World War ll London Blitz: 6-1-41 to 6-29-41 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.

Purchase Diary Here:

June 1, 1941

Waiting for Mother. Whit Sunday. It is Dad’s birthday, born June 1, 1859. Ted is out at his drilling.

Here is something telepathic. It is a coincidence and rather remarkable. All night I seemed to be dreaming about Jersey City. I was there as I used to be there thirty-five years ago; shopping at Faust’s and other stores on Washington Avenue and Central Avenue. I was at the ferry slip, at Pennsylvania Ferry, and on the trolley in the ferry shed, waiting for the car to Bayonne. It was summer time, and the open trolleys were running. Everything was exactly as it used to be when I first knew Jersey City, in 1905 to 1910 or 1912.

Then, when I awakened to this morning’s seven o’clock news the startling item was given out that a great act of sabotage had occurred in Jersey City. Great fires were burning, two-grain elevators had been destroyed, abattoirs, and food stores: the Erie stockyards, and four entire blocks on the waterfront were burning. Strange I should have been dreaming so clearly of Jersey City! At breakfast, of course, we spoke of the Black Tour outrage, an enemy act of sabotage during the last war. That explosion shook our house on Avenue E and blew our windows out. It was a terrible act of devilish destruction. Now, for America, the game begins again. Men making war.

Another item this morning was an announcement of the rationing of clothes and boots and shoes, as from today. We are to be issued with sixty-six coupons, which must provide us all wearing apparel for twelve months. Well, it was lucky I bought myself all the materials I did. Three to five coupons will be required for one yard of dress-goods, so I shall require from twenty to thirty coupons to get myself one dress or coat. Seven coupons will be required for one pair of shoes. So sixty-six coupons won’t go far.

Everything grows scarcer and scarcer. For over a week now it has been impossible to buy any oatmeal, or any cereal of any kind. Lord Woolton announces that he hopes he won’t have to ration bread. Eggs are as rare as diamonds. Cheese is rationed to one ounce per week, per head. So Ted and I can get a whole half-pound of cheese for one month. Jam is more liberal; we can have two ounces per week, or one pound for two people for one month. Yesterday I got one and a half stewing steak and a quarter beef kidney, which is our entire meat ration for a week. I am making it into a pudding for today’s dinner. Three of us will dine on it, and what is left must supply Ted’s meat for the rest of the week. Milk is reduced by one-seventh of our usual supply. So, with all our protein foods out of sight, no meat, eggs, milk or cheese, to speak of, our potatoes and oatmeal practically finished, no fruit at all, what are we going to live on? Ersatz I suppose, like the Germans. That’s war. That’s how men run the world.

June 5, 1941

This is one of my bad days. From about midnight we had the raiders over, and there was steady gunfire until about three thirty this morning, dawn, when the all clear came. After a period of quiet nights the noisy nights are much harder to endure. I lay uncontrollably trembling all the while, though long before the all clear Ted was able to fall asleep. Apparently no bombs fell in this district. For once we over slept! When Ted switched on the early light we found it was already eight forty a.m., of course, really only six forty, by sun-time.

Ted had been sick ever since Sunday evening. He thinks eating a piece of Sainsbury’s veal and ham pie poisoned him. I think he got a cold in his bowels, by working all afternoon in the garden barefooted. The ground was wet, the air cold. Anyway, he has been decidedly out of sorts ever since Sunday evening. I am miserable. The weather is bad, the food is bad, the war news is bad, and Ted is most trying. I am sick of England, sick of Ted, sick of the war, and sick of myself. Fine, just fine!

June 6, 1941

It is very dull, almost a November day, and a drizzling rain falling. Though we had a quiet night, we have already had one alarm and all clear this morning. This war gets messier and messier. One thing that is the matter with me is that I’m downright hungry! I’m longing for a big juicy beefsteak with a cover of fried onions and a long drink of brandy and soda. I want something with substance and taste to it. I’m just about nauseated with our war diet, and want some real honest to goodness food. I need meat, not, pap and make believe.

Lord Woolton was on the air this morning, talking to the country housewives about jam. He said he could issue no sugar for jam making this summer, but asked the people with fruit to give all their surplus to the government, who would make it into jam to be added to the public supply next winter to increase the jam ration. Our present jam ration is two ounces per week!

