World War ll London Blitz: 9-1-40 to 9-23-40 Our last warning yesterday sounded at nine p.m. The all clear was not given until five fifty-five a.m. this morning. Seven more raids today.

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September 1, 1940

Ted had just gone out to mass, and I am waiting for the kettle to boil so that I can get a cup of tea. Yesterday I lived through what has been the most terrifying day of my life. Today may be even worse. We were raided six times yesterday, starting at half past eight in the morning, with the last raid at eleven-thirty until midnight. Then at twelve fifty-five this morning they came again, and the all clear was not sounded till three fifty-five this morning. So already we have had the first raid of today. The whole week has been full of raids, with an average of four a day, but yesterday surpassed all, in number, and in intensity.

Ted got no meals yesterday. The first warning went, as he was ready for breakfast. He did not return to the house, as we had a second alarm at ten-forty. He came in looking for lunch at twelve-fifty and at twelve-fifty five the siren went again, and off he had to dash to his shelter. When we were starting to eat just after five-thirty p.m. the sirens went again! Then we were raided at seven-fifty p.m. and again after eleven-fifty p.m.

The raids at one p.m. and five-thirty are the worst Romford has yet experienced. At mid day fifteen bombs were dropped in the very center of town. The first one fell in Victoria Road, only missing the railway bridge by a half block. Then in a straight line across all those little roads towards Hornchurch and the Romeo, fourteen others were dropped, demolishing shops and houses and killing many people. Rumor gave the estimate dead as fifty, but we do not know the actual number yet. Perhaps it was more. I sat alone here in the most awful terror I have ever known. The noise was devilish, the house shook so much I expected it to fall upon me, and the suction in this air is indescribable. Machines were dwelling right over the house, and each bomb as it fell sounded as though it might be in the back garden.

It lasted for an hour and I thought every moment was my last. I prayed as I never prayed in my life before. Not calmly, thinking about what I was saying, but wildly, incessantly, petitioning like any frantic child, God be with me! Jesus save me! Mary save me! Joseph save me! God be with me! God be with me!

Well, he was. I am still alive. In that hours terror I had no mind, no intellect. I simply called on God and all the saints I knew, the angels and the whole hierarchy of Heaven to save me. I wasn’t a mind or a person, considering, deliberating. I was a frightened human atom, calling on my Gods. The greater the terror and helplessness the stronger flared my faith. In that awful hour I believed The Faith as have never believed it before, even when I thought I did. Today I still believe. I must. Reason has got nothing to do with it. Belief is instinct. Perhaps it was yesterday that was the day of my real conversion.

Now I am going to dress ready for the day. I expect it will be a bad day. It is this Sunday a year ago that the war started. Anyhow the Germans would rather war on a Sunday than any other day of the week. Last Sunday, Artie wrote us, there was no church parade for the army. Our men stand ready every instant for the defense. With God they will save England. How many young men must die today? Oh, God help us!

September 3, 1940

A year today since the war started. Five raids yesterday. Three today.

September 5, 1940

The raids are increasing, lasting longer, and much more violent. Today’s list is: twelve-thirty a.m. till three am. Calling us from bed. Ten-fifty a.m. until eleven am three-ten pm till four-forty p.m. nine-ten pm till five am, tomorrow Friday, the sixth.

September 6, 1940

Raids worse and worse. After spending the night downstairs, we finally went up to bed at five a.m. when the all clear sounded. At five twenty in the morning the alarm came again, so we went downstairs at once. The raid lasted until six a.m. Then more raids followed through out the day. When the all clear came at eleven- twenty p.m. we went up to bed, but before we could settle to sleep the warning came again at eleven forty-five. It cleared at one instead of five, so we were able to get a little sleep. We did not wake until seven-twenty, still downstairs, but Ted dressed in five minutes, and rushed off to seven-thirty mass anyhow. Such enthusiasm! I believe. I have faith. I certainly haven’t got that urgent need to go to church. I can pray at home.

This morning finds us smiling anyhow. I think Ted is one of the funniest men in the world. Last night when we went up to bed at eleven-thirty he wanted to love. I couldn’t. The siren went and I went cold. Ted was surprised!

You don’t mean to say you lose feeling! Oh, don’t let that happen. Don’t let Hitler kill your pleasure for you. You don’t mean to say he can? You’re frightened? You don’t want to be loved? You want to get downstairs? Oh, Lady, what a shame! Oh, curse Hitler! Damn him!

Funny isn’t it? This morning he rushed to mass. Yes, the Thompson men do what they want to do all right. I was reading an article in the Times Literary Supplement today, on Wilfred Blunt. The writer commented, He (Blunt) could never accept that it was an abiding law that nothing is constant but change, nothing sure but love and death. I thought to myself, What love? Love to man means coition, and nothing else; and he will have it, even though the bombs are raining from the heavens. Oh, men are funny. It is a good job women can laugh at them.

September 7, 1940

First raid, very violent indeed: five-fifty p.m. till six-forty pm. There was death again dropping on the crowds of Saturday shoppers. Second raid, started at eight thirty-five p.m. continued without ceasing until five in the morning of Sunday.

September 8, 1940

Last nights raid on London was the worst yet. Last night was terrible. Ted and I cowered here in this little dining room. Ted pulled the couch into the corner, so I could keep my legs up, they get so bad when I sit, holding them down, for hours, and he rolled himself into a blanket, and lay on cushion spread on the floor. Several times I thought we were surely destroyed. I prayed and prayed, and here we are still alive, and a roof still over us. The radio announcer told us that the raiders had concentrated on London, especially the East End and the riverbanks.

Our R.A.F. brought down ninety-nine German machines, but our civilian casualties are grave, over four hundred killed, and between one hundred and fourteen hundred severely injured. One bomb fell into a shelter holding one thousand people! Several bad fires have started. This has been the worst raid of the war so far, and London has suffered tremendously. Oh God help us!

Our first raid today did not come till twelve-thirty in the afternoon and was comparatively short, ceasing at one-twenty-five p.m. Our next, and last, still proceeding, began at eight-o-five p.m, nearly an hour earlier than their usual evening start. Raid ended at five thirty-five a.m. of Monday the Ninth.

Another night of terror. Ted rolls up on the floor and can even fall asleep. I lie on the sofa and tremble from top to toe. The situation is completely frightful, and we are only on the fringe of it. What the actual hell further into London must be, God knows.

September 9, 1940

It is eleven-fifteen a.m. now Monday the ninth, no figures yet available. No raids so far today. The sky is clouding at last! If only the rain would fall, that would be a blessing. Most awful fires are raging in the city; I don’t know how man can cope with them. Oh God, send us rain! I don’t know what has happened in Hammer- smith. According to the radio most of the damage has been further into the center of the city, and at the docks.

September 10, 1940

First raid five-ten p.m. till six twenty-five p.m. second raid eight-forty p.m., lasting till five-fifty a.m. of Tuesday the tenth. This is the worst raid yet. City badly hit.

We had five more raids lasting from mid afternoon until five in the morning. These night raids are worse and worse. They are concentrated on London, and doing great damage, and killing many civilians. Everything is Hell. We had raids lasting on and off from mid morning until the following day.

