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World War ll London Blitz:  Buy On Smashwords
I am the great-granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson. 
Recently I started re-reading the World War ll journals and felt that they were such an important part of a history that will soon be forgotten if not published and shared with the world. These diary excerpts are not the entirety of what is published in print and kindle.
Ruby grew up during a time when education was just beginning to be encouraged for both upper and middle class women. During the late 1890's Ruby explored many radical political ideas of London, England. She met many famous people including the writers George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. 
5.0 out of 5 stars A choice pick, not to be overlooked, November 6, 2011 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

World War ll London Blitz: 5-4-40 I was awakened during the night by the airplanes, which were screaming about quite a lot. This is not a bit unusual nowadays.


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 explosives. 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.
May 6, 1940
Joan returned to Hammersmith before dark. It has been a good visit. News from Cuthie, he is back at Driffield. He writes, “Scotland is a pain in the neck.”
May 8, 1940
Men are fools. This fact has been noticed before, ten thousand times ten thousand; but I will note it again; men are fools. Why is the general war going on? It is because men will have it. Men are fools, collectively and individually. Men are fools. In the night, Ted loved me. Why couldn’t he have loved me before? Now for both of us our nerves are assuaged, the tension between us is lessened; and it is all so simple! Physical contact in affection. Lord! What fools we mortals are!
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 BBC, 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 usual.
May 12, 1940 Whit Sunday
Reports from the Netherlands are most serious. The Germans are landing parachutists by the hundreds. These Germans 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 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 were 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 neighborhood. 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 everything.
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 the French morning communiqué reports the re-taking of Arras.
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 tomorrow’s 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 is very kind and very understanding.
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 from Boulogne.
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!



World War ll London Blitz: 4-18-40 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;



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April 18, 1940
I am fifty-six today: in poor health, and poor sprits. 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 prophesized, 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!
April 27, 1940
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 of men.

World War ll London Blitz: 3-13-40 It is the defeat of the Finns. An armistice has been arranged between the Russians and the Finns, and the Finns have to accept the Russian peace terms. This is a major disaster. Both Britain and France were standing by, ready to send men, but neither Sweden nor Norway would permit passage of troops through their country, so Finland is obliged to surrender and to cede to Russia more than Russia asked for before the war began. Oh this beautiful world!


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March 3, 1940
Artie came home for the weekend, which meant arriving at eight-thirty p.m. on Saturday night, and returning to the Barracks by eleven p.m. on Sunday, which meant leaving here at seven p.m.
Anyhow, we’ve seen him! He’s very well.
March 13, 1940
It is the defeat of the Finns. An armistice has been arranged between the Russians and the Finns, and the Finns have to accept the Russian peace terms. This is a major disaster. Both Britain and France were standing by, ready to send men, but neither Sweden nor Norway would permit passage of troops through their country, so Finland is obliged to surrender and to cede to Russia more than Russia asked for before the war began. Oh this beautiful world!
March 16, 1940
Artie came in whilst I was washing up the tea things. He has leave until Sunday night.
March 28, 1940
Easter is safely past. Artie returned to barracks on Sunday evening. Cuth came home early this morning. He has leave until April Eighth.
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 form 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.

World War ll London Blitz: 1-31-40 Neither milk nor coal get into towns, and outlying villages in Derbyshire, Buxton, and Lanshire have been completely cut off from the world for over three days, and are running out of all food supplies.

