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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 Diary: 6-8-41 Men talking: Roosevelt is busy now talking the States into war, whilst Lindbergh is busy talking against war. Roosevelt, of course, will finally carry the day, for he is government.

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June 8, 1941
Ted has gone to hear a lecture, given in the church hall by a Jesuit, on the Rerum Novarum. What good will this do? Catholics have been talking about this for years but nobody else ever pays the slightest attention to it and Catholics do nothing about it. It becomes just another case of men talking.
Men talking: Roosevelt is busy now talking the States into war, whilst Lindbergh is busy talking against war. Roosevelt, of course, will finally carry the day, for he is government. I am convinced it is governments that make war, never the people. The English people don’t really want to fight this war, but our government talked us into it, and keeps us to it by talking at us. I listen to unending talk that comes over the air, and I hate it. Propaganda. A guiding of opinion and a holding of the mass will to endure, and to carry on this war our politicians have committed us to. No political fights. I am convinced no politician limits himself to rations. God, how I detest politicians!
Today we have been told that at two a.m. this morning Free French Troops, with companies of our Imperial Press, under the leadership of General Wilson, marched into Syria. Fine! So now we’ll have another bloody civil war. Frenchmen against Frenchmen, and then after a slaughtering from the Germans, we can make another masterly retreat. Politics: war: madness: men justifying themselves. Fool men: crazy men: old governmental rams driving out the lambs to the slaughter: rich old politicians seeking more riches ordering out the young men to die.
I weep. My heart is weeping.
June 9, 1941
It is eight fifteen a.m., and I ought to be starting to bathe. Instead I am sitting down to write, because I feel an imperative need to disburden myself of inner “dirt” before I commence on my outer. I have been in a bad mood for days, one which got progressively worse, until yesterday and last night when I did not know how to endure myself. My grievances! Of course I know that comparatively against the war sufferers, the “real” sufferers, they are tenuous, thin air. I suffer them just the same. I suffer. So much so yesterday that when I finally lay down to sleep I knew I was destroying myself, and had to stop such self-destruction.
Yesterday was one of my most awful days. I did not know how to bear anything. The war news got me down. Once, when I had turned on the radio in an attempt to find something to distract my thoughts, I fell into a dreadful spell of weeping. Evelyn Laye was on the air. She said, “I will now sing something to you which I sang a little while ago to our boys on the you-know-what. I say this most reverently, and I sing it for those boys again—from my heart.” Then she began the song from Bittersweet, “I’ll see you again. When spring breaks through again.”
Evelyn Laye is in charge of entertainments for the Navy, and she herself is the wife of a naval officer. She was alluding to H.M.S. Hood, destroyed off Greenland so recently, with thirteen hundred men aboard, all lost. Even over the air one could sense the tension, which came over her visible audience. How she managed to conclude the song I’m sure I don’t know, and here, just to write this morning, makes me cry again. War, death, loss. It is eternal loss and eternal grief. For what? Glory? Glory be damned.
Anyhow I recovered myself before Ted returned from his lecture. He was very late coming in; so late, indeed, that I thought he was staying somewhere for tea. After tea and the six o’clock news, he went out into the garden, where he stayed until time for the nine o’clock news.
My whole day was a lonesome day. There is a lack of communication with Ted, against which I continuously chafe. More, there is a lack of friendliness towards me that chafes me more than anything. I thought yesterday, practically alone all day, that what we need is more social contacts. Congenial society. Social fellowships. Ted and I have no social life at all. We need to mingle with other married couples, and we never do. A few young girls come here to see me and a few old women but none of our contemporaries, none of our equals, ever come to the house, nor do we ever go to anybody else’s house. I can’t remember when Ted and I paid a call on anyone. I can’t remember being in anyone else’s house together since we were last in Bert’s, before Tillie died. Oh yes, we were there a few time before Dorothy left Bert, but that must now be three years ago. I felt yesterday I wanted society. Not the young girls or old maids who come around, but men and women of my age, my experience, my world. I thought of the good times we used to have in America with the old crowd, our friends. Here we have no friends. I wanted a man to talk to. Yes I did. Some old friend like Ted Taft; some man who would treat me with unaffected friendliness, and with whom I could be easy and natural and happy.
