World War ll London Blitz Diary's: 10-4-39 to 10-30-39: Stone’s man came this morning bringing the dark window blinds I ordered on September 4 for the black out.

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9-26-39-TO 10-9-39 AUDIO

9-12-39 to 10-29-39 AUDIO

October 4, 1939

It is St. Francis of Assisi. Also, it is old Bert’s birthday. He is seventy-one today. Tomorrow he returns to Arden Cottage, having had enough of Ongar. Ted, is telling tales of him with love and admiration. In my opinion Herbert is a selfish, uncouth, uncultured, cowardly old fool. He is nearly as brainless as Selma, and quite as obstinate.

He made his money through shrewdness, cunning, and luck. Ted mistakes him as one of the examples of the fortunate ones who were never cramped in their money- making careers by too much education.

Ted said to me, I think you have suffered through your ability to read and write. If you hadn’t learned how to able to read, think how much trouble and unhappiness you would have saved yourself, how much better off you would have been! Look at some the old-timers around here; there are some of the richest who can’t even sign their own names, but that didn’t prevent them making money did it? Why education would have been a downright disadvantage to them!
I said, I think it is a horrible thing to say. Would you like to have been brought up without any education?

Education isn’t everything, he fenced. Of course it isn’t, but to say that people are lucky because they didn’t get any is a perfectly abominable statement to make. I said no more, but I was disgusted. Like one day recently when Ted put up a boost for hypocrisy. We had been talking about Hitler and his absurd speeches, and about cynicism. Well, said Ted, after all there is a good deal to be said in favor of the Victorian hypocrisy. The hypocrite at least believed in a standard virtue, and in truth and purity and honor; he knew he was against the right and tried to hide his wrongness; but these fellows today what do they care about goodness? They don’t even pretend to hide their vices they don’t admit the codes even! The hypocrite at least tried not to shock the world. Yes, there’s something to be said for hypocrisy, and I’d rather encounter a good hypocrite any day than one of these modern don’t care you go to hell fellows!

Well, I wouldn’t. I made no reply to this. What was there to say, It simply struck me so “Catholic” an apology for secretiveness and dishonesty; here is the Catholic who doesn’t demand real goodness but only the appearance of goodness. My God! It makes me sick.

October 7, 1939

Stone’s man came this morning bringing the dark window blinds I ordered on September 4, for the black out. Ted opened the door to him, and then called out to me, Hi Lady! Did you order these shades for the last war, or this one?

Already we are feeling the pinch in many commodities. Stone’s say they cannot fill their orders for blinds, because they cannot get the materials.

I have been to town, to the warehouse, to buy sheets and pillow-cases, and they haven’t gotten any. There has been a scarcity of sugar for weeks. Last week I couldn’t buy tea. This week I couldn’t buy lard. Soon now we shall have ration cards, but it doesn’t follow we shall be able to get rations.

October 8, 1939

There is news from Zurich today of the beating up of Frau Anna Zeigler, the Nazi’s Woman’s Leader. She was speaking somewhere in the Ruhr district, and told the women Hitler was very angry with them, because they were not keeping up the morale of their men, and that he would treat them like soldiers. This made her audience so angry, so wild, that they stormed the platform and beat her up and scratched her so severely that she had to be taken to the hospital. The Gestapo police arrested nineteen women. The woman shouted that they had no husbands, and they had no food. I should think they would be wild. If a man gave them such a line of talk they would just consider him some fool of a man, let him talk himself out, and pay no attention. For a woman to talk to them in this fashion is treason to the sex and I should think they would beat her up.

I am surprised at what we do hear about the submission of the German women. We were told one day that when the women would be waiting in the food-queues, to get their family rations, and sometimes having to wait for hours; army Louie’s would drive up, and impress a load of women, take them to the barracks, and make them cook and scrub for the soldiers. The excuse given was, that since they had plenty of time to wait in the lines, they had plenty of time for other purposes, so they must work for their country, and do whatever the Government told them. This sort of thing is outrageous but why do the women submit to it? The soldiers, by brute force, could compel the women to go to the barracks, but they couldn’t compel them to peel vegetables, or to scrub; and surely even the Germans wouldn’t be such fiends as to kill them for refusing. I can’t imagine Englishwomen submitting to such masculine tyranny. If our Tommie’s gathered up a load of women from Romford market I think they’d find they’d got a load of wildcats to deal with.