September 12, 1940

Three-twenty p.m. No raid so far today. Yesterday’s afternoon raid on London was the heaviest yet, but we brought down eighty-nine German Machines, to our own loss of only twenty-seven.

Last night’s raid was a little less successful than the other night raids for the Germans, because we had brought heavier anti-aircraft guns into action, and their bombers could not get through so well as the other nights. There was just as much damage done in Aldgate East London. Yesterday afternoon they got Buckingham Palace! This week London has suffered tremendously. Huge fires at the docks, Eastham, Bow, Poplar, Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Bishops gate, several London hospitals, churches and museums, railway stations, schools, workhouses, shops, factories, devastation seems to be endless, St. Paul’s churchyard, Cheapside, The Bank, Regent Street. No rain.

Today a strong wind is blowing, but the moon won’t be at the equinox until the twenty-first, and twenty-second. The Briton and Londoner are not terrorized. He is simply coldly angry, and more determined than ever to lick Hitler and his Nazi’s. The devil himself can’t

frighten an Englishman.

I am frightened. Many bombs have fallen here in 
Romford and nearby, houses are stuck into heaps, and people killed. I lie in the corner and pray. That’s all I can do. Last night the gunfire was simply terrific. The din itself scares you. We were told this morning that it was our heavier guns in action, and that they were effective in checking the German onslaught.

September 13, 1940

Our last night warning was sounded at nine-ten p.m. and the all clear did not come until five-fifty a.m. this morning. The rest of this days raids: seven-forty a.m. to eight thirty-five a.m. nine-fifty a.m. to two p.m. This was a terrific bombardment of London. Amongst the targets hit was Buckingham Palace. Four p.m. to four-twenty p.m.

September 14, 1940

Our last warning yesterday sounded at nine p.m. The all clear was not given until five fifty-five a.m. this morning. Seven more raids today.

September 15, 1940

I had an hour of inexplicable exquisite happiness this morning. First of all I had a good sleep in bed, the first for a long time. When the all clear came at three-thirty this morning I decided to go up to bed, and hope for two undisturbed hours, in coolness and comfort. I slept along until seven o’clock, when Ted came up and began to dress for church. He goes to church every morning, raids or no raids. Then after breakfast I had time to get a good bath and dress in all fresh clothes, such a treat! Then the day was wonderful, bright and sharp and clear, one of those astringent autumnal days which I have always loved. I put on a dress I had never worn before, a dark blue crepe I bought at Pontings last year.

When I came downstairs, about quarter to eleven, I was feeling fine. I felt well and lithe and beautiful. I felt grand, Ted was out in the garden, and the dining room was full of sunshine. I turned on the radio and a most enticing dance was playing. I felt so fine, so happy, so well, I began to dance. All alone by myself in the little room I danced and danced. I danced every dance the band gave out. I was happy. Happy. Then, ten minutes after the band finished, came the first siren of the day eleven fifty-five a.m. It lasted for an hour, and when the all clear came I was back to my normal sobriety. Four raids today.

September 16, 1940

A day of incessant raids: six raids.

September 17, 1940

The second warning of the day sounded just now at nine-ten a.m. The first lasted from eight to eight forty- five a.m. Last night was one of the very worst yet. When the all clear came just before three o’clock, we decided to go up to bed. We thought the Germans were through for the night. Not a bit of it! Just before four the sirens sounded again, and the onslaught, lasting until five thirty-five a.m. was even heavier than in the first part of the night.

The main attack, of course, was on London, but what damage was done we have not been told yet. When Ted came in from mass, at eight this morning, he told me that one bomb hit the presbytery last night, but bounced off the roof again without doing much damage. The Germans deliberately pick out churches and hospitals for targets. They have hit Westminster Abbey, and nearly destroyed St. Paul’s Cathedral. However, with the latter we were lucky. A bomb weighing a ton buried itself in Dean’s Yard, by Amen Corner, but did not go off. At awful risk our demolition squad was able to dig it out and rush it to Hackney Marshes, and it exploded there. Had it exploded when it fell, the whole Cathedral would have been brought to the ground.
Buckingham Palace has been bombed three times. Hits have been made on the Law Courts, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Thomas’s Hospital. Cheapside is practically laid flat. Regent Street has suffered badly, and Victoria Station, and Clapham Junction are practically wiped out. Nearly every London hospital has been bombed, and many churches. Some are quite demolished. Many city shelters, built to shelter hundreds of people, have been hit.
On Sunday the R.A.F. brought down one hundred and eighty five German machines, one hundred and thirty five of them bombers. Our losses are supposed to be only twenty-five machines and twelve pilots. 

Maybe. Who really knows what the truth is? All we really know is what we actually see and suffer for ourselves.

As far as can be conjectured this sort of war can go and is going on indefinitely. God help us all, it’s simply hell on earth. Today is cloudy and windy. The equinox is near. Clouds are worse for us than clear skies, for the Germans can hid behind the clouds and bomb us before we know they are over us.

Oh my God, what a world! Now the clock has struck ten and everything is quiet outside, thought the all clear has not been given yet. Oh, here it comes, ten o’clock. Well, now I must bathe and get dressed before the next warning sounds. I have to cook this morning too. Au-Revoir. Three more raids today.

September 18, 1940

Eight raids today. Eight warnings. This is the worse day yet. Last night was terrible. London is the main objective. Here in Romford Victoria Road was hit for the second time: three stores and four houses demolished there. On Eastern Road the Inland Revenue Offices were destroyed and on South Street, Jays, the furniture shop. Again, the Germans must have been trying for the Railway Bridge and station, as all these places lay near it.

Mrs. Branney came in this morning, between raids and Mrs. Jude came into lunch. Mrs. Jude had a tale that invasion has been tried. She says her window cleaner man, who came from Frinton yesterday, told her that at Frinton hundreds of dead Germans are being washed up on the shore. Maybe.

September 19, 1940

Three-Thirty p.m. Only one raid so far today After a very long night raid, lasting from eight o’clock last night until half past five this morning, all has been quiet except for one short warning lasting from eight fifty-five a.m. until nine-ten a.m. The night was awful. There is indiscriminate bombing against London. The B.B.C. said the casualties were again very heavy, in central London over ninety known to be killed, and more than three hundred severely wounded. Oxford Street, Berwick Street, Berkley Square, Piccadilly, Grosvenor Square, Marble Arch, got it last night. This is just plain murder.

When Ted came into lunch he told me he had had a mother and daughter in the office this morning, looking for a flat, and they told him they had been bombed three times! First in Poplar, where their house was demolished; then in Walthamstow, where they had gone for refuge, and again in a church, St. James the Great, where they had been transferred for safety.

One night last week over three hundred men, women, and children were destroyed in a school, to which they had been taken “for safety” after their homes had been destroyed. There is no safety in London anywhere. Hell! Hell! Goddamn Hitler.