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January 31, 1940
The thaw. I am expecting Artie in this evening for a week’s leave, but whether he can get here is doubtful. For several days now all transport, rail and road, has been disorganized or not working at all. Yesterday a train from Glasgow arrived at Euston twenty-eight hours late. The cold has been intense here in London; we were down to twenty-nine degrees of frost and the snowfall heavy. On Monday the Radioman told me that at Upminster he couldn’t get through at all; the snow was five feet deep. Neither milk nor coal get into towns, and outlying villages in Derbyshire, Buxton, and Lanshire have been completely cut off from the world for over three days, and are running out of all food supplies. England hasn’t had a winter like this, the weathermen say, since eighteen ninety-four. The Thames at Surbiton and Teddington is frozen over for eight miles. The serpentine, of course, where there is gala-skating going on. The Transport Board reports that they have no such difficulties on record. So it is the worst ever. Of course with the thaw we shall get floods. The sky right now looks as though it will let down another heavy snowfall by night.
February 6, 1940
It is Shrove Tuesday, but no pancakes. Mrs. Jude here to lunch; at teatime, only Ted and me. So, as we were full of pudding, decided it was too bothersome to make pancakes, just for we two.
Mrs. Jude has a brand new prophecy. One of the sisters of the Little Flower died this week. Mrs. Jude tells me that before she died the Little Flower appeared to her, and told her that the war would be all over in two months from her death.
“Now that was a fort-night ago,” Mrs Jude said. “She’s been dead just two weeks. You’ll see, in another two months the war will be all over. The Little Flower said so!”
Yes. We will see all right. Mrs. Jude is the most absolutely superstitious person I have ever come across. There is no talk of wonders too difficult for her to swallow.
February 7, 1940
Ash Wednesday. Artie returned to the barracks today, but there is a chance he may be home again for the weekend. Mrs. Jude was here again today. I suppose she is having one of her spasms of visiting. I showed her a letter in the Times, which pleased her. Somebody wrote in to draw attention to a prophecy in Daniel Eleven. It is from Verse twenty-one, and on. It really is a very appropriate description of Hitler and Hitler’s doings. It really is remarkable.
At eleven o’clock this morning the air raid warning sounded. It was only a practice signal, which it has been arranged to sound at eleven o’clock in the morning of every first Wednesday of the month; but one forgets this, or what day of the month it is, and when the warning siren goes off, one suffers a panic, willy-nilly. Suddenly I felt as though I had no insides, and probably a siren sounding will do that to me for the rest of my life.
To the editor of the Times, February 7, 1940
A Prophecy from Daniel
“Sir, you have published in your columns two extracts from Jeremiah and from Ezra’s, which appear to be prophetic of current events. In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Daniel (verse twenty-one) I extract the following description, which appears particularly applicable to the Fuhrer, indicating his views and aims and destined fate.”
“And in his place shall stand up a contemptible person to whom they had not given the honor of the Kingdom, but he shall come in time of security, and shall obtain the Kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be swept away from before him and shall be broken.
“And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully; for he shall come up and shall become strong with a small people. In time of security shall he come even upon the farthest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them prey and spoil and substance: yea he shall devise his devices against the strongholds even for a time…
“And the King shall do accordingly to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods and he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done.
“Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his place shall he honor the god of fortresses.”
Yours, & c., A. Wigglesworth. Port of London Building, Trinity Square

World War ll London Blitz: 1-10-40 - 1-31-1940 So this morning I feel, I can’t worry about the war. I don’t care a hoot about Hitler, Goring, Ribbentrop, and Company.

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January 10, 1940

Mrs. Jude just left; then a chat with Miss Coppen on the telephone. The twins are twenty-one today. They were born just after the termination of the Great War; now they are fighting in this one. Artie was home for a few hours on Sunday, but did not see Cuth, because he was spending the weekend with the Spaul’s in Cambridge. Cuth returned to Driffield on Monday. Mother must have been the age I am now when the twins were born. If I live another twenty-one years, I shall be as old as

I was thirty-four when the twins were born, still a young woman. We were still in Bayonne. My God, I pray that long before another twenty-one years pass, I shall be living in Bayonne again! There’s my home, there’s where I can really rest in this world.

January 12, 1940

It is very cold, but a bright sun shining. I’m awfully happy. It isn’t often I can say that, but today I’m happy. I am happy for no reason. Unless it is that the sun is shining. Anyhow, I have been less unhappy since the war started, than for years before. I think it is because the war has given me Ted more to myself. He had to stop giving two nights a week to his damned Evidence Guild, because there was no longer a Guild he could devote himself to. With the outbreak of war, and the blackout, all street meetings and associations, all clubs, etc. automatically came to an end. Ted has even moderated his daily mass going this winter, the first break in that peculiar regularity since we returned to England. This winter is proving a very severe one, and whether Ted doesn’t feel too well, or whether laziness is encroaching on him, or whether at last his religious fervor is cooling, I don’t know; but quite often in these last three months, three and even four mornings in the week, he has not gone out to the seven-thirty mass, but laid abed until eight o’clock. Marvelous!

It makes me feel good. I hate his religiousness, so when he forgets a little of it, my spirits lighten; he seems to me a more normal man, the kind of man I want.

When I woke this morning a refrain from “Elijah” was singing over and over again in my mind. It was from the solo, Oh Rest In The Lord and fret not thyself because of evildoers. It sang itself to me over and over again, and many times during the morning. I took it as good counsel, some word of guidance thrown up from my deep inner woman. I used to hear it at Swallow Street, of course, so it has lain with me all these years. Apparently nothing supersedes Swallow Street with me.
Well, yesterday I went to see Miss Coppen, who is laid up from the effects of a bad fall. It was thought at first that she had broken her thigh; but it is not broken only badly wrenched, muscle ligaments torn, and so on. Well, our talk ran on her sufferings; then on the horrors of the war. Then on the affair of Selma and old Bert. There were a lot of condemnations, on which we mutually agreed together.