Seven hundred people have been appointed to go the rounds of the women’s institutes, to teach the country women how to make jam! They will get paid a salary per teacher per week. This is an outrage. The bureaucrats are strangling England. The various ministers install fresh ministries, all carrying big pay rolls, so, up go the taxes, up go prices, and every “controlled” article promptly disappears from the markets.

Men, damnable men. Why do we have Lord Woolton as Food Controller? Not only is he a man, he is a millionaire. Why not put a woman, in control of the countries food? Then we have to listen to men talking! Woolton has one of those unctuous oily voices, uttering arguments, which are much too plausible. Does anyone suppose he eats only shillings worth of meat per week? Or the King or Queen? Last week the Queen had the nerve to tell a group of workingwomen that, like them, she and the King used their meat ration for one good piece of meat for Sunday, and eked out the remains during the week! What rubbish! Who does she suppose believes her? The blah, blah on the radio makes me sick.

About an hour ago Artie telephoned from town. He had been at Euston all day, taking various exams for getting transferred to the R.A.F. We knew this was to happen today, and he had written that he might have time to make a dash home before returning to camp. However, this proved impossible. He says he passed every test easily, except the last one. This was a sight test. He was found to have defective vision, that is, for flying requirements, so he was rejected. The boy is disappointed, but Ted and I are not sorry. We are sorry he suffers a disappointment, but glad he doesn’t have to fly. After all, one lost boy is enough. Now, we hope, he will concentrate on his effort to get a commission. Anyhow, the question of whether to apply for the R.A.F. or not is definitely settled, he is permanently unacceptable. So he won’t have to bother his mind about that any more.

Ted is out to his Home Guarding, and I have a special book to read, and one, which I must finish tonight. It is the very recently published, Introduction to Proust, his life, his circle, and his work. By Derrick Leon. Miss Coppen brought it in to me, as she was sure I should like it, but it belongs to Dagenham Library, so I must read it at a gallop. So Au-Revoir, I’m just going to read and read.

June 7, 1941

Exasperated, irritated and bored to the nth degree. Ted is too silly for words. I think him both childish and rude. He is kind of having a spell of running downhill this week. All his polish is off and he is as rude as Herbert. He looks like Herbert, too. The physical likeness between them is becoming very much more apparent; the Cockney boys, the East Enders and don’t I know it!

Perhaps Ted is worried about something but if so he gives me no clue. Indeed, he is acting more absurdly secretive than ever. When he took out his wallet last night to give me some money, he most carefully arranged the loaf of bread before him and opened his wallet behind that. Ridiculous.

I am in constant disgrace anyhow. I have been able to say nothing to please him all this week. However, I phrase my replies to his remarks I have phrased them wrongly; either the ordering of my words is wrong, or I should have said something else entirely, or I haven’t said what I meant - so he says! If I don’t answer at all then that is wrong. To the most trivial statement I must make an audible acknowledgement. No remark is allowed to fall into the void, as something finished. He cross-questions everything I say. It is as though he tries continually to make me look a fool or a liar. He is rude beyond all limits. He is scathing, and he thinks he is sarcastic, but it is a very cheap sarcasm. It is merely on a par with the playground spitefulness of the ten-year olds. It is so silly. So wearing. I think him a fool, and a boor into the bargain. I think him conceited, intolerably conceited. For who the hell is he to indulge in all this criticizing and belittling? To belittle another: that is Ted’s chief delight. My Saint! How to endure him and yet keep sweet myself, that is the problem. Not to lose patience, not to lose serenity.

Here is a typical instance of Ted’s rudeness: He came home from the office this afternoon to find Miss Owlett from next door on the premises. She had called in to borrow a book for her father, who is an old man of eighty- two. I was trying to think of what I might offer to such an old man, and an untraveled Englishman at that, and whose tastes (or brains) I didn’t know, and explaining mine were mostly American books, very few of them novels, when Ted barged in with his usual spiel about how I only read books by women about women, and what they had for breakfast, etc. and how we had too many books, etc. then enlarging on the fact that he couldn’t read what I read, because what I read was rubbish, when he threw in this remark, to me:

Why don’t you give her something sexy? There was a dead pause. I looked at him straight in the eye, and he repeated the question. I simply kept on looking at him until he thought of something else to say, asking Miss Owlet what sort of book her father preferred. Now, Miss Owlett is an ugly old maid. Her hair is grey, her face lined, her mouth full of cavities, her figure scrawny, her clothes appalling; worse, she gets giggly when a man speaks to her. She is the typical Victorian genteel spinster. She probably thought Ted’s remark was directed at her, as much an old maid might, and in which case the best excuse that could be made for it was that it was a faux pas. It wasn’t directed at her, it was directed at me. It was simply Ted’s life long habit of disparaging my tastes, and giving me a knock. It was also his usual show-off of his own superiority. 

“Sexy” with him is a word of condemnation, and he applies it indiscriminately to any work where sex is ever mentioned. For him sex must never be mentioned, nor even alluded to, no matter how indirectly. His favorite author is Dickens’s, who wrote of “the pure” and the Sunday schools, and who never created a human being. Dickens’s indulged his own sex to the extent of begetting a dozen or so of children on his wife, and then leaving his wife for a younger and more attractive woman.

Like with Ted, sex must never be mentioned, but he will indulge his own sexual needs whenever they cry out for satisfaction: his satisfaction. As for his criticism of my literary tastes, that has long ceased to make the slightest impression upon me; for I know him to be an only superficially educated person, with no knowledge of real literature or real art, and therefore with no true judgments. That was an outrageously rude remark to make, and not even clever, for it did not hurt the person it was intended to hurt, but the unsuspecting stranger in our house. 

Ted’s tongue again: Ted, who can’t refrain from saying nasty things: Ted who thinks he’s clever whilst all the time he is only showing how ill bred he is. Ted who delights to hurt me, Oh God, I am tired of him!

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 leader- ship 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: and men justifying themselves. Fool men: crazy men: old governmental rams driving out the lambs to the slaughter: rich old politician 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 dis burden 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 I did not know how to endure myself. My grievances! Of course I know that compara- tively 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 eluding 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 came 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 persistence 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. The is why he nags, reprimands, criticizes, disparage those who can’t answer back, 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 his 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 old wife, and 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 through out 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, When ever 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, ready 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 nineteen thirty-three, 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 stuck 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 un-enquiring, etc. but I noticed he had an unfailing topic to talk about. Yes, I have yet to meet the convert who is 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 what ever. 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.

June 12,1941

Last night I was interrupted by the arrival of Mary Bernadette and Doreen Biel. A pleasant evening followed. Ted came in before nine, very amiable when he saw the girls. At bedtime he retired upstairs, but at about two a.m. I had to call him, because an alert had been sounded. Gunfire followed, but we fell asleep. Then, some time later, I was awakened by a terrible crash, a bomb falling somewhere near by. Others followed it, either smaller or not so near.

We have not heard yet exactly where these were, not immediately near, anyhow, or we should know by now. The wireless news reported fairly heavy raiding all over the country last night, with heavy casualties in one place, not specified as yet. Perhaps we shall be told before the day is finished.

Today I have Mrs. Prior working on the premises. I met her in the town on Monday, and quite casually asked her did she happen to be looking for any work. She replied all her week was full except Thursdays. So I asked her would she “do” for me on Thursdays, and she said she would be glad to and here she is. I hope she’ll continue. She is both a pleasant woman and a satisfactory worker. Right now I’m sitting in the parlor whilst she “does” the dining room. Am now going to read the paper, so Au-Revoir.

June 13, 1941

It is warmer. Went out this afternoon, to the Food Control Office, to see about transferring my card to Wallis’s. When I came back I met Mrs. Thomson on the street, who told me she would come in tonight, whilst daughter and husband are at the dance in Ilford. I groan.

John Cassell called, and stayed for tea. Now Ted has just left for his Home Guarding. The tension between us relieved, thank God. Last night he went to church at nine p.m. for the reception of the corpse of Mr. Brace. When he came back he kissed me and then with passion, until I thawed. Queer, isn’t it? He came from a corpse to the body of desire? I smiled to myself.

In the afternoon Mrs. Prior had been talking to me about men. We spoke of a young woman whom we both know, whose husband has had to join up, and go to Scotland, and this young woman has taken a young man lodger into her house.