There was nobody, nobody at all. Directly the nine o’clock news was finished, Ted began making up the bed. Then he asked me, quite casually, “Do you want to be loved tonight?”
I was revolted. I answered, “No.”
“Well, early breakfast at six thirty tomorrow,” he said, and laid himself down for the night. It was broad daylight, real time only seven-thirty p.m. I was not ready to sleep. I was not ready for anything. I could not read, and because he wanted to sleep, I could not have the radio. I went upstairs, because I felt I could not stay in the same room with him but I had to come down again. I had to undress and lay down for the night. There was nowhere else to go, nothing else to do.
I lay awake a long time, completely and utterly bored. Not crying, not even sorry for myself, but utterly bored. Now this morning today began badly. Whilst I was preparing Ted’s bread and milk, he called out to ask me did I shut the middle window upstairs last night. Yes, I did, at the bottom only. He fumed, “Afraid of a little fresh air, I suppose!”
“Not at all. Afraid the rain might come in.”
“Well, don’t close any windows again when I open them. Leave them alone, will you? There’s no air in this place. Too bad you should feel a draught!”
Now, I hadn’t said a word about a draught, but I didn’t bother to say so. I didn’t say anything. I let him get on with his breakfast. Then off he went, at seven twenty, rushing away to be in time for the seven thirty mass. He left the whole room impregnated with his feeling of hostility toward me. Why? Because he found a window closed which he had thought was open, and I had closed it. It was open at the top anyway, but I had interfered with his window. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Ted is so petty, and so childish. So unbalanced. For his immediate urgency was to get off to mass, to practice his religion. His religion! His love of God? It is to laugh.
Brooding about Ted and his increasing peculiarities, one day in this past awful week I had a flash of insight about the persistency of his church going, and of his nagging. From long knowledge of this Edward Thompson I would say that his most fundamental most basic trait is timidity, and it is this basic timidity which has conditioned all the behavior of his life. I think his whole conscious life is an unceasing effort to overcome his unconscious fear. This explains the excessive caution he has always displayed, this coming from where he recognized his fears. But from deeper down in his ego it is his unrecognized fear which compels him to bully all his inferiors and all those in his power, which compels him to evade not only those whom he recognizes as his superiors, but even his equals, in case in some way or other, physical, mental, or moral, they should expose his ineffectualness and his defenselessness. That is why he nags, reprimands, criticizes, disparage those who can’t answer back; it gives him some feeling of superiority he can’t get in any other way. This is why he talks: because he can’t punch. This is why he is so religious: because religion “saves” him. He believes literally in Hell and the devil, and the whole theological bag-of-tricks. He believes in damnation and salvation, and he is afraid of Hell, afraid of God, afraid of God’s judgment, so he’s got to save himself. Basically, again, the crude evangelical, because timidity is the root of his soul as well as of his mind and his body. Well, if he was made that way he can’t help himself; but just as equally, I can’t help myself despising a timid man.
My own basic characteristic, what is that? I don’t know. Whatever it is it is probably just as glaringly evident to Ted, and to my whole world, as his is to me, and probably just as glaringly a fault, a drawback, or even a vice. What is it? What sort of woman am I really?
I smell a nigger in the woodpile. Which means: I suspect there is a woman in the case. Various little items are falling together again, which totaled create suspicion.
Item: Ted is getting fussy about his appearance of late. Yesterday he took a bath before he went out to his lecture, and carefully arranged himself in all new clothes. He went out very soon after at two p.m. and did not return until nearly six p.m.; an extraordinarily long time to spend at a lecture in the parish hall.
Item: At his evenings at the Home Guard he always goes in uniform. He has gone tonight, but not in uniform.
Item: He is extra late in returning for luncheon on Mondays, especially the Mondays he does Marks Road, like today, when he did not come in until two twenty p.m.
Item: A pair of hand knitted gloves, very elaborate. I found these in his over-coat pockets a few weeks ago when, as is his usual on laundry days, I go through the entire coat pockets, his and mine, to collect all soiled handkerchiefs. I did not remark on them nor did he. A few days later I abstracted them from his uniform overcoat and hid them in one of my handbags. He has never remarked on their loss, nor asked about them, in any way.