I am most awfully tired, and getting very cranky. Nerves, of course. Last night Ted gave me a whiskey, but it didn’t help me to sleep anyway. Ted rolls up on the floor and goes sound off, but I lay on the sofa and quake. Sometimes I can doze off, in a lull, but directly the guns begin again I awake immediately. The barrage is very heavy, but the planes fly over steadily just the same. In
daylight our men can bring them down, or chase them away, but at night it is a much or difficult job. Modern war. My God, it’s awful. 
I notice I’m not praying so much. Either I’m getting used to bombardment, or else I’ve got greater confidence in our A.A. guns.
Anyhow, my thoughts are straying again to Mrs. Eddy, and her Christian Science. It is because I hate the works and words of men so much. I listen to the treacle that comes over the air: men talking. I listen to Ted and his damn foolish chatter and I know I hate the minds and talk of men. I hate men. I look at this world, which men have made, and I listen to their explanation and their exhortations, and I despise the idiots. Then they explain the almighty, and the mind and intentions of God! I think them presumptuous silly fools, and I think their religion worthless. No: give me a woman’s religion: give me a woman’s reason. No woman can be such a damn fool as a damn fool man.

Why must God be masculine? Oh, Christian theologies all seem to me so childish. I listen to Ted, so na├»ve, but thinking he’s so full of wisdom! I simply lump him for what he was in his beginnings, a Primitive Methodist. Well, that’s all right for that type of mind, but it’s not my type of mind, and I simply can’t stomach it.

I notice that Ted never expects intelligence in his listeners, never expects even an ordinary standard of education As for culture; all his assumptions are that it is non-existent.

As water seeks its own level, so do people. We are happiest when we all with our own kind, the sort of people we sprung from. So with Ted, he came from the poor and the uneducated, the chapelgoer’s, and unconsciously he assumes that all people in the world are only those sorts of people. I find this dreary and boring.

Ignorant people bore me. They may be good they may be saints, but Lord, how they bore me!
Here is something, which interests me. It is a letter, which was printed, in last Saturdays “Times.” I transcribe:

To the Editor of the Times

Sir, in my great misery I came across the following by Sir Walter Raleigh, written in fifteen-ninety-six.

Hope in it may comfort other as it has me, I send it to you:

I believe that sorrows are dangerous companions, converting bad into evil, and evil to worse and do us no other service than multiply harms. They are the treasures of weak hearts and the foolish, the mind that entertained them is as the earth and dust whereon sorrows and adversities of the world do, as the beasts of the field, tread, trample and defile. The mind of man is that part of God, which is in us, which by how much it is subject to passion by so much it is further from Him that, gave it to us. Sorrows draw not the dead to life but the living to death.

I am, Sir, The father of a missing pilot. St. James’s Street. S.W.I.

Yes. The mind of man is that part of God which is in us. My mind is that part of God which is in me and my mind is all I have in this world to help me. Reason, Conscience, and Love, which Voysey used to preach about.

Without my mind I am not. I cannot put my mind in blinkers. I cannot bamboozle my mind. I believe, as I must, not as I’m told. I can not do otherwise. As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is. Ted is one sort of a man, and I’m another. I’m not masculine at all. I’m woman. I feel as a woman, and I think as a woman, no matter what the pundits lay down. I accept no man’s values, no man’s rulings, and no man’s authorities.

I know my own heart, my own mind, my own soul,and my own God. My God is not the old Jehovah, not the gentle Jesus. My God is the God Jesus was talking about, Light, Life, Love, Wisdom, Beauty, Spirit, Truth, Joy. The spirit of truth, the comforter. The father in me, and me in the father. The mind of God in my mind.

Oh well, I cannot stop to sort this out now, but it is like the bouquet Mrs. Eddy made up. I don’t care if she was a plagiarist. In fact, I don’t care what sort of woman she was. She did get a hold of a great idea, and she did get it over to the world, especially to the world of women, who needed and still need, a woman to speak the mind of woman.

Men have spoken for us too long. We will speak for ourselves now. At least I’m jolly sure I will. There is no man living who can speak for me. No man can tell me anything contrary to my own mind and have me accept it. As for accepting the man! Oh, I groan.

September 20, 1940

Eleven Thirty a.m. air raid is on. The first warning of the day, sounded at eleven-ten. The weather is colder, cloudy, and blustery. The airplanes are passing and circling overhead, but I’ve heard no guns or bombs yet. Probably the main attack is again on the city. Last night was a most awful night. The warning was given at eight p.m. and our guns went into action immediately. The all clear did not sound until five-fifty am this morning. The B.B.C announced at eight that the damage on London had not been so severe as in some previous nights, most of the bombs falling on the outskirts of the city, in the East, Southeast, and Essex. Right here in Romford it was one of the most terrifying nights of the war. Bombs seemed to be falling all around us. I have not heard yet what damage was done, as nobody has been in yet. I was most horribly frightened, and fell back again into my praying. This is instinctive and primitive. There is nothing else one can do but call upon Go. Reason simply has nothing to do in such a situation of terror and helplessness.

Last night the Archbishop of York gave a talk on the air, What is wrong with the world? I like this man. He does talk sense. Sense, which is neither male nor female: sense, which is truth and reason. Why isn’t there more churchman like him? Why isn’t he made the chief spokesman for the Religion of England, instead of that old timeserving dodder, the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Later in the evening Thomson from next door came in. He wanted to telephone to Mrs. Thomson, in Cullompton. He told us Plessis had been bombed on the previous night. They employ seven thousand people. Luckily no one had been killed. He also told us of different experiences of various people in the firm who live in the East End. Walthamstow has been particularly badly hit. In one rescue school, three hundred and ninety three people had been killed in one raid. He said, that on Wednesday night, when the raids began again, the women of Walthamstow began screaming. The A.R.P. wardens had to remove them forcibly, and their screaming was awful.

Of course it would be. The damned lying papers, and news reporters, and B.B.C. announcers, will insist that the people are standing up to the raids with fortitude. Grim and gay, says Churchill. I don’t believe it. No woman can be gay about war. Women loathe war, and all war-makers. Women recognize the common sense of Jesus, who said, Go and be reconciled with your adversary quickly, whilst you are yet in the way, and before he delivers you to the judge and you will be fined to your last penny.

Women are not fools. Women are life preservers, never destroyers. Women know costs, and women will not, and cannot, waste.

September 21, 1940

We had only one other daytime raid yesterday. It lasted from seven-fifty p.m. until eleven fifty-five p.m. So, when the all clear came we went upstairs to bed. However, the warning came again at one twenty a.m. this morning, and lasted until half past five. This was an awful period, and I thought every minute we should be stuck. There was one most awful explosion, which nearly frightened me to death.

When Ted came into breakfast, he was ready to weep. The big explosion we had heard had been a land mine, and it had exploded in Havering Drive. Amongst others, the Ryecroft house had been destroyed, and the whole family killed. Ted was grieving fro young Peter Ryecroft, a young musician Ted liked very much.

Bombs had been dropped in various spots, one at Strathmore, opposite the laundry: two on Oakland’s Avenue: one on Kingston Road, opposite the nursing home: one in the back brook at Arden Cottage: and one by the post office on Carlton Parade. Water and gas mains were broken, and we were with out gas here until repairs were completed at about five this evening. Our other raids today were from eleven-fifteen a.m. till eleven-fifty a.m.: six-ten until seven-twenty p.m. and the last given at eight-eighteen p.m. is still proceeding.