All was only with my head. As I observed myself, sitting there by her bed, I realized first of all that my sympathy with her was only society talk, and that my thought was that she exaggerated her mishap. Then that her worry about the war was very personal, mostly fear for Maurice. And then when I agreed with her as to what a hateful man Bert was, I found I really didn’t care any more. I know he is a sensual selfish old beast but I simply don’t care.

So this morning I feel, I can’t worry about the war. I don’t care a hoot about Hitler, Goring, Ribbentrop, and Company. I can’t even care about the invasion of Finland, or the earthquake in Turkey. I just can’t worry myself, that’s what I feel.

The war is men’s doing. The earthquake’s natures and I can’t do anything about either. I’m just happy unreasonably, unwarrantably happy. And fret not thyself because of evil doers. It’s not even because I am resting in The Lord. I’m not.

I think that Mother Nature really intended me to be a happy person, but events frustrated the plan. Many years ago Ted once said to me, The trouble with you is, that you want to be happy, that you expect to be happy, but there was no happiness promised to us in this world. This is a veil of tears, and the sooner you realize that, the better for you. The more you look for happiness, the more unhappy your bound to be. You must reconcile yourself to the fact that there is no happiness in this world.

Like a fool, I believed him. That was a young husband talking! Of course there is happiness in this world and I might have enjoyed, much more than I have done, if I had believed in myself, instead of in Ted and the hideous theology he was always dosing me with. Oh well, that’s all gone by. I’m happy today anyhow. Happy.

January 13, 1940

Ted left a few minutes ago for his evening of cards. I am furious with him, feeling downright that I hate him, and my hatred will never be assuaged. Of course I was too happy yesterday. I might have known it. In the evening the nitwit Selma came calling, and stayed as usual until half past ten. A whole evening killed, scotched by a fool. She is beginning a habit of spending every Friday evening here. I won’t have it. I’ve had more than enough of that girl to last me a lifetime. I won’t let her use up one evening a week of my precious time. Ted, of course, was sweet to her. I wasn’t rude, of course, but he was saccharine until he got tired of her clatter when he took up a book. She’s his niece, therefore, perfect!

This morning trouble arose. We had a downright quarrel and so far I’ve been feeling full of hatred and irritation all day, and now I’m tired out with it.

Ted lay abed until half past ten, and when he came down to breakfast he began asking me a series of questions about the stopped up waste pipe in the lavatory basin. We are having a very severe cold spell, and pipes are freezing. When I went to the bathroom last night I found the basin full of hot water. Ted’s idea of heating the bathroom! All it does of course is to steam the walls; this water then condenses and freezes on the ceiling, and when a thaw comes, it falls in pools on the floor. This is one of Ted’s bright ideas! Well, I let the water out of the basin, and left the plug in, this because the tap drips and the drips and collects and freezes in the pipe if it is not plugged. When I went into wash this morning, the water was running from the tap all right, but the waste pipe was frozen up again, and I could not let my water out.
Well, when Ted came downstairs he asked a dozen questions about it, and when I had answered them all, he asked them all again. I answered them again, his usual manner of cross-questioning. I got exasperated and answered shortly. This huffed him and he read me a lecture on manners, and the faults of my character in general. I replied that I didn’t mind answering straight-forward questions, but I hated to keep on answering the same questions over and over. Then he said I interrupted him, which was very rude, and I shouldn’t do it, not even to a grocery boy! Then he told me I was like my mother and went on and on. I said, Shut up! This took him into a homily about “goodness” and according to him I was deficient in goodness. I just got bored and more bored.

Upon my word, the more often I have to listen to Ted, the bigger fool I think him. He has been particularly trying along the holidays. Having the boys at home seems to set him off. He talks to them and to me as though we were all children, youngsters in the kindergarten, to whom he must explain a whole lot of things. He expounded the obvious till we all grew restive. Or he was humorous in the silly facetious manner of an adolescent. The boys were polite but bored as I’m always bored by what he thinks are his jokes. Actually Ted has just as much of an arrested mind as Selma has. The only advantage is, that he got to know a little more before his mind stopped. It is stopped. He is as much of a dead ender as she is. Bert, it’s the rotten sop Thompson mind.