And you know what that means, said Mrs. Pryor. Men are men, aren’t they? Nature! There isn’t a man alive I’d trust, not one! They’re all the same. Silly fool she is. Where do you suppose she’ll end up? In trouble. In the Romford Recorder, I reckon. Shutting her up in a house with a man! Nature will have its way, won’t it? Stands to reason. Trust a man? Not me!

I agreed with her; all men are the same. This is what I think the scriptures mean by the flesh. The world, the flesh, and the devil, always the same. The world, I think, means work, making a living, maintaining us alive; the flesh, sexuality in every form, particularly concupiscence; and the devil, I think, stands for all cruelty, particularly war.

June 14, 1941

Today all the women born in 1918 are registering. Also every one must register for eggs today. The likelihood is, that we shall be allotted two eggs per person per week. We are also informed that our milk ration is to be cut again; to what we do not know, but we are told that the British Medical Association recommends that the allowance should be half a pint per person per day. Hitler’s blockade is working all right: our rations shrink and shrink.

June 15, 1941

Surprised this afternoon by a visit from Father Bishop. We talked of the war. What else is there to talk about? I found myself shocked by his appearance and manners. It is just about twelvemonths since he sat here in this room chatting with me, friendlily, face to face. It seems to me he has aged a lot. He is not as old a man as Ted, about my age I should say, but he looks twenty years Ted’s senior. He looks an old man. He looks to have neither flesh on his bones or blood in his veins. He is as dry and as color- less as a dead leaf. Repellent. He fidgets continually. His talk, is not peculiar, but in some indefinable way not grown up. I thought to myself: here is an anachronism. This is the celibate, the priest, the parasite and what earthly good is he? This is a completely useless value- less human being: now wonder he looks like a withered mummy, because that is exactly what he really is.

June 21, 1941

It is eleven p.m. A quarter of an hour ago Ted was called out by the Home Guard! Is it scare, practice, or real invasion? There has been much air activity today, but no alarms given in the neighborhood. Planes have been going overhead all evening and are still up. This evenings nine o’clock news reported us making day light attacks on Northern France, and the destruction of twenty-four enemy fighters and bombers: our losses, three fighters and one bomber so they say. I don’t believe any of the reports. The news is juggled, and also withheld. The British public is treated as one irredeemable fool, or a tiresome child who must be given doses of soothing syrup. The government is a huge muddle and Hitler goes on winning and winning. All the men keep on talking; in the homes, in the pubs, in parliament. Their self-righteousness is nauseating. Meanwhile the infernal destruction goes on and on. Syria looks to be shaping into another glorious retreat. America is on the verge. How much longer she can balance there, God knows.

This week Roosevelt has frozen all the German and Italian consulates, travel agencies, etc. and given their staffs until July fifteenth to leave the country. No German or Italian is to be allowed to go to any South American state; all have to return to Germany or Italy. Roosevelt talks, Halifax talks, Churchill talks. The radio is a curse. Hitler says nothing. Nor does Stalin. All week there have been rumors that Hitler is now going to attack Russia. From Finland to the Black Sea both the Russians and the Germans are mobilized along the boundaries, more millions of men waiting to war on each other. Finland is calling up all her men to the age of forty-four. The supposition is, that Finland will now join Germany in an effort to get her own back from Russia. So more Finns will die. For what? Politics. Greed. Hate. It is the infernal hatred, which saturates our world, the infernal folly.

Artie is home on a forty-eight hour leave. He arrived in the middle of yesterday afternoon. He is out this evening, taking Mary Bernadette to a dance.

June 22, 1941

Have just listened to the midnight news. Damascus has fallen to us. The news came from Cairo an hour ago. King Peter the second arrived in this country today.

As I was writing the above last night Artie came in bringing Mary Bernadette with him. She had no key and could not get into her own house; either Doreen was deep asleep, or had returned to her own home. So Mary came here. She is upstairs in my bed right now. Artie and Ted are at church. Ted did not return until after three this morning; but he was up at six-thirty this morning just the same, silly fool! I see his boots are entirely covered with thick dust, as they must have made a long march somewhere. Playing at soldiers. There was no invasion, and Ted had known all the time that the Home Guard would be called out last night, “for maneuvers.” Why didn’t he tell me? This is another instance of his absurd secrecy, and a most inconsiderate one too, I think. It might have been a real call out, for the real invasion, and I might have worried myself insane, about him, about the town. But no, he wouldn’t say a word!

