable that our Lord
could have had a human father! For then he would have
been Joseph, not God, a sinful man.
This threw me into the abyss. I made no reply; not
even the obvious one that the human embryo contains
fifty-fifty of the hormones of its parents. I was simply
stunned and disgusted by this fresh presentation of the
old Christian and Jewish idea of the impurity of the flesh,
the curse of sex, the virtue of chastity, and the eternal
inferiority of women. What is a wife? Still the old chattel;
a concubine by night, and a servant by day; a creature
without a soul; merely one of the creations of God which
exist for the use of man. My God! This Ted Thompson!
April 27, 1940 Ted is at Arden Cottage. I have had a busy week
with visitors every day so am tired. Yesterday the legal
business about the purchase of numbers Seventy-Eight
and Eighty Western Road was completed, and the keys
handed over to us by the lawyers. Ted has been seeing
Skilton about installing plumbing, stoves, etc., and
Harvey, the builder, to get estimates about turning the
house into flats.
The result for me, is, that I view our immediate future
with acute apprehensions of trouble. Ted is going to have
to spend money, real cash, and that will hurt. He will
niggle and haggle and make absurd economies, and just
as absurd splurges, and every time he has to pay out he
will be as disagreeable as hell. He will be on my tracks
about household expenditure. He’ll be after me turning
out lights, fixing the stove, examining the pantry, and
the dustbin. He’ll hound me for a half pence, and he’ll
cry poverty, poverty until he’ll rouse me to fury and I
shall hate him with a singing hatred. I know Ted. I’ve
had some of him before.
With it all, I shan’t get what I want. He bought this
property because he wanted to; he is going to fix it up
the way he wants. Apparently he will consult me about
items but if I don’t agree to what he has already decided,
or if I should make suggestions contrary to his ideas, I
shall be all wrong, and in great disfavor. I want to like
this new house. I want to settle into it comfortably. I
suspect it is going to be the last home Ted and I will
ever have together, and it can be made very nice. Oh the
job of it! We shall both of us lose our tempers over and
over again. I shall be disappointed about what I could
get, and shan’t, and Ted will grizzle about the spending
indefinitely. Well there will be no peace in the Thompson
family. I can see for some long time to come. What a life!
Cuthie is now stationed in the north of Scotland for
quick access to Norway. He has also been over Denmark
this week. The twenty sevens were registering today. So
far, the Germans are holding on in Norway, but their
losses are heavy. Our navy has done well and Sweden reports that around Oslo alone three thousand German
dead have been washed ashore. War. This is more wisdom
April 28, 1940 I was in London during March, about the Aunties, I
made inquiries at Stoneham’s about the books of Annie
C. Bill. They traced two of them for me, and sent them
to me this week. I hadn’t had time to look at them until
today. I was examining one this morning whilst waiting
for Ted to come into breakfast. He left the house before
seven a.m. and did not return until nine-thirty, all this
time for one mass and his private devotions.
I was suddenly surprised at myself by falling into a
panic. When I heard Ted’s key in the door my heart began
to beat like fury and I at once hid the book under the tea
wagon. Why? It is a perfectly harmless book, and I have
a perfect right to read it. Even if it was a rotten bad book,
I’ve still got a perfect right to read it. You see what?
I am afraid of Ted, still afraid of him! When we first
married he began to deride the books I read, and this
hurt me so much that I would never let him know what
I was reading. I continued to read everything I wanted
to read, but what ever the books were I would put them
out of sight before he came home in the evenings; and on
Sundays and holidays, when he was around the house,
I never read anything at all except the newspapers and
magazines. I never spoke to anyone, before him, of what
I was reading.
I kept up this habit until we left the states, and it
is only since we have lived in Romford that I have read
whatever books I wanted to, regardless of whether he
was around or not. So this morning I was considerably
surprised at myself, when in the midst of his approach
I was flooded with feelings of guilt and fear. Naturally my reason doesn’t assent to any of this, but my natural,
physical, animal woman did quake, was afraid. Still, as
of old, she is afraid of this man.