At eleven-thirty Ted went out, and I went up to tidy the bedroom. Then when I came to make the bed I found that he had been having emissions. The sheet was soiled in several places, and his pajamas stiff with dried semen. So that’s why he was so cross, nature denied. I suppose he had been dreaming of one of his lady friends. This afternoon he went out to confession. What a fool he is, what a God damned fool! When he came in at lunch- time he went straight to the radio and turned it off. It was playing dance music, naturally he doesn’t approve of that, there was no by your leave, or any of that, no inquiry as to did I wish to listen. Oh no, he doesn’t like it, and that was that. After lunch we got the first act of Madame Butterfly from Saddlers Wells Theater. I stayed in the kitchen, to hear it in peace, but he sulked alone in the parlor. Silly fool!

I thought to myself, how we waste life, and our opportunities of pleasure! Ted and I haven’t been to a theatre for years. We haven’t been out together anywhere since New Years, a year ago, when we had to got to the Consulate. We could have pleasant times together. We could take in a theater and dinner in town at least once a month. We could make excursions. We could run a motorcar. We could take holidays together. But no, none of this ever happens. All we ever do is go to the movies together about once a week, never more than one a week, and some weeks not at all. We meet in the foyer, and we sit in the shilling seats; and all the way home Ted talks abut how silly the pictures are. 

Preposterous, isn’t it? We never visit anywhere. We never ever take a walk together. What a life! What a silly, silly life! No sensible person ever comes to the house. All we get are  fool women. No man at all comes here, except occasionally old Bert. Bert’s no asset. He’s ignorant and gross. God, my Thompson in-laws! It’s only because they are in-laws that they ever get in at all; otherwise I wouldn’t even open the door to them. Ted and Bert and Selma, they’re all fools together. Ted did have brains once, but they grow softer and softer. Oh he does bore me! God! Will marriage ever end?

January 14, 1940

It is still very cold, but our dispositions more clement. This is Charlie’s birthday; he is twenty-six today. I have been plunged in dreams of Bayonne all day. I think, in fancy. I have walked every street and every avenue, noted every house, shop, church, school, theatre, and shack: sat on thirty-fifth Street Station and watched the trains and the harbor and chatted with every old friend. Bayonne. It was there the best years of my life were lived; and it is there I will go back. Thinking about this intention, alone in the dusk, whilst Ted was at Benediction and wondering whether I couldn’t coerce it by my will, into actuality, compel it to realize, suddenly I thought, I will pray for it! The gospel promises flashed into my mind, and all at once I found I could believe them! I say that he that shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass: he shall have it. Therefore I say unto you, all things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them.

So, I do believe that I will get back there, back to Bayonne. I do see myself living there in peace and thankfulness; and I do pray and ask for it. I will pray for it, every day. Give me my Bayonne home, dear Jesus, for thy name’s sake, for the Father’s sake, God, take me home to Bayonne, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

January 15, 1940

When I wakened this morning my inner woman was saying, very clearly, I go fishing. I go a-fishing. This didn’t seem to make sense, yet somehow the phrase was familiar. During the morning it came to me what it was. It was what St. Peter said one day to his friends, one day after the resurrection; and his friend’s said, if you go, we with go with you, and it was when they returned from the nights take, that they found Jesus on the shore, with a fire burning, and a fish broiling, and they all had breakfast together.

What did the phrase mean for me? The same I think that it meant for Peter; that we must get on with our jobs, no matter what events shake us, what disappointments cast us down, what hopes are dashed, what glories fade, we must proceed with our lives according to the necessities laid upon them. Peter was a fisherman, catastrophe had overtaken him, but he had to go on living, and he lived by following the calling of a fisherman. I go a-fishing. So with me, and the job I must do. I go a-fishing.

January 26, 1940

Snow is falling again. This is proving an extraordinarily severe winter. Not only here in England, but all over Europe and also Northern America. Everybody suffers from the inclemency of the weather, but actually it is proving a blessing, because it holds up most war maneuvers, particularly in Finland, where it definitely helps the Finns and defeats the Russians. The Russians are being frozen to death!

January 29, 1940

The weather is abominable. Yesterday London had twenty-seven degrees of frost. Today must be even colder, for a gale is blowing from the North. This is the coldest winter in England, they say, since eighteen ninety-four. Snow around here is more than a foot deep and much deeper in places where the wind has piled it. Never-the-less, Ted gets up mornings and goes out to mass. The funny thing is, he doesn’t catch cold. You can’t tell me this is piety. I think it is the strength of habit, and the folly of a fool. In the house he is thoroughly disagreeable; he finds fault with everything, then returns to the parlor to read a book entitled, The Love of God. What a man!