When he switched on the news at seven a.m. the announcer said: An hour ago Hitler marched against Russia. Goebbels made the announcement in Berlin an hour and a half ago. Hitler is impelled, he says, to save Europe from the perfidious Russians. The Finn’s and the Romanians will help their true friends, the Germans.
Fine! What irony! Ted says Hitler will destroy the Russians in a few weeks. The communists can’t fight, he says. We shall see. They fought in poor Finland all right, and even more savagely than Germans. Well, I must get breakfast, so Au-Revoir.

Eleven p.m. Artie left for camp after tea. He went for the six-nineteen train, and Ted went to the station with him. Ted has been talking theology at the boy most of the day. I’ve listened and said nothing; but the more often I listen to Ted talking the more I see the depths of his ignorance and innateness of his bigotry; and his complacency. Artie, of course, tried arguing with his father. He is too young yet to realize the futility of argument with a closed mind.

Most of the day Ted has been lying on the sofa, and he has now gone upstairs to bed. Last nights “maneuvers” tired him out completely. Naturally. He is an old man. Home Guards indeed! An old mans club, that’s what the home guard is: old boys playing as soldiers. Against the young foe they would be useless; worse than useless, in my opinion, because having overcome an old man the young man would instantly secure for himself the old man’s weapons. The Home Guards are anther example of English waste, muddle, and sentimentality, and just about as effective for real usefulness as the evacuation of mothers and children.

At nine o’clock tonight Mr. Churchill made a broad- cast, which was relayed to the world in general. It was a declaration of British policy in view of the new situation created by the German attack on Russia. He promised Russia that all possible help would be given to her steadfastly to the end. He said that he would unsay nothing he had ever said about Communism, But all this fades away before the spectacle now unfolding. The past with its crimes, its follies and its tragedies, flashes away. I see the Russian soldiers standing on the threshold of their native land, guarding the fields, which their fathers had tilled from time immemorial, and I see them guarding their homes where mothers and wives pray. Ah yes, for there are times when all pray.

A great speech. He went on: My mind goes back across the years to the days when the Russian armies were our allies against the same deadly foe, when they fought with so much valor and helped to gain a victory from a share in which, alas! They were from no fault of ours, utterly cut out. I have lived through all this... now I have to declare the decision of his Majesty’s Government, and I feel sure it is a decision in which the great dominions will in due course concur. We must speak out now at once, without a day’s delay. I have to make a declaration. Can you doubt what our policy will be? We have but one aim and one single irrevocable purpose. We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi region. From this, nothing will turn us, nothing. We will never parlay, we will never negotiate, with Hitler or any of his gang.... Any man or state that fights against Nazism will have our aid. Any man or state that marches with Hitler is our foe.... We shall give whatever help we can to Russia and to the Russian people. We shall appeal to all our friends and allies in every part of the world to take the same course, and pursue it as we shall faithfully and steadfastly to the end. And lots more. Oh God help us!

June 23, 1941

The alert sounded soon after I had put out the light last night, and I had to waken Ted to call him downstairs. He fell asleep again at once, he was still so tired, but I lay awake until dawn, and the all clear. Much gunfire. Two land mines dropped in Collier Row. It was a terrible night. It is Very hot too. Summer came in with a rush yesterday. Elizabeth Coppen was here this afternoon. Miss Owelett calling this evening, and Dorrie Stanford also. We are so used to the war by now that we pursue our lives as usual: read books, pay calls, gossip, drink tea, etc.

June 24, 1941

I had to call Ted downstairs again last night. Not as bad as last night, but pretty bad enough. The heat has moderated thank heaven.

I have been reading Julian Duguid’s new book. It is entitled, The Journey Back. It is an account of his re-conversion to religion, by which he understands Anglicanism mostly. It is interesting in places, but to me somewhat irritating. Another man concerned with religion, and expressing all the time a definitely restricted masculine viewpoint about everything. He speaks of his wife as the female principle, who “ministered” to him, by bringing in flowers, and switching on the light. Yes, she for man only, and so on and so on dear old Milton and the old school tie etc. Duguid is a Scotchman, and it is as fundamental to his mind, and feeling, as it is to an Englishman that woman exists for man, that man in primary being and woman the secondary. So he explains God and religion for men.