September 22, 1940

It is worse and worse. Last nights raid lasted until four forty-five am this morning. Another land mine was dropped; this time between Stanley Avenue and Carlton Road. About two hundred houses are shattered and down, but luckily nobody was killed!

Two more raids today. I am sick with fright and nerves. I keep crying. I long to be in America. If I had money I would fly on the clipper. As it is, I must stay here. Oh, God preserve us!

September 23, 1940

It was another awful night. Our last evenings raid began at seven-ten p.m. but the all clear came at two forty-five a.m. Ted went up to bed but I didn’t. I knew the Germans would be back again before daylight, and sure enough, back they came at three-thirty a.m. Ted, of course, came down stairs, very promptly. The all clear came at six o’clock.

On the seven o’clock news we were told of the sinking of one of the vessels carrying refugee children to Canada! The ship was torpedoed and sunk over six hundred miles out in the Atlantic last Tuesday night. The full ship’s company totaled four hundred and six, including two hundred and fifteen of the crew and one hundred and ninety one passengers, including the children. Only one hundred and twelve of were rescued, and two hundred and ninety four were drowned. In all thirteen children, of who seven were traveling under evacuation scheme, were landed from the rescuing warship.

Ninety evacuee children were traveling with nine escorts. Only seven of these children and two of their escorts have been landed. The remaining eighty-three children and seven escorts have been lost.

This is German warfare, on a par with the present indiscriminate bombing of the women and children of London. The whole civilized world curses Hitler. I hope he burns in hell forever. Four-thirty p.m. now, we have has two more raid for the day so far. It has been announced that the King will broadcast to the nation at six o’clock this evening so I expect we shall get a heavy raid right then.
I went in to see Dr. Keighley this afternoon. I am still losing weight, but my leg is still very inflamed, and painful. She gave me some medicine for my nerves today. I am all on edge, broody and weepy. I feel I cannot endure this damn war any longer. I’ve got to endure it.

Mrs. Ryecroft was found in the debris of her house, but not the slightest trace of Peter could be found. Mrs. Ryecroft was pinned right through her breast by a big beam. The rescue squad had to saw her in half to extricate her body. This is horrible. I weep and weep. I think such violent and sudden death may descend on me in any hour, and I weep for my children, whom I may never see again. My boys. Oh God, preserve me, and give me my children in this world again.

When speaking of the Ryecroft’s Ted said, But they are all in heaven! Such a remark drives me crazy. Heaven! What one wants is life in this world. Would it console me to think my dear ones were in Heaven? No, not ever. I want life here, where I know it, in the flesh. I want my sons to live their full human span, not to be destroyed in their flower. Oh God, save us, save us, and bring this war to a speedy end. 

World War ll London Blitz: 8-3-40 to 8-29-1940 The sound of bombs and guns all morning, and an air raid warning at eleven o’clock. No damage in Romford.

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August 3, 1940 

The word for today is forlorn. When Dr. Keighley came in to see me on Monday, she ordered me to bed and I have been there until today. Definitely I have got phlebitis. What is worse, I have got melancholia.To be in this house alone, ill, is more than I can stand. Ted has been looking after me: nobody else. He has done his best, of course.His competency about everything practical, and his damned silly talk, has got me down. He asks me directions about things, and then when I begin to tell him, he starts cross-questioning me on my answers. It’s most exasperating.

Yesterday I fell into the weeps, and began weeping again first thing this morning. After he had gone through the routine rigmarole about my breakfast tray, I asked him, please to bring me up my bottle of haliveroil capsules. Where were they? They were on the kitchen cabinet. Which room? I exploded. The kitchen cabinet is in the kitchen of course! I felt furious: sick to death of his silly questions. So I made up my mind not to ask him for anything else, but to get up and attend to myself. I felt crosser and crosser. He should have got a nurse or a woman in to attend to me anyhow! Not Ted, that costs money. So this morning I finally felt desperate, and as soon as he had left the house I got up and dressed. I ought not to have done so. I am really ill. My leg is very bad, and Dr. Keighley told him so. That makes no impression on Ted.

Well, when I got downstairs I had a fit of wild weeping. He had re-arranged the kitchen and the dining room. He had turfed out my tea wagon and shoved it under the sink, and my little kitchen table he had placed upside down on the kitchen table, and filed it with crockery. He had been having a clearance. I was enraged, and I burst out crying. However, I pulled myself together and set to work to put everything back in its proper place. I washed up all the dirty crockery about, threw out stale and bad food which had accumulated, cooked some fresh vegetables and made soup. When he came in at one o’clock he was surprised to find me down stairs, and started to order me back to bed. However, I’d had enough of bed and that was that. Then when he went out at two o’clock, I went upstairs, and cleaned and turned out my room. Whilst lying in bed I had thought out a better way of arranging our room than he way we had it.
So this afternoon I simply set to work and re-arranged it. I wanted to clean the room anyhow, as it was filthy dirty, and I moved the furniture myself. It took me three solid hours, but I did it. I was determined I wouldn’t ask him anything about it, or to do anything for me. As a practical man Ted is simply useless.

This house is on my nerves. We have been here two months now, and it is still not to rights. Every job Ted does is badly done. When he lays linoleum, he laps it! I’ve said nothing about it. I’m just waiting for Artie to come home, and do the job properly. Every job Ted does is like that. Incompetency is his middle name. He thinks he’s so smart too! About five weeks ago he threw the garden hose into the little alleyway that leads to the outside toilet, and it lays there, one messy tangle. Several times I have asked him to roll it up on its wheel, and put it away, but no, its still there, in the way, and has to be walked on by everybody who uses the toilet. All the workmen have been going over it, the carpenter, the plasterer, the bricklayers who have built us a large coal shed and I twist my ankle on it every time I go round that corner. It might take five minutes to roll it up, but no, it isn’t rolled. Then he points out to me a scrubbing brush left in the drain! It isn’t my scrubbing brush, anyhow, but belongs to one of the workmen. My God, I’m out of patience.

Well, he’s with his beloved brother tonight. I might have remained in bed and he’ll still be at Herbert’s tonight. Oh, is this a lonesome life! Oh, if I’d only got a daughter, a woman child around! I haven’t, so I must look after myself. It is nine o’clock now, and getting dark, so I will go and re-bandage my leg for the night before it’s time for the blackout. The Germans continue raiding us nightly. They dropped incendiary bombs in Harold Wood two nights ago. Oh this damned war that gets us down too. Au-revoir.

August 4, 1940

Twenty-Six years ago today Great Britain entered the last war. Six-thirty p.m. and it is a warm sunny evening. Ted is out at church. I have been downstairs all day today and feel much better for it. I am apparently no worse for my furniture shifting yesterday, though I have two big purple bruises on my arm. I must have hurt myself with out realizing it. My ankle is drying up considerably, but the phlebitis patch is swollen and inflamed as ever. However, in my spirits I feel fine. Bed was getting me down. I am now going to fix up my bed and listen to the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Henry Wood, playing the “Pathetique” at seven fifty.

