World War ll London Blitz: 4-8-42 to 4-29-42 Mrs. Jude was here today. To lunch, remaining until four o’clock, and then back again this evening, to telephone Mary. She has received a letter from Mr. Jude, written in pencil, from Malta. Malta! Of all places in the world, she thinks he has been torpedoed again, and picked up and put ashore at Malta.

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April 8, 1942

Mary Bernadette came in to tea tonight. She had just returned from town, where she had said goodbye to Hugh Storr-Best and returned him his ring and “all the doings.”  She told me he had said she had broken with him because of Fred Thompson (Artie). She denied it. I think Hugh guesses right. I think Mary does want Artie, but whether Artie wants her, that’s another story. I don’t think Artie wants to be serious with any girl.

April 9, 1942

Mrs. Jude was here today. To lunch, remaining until four o’clock, and then back again this evening, to telephone Mary. She has received a letter from Mr. Jude, written in pencil, from Malta. Malta! Of all places in the world, she thinks he has been torpedoed again, and picked up and put ashore at Malta.

April 18, 1942

It is my birthday. I am fifty-eight today. I can’t believe it! Ted gave me three boxes of Turkish cigarettes. These are now extremely hard to come by. Amongst my letters was one from my cousin Will Searle. This pleased me more than any. They were blitzed out of Whitehall Place, and now are living in South Harrow. Young Will, now married, is in the police and stationed at Dorking. “We’ve lost our home,” writes Willie, “but are thankful to have our lives. You can always get another home.”

April 19, 1942

I found Mother in the back garden when I returned from High Mass bringing Mary Bernadette with me. Mother came loaded with goodies, of her own making. She brought me a fruitcake, (war recipe of course) a mince pie, (the last of Christmas) a jar of yellow plum jam, and a jar of chutney. She also brought a half-pound box of Fuller’s Candies, which she must have been hoarding for some time. She also brought me a great surprise. She handed me a little jewel box containing Auntie Lizzie Hext’s black pearl earrings. Minnie sent them to me. Will Hext gave them to Minnie when Auntie died, but it seems Minnie considers them “too old” for her to wear, so Mother asked her to give them to me. So Minnie wrote to Will and got his permission to part with them and here they are. I am so pleased. They are beautiful pearls in themselves, and I like them also because they were Aunties. I loved Auntie Lizzie. Several callers including Dorrie Stanford, Mrs. White and Daisy and this evening Mrs. Jude came over. I am tired now after a very nice day.

April 25, 1942

All this week my thoughts have been dwelling in the memories of my girlhood. I expect Auntie Lizzie’s earrings thrust them there. Particularly I have been remembering my life in Head’s, my walks up Sloane Street, the Boer War and the dance at Blankheim House, Pall Mall. I ought to write this out. I don’t but I should. When am I going to do my writing? Oh when?
When I have leisure? Perhaps. When I have leisure I shall probably be incapable. As it is I am already aware of the failure of my powers. I am sure I was born with the temperament and the mentality of a novelist, and with the easy facility of composition necessary to do the actual labor; yet I don’t write. I only dream about writing. Why am I such a dud?

April 28, 1942

The war is getting worse and worse. There were heavy raids on Bath last night.

April 29, 1942

A hurricane is blowing. Our garden fence blew down today. This is the windiest day in years. If fires are started tonight then heaven help us! There was a heavy raid on Norwich last night, many fires, many casualties. An alert was given here this afternoon, about three o’clock, but the all clear sounded about twenty minutes afterwards. Just as the sirens went, Isabel Robbins called, with Jan. She brought me a half-pound of tea, most acceptable.
I received a letter from Doris this morning. It was posted in New York on February Eighteenth, no wonder I look in vain for letters. She tells me Kay had a daughter in January.
Tonight Mrs. Owlett is coming in. Yesterday it was Miss Coppen. Where is my precious private time?
I have begun to read, The Life and Letters of Edward Thomas by John Moore published in 1939. John Moore’s book annoys me. After recounting Thomas’s love affair, he begins his chapter, Marriage, with the sentence; There were no reproaches between them, which is a preposterous statement to make. Thomas had a free-love affair with a girl named Helen Noble. It had begun on her twentieth birthday. They became lovers that day, writes Moore. That was in July 1897. From then on they had sexual intercourse whenever they could. Both of them were very young, neither of them telling their parents. Mrs. Noble did not like Edward so Helen left home and became a nursery governess; but her employer, a Mrs. Andres found out about her love affair, and there was an unpleasant row between Helen and her employer. In consequence Helen had left the Andrew’s and taken a new job as a sort of general help, with a kind and tolerant and slightly bohemian family who were already her friends and knew of her relationship with Edward. Here she was happy and at home; and Edward was made welcome too and allowed to come and see her whenever he liked. The name of this family was Logan. What sort of people were they to take in a girl of twenty, knowing she was quarrelling with her mother because of her “friendship” with a young man? They must have wanted a cheap servant extra badly. Well, At the beginning of the summer term of 1899 Helen wrote and told him (E.T.) that she was pregnant.
So says John Moore, there were no reproaches between them. I should say not! They had been sleeping together on and off, in houses, and in woods and copses, for two years. They were lucky the girl wasn’t pregnant before!
Moore goes on; the lovers decided that at first they would tell nobody except Mrs. Logan; and they were rather surprised and disappointed when Mrs. Logan, whose Bohemianism was of the refined and ladylike sort, strongly advised that they should marry and make a clean breast of it to their parents. Marry, said Mrs. Logan, a trifle disconcerted and marry soon! So on the Twentieth of June, 1899 they were married at Fulham Registry Office. Edward then returned to Oxford and Helen to her job.
Really now! No reproaches! This is the kind of writing that annoys me excessively. A man writing, and talking about what he doesn’t understand, a man's verdict! Gosh! What a situation! Moore says calmly, there were no reproaches between them. I should think not indeed.
See, this is why I want to write. I want to put down women’s verdicts on women’s affairs.
As I walked through Romford market again I had the shudders again. These people, these working class people, their voices, their accents, horrible! Affairs ought not to be that way. People are poor, working class; they ought not to be condemned to illiteracy, to bad grammar, poor voices, and poor manners. All the citizens of a country deserve a good education. I think of Mrs.. Highman telling me one of the glories of America was the little red schoolhouse, free education for everybody, as much as they could take. American public schools yes, those are the right schools. They produce Americans. Ladies and gentleman and lower classes don’t populate America as England most damnably is, but by Americans Good Americans as they say, “Are you a Good American?” Yes, by God, I am. Well I seem to be raving, so I’ll shut up for tonight. Au-revoir.

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