October 9, 1939

Can a leopard change its spots? I don’t think so. Ted was born and brought up in a mushy mawkish Evangelical atmosphere. His parents were Methodist Salvationist fundamentalists, and very ignorant people. His father was a drunk, alternating soaks with repentance. They went to Chapel and they had family prayers in the parlor every night, when everyone in turn had to pray aloud extempore. It must have been awful for violence and crudity of emotion and belief, and for lack of knowledge and dignity. Ted absorbed it all, and has never gotten over it. He can’t disbelieve the lurid Christian story. That’s why Catholicism fits him so easily, and that’s why he is not revolted by the materialism of the Catholic religion, for it is only an extension, and another facet, of the sort of religion he was bred to.

As for me, I never was a Christian. I’ve spent thirty years trying to believe the Christian religion, trying to hammer it into me or me into it and I can’t accept it. I think I must have been born a skeptic. As for my father, he was a skeptic. Born in a good middle class family, educated at Charterhouse, he became the gentlemanly conservative agnostic and skeptic of the brilliant nineties. My father had an exploring mind, and an appreciating one. Brought up in the Church of England he was intrigued by the High Church movement in his youth, but by the time I could remember him, he had stopped going to church, and had, instead, become interested in The Theistic Church, and Charles Voysey.

He became tired of that, too, and had ceased going there before I became a regular attendant about eighteen ninety nine or nineteen hundred. When I became interested in Theosophy, my father came with me to Theosophical lectures in Albemarle Street; and later when “Higher Thought” gained my interest, he used to come with me to The Higher Thought Center in Kensington High Street. When I think of Dad now, I realize that he never condemned any kind of thought, or any kind of thinker. He was interested in all thought. That’s why he was interested in all the arts, as well as all the philosophies and that’s why he couldn’t endure a fool.

So with me, I think Ted such a fool, and he bores me so desperately I don’t know how to endure him. I listen to his fool talk, talk about politics, about America, about religion, about art (of which he knows nothing)! and he sounds sillier and sillier. Ted has always been talkative, but now he is becoming downright garrulous. I listen to him because I can’t help myself, but inside my secret woman is exclaiming, you silly old fool! You bloody silly fool!

So these past few weeks I have been turning back to some of the old books, which at different times sustained me. When I have to live in this world that men have made, especially this Europe, run by male maniacs, I feel most vehemently, that I have no use for men, and I will not agree with them about any of their affairs. Why should I pay attention to what men say?

That’s why I am feeling so absolutely anti-Christian. Swinging back to what I was in my beginnings, anti Christian. What can a man tell me about God? What’s a priest, but a man? I have produced men, brought them to birth, suckled them, brought them to maturity, through every indignity of the flesh and no man can tell me anything, unless it is the rare man like Emerson or Whitman, who are talking about spirit and principles, not about other men.
That’s why my mind turns to Mary Baker Eddy. I know she did not live an impeccable life. I know her literary style was atrocious; but in spite of all her ignorance’s and defects, she was saying something that set women free of men. An American woman, with an American religion. I can understand and appreciate both. In the same way Adela Curtis was saying and doing the same thing for English women only she wasn’t clever enough to get into the limelight. The same things with Mary Austin, trying to work free in art and plot maps of genius, religion, and psychology.

Mary Cady Stanton, trying to free women submitted to men’s dictum's. They felt they were themselves, in their own woman pattern and so will I. No men can speak for me, or think for me, no matter how renowned he is in goodness and cleverness. I will think for myself and speak for myself as much as I dare. I have even been reading old Harriet Martineau. Its one hundred years since she asserted herself as an independent being. I want my Mary Beard. I loaned her book, Concerning Women. to Dorrie Stanforth more than a year ago, and she hasn’t returned it yet. I suspect she can’t read it.

That’s why I want to go to America, the country where people are not narrow-minded in traditions (and religions) of the past, and where women are accorded an equality with men.

October 12, 1939

It is Columbus Day in America. Very appropriately my papers arrived from America today. I now have all the necessary affidavits, from Harold and from Charlie, with which to approach the American Consul and ask for a visa. I have not mentioned them to Ted, as there did not seem to offer a propitious moment.

A very dear letter from Charlie was enclosed. He said that for eight years it has been his ambition to offer me a home in America.

What I did today was to write to the United States Lines Office in the Haymarket, and ask for a sailing list.

October 13, 1939

It is Arthur Thompson’s birthday. Had he lived I think he would have been 53 today. Had he lived, I wonder if he would have grown as peculiar as his brothers?

Continuing my preliminaries, this morning I telephoned Dr. Mauro and asked her whether she would give me duplicate statements to the effect that I was an honest and respectable person, etc. She agreed immediately, and told me she would leave them for me in her office at midday, which she did, and for which I am truly grateful. Last year I asked Father Bishop for these. He agreed to give them to me, after Mr. Thompson had been informed. This was quite all right with me then, now, this year, I am quite certain I don’t want any Catholic to stand as sponsor for me.