Now: if a friend knitted him a pair of gloves, why didn’t he show them to me when he brought them home, and tell me they were a gift, and who from? Further, since they disappeared, as they have done, why didn’t he inquire about them, ask me had I seen them? This is a very damning item I think.
Item: his crankiness of late and his coldness.
Item: He isn’t looking me in the face.
Item: He is having trouble with his urinating again; I can hear this in the night.
Item: Miss Coppen told me a queer little story this afternoon, about going into the Tryst one morning last week for coffee, and being greatly surprised by seeing a man there she knows, a married man, who was having coffee with a woman not his wife, a man she has never seen there before, and would never expect to see there. Nor expect to see with such a strange woman, whom, she is sure, his wife does not know. I think she handed me this story as some sort of a warning. I don’t know, of course, but that was the impression she gave me. So? Is Lothario gadding again? I surmise, of course, but I think this sum wants explaining.
Something is amiss. I am sure I do not know what, but something much more than one of my mere moods of misery. There is something definitely wrong with Ted, in himself. He is much more secretive than usual, and unusually silent. I will not say he is shifty, but he is not looking me in the eye. What is his misery?
Last night when he returned he sat separately in the parlor. About ten o’clock he made up his sofa for the night, undressed, and then gave me his first remark of the evening. “Do you want to be loved tonight?” he said.
I shook my head.
“All right. Goodnight then,” he said, and laid himself down, turning his face to the wall. He did not sleep, and after I had put out the lights, about eleven and laid down myself, I knew he was awake, too, for a long time. Neither of us spoke. Married love!
True, I am an oldwife, an old woman, but I still need to be wooed, and if I were ninety, I should still need to be wooed. To me, last night’s approach to “love” is repulsive. No name given, no endearment, no caress, only a curt and brutish question asked. No, I cannot respond to that approach. What a question! Do I want to be loved? I shall never say yes to that query. I have been tortured much and often by unappeased desire, but I have suffered inscrutably.
These diaries have been my only confidants. Many years ago I learnt not to offer Ted my love, nor never to ask for his. Once, in the early Bayonne years, I went to him in his own little room. He would not receive me. He got up and put me out of the room, and closed the door. What a humiliation! Never since have I offered my love and never will I. It is for him to seek love and never will I. It is for him to seek love, since he will have it that way. Most certainly it is not for him to bestow it. I am not a female in the harem, waiting for the favors of a pasha. He must show that he wants my love, that he wants me to love him. Not only suddenly, and on occasion; he must treat me with daylong friendliness, with openness, with geniality, with ordinary daylight affection.
Possibly I am a very trying woman. Probably. Very likely. I am still a woman, a flesh and blood woman, and I require true civilized (sentimentalized if you like) romantic love from my husband, not just the functions of the beast. I require ordinary every day politeness. I cannot be disregarded continuously, or acknowledged only to be reprimanded or disparaged, and then be expected to melt into “love” on some sudden casual instant. I cannot do it. That is too brutish. Impossible! I must be wooed; and not only for some preliminary ten minutes; I must be loved steadily throughout the day and all our days; loved with the affection of the mind and heart, and with the manners of a gentleman.
June 11, 1941
Derby Day, or should be. Still in the doldrums, though the sun is shining this morning, and there are bits of blue sky here and there, so if the weather improves, our dispositions may do so also.
Yesterday I got up and went off to the movies. Rain was falling, but I simply could not stay in the house any longer. Noticing yesterday that some Strauss waltzes were playing between twelve fifteen and twelve thirty p.m., I switched on the wireless at twelve twenty. Ten minutes later Ted came in from his rounds. Instantly he said, “Whenever I come in, that bloody row is going on! Sounds just like a cheap Italian ice cream parlor!” So of course I switched it off at once.
Nor did I say anything, nor, I hope, show anything, but I was certainly irritated. We ate lunch in silence. I hurried with washing up, fixed the fire, put on my old Burberry, found my gas mask, and went out. I went down to the Havana. Suddenly I was sick of moping about in the house over this blasted fool acting Marguerite—He loves me, he loves me not. I felt: to hell with Ted Thompson, to hell with the war, I’m going to be happy for an hour, somehow or other. I had not been to the cinema since last July.