Here is what I purchased at Bumpus: Beard: Rise of American Civilization, Wright: Hawkers and Walkers in Early America, Emerson: Works: Complete in 4 volumes, Melina Rorke: Memoirs of the 90’s in South Africa, Landor: Classical Conversations, Undset: Stages on the Road. I am delighted with this lot.

August 5, 1940

It should be a bank holiday, but it isn’t. I wrote to Cuthie and keep choking with laughter at something I consider very funny. When I shuffled my room around on Saturday, of course I had to shift and re-hang the pictures. Because I couldn’t quite make up my mind
to where to hang it, I did not re-hang the crucifix, but left it on Ted’s bureau. Well, he has hung it plumb over the middle of the head of the bed. This, I know, is the traditional position for it in Catholic families. I have always kept ours away from that spot. I have put it in obscure places: behind the door, or in a recess, or beside Ted’s mirror. When one considers what goes on in the connubial bed, the wall behind and above it seems to me the most inappropriate place possible ever to hang a crucifix. Such a position for such and article just strikes me as funny. Hope I don’t giggle some night soon when Ted wants to be a loving husband.

August 6, 1940

Dr. Keighley says I may now put a new “viscopaste” on my bad leg, and she will see it again in a week’s time. I am still to rest as much as possible. I am not to put on my shoes, nor walk about the house more than is absolutely necessary. So I’m still to play Madame Recamier on the sofa. I had a cheery leaflet put in the letterbox this morning. Our orders what to do in case of invasion. The authorities seem certain the Germans will attempt invasion during the next week or fortnight. My God! When is this crazy war going to end!

There is a rumor today, via Reuters, that Julius Streicher is dead. Supposedly executed by Goring’s order. Streicher was the notorious Nazi Jew baiter. I am sure the world hopes he is dead: hopes all the Nazi’s meet violent death, at the hands of their “friends.” Pray God they do taste in themselves their own brutalities and betrayals.

August 7, 1940

The sound of bombs and guns all morning, and an air raid warning at eleven o’clock. No damage in Romford.

Started with a new charlady today; a much younger woman than Mrs. Bull. Mrs. Rose Whitan, who is Mrs. Fardell’s daughter. The house certainly looks better for her ministrations.

Provoked at lunch by Ted’s criticisms. In the pantry there was the remains of Sunday’s leg of lamb of which we were tired, and a gammon rasher of ham, some leftover stewed plums, of which Ted hasn’t eaten any. So, I served lunch as follows: The gammon rasher baked with some Heinz beans, a dish of pilaf, with plenty of onions and tomatoes; some canned pears and coffee. Ted said the rasher was tough, and I could have it and the pears he remarked, Why tinned fruit? Don’t you know you should serve fresh fruit these days? You certainly are a bum housekeeper!

It would have been no good offering him the cold lamb. He refused that the last time it came to table. He also refuses stewed plums; moreover, I didn’t want red plums after red tomatoes, and as for the cold rice pudding, naturally I wouldn’t serve that after pilaf, which is basically rice. So I served nice white tinned pears. Actually tinned fruit is cheaper than fresh provided you could get any fresh! Cherries, strawberries, currants, and raspberries are finished. Melons, black- berries, and apples are not in yet. Bananas haven’t been seen for weeks. Oranges are three pence apiece. Lemons are offered at ten pence - ten pence! A piece! And eating apples, if you can find them, are a shilling a pound. So what?

Even in today’s paper correspondents are writing in to complain of the high price of fruit, and asking can’t something be done about it; and one woman actually stated it was cheaper to buy tinned fruit than fresh. At least the tinned fruit is sweet. The sugar ration is eight ounces per week per person. Therefore in this house one pound of sugar per week is all I can get and that is four and a half pennies per pound. Plums are five pennies per pound and should be one penny. There is no fruit. There is no sugar to stew it with, even if we could get fruit. Tomatoes stay at one one shilling per pound and should be offering at four pence. At this time, there are no imports, which accounts for the lack of bananas and citrus fruits, but the dealers are profiteering on all homegrown produce. 
In spite of government control the cost of living has increased by at least fifty percent since the beginning of the war. Ted says I’m a bum housekeeper! Well maybe I am but I do get damn tired of his comments. I didn’t answer him. What was the good?

August 15, 1940

The Feast of the Assumption

I don’t care a damn about what feast it is. I am full of the most awful anger. All night I was awake with the airplanes passing and passing overhead. No alarm was sounded, but I expected one every minute. Ted lay peace- fully sleeping. I lay cursing. I cursed Hitler, I cursed the war, I cursed all the old politicians, and all the blah- blahing jingoists. I cursed all men for what they have brought the world to and I cursed my man for what he has brought me to, and brought the twins to. God damn men, I say, and he is doing so; but in their damnation we women are damned too, and double damned. We are all not only cursed by nature, but we are cursed by the world the men impose upon us, and then bring about our ears. What do I care for the fairy tales of Theology? I care nothing, not a farthing. I hate men and all their romances.

August 16, 1940

I am steadier today, but with a ruthless mind. I was full of visitors yesterday. Mrs. Jude came in on her way from the late mass (which Ted had been playing. “playing” in more senses than one, I think), and stayed to lunch. Then before she left, early in the afternoon, Irene White arrived with the baby Bernadette and before she left Mrs. Ryle called, and also stayed to tea. We talked about eternal life ideas of my own.

Then at half past seven in the evening, the air raid warning was given. It’s very terrifying. Ted was painting the bathroom, but came down and said he supposed he ought to go down to his shelter. I exclaimed, Oh don’t go, don’t leave me! And then I got a harangue. He didn’t go, saying that since it was only open until eight o’clock, and since it was Thursday and so there wouldn’t be many people about on South Street, and it would be eight o’clock before he could get there — still, he began to scold me. He scolded until the all clear. He said I was a very selfish woman, and that there were other people to be saved beside me. He said I was a fool if I couldn’t be left alone, and he said to be frightened was silly. One ought to control one’s fear.

I gave up. I give up. I feel I hate him, more and more. He does not see his own selfishness; but if ever any person pursued undeviating his or her own desire, that person is Edward Thompson.

These past weeks I have really been very ill. He hasn’t realized it at all. I have suffered intense pain, and great loneliness. To be left alone ill in bed, day after day, was unbearable. He didn’t even get a nurse to look after me. I couldn’t bear it, up there all alone. I longed for my children. I do long for my children. I should be in the midst of them, where they could come to look after me in my need, and where I could take occasional pleasure in their presence, ill or well. No, Ted has arranged things differently. When I look at the baby Bernadette running around the house, I feel that my little grand-daughters should also be able to come in and run around; and when I think of Cuthie and Artie caught up in this devilish war, I think that too is Ted’s fault and I hate him for all the deprivation and sorrow he has brought upon me, so he thinks it is his duty to go and stand guard over the passing strangers who may enter a shelter and my duty to sit alone while he does so. My terror, which I cannot help, is of no account. So I think, where are my children? Where are my children! I am alone, sickly alone.
All this week the air raids have been intensifying. Yesterday’s raids were the heaviest yet. Over a thousand German planes attacked us, in nine different attacks. Report says we brought down one hundred and forty four of them. Oh hell! Hell for all of us and for all the boys in the air too, British or German. All this is the work of men’s minds and men’s hands. I say curse such works of men, and all men’s crazy ideas. War! What sense is there in war?