The consequence of such a book to me is that it arouses all my sleeping Americanism, and makes me so homesick for America where every woman is naturally recognized as a one hundred percent human being, that I do not know how to endure existence here in England another minute.

Again, I cannot follow the transition of the argument. The argument for “natural” religion, yes but the jump to the thesis that Jesus Christ was God, no, I can’t make it. Fundamentally I remain the same rock bare theist that I discovered myself to be under Voysey’s enlightenment. Nothing changes me, the same as nothing changes anybody. We are all what we are. We recognize ourselves, more or less; and to which I would add, I the more, Ted the less. Duguid gives me an exposition of a deep inner faculty, which he names, The Helper. This was a discovery for him, but it is nothing new to me. I call it my inner woman, my deep self and I found it when I was in my early teens, or perhaps even before. When I was very young I found the power of the will, of deep resolution, of the psyche and the secret inner life, and of how to draw up from my depths what I needed for my surface life. Myself, I say: my inviolable secret self. Sometimes I forget my secret self, and then my top life is parched, like a plant without water; but directly I remember that self, then I am refreshed, renewed. It is from that deep inner woman I draw all the power and all the knowledge I really have; it is my creative self, in which and from which I most truly live.

June 25, 1941

There is trouble in the house. When I was showing Mrs. Prior through this new little house we conferred together about a better arrangement of the furniture upstairs, and she said she could move it, if she had the assistance of her husband. So it was agreed between us that on Prior’s day off, he should come here to help her shift wardrobes, etc. The job was done today. Mrs. Prior arrived at lunchtime and started to take the beds down. Prior arrived at two o’clock and with her finished the shifting.

Ted is very angry with this. I hadn’t told him what I arranged to do. Why should I? The house is my affair. As for moving furniture, I’ve had enough of his nastiness about that. I don’t forget, and I’ll never forget, his ill temper and unkindness over the old red wardrobe, when he refused to move that, or to let my stand where I wanted it to stand. I vowed to myself then that as long as I lived I’d never again ask him to move a bit of furniture and I never will. So he had a surprise when he went upstairs at dinnertime today and found Ms. Prior taking the beds apart. He came down in a rage. That wasn’t woman’s work, he said. Then explained; if Mrs. Prior hurt herself she could sue us for damages. We didn’t pay insurance for her, so we’d have to pay, but that I should be the sufferer in the long run, because that would mean so much less money for me to waste. Very nice!

Well, I listened to his timidity and caution expressing itself, but I noticed he didn’t go and assist Mrs. Prior. Then he put me through the third degree as to why I wanted to move the beds, and so on. He said that he should have been consulted first. I didn’t ask him, but 
asked myself how much he consulted me about any of his movements. He never consults me about anything, and only tells me what he can’t avoid. Anyhow, the house and its arrangement and care is my job, not his. He carried on in absurd style and when he stopped for breath I just quietly told him, that I had the idea of switching over the bedrooms for some time; that I knew he would be disagreeable about it; that I wasn’t asking him to move anything and that I had agreed with the Prior’s about the job and that was that. If he hadn’t been so angry I would have explained to him just why I wanted the furniture moved around. He didn’t ask for my reasons. He just assumed I was unreasonable, and fumed accordingly. You might have thought to hear him that I had committed a crime and a sin by daring to re-arrange my bedrooms.

As a matter of fact I had seen when the R.A.F. boys were here, and I had to put them to sleep in my own bedroom, that the middle room was the better room for family use. That is because of the peculiar layout of the house. So I was determined to move my bed and bureau etc. out of the front room before I had more strangers billeted on me. For certainly all strangers and guests might use the front room. When Mary Bernadette was here last Saturday I had to put her into my bed, and also keep awake to warn Ted when he came in that the girl was in his room and in his bed.