Yesterday we had a downright quarrel. As usual, I spent the morning cooking the dinner. It was roast leg of pork, applesauce, parsnips, potatoes, and peas, with pineapple salad and coffee and cakes. When Ted came to the table, he said I had put too much gravy on his plate, so it had taken away his appetite and he practically ate nothing. Now, nothing annoys a cook so much as to have her good meal disregarded. She feels she might have saved her trouble, and wishes she had. This was the third meal running that Ted had found fault with! At breakfast he had complained of the bacon, that was cut too thin, and not fried right. On Saturday night, he complained of the fried fish I gave him. That was too dry. Well, I ate my dinner, and said nothing. But I made up my mind I wouldn’t eat tea with him. He could eat that alone.

We sat together in the parlor until three-thirty when he went out to church again, neither weather nor temper made any difference to him; to church he would go, so he went. I listened to the wireless, and continued to listen to all I wanted to hear, which was until half past six. Then I came to the back regions, laid the table, made some tea, cut some sandwiches, and put out a bowl of cold jellied consommé for him. My intention was to eat my tea, then retire to the parlor whilst he came to the table. Before I could begin, there was a knock at the door, and lo, it was Selma! Ted came to the kitchen to tell me. In a moment I flared into anger. Another fool Thompson was more than I could stand. I said, Take her in the parlor, then, and entertain her, she’s your niece.
No, I see she’s just in time to share a meal. I shall bring her out here.

I don’t want to see the girl. I am sick of the sight of her. Too bad!
I shall bring her into tea just the same.
If you do, I’ll walk out of the room!
He went away, and the two of them shut themselves

into the parlor. I put my sandwiches on to a plate, ready to carry them away, if he brought her to table. I drank a cup of tea. Then I heard footsteps in the passage, a knock at the door. I didn’t reply. Another knock. I didn’t reply. Then the damn fool girl opened the door and began piping, Oh, Auntie, I only just wanted ... All beams and smiles.
I spilled over. I shouted at her. Selma, don’t you understand? I don’t want to see you! Your uncle and I are quarreling like hell, and I don’t want anymore Thompson’s around. I’m sick of the sight of the whole lot of you. I say, damn the Thompson’s. Go away. Go away! Goodnight. Goodnight, Selma! Shut the door. Shut the door and go away!

So she retreated. Presently the front door banged. She’d gone.
Then Ted came in, and sat down to his cold consommé. We ate in silence. I was wrong, of course. I know that. I am sick of Selma. I am sick of the Thompson’s. Old Bert’s a fool, Selma’s a fool, and Ted’s a fool. I weary to death of all of them. Selma is one confounded nuisance. She’s always on the doorstep. She wants to visit, so she visits. I’ve had enough of her, too much of her. I was glad enough to help her when her father threw her out, but I’m not holding her in my lap for the rest of time. She is one colossal bore and she won’t bore me any longer. In the future I will save my feelings, not hers, and if she cant make sense when she isn’t welcome, she’ll be brutally told when so. If I had a maid to answer my door, Selma would have been barricaded out years ago. Dear little Selma, of course, can do no wrong; why, she’s a Thompson! I say curse the Thompson’s.

January 31, 1940
The thaw. I am expecting Artie in this evening, for a weeks leave; but whether he can get here is doubtful. For several days now all transport, rail and road, has been disorganized or not working at all. Yesterday a train from Glasgow arrived at Euston twenty-eight hours late. The cold has been intense here in London we were down to twenty-nine degrees of frost and the snowfall heavy. On Monday the radio man told me that at Upminster he couldn’t get through at all. The snow was five feet deep. Neither milk nor coal get into towns and outlying villages in Derbyshire, Buxton, and Lanshire have been completely cut off from the world for over three days, and are running out of all food supplies.
England hasn’t had a winter like this the weathermen say, since eighteen ninety-four. The Thames at Surbriton and Teddington is frozen over for eight miles. The serpentine, of course, where there is gala-skating going on. The Transport Board report that they have no such difficulties on record. So it is the worst ever. Of course with the thaw we shall get floods. The sky right now looks as though it will let down another heavy snowfall by night. Anyhow, the temperature has moderated, so tempers have improved quite a bit. So that’s lucky. Mrs. Shaw should have been here today but didn’t show up. I’m not surprised. The roads are practically impassable. I wouldn’t go out either.

I’m sitting down to a re-reading of, Saints, Sinners, and Beecher’s. I dream persistently of Bayonne, of America. And now this blizzard weather particularly sets me to daydreaming of American winters; so I feel I’ll browse with the Beecher’s for an hour or two