Would women make war? No. Women are realists. Women know the cost of life. They preserve it, save it, and heal it. It is women who know what love is, and it women who love. not men. They can only hate and destroy. Yet they see themselves as heroes. My God!

At twelve-thirty p.m. the siren sounded. I closed and darkened the windows, lowered the gas in the oven, and sat in Auntie Daisy’s rocker in the corner of the dining room to wait for the all clear. This did not sound till one-twenty p.m. soon after half past Ted came in smiling and very pleased with himself. He told me about the wonderful good conduct of all the people in his air-raid shelter. He said there were about one hundred and seventy five men, women, and children, all very good. He added, You see, you’re alright. Nothing has happened to you. Yes, I’m alright but something has happened to me. I do not expect Ted to come home to me during daytime raids. I know he has pledged himself to take charge of a shelter between the hours of eight am and eight p.m. I do expect him to be here with me at night. Last night the warning startled me, and involuntarily I asked him not to leave me. This, in his eyes, was a crime. He did not stay with me because I asked him to, but because by the time he could have changed his clothes and got to the shelter the time would have been after eight p.m. To be alone in danger at night is partic- ularly frightening, and the fact that the mere bodily presence of another human being can give comfort and courage i

I say he is cold-blooded, and not human. He is proud
of his insensibility; he thinks that shows his superior intelligence. Use your mind, Lady! Use your mind!

Does he suppose I want to be frightened? I do use my mind otherwise I should lose it. What I suffer is pure animal fright. It is the old primitive woman in me who knows she has reason to be scared, and she acts without waiting for directions from my head. She acts scared, in the very pit of my stomach, and I can’t control her, either. She knows danger better than I do, and she pays no attention what so ever to my educated reason. She didn’t panic quite so much today because it was mid-day perhaps, with bright sun shining. How queer it was afterwards to pull back the curtains and see the serene and shining day!

Nor did I pray so much today, not in the same way as in the dark nights. I called more simply on God. God be with me! God be with me! I tried to pray to Mary, Queen of Heaven and on the instant knew that such an invocation had become empty for me. On the instant I
saw that my Catholicism had dropped from me, like the dead skin, which curls and drops from my leg each day. I’m back where I was forty years ago, in a pure Theism.

That is what happened to me. My God is an impersonal principle: the Light, Life, Love, and Goodness that Jesus used to talk about. God is a spirit and my spirit was calling to spirit and that is all it can call to. To me all the historical fact, true or fancied of religion, is only a great hindrance. Persons confuse me and weary me. I do not even think of God as father. The fathers I have known have not been very effective men. I certainly do not think of Mary, Mother of God. For I am a mother myself, and know the limitations of mothers. Such ideas of religion are not adult enough for me. To what person that I know, or know of, could I appeal? Not one. For there is not one person in this world that I could ever feel to be, let alone acknowledge being, my superior. I can only look to myself, the God within, my principle.

As for Catholicism, I do not feel impelled to disown or disavow it. The practice of the Catholic religion is a performance, which I can perform, and will perform, as far as I am able, for as long as Ted and I have to continue to live together. I can go through the motions. Inside nothing can make me believe, noting can give me that faith. I am a natural born heretic, and nothing, nothing not even love, policy, or war, can convince me against my own convictions. I can conform, can bow down in the house of Rimmion, but my inner secret self is free, and will be free, no matter how persuasively I try to put her into shackles.

Sitting there in the dark, waiting for the chance of death, which might descend on me at any moment, I saw all this. Sitting there waiting, wondering if I should ever see my children again, it was a wait at the bar of death, and I saw myself, with out any pretences, as the woman I am. It is the woman I have always been, a woman with a practical mind, a free spirit, and a rational soul: essentially individual, and asserting my own terms, my own woman’s terms against my world and my life, as I have to live it. Men’s terms, men’s reason, men’s rulings, men’s arguments, are not for me. I see what men’s works are, and know that I could do better. No man, ancient or modern, dead or living, is going to dictate to me; not to my free mind, my free soul. A husband, the man’s made world I can not shake loose from may constrain my person and my movements but myself, inviolably myself, and men’s religious hold no validity for me.
I have just been attending to the dustman. He tells me they are all collecting “dust.” He was enthusiastic about our air force, and spoke of the raid over Croydon last night. He thought this mid days raid must have been at Croydon as the guns sounded that far away. He also told me, One of our chaps lost his wife last night because of the siren. When that sounded she just dropped down dead. Just dropped down dead. That’s what fright can do to a woman. Ted jeers, and asks, What is there to be afraid of? Pain and fire, anxiety for those who belong to us and are exposed directly to danger, mutilation, suffocation, and sudden death; that’s what is to be afraid of.

It is now seven forty-five p.m. Ted has just left for church. He says he will be late returning because he has a meeting in the presbytery afterwards. The King has made an announcement that he desires Sunday September Eighth, to be observed by all as a day of prayer President Roosevelt likewise, for the same Sunday. Why pray?

Nations go to war because they will war. God does not inflict war upon the world. So why ask him to stop it? As war is waged by the collective will, it is the longest enduring will that will win it. Having once started a war, men must fight till they beat or are beaten. To petition Jehovah to bless the battle is to return to the mentality of the Bronze Age. When men no longer desire war they will cease to wage it. Why ask God to save us? We must cease being stupid and save ourselves.

At five-fifteen p.m. we had another warning, and the all clear did not sound until an hour afterwards. There was more noise and more planes overhead than at mid-day. This time I did not pray at all. Instead I felt myself suffused with anger, that men can be such fools. What good does a war do? Men destroying each other, and reporting it like a sport too! It makes me wild. It is the greatest senseless folly men ever commit. God, how I hate all fool men! War is the worst terror and destruction in the world. I hate it, beyond everything.

Yet there are some fools who declare it is the punishment of God for the sins of the nations. To me this is sheer blasphemy. God does not ordain war man ordains it. Men will have it so; and when they will not have it so, then and only then, will it cease to occur.

Yesterday when I was clearing out an old basket of rubbish for the garbage man I found an old New York publication, which was most illuminating for today. The Literary Digest put it out in nineteen twenty-two. It is an Atlas of the New Europe and the Far East, showing the new countries and new boundaries resulting from the Great War and from the Treaties of Peace, with Explanatory Historical, Political and Economic articles prepared from the most recent and authoritative sources in Europe and America.

Studying these maps it is easy to see why Germany finally began on her campaign of aggression and why Russia, Hungary, Italy, follow suit. The settlement of Europe after the Great War was hugely vindictive, and naturally unreasonable. That settlement should have
been unsettled long ago. But no! Nothing sensible! The have’s kept tight hold on the loot. Everything Hitler had been asking for could have adjusted by good will, brains, and justice. I believe that when he said he wanted peace, he meant it. He was fobbed off and fobbed off. So he took what he wanted in the end, and he has taken it by force, cunning and violence. The old statesmen of Europe are to blame for this war primarily, damn them. My God, will men ever really live by reason and justice!