Well, I have an aversion to other people sleeping in my bed. When I had to put the air force boys into my bed, I hated it. My bed is my bed and I feel very strongly about it. One of my cranks, of course, but it’s a fact. Also I wanted to eliminate the single bed in the anteroom, and to get the white wardrobe back in there, which is the most fitting place for it. Sometime ago we had to fill in forms about our houses, number of rooms, number of persons we could billet, etc. Ted wouldn’t fill in the form, but made me do it. So I stated two bedrooms only. I do not intend to have any possibility of a third. I don’t intend to have either refugees or factory workers billeted on me. If I have to have anybody I will take service men, two of whom can share the front room, but I don’t intend to have factory workers, nor any munitions damsel in my ante-room.

Ted didn’t wait to hear the reasons, with which he would have agreed at once had he heard them, but simply raved at me for having the audacity to move the furniture without first getting his permission.
 Silly fool. I wonder: is this my home or isn’t it? At teatime he was morose, quite miserable. You’d think I’d killed the baby. Silly fool!

Rita Pullan came calling tonight. I took her upstairs and showed her the arrangement. She thought it a vast improvement all around. It is. Anybody could see so, without having to have any reason why. It is a better disposition of the pieces themselves. For one thing I now have my dressing table beside a south window, instead of in a dark corner where it had to stand in the front room and this south window is freed, instead of being blocked by Artie’s big desk, as it was before. Altogether there is much more space and light in the middle room. As it was before it had two huge wardrobes in it. Now 

it has no wardrobe at all; one has been transferred to the front room, and the other to the anteroom; and the room has two cupboards anyhow, so doesn’t require a wardrobe. The rooms, all three of them, look better but Ted simply gloom's and says, Horrible! He returned from his home guarding before Rita left, but he couldn’t overcome his gloom to be cheerful even with Rita. He was polite, of course, but obviously downcast. Silly idiot.

June 26, 1941

Ted is still in the gloom's. Mrs. Prior came today to do the usual cleaning. When he spoke to her at dinner time he gave her a long harangue about shifting furniture about, and women never knowing their own minds. She simply laughed at him. Why not have a change if you like it? She asked him. But no, with Ted nothing must change. Listening to him talking and talking about women’s vices and inconsistencies and inconsiderateness, really, the German attack on Russia pales into insignificance. Men! comments Mrs. Prior.

June 27, 1941

My new room looked so nice and inviting last night that I nearly went up there to sleep, but didn’t. A good thing too, because soon after one a.m. flashes and heavy gunfire awakened me, and this was twenty minutes or so before the alarm was sounded. Ted, of course, who had gone to bed in the front room, had to come down here to his sofa. He fell asleep again at once, but I cannot sleep during a raid. Whilst it was going on I thought of another good reason for the change around upstairs; it has removed a lot of heavy stuff from the room immediately above this one where we sleep. Most people have removed all heavy furniture from upper rooms about the downstairs sleeping apartment, so that there is less to fall upon you if your house receives a direct hit. When the Peel’s house was destroyed Mary Bernadette had an escape from certain death. Had she remained for the night with the Peel’s, as they wanted her to do, she would have been crushed to death because the divan on which she would have been sleeping was buried by the ceiling falling upon it, and a huge wardrobe which was standing on the floor immediately above. So here with us, the room alone contained a bed, but two wardrobes, one big desk, and two large trunks, filled with the boy’s books.

This morning when I went up there to dress I realized that today was the first time I had dressed myself in this house with pleasure. I sat before my dressing table and really saw myself, and without moving I could look out of my sunny window tint the full length of the garden, which is now a blaze of color, and onto all the beautiful trees which stand in between here and Eastern Road. They are very long gardens of Eastern Road and Western Road, meeting, making a large open space, full of trees and flowers, really beautiful. As a matter of fact, when I surveyed the middle room this morning, all clear and clean and sunny and bright, I thought: Why, this is the most pleasant bedroom I’ve ever had since we came to England. It is. Gee, I’m jolly glad I carried my idea through. Ted can keep grousing I don’t give a damn. I had a good idea, I carried it out, and result is excellent.