I will re-enter the states as I first went in: as a Protestant Englishwoman, and a member of the Church of England. (Confirmed in the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.) If I am really able to separate my life from Ted’s life, I will certainly separate myself in total from Ted’s church.

Then this afternoon I went round to Victoria Road and had some fresh passport photos taken at Madeline Myles. Tonight I asked Ted for some money to pay for my coat, which will be ready tomorrow. I have still not told him of the arrival of my affidavits. I think he thinks I have abandoned the idea of going to America! I don’t know when I will tell him. When I collect my passport photos I shall then have all the items the Consul demands before he will consider the request for an Immigration visa. Charlie writes me that he has sent in an official request to Washington asking for a special preference permit for me and that Bill Berry and Ruth Eason witnessed for him on the affidavit he had to send there.

October 14, 1939

There is news today of the sinking of the Royal Oak. Her compliment of men was approximately 1200; so far, only 370 are known to be survivors. This is worse than the loss of the Courageous. On Thursday of this week Mr. Chamberlain speaking in Parliament, scorned Hitler’s so-called peace offer of last week. Since Thursday the war has intensified. So it will go on, of course. Probably on the Western front it has not yet really begun. We are told that we have transported to France one hundred and fifty eight thousand men and twenty five thousand vehicles without a singe casualty. This week’s news is most seriously concerned with Finland. Russia has already swallowed Latvia and Estonia, and sent messages to Finland that she wished to negotiate concerning airbases and airports in Finland. Finland’s answer was to mobilize. Finland insists on being free Finland. Every day the news gets worse and worse, madder and madder. Europe is the place to get away from.

October 16, 1939

This morning Artie received notification that he must report for the Army Militia, at Victoria, on Wednesday the 18th.

October 17, 1939

Artie cleared up at the office yesterday morning and has been clearing up around the house ever since. He has been to see the R. A. F. Officer, because he was passed and accepted for a pilot, but he is told he must report to the militia as called. Perhaps a transfer can be arranged. He has not been called for the air before this, because they have been taking men who have been serving in the Civil Air Guard. He was shown his name as tenth on the list to be called, and was given a letter to this effect, to be given to the receiving officer tomorrow, at Victoria. It does seem silly to put him in the Militia, when they know he is passed for the air.

October 19, 1939

Artie left with Ted this morning. Tonight he phoned us that he is in the London Scottish, Branch of the Gordon Highlanders’; and can be addressed, Company D. 59 Buckingham Gate. I was so miserable and restless after he went, that I went to town myself, leaving Mrs. Shaw to carry on in the house, and get Ted’s dinner and tea for him.

I went straight to Hammersmith. Found Polly sitting by the fire, looking gloomy as hell, so took mother out forthwith. I Took her over to the co-op to buy a pair of black slippers and there in the shop told her of my plans and prospects for going to America. Naturally she was surprised, but just as naturally she was more interested in my immediate purchases than in my immediate news. I bought three hats (a russet velvet beret, a rose velvet turban, and a black felt-tricorne). I also bought three scarves to go with them, and four pairs of gloves, besides the black slippers. Silly purchases but I had to do something! Then we went back to the house, and Mother made some sandwiches for me, and we had tea. I left
soon after four o’clock. I decided on my way over I wasn’t going to travel through London in the dark. London is now so ghastly awful already a city of the dead.

October 21, 1939

I was surprised at teatime by Cuth and Artie walking in together. I was expecting Cuth for a weekend visit, but not Artie. They had met at Liverpool Street and traveled out together. Artie was in what is known as “Battle Dress,” including a huge khaki overcoat and a tin hat.

All the fellows had been sent home, and to stay the night, mainly, it would seem, so that they might bring home their entire private clothes and belongings.

All the same, as I go about my preparations I begin to feel sad. I will not let this sadness conquer my resolution to go. Ted could come to if he wished.

This morning began to make a short list of some of my books, which Miss Coppen might be interested to buy. This gave me a sick feeling. However, the US Lines people inform me that I must procure an exit permit, and be ready to hand over my keys at the dock to the customs officials, as all baggage is now being examined before leaving the country. Anyhow, I couldn’t carry books with me. It is better to get a little money for them if I can; but parting with my books, my specials, is like parting with my life’s blood. However, better no books and America, than all my accumulated possessions in England forever. Indeed, I will be satisfied if I can get to American with nothing more than my life. To get home alive to America, Oh will it be possible?