August 17, 1040

A quiet day. No warnings. I read an article in the Times today about the indifference of the French. This does not surprise me. I’m sure the French never really wanted to go into this war. They hadn’t been attacked. They were tired of war, not fully recovered from the Great War of fourteen yet. Why should they fight for the Poles? So too I think it was with our men in France. Why fight for the French, or the Belgians? Now that they have come home, they will fight for home. Any man can see why he should defend his own land, but it is not so easy to see why he should fight to defend the land of the foreigner.

August 18, 1940

A warning at one o’clock today, which lasted an hour and another at six o’clock, which lasted forty minutes. Report is that the Germans have destroyed Croyden.

August 19, 1940

Yesterday’s was the worst raid of the war yet. Croyden is practically wiped out. No major raids today. Very tired. The strain of the raids is exhausting.

August 20, 1940

Artie came home last night. We were just going up to bed, about ten-thirty p.m. when he knocked at the door. He has three days leave.

August 22, 1940

It is ten forty-five p.m. and I am alone in the house, and rather nervous. Artie left at six-thirty p.m. to return to camp. Ted left at two-thirty p.m. to take a walking holiday with George Butcher.

We have had no raids or warnings in this district today, but yesterday the Germans bombed Brentwood, which is very close. Last Monday they bombed North Weald, which perhaps is even closer. Last week they hit in Herald Wood. Anyhow here I am alone in the house, and have got to get through the nights somehow. The nine o’clock news was very alarming. We were told that today the Germans bombed our convoy in the channel, from the coast of France. They have long-range guns along the coast from Boulogne to Calais, and they bombed our ships all along the way to Dover. Doer was shaken! They also bombed the convoy from the air. What next? They have now reached London several times. Last week they got Wimbledon, as well as Croydon.

Anyhow, I’ve got to go to bed. I got Artie to change my furniture around again, before he went out this morning. I had him place my bed behind the door, and with its head against the inner wall. That position seems a trifle safer to me than the position it was in before. Though actually of course no spot is safe if a bomb actually hits you. Whole houses fall down six at a time, so what does it signify where the bed is? Of course I know I am in no more danger without Ted than with him. Nevertheless I am frightened to be left alone in this house. I’ve got to endure the loneliness and the fright. I might overcome the situation with a strong whiskey, but I don’t dare do that, because if I slept too soundly I shouldn’t hear a warning if it sounded. So all I can do is act valiant and pray. So goodnight. I keep telling myself I’ve got to go to bed, so I really had better go there. So goodnight, goodnight! God keep me!

August 23, 1940

It is eleven p.m. Ted telephoned from Oxford about a half hour ago. He said he was having a good time. He also gave me Butcher’s number and asked me to ring Mrs. Butcher and tell her where they were and that Georgie was well and having a good time. Of course I had to say I would but somehow or other this request made me flash with anger. Why the devil, I thought, couldn’t Georgie telephone his mother for himself! After all, he’s considerably over thirty years old! Maybe he wanted to save the price of a phone call. Anyhow, I think its cheek.

I was very near to anger all day anyhow. The sirens sounded at three-thirty a.m. this morning and I had to come down in the dark and sit alone in the house till the raid passed, which was four-ten a.m., much noise of guns and machines. We heard later today that the bombs fell in Edmonton, wrecking a cinema and a church, as well as several houses. Again tonight we had a raid. The siren sounded at nine-thirty but the all clear came at ten p.m. When I told Ted of the day’s two attacks, he only asked. Any damage done?

August 24, 1940

We have had two raids in this locality already today. The first came at eight-thirty this morning, and lasted till nine-twenty. The second came at eleven-twenty and lasted till eleven forty-five. Mr. Shea was here during the second one, fixing the radio for me. I’ve had it shifted from the parlor to the dining room. In this house we have no second loud speaker, so that to hear the radio whilst in the dining room it was necessary to leave both the parlor and the dining room doors open. This is not so bad in summertime, but as the weather cools it is not pleasant especially as the little hall and the front door intervene, providing plenty of draught.

Young Shea saw the raiders last night. He said they looked to him to be over Albridge. Wherever they were the explosions shook this town. When Ted phoned me at ten-thirty last night my heart was still galloping from the fright they gave me an hour before. Yesterday, too, Dover and Folkstone were gunned from the French coast. Over one hundred shells were delivered from Corp Gres Key. War. Man’s game.
It is five p.m. The third raid of the day has just finished. The siren blew at three-thirty and before I could close the windows and pull down the shades the bombs began falling. This has been the worst raid we have had so far. I expected this house to be struck at any minute. There were two terrific blasts, which sounded as though they had got the station, or the hospital. What a day for it to happen! A Saturday afternoon with the town crowded with all the Saturday shoppers!

It is now six p.m. Edna Renacre has just been in to see if I was aright. She said there were eight German machines over Romford. Our spitfires went up to attack and the duels could be watched from South Street. She said she saw two machines brought down towards Rainham and three large open ambulances full of bodies on stretchers going towards the hospital. The last bomb fell at Upminster, on the railroad and when she went into Romford Station a few minutes ago to buy her season ticket, a board was being put up, stating that all services to Upminister and Elm Park were suspended. South Street, Eastern Road, this Western Road, and Carlton Road are full of scattered shrapnel.

It is ten-thirty p.m. getting sleepy but afraid to go up to bed. The nine o’clock news said that a continuous air-battle has been going on all over England all day. Guns from the French coast have also been shelling over South coast intermittently, destroying property and causing casualties. Ramsgate has been severely damaged. Here the gas works were set afire. The machines over Romford were apparently part of a group of fifty, which were making for London.

Elizabeth Coppen phoned me this evening that Clem and her husband were at South Weald this afternoon and ran into a terrific battle overhead. They had to get out of their car and lay in the ditch. They had a six-month-old baby with them!

The news said we brought down thirty-four machines and lost ten, but one of our pilots was safe. One! This is God damned ghastly awful. I am furious. I grow angrier and angrier.

No news from Ted today. Just as I wrote this the phone rang. It was Ted, phoning from Reading. He says he will be home some time tomorrow afternoon. No raids where he was. He sounded half drunk to me but perhaps it was only the transmission. Take care of yourself, he said. Yes, by God, I have to!

August 25 1940

I have just been listening to the morning’s news. It stated that eight hundred German bombers, escorted by and equal number of fighters attacked us in the afternoon yesterday. Three hundred, with their escorts attacked the London area, five hundred with their fighters, the Portsmouth area. Our group overhead right here consisted of thirty bombers with about thirty escorting fighters. Except saying that that forty-nine of the bombers were brought down no other estimates of losses, either the German’s or ours was given. This is rather ominous, I think.

Then again late last night we had another raid. It lasted from eleven-thirty p.m. to one-thirty a.m. this morning. This was directed to London. An incendiary started a large fire there, in a commercial building. It was brought under control. Nonetheless the announcer added that for a quarter of a mile in every direction the streets were crowded with our firemen and machines and fire-fighting apparatus, and the whole neighborhood closed to the public. What is one to think? This was no little fire, confined to one commercial building, was it?