The picture was Ginger Rogers playing Kitty Foyle, a dramatization of Christopher Morley’s last novel. Not true to the book, of course, but a pleasant diversion all the same. At least I wasn’t thinking of my own disastrous love affair. I left the theatre without waiting for the second picture, and was back in the house before teatime. In the evening Ted stayed at home, but we had no conversation whatever. It was a wild cold night, with much wind. About ten o’clock Ted began to arrange the room for the night, but after he had switched the furniture around, he surprised me by saying, “I think I will sleep upstairs tonight, so goodnight, Lady,” and upstairs he went! This is another item for my Eros-Sum, I think.
The night was quiet, but the siren giving the alarm at six forty a.m. this morning awakened me. Ted came down soon afterwards, already dressed for the day. He gave no greeting, no good morning, no enquiry about the night, and after the seven o’clock news he went off to church in the usual way. What a man! What a completely selfish man.
When I was in Tenafly in 1933, John and Eddie agreed together one day that they admired Ted for getting his own way. “Anyhow, Dad did what he set out to do,” they said; meaning, of course, his retirement from American business and return to England.
Yes, he did what he set out to do all right. Who pays for his fancies? We do; his wife and his children. His children have escaped him now, except for that much of him which they must inevitably carry in their blood. How much is that, I wonder, and how many? How many of our children will be destroyed and disfigured for the sake of their dreams? Will they put a god before their wife? How many will put a mistaken idea of patriotism before their family and their blatant personal responsibilities? I wonder.
Well, here I am, still simmering in resentment about the past, still resenting the husband I chose to accept. Oh, I must stop it. Au-revoir. I’ll go and make pastry.
Sitting in the corner, waiting for Ted to come into his tea there suddenly dawned on me one reason why I’m getting so depressed; viz. the fact that for a whole twelve months of my life, day and night, had been lived entirely in this one room, and it’s a room without an outlook. Practically I never see the street, and for a person confined to the house as much as I am, such a deprivation is a serious one. I need to see the world passing by. Worse, what my eye falls oftenest on is the depressing large oil painting of the sinking sun in the gloomy Welsh mountains. It is large, and still framed in its original heavy gold frame, now chipped and tarnished; the whole thing an ugly and valueless eyesore. It is one of Ted’s “pets,” so, of course, here it hangs, and will continue to do so, unless, perchance, a bomb destroys it. Only a bomb ever will destroy it, or remove it from the wall. Ted loves it, so I will have to live with it as long as I have to live with him. Ted and his oil paintings! How preposterous they are! The tale of his pictures would make a funny chapter all to themselves in the story of our life.
Old Mr. Brace died yesterday. He was another of those talkative egotists who was heartache to his family. In early life he was an ardent freethinker, preaching atheism both in public and in private, and thereby, of course, grieving all his respectable Anglican relatives. Then he was converted but not to Anglicanism. Oh dear no, that would never do. He was converted to Catholicism and joined the Romans, thereby grieving his family just as much as before, if not more so. His wife, I believe, finally grieved herself to the grave. He used to complain to Ted, occasionally, about how unsympathetic his daughter was, and how she struck out against the true religion. Nor would his sons have anything to do with the church. He used to say how prejudiced they were, how ignorant, how unenquiring, etc. but I noticed he had an unfailing topic to talk about. Yes, I have yet to meet the convert who is a really sane and balanced person. In the last war the intelligentsia wrote and said, “Christianity is dead.” Somebody, I think it was Dan Inge, replied, “No, not dead. It has never yet been tried.”
In this war I should think it is more evident than ever that Christianity is deader than ever. No known form of Christianity as it is expounded today is going to stop the war, or save the world. No parson, no priest, no pope, has any effectiveness whatever. Last Friday I tuned in to a Roman Catholic afternoon service. A Father Macquire, O.P., gave an address. Everything he said was as dead as a doornail. The apologetics are as familiar as Mother Goose, and just about as impressive. They are all out of a book and have been said before, thousands of times, and more.


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