It is seven twenty-five p.m. and a lovely summer evening. Ted has gone out to his Home Guards, and I am hoping to be left alone for a while. Mrs. Thomson was in this morning, and this afternoon Peggy Thompson and her two children were here. Ted was quite amiable at teatime, so, I know what to expect later on tonight. Men! as Mrs. Prior exclaims. Anyhow he brought me in a box of Muratti and Mrs. Millin’s book, from Boots. Last night he was talking about Carlyle, Ruskin, and Macaulay, and wondering why nobody wrote like them nowadays. This was an attempt to approach friendlily, but I was so bored with his topic I only made bare responses. I have heard him on this subject before. It was one of his specials. I got through with these old Victorians before I was twenty, but Ted has never got through with them. As he admired them in his adolescence, as he admires them today. I never admired them. Indeed, I resented them.

I wanted to know, forty years ago, by what right these old writers put themselves up to lecture and scold the British people: by what right they suckled us with their standards and their pieties. Ted always liked them; their very instructing and dogmatism was what most deeply pleased him, I suppose. But not me, I never could stand being preached at and now he is wondering why people don’t read them today. I should wonder if they did.

Macaulay might be readable today. I don’t know, and certainly I’m not going to try and find out. I should guess both Carlyle and Ruskin were practically unreadable for any adult mind today. That’s the important thing, the adult mind. Has Ted got an adult mind? Often I don’t think so. He seems to me to be completely stuck fast in all the fantasies and crudities and ignorance’s of his boyhood mind. He has never got beyond the eighteen- nineties. Poor Ted and poor me, who find myself so often, too often, exasperated by his inadequacies, inadequacies of both mind and manners. Here stand out again in our inescapable backgrounds, I suppose. Ruskin and Carlyle avowedly wrote for, and wrote down to, the British workingman, which is what Ted’s father was. Ted grew up in a working class home, a “respectable home,” with the working class culture of the late Victorian period. I didn’t. The unfortunate thing for me is that Ted had successfully erased all signs of his origins when I met and married him. He had only achieved a temporary erasure; had he remained in America he might have remained a good American; but alas, coming back here to England in the way he did, he returned to all his origins, and they express themselves in him more and more markedly with every year that passes. He is showing himself to be the kind of man his father must have been, and oh my God, what an aversion I have to that kind of man! But there it is, and there is nothing I can do about it. Now Au-revoir; I’m going to read awhile.

June 28, 1941

Ted has gone up to bed. This has been a bad day for me, one of my very worst. I have been in misery all day. Why? Because having Bertie’s children here yesterday made me long for my own little grandchildren, particularly Sheila. Was it a Reaction from the stress of furniture moving? Was it Boredom arising from the fact that Ted was home all day? Or Euphoria? Or some simple alteration in my glands? I don’t know. All I know is that I have found the day unendurable.

June 29,1941

I am not in quite the same misery as yesterday, but am still feeling decidedly antisocial. I expect mother to arrive about eleven and I don’t want her. She is coming to see me now every other Sunday and I am finding it is too often. As ever, Mother’s company fatigues me. I can’t help it. Perhaps if I could ever feel that she came because she wanted to see me I should feel differently about mother. It is never like that. So obviously and frankly she only comes to please herself, to give herself a day’s outing.

Oh God, what is the matter with me that I suffer because people don’t care for me! I’m weepy this morning anyhow. Ted went out to mass soon after seven, and did not return until nine-twenty. I had the radio on for the nine a.m. news, and was about to listen to some Corot records, Weber and Chopin, which were to follow. Immediately Ted said something against the everlasting wireless, and turned it off. No by-your-leave or, do you mind; no enquiry as to what was coming and did I want to hear it. No civilities what ever. I was hurt. I felt the tears coming, but luckily was able to keep them back. Two hours church for him, but not two minutes of music for me. I said nothing, what is there to say? So, I’m feeling anti social, to use Kay’s word. I don’t want to see anybody, or talk to anybody. I don’t want to cook a dinner, or to bother with the house in any way at all. I want to be alone, absolutely alone. I’m tired of myself.

The day is sunny, but windy and cool. What I should like to do is to go up and lie on my bed in the sunny middle room and browse awhile in Mrs. Millin’s book and fall asleep, and sleep warm and deep until I was slept out; then wake up refreshed and renewed, sane and sensible once more, my own woman. Instead I must now go and prepare fresh coffee, ready for Mother’s arrival, and then be her daughter and Ted’s housekeeper for the rest of the live long day. Oh I groan, but there it is, that’s got to be my day. So Au-revoir. 

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