It took me hours to quell my disquiet, and it was not
until afternoon that my heart returned to its normal beat.
Queer, isn’t it? What one person can do to someone?
Evening. It is just as I foresaw. The economies are
beginning at once. This afternoon Ted went round to
Western Road, to do some gardening at Seventy-Eight.
He was very late returning for tea. It seems he had been
visiting the other Thomson’s in number Eighty. Mr.
Thomson showed him their upper floor.
Now, number Seventy-Eight has no bathroom, so Ted
has planned to create a bathroom in the back bedroom.
This is a very long narrow room, and one-third of it could
easily be walled off to make a small bathroom, but by
doing this other portion of the room would be left without
light, so a window would need to be cut on the sidewall.
Now Ted has taken this whole matter up with the
Skilton’s, and the room was to have been made into two,
as I have just outlined. In number Eighty, where a bath
and basin has been installed, everything has been left
exposed. Ted has decided to do without a partition, and
a window, in our house, because that will be cheaper.
Exactly. It is cheap and nasty. He will discover other
and similar economies. Probably he will dispense with
a carpenter altogether, and all the built in fixtures we
need will be put up by his own butchering. This is quite
likely. The furniture he said could be recovered will not
go to the upholsterers. I never answered him when he
told me of this cheaper bathroom plan. What could I
have said? If he won’t spend money, I shall have to make
do, as per usual.
I first saw through this new house on the evening of
Saturday April 13, Ted took me round there on his way to Bert’s, and left me to see through it alone. It was about
half past seven in the evening, between lights. The effect
of the place on me was to depress me. When I got back
here, I began to cry and I think I cried all night. When
Ted got back from Bert’s, I was hysterical. I told him
I couldn’t make the move; I couldn’t live there. Wisely,
he refrained from discussing the matter with me then;
but he assured me later in the week that he did intend
to modernize the place, to install proper plumbing and
stoves, etc. Then when I saw it the second time, going
round there with him Sunday a week ago, the twenty-first on a bright sunny afternoon, the place did look more
attractive, did show possibilities for being made into a
comfortable habitation. I felt reassured then. Now, home
he comes with ideas as to how he needn’t do what he had
planned to do, Gosh! It’s the devil!
April 29, 1940
I had a nice visit from Ethel Coppen today, but
disagreeable words with Ted this evening. He began
badgering me about the removal of our books. So far
I haven’t been able to do any sorting out at all. I had
visitors every day last week and this week is beginning
This is a job that needs thinking about and I must be
in the mood for the thinking, or I can’t do it at all. Ted
wants to drive me to it at once. When? How soon? When
will I know? And so on. When I told him I didn’t know
when I could do it, he became insulting, said I was a fool,
wouldn’t cooperate, and I was more mulish than Selma.
When I protested Don’t talk to me like that! he said he
would talk to me just as he pleased, that I was a fool,
and the he thought less of my sense than ever, I said
that when he talked to me like that he was being deliberately spiteful, and that it would do no good, because such talk only antagonized me. He said, than I was a
bigger fool even than he had thought, and he went off by
himself to the dining room. There he is now, listening to
Shakespeare on the wireless. What a petty fellow! When
he speaks to me so contemptuously, it is the inner man
speaking, and I can see that is how really contemptuously he thinks of me. That doesn’t help at all.
I often think Ted is a fool, but I am very careful never
to tell him so or even give him inkling to guess on. I
dissemble my thoughts. I play up to him all I can. It is
my undeviating policy to live at peace; for I saw enough
of marital quarrels between my parents, and I don’t want
any quarreling in my life. Just the same I have an awful
crushed feeling tonight.
April 30, 1940 I have been putting away all my papers. I simply
cannot write. So now I’ve lost stroke again. Maybe when
the moving is over and we are seated in the new house,
maybe I can begin again. For me, to write a continuous
work without steady hours of reliable leisure is impossable. Ted is still disagreeable. So far today has not
spoken to me yet. Of course he was out to early mass
this morning, just the same.