October 22, 1939

In a private talk with Cuthie today he said he thought it would be better for me to stay in England. I’d think you’d be better off here, he said. Over there it’s rotten. You’d always be sitting on somebody’s doorstep. That would be horrid. Here you are your own boss and maybe Dad will be different now we’ve gone.

Maybe he is right. He talked on some more about America, as he experienced it last year, and he kept on saying, You wouldn’t like it there, Ma. For a while it would be all right but you wouldn’t like living with any of the fellows, better stay with Dad, I think.
Well, whatever the situation there would be, I don’t know; but I’m certain that Cuth is positive I wouldn’t like it, and that he wants me to stay here. Anyhow I have not yet heard from the Consul. I wrote to the consulate, asking for an interview, with the object of obtaining an immigration visa, last Sunday, the fifteenth.

October 24, 1939

I am going to the movies with Ted this evening. As we were returning we were surprised to meet Artie, with Edna Renacre at the bottom of Eastern Road.

Artie said he had been trying to burgle the house, but couldn’t find a crack anywhere, to force an entrance. We all had a meal together, and then he had to leave for the nine-seventeen train. He is in Old Chelsea Barracks, he says, amongst all the old red-coated pensioners, but he does not know for how long. He said he went to see his grandmother last night, and he will go again on Thursday. On Friday he is to be moved down into Kent somewhere. So Ted and I have arranged to go to Hammersmith also on Thursday, and say goodbye to him there.

October 26, 1939

Before we were out of bed this morning the telephone was ringing. It was Artie on the wire, saying he had longer leave than he expected, and he would be out to Romford about teatime. So he could have a hot bath, clean socks, etc., etc. So I had to send a wire to Mother, telling her she would have no Thompson visitors today. When he came he brought Edna Renacre again, whom I thought a nuisance. He had to leave for the eight-seventeen train, as he had to be Barracks before ten. They go down to camp somewhere near Canterbury tomorrow, for eight weeks intensive training. Perhaps they’ll have leave for Christmas, but this is not promised them. He has had no word from the R.A.F.

October 27, 1939

I am writing to both Gladys and Aileen. I wrote to them about two weeks ago, telling them about my decision to go to America. Today I wrote to tell them I had reversed my decision. Yesterday I received a parcel from Joan, containing a lovely embroidered tea cloth from her as a parting gift and a silk tea cozy from Gladys. Somehow or other the reception of these gifts clarified my mind for me. I found I knew I wasn’t going. I still have heard nothing from the Consul but now I don’t need to hear. My mind is clear and steady; war or no war, husband or no husband, I’m going to stay here.

Ted did say something about me going in the week. He was asking what my plans were, and I told him I had not yet heard from the Consul. He was nice. Said he wanted to do what was the right thing for me, what was best for my happiness but if he helped me to go, it would still be against his wishes. He did not want me to go. Hadn’t I better think it over some more? Wasn’t I too impulsive? Think about it some more Lady, before you do anything rash, or anything that can’t be easily undone. He kissed me with tenderness. He was kind to me to on Sunday.

The boys left here about five o’clock, to go to tea at the Pullan’s, where there was a party, as Will was also home on leave. Cuth called a taxi, and as I watched them driving away, both in uniform, I felt I would die and I began to cry. Ted came over to me, and sat by me on the sofa, and put his arm around me, in comforting. Oh, why can’t he always be kind? Why can’t I remember his kind moments? Anyhow, I know now that I have decided to stay with him. I can’t run away. We are married: for better for worse, till death do us part. God help me.

October 29, 1939

It is “The Feast of Christ the King.” Had it been a fine day I would have gone to mass. But it was a pouring wet morning so I didn’t go out. Yesterday the new Pope published his first Evangelical. It will be known as Summi pontificatus, it’s offering words. It analyzes the radical and ultimate cause of the evils in modern society. This has led, step by step, to the present calamity of war. The condition of these errors is to be found in the denial and rejection of a universal form of morality through loss of belief in the Divinity of Christ and in God.

The two fundamental errors are, the forgetfulness of the law of human solidarity and Divine Charity and the divorce of civil authority from every kind of dependence on the Supreme Being. The civilization of the West cannot be restored, argues the Holy Father, except by the restoration of the unity of doctrine, faith, customs and morals inculcated by the church. I agree. When the intelligence of the church speaks, I can assent to it and though I have no feeling of faith, I can, with my head, acknowledge it as good and true. Ted’s obstinacy's, Mrs. Jude’s superstitions, shouldn’t keep me out of church, of course, they don’t. They only keep me away from mass! I am a catholic, willy-nilly: I can’t help myself. So God help me!

October 30, 1939

I am feeling fine. Consequently have gone on a splurge and ordered half a dozen new books! 

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