When the late siren went last night the Thomson’s from next door came in here to sit with me. They stayed until two o’clock in the morning. I think this was very kind. When I saw Mrs. Thomson yesterday morning she was very surprised to learn I had been alone the previous night, and later in the afternoon she came to tell me, Jack says if there is a raid tonight he is coming in to sit with you. He was awfully shocked to hear you were alone last night. So remember, don’t get frightened. If there’s a warning tonight, we’re coming in to sit with you. That’s sure. John says you shan’t be alone if he can help it.

So they came, very promptly, too. They laid the child on the sofa, and we sat together round the fire, chatting. I was glad, for I was sick with nervousness. John Thomson persisted in talking, and every time the explosions shook the windows he just sat calmly ignoring the battle, and talking, talking, telling stories, reminiscing. He was very helpful. So different from my man, who, if he had been here, would have been tish-tashing about, snappy with impatience, and cursing the Germans for disturbing his sleep. Yes, that’s how it would have been.

Now I want to go upstairs and dress. Edna said she would come in to lunch with me today so that I shouldn’t be alone. That is kind of the girl. I have to do my leg too. It is very bad again this morning, with inflammation and swelling spread up the leg again from where is had receded, and open and throbbing with pain at the ankle. Nerves, I suppose.

I shall not write here in again today. Edna will be here at noon, and Ted will probably arrive around teatime. Last Sunday the Germans got Croydon. I wonder what they will get today! Sunday is their favorite day for destruction. So Au-revoir.

August 27, 1940

It is t,en a.m. and I am feeling very wonky. The German’s were raiding over London for six hours last night. Our Romford sirens blew at ten-thirty p.m. and the all clear did not come till three-thirty this morning. Consequently, no sleep, so very tired.

On Sunday the first raid did not come till ten-thirty p.m., and lasted one hour. The next came as we were settling to sleep at quarter to one, but this one only lasted half an hour; then we had nothing till half past three yesterday afternoon. I had only just got into the house, returning from the doctor’s. This raid lasted till four-fifty p.m. and was a bad one.

This week’s report from the doctor was not so good. Inflammation and swelling has spread up my leg again, and I have put on weight instead of losing any. I have put on nearly two pounds since last week. Last week I had lost four. Doctor says this is probably water gain accumulated in my leg. I think so too. On Sunday night during the raid I was suddenly aware of water trickling down inside my bandages. This is nerves and shock of course.

On to nerves I can add an exasperated frame of mind. Ted is not a bit of help in an emergency, far from it. He just talks his silly talk until I could scream. I don’t scream of course, but I feel so exasperated and annoyed inside, it can’t possibly do any good. I just look at him and think him one blasted fool. He is. His contentiousness and disputation's wears away on my patience. Talk! Talk! He will talk. He is so scathing and thinks he is so clever! I think he is merely very rude. He was up and out to church this morning just as usual. What good does that do, either him or God Almighty? When he comes back he criticizes me because the fire is out. I hadn’t touched the fire. I had noticed that the drafts were opened, so presumed he was attending to it. He had opened the drafts, but he said I was responsible for the fire. I said,
I thought you were attending to the fire.

Then he was off. He said, Think! Yes, you would think! And all your thoughts 
are wrong! That’s the trouble with you. You don’t use your head properly. You haven’t got brains. You’ve only got scrambled eggs in your brain box. You presume to think what the other fellows doing, and you’re all wrong. Why don’t you use your head properly? Use the intelligence God gave you.

He was in the little hall by this time, but he came back into the room to add, witheringly,That is, if you’ve got any!

I am not withered. I merely think he is colossally rude, but I don’t even tell him so. What I know is, that I got one of those sickening flashes of knowledge by which I see how acutely I dislike this person. I think: well, he’s tired. The raids do try him also, though he’ll never admit to that and he has to nag, because he has a nagging disposition, and I‘m simply the unlucky being who happens to stand before him. So I say nothing, and look nothing, but Oh God I’m weary!

First raid warning, nine-thirty p.m., till midnight. Then had just got into bed and settled for sleep when the warning sounded again, twelve-thirty a.m. all-clear one-fifteen a.m., of tomorrow the twenty-eighth.

August 29, 1940

My physical woman is cracking with fatigue, and my inner woman is splitting with laughter. Last night the first warning of the day sounded at nine p.m., just as the news was beginning, and the all-clear did not come until four o’clock this morning. This has been the longest raid of the war so far, and it was general all over England. We have not been told yet what damage has been done, but should think it must be considerable. There was plenty around here by the sound of things. There were two near-by explosions around two o’clock when I thought our house was shattered, and I surely thought the front door was blown in. However, we’re intact. Moreover, Ted never heard these bombs. He had fallen asleep on the rug before the fire, and I had to wake him when the all clear came. I did not sleep at all, but as the hours wore on I began to suffer with my leg. I was in the corner rocker, which is my usual station, but sitting up so long with my leg in the downward position, I could feel it growing heavier and heavier with blood and it began to swell and ache with constriction. Finally I ventured into the parlor and found a hassock and a cushion, and came back to the rocker and propped my leg up like an old man with the gout. It is not safe to lie on the sofa during a raid, as that is right in direct line with the window, and I don’t think there is any other possible position for it in this room. It is a fine place for reading in peace times, but highly dangerous in any blast.

Last night I did not pray at all. My God has got nothing to do with this war. This war is going on because men will have it. Why, bother God to stop something we can stop for ourselves as soon as we have the will to peace? As for seeking for personal safety, I no longer want to do it. In the first raids in June I was terrified and I invoked God and the Virgin and all the saints of Heaven to protect me. Not now. Since then I have over come that childish primitive fear and I feel as safe with God as has always been natural for me. I do really trust the power of God and believe in his protection, so why bother him with little petitions? That’s so childish. It is like a child with the “gim-me”. My instinct is to thank, praise, and
adore my God, not to ask for favors.

As for the Virgin and the saints and angels, they’ve

all come unstuck for me. So has all theology. What in the world is theology except men talking? Guessing about ultimates? Well, I can talk for myself and guess for myself; in fact, I do, and with my woman’s mind and from my woman’s viewpoint and I simply don’t accept the men’s’ say so. Men!

What is greatly wrong with the world is man’s wrong thinking, so why think men’s thoughts? Well, I don’t and I don’t tend to try anymore either. I’ll find truth for myself thank you. Truth isn’t men’s prerogative, nor woman’s either. I’m looking for truth, not doctrine.

This is why I am laughing. After several hours of being in the front line, with bloody destruction apt to annihilate us at any moment, exhausted with fatigue when the danger ceased for the night, we finally went upstairs to bed soon after four this morning. Then, around five o’clock Ted took me for loving. This struck me as so incongruous and silly I had to put compulsion on myself not to bust into laughing.

A man’s lust is ridiculous, and his sex hunger is the greatest thing in his life, stronger than death, war, and imminent destruction. Behind it all, the woman is so impersonal to him. He does not love her for herself, or for her sake, but simply and purely for his own need. Oh men! Well then, at seven he rose as per usual, and went out to mass. I laugh and laugh. Talk about unbalanced minds, talk about soppy romantics, talk about the self- centered and the self-willed, the egotists, surely Ted is one of these prize fools!