I just got back from seeing Mother onto the train, all a simmer with emotion which is half anger, half derision, not aroused by Mother (or only indirectly) but by Ted. I here put it on record that I despise Ted Thompson; despise him because I think he is despicable. I think him a fool, an utter fool.
Last night old Bert knocked at the door. He came to bring us some of his pears He sat with me until after the nine o’clock news, and we fell into talk of Ted. Being angry, I spilled over to Bert. It did no good, except that I got some of the irritation out of my system. Bert told me of incidents way back in Alaska. It seemed that once Ted saved Bert’s life, for which, he says, he has always had a soft spot in his heart for Teddy boy.
I am swearing at Ted again. Oh, this man makes me so cross. This morning I changed the sheets on our bed. I went upstairs a few minutes ago and found the bed stripped open! Ted airing the bed! He insists and has done for years, that I put damp sheets on the bed. This is ridiculous. How did he discover there were clean sheets on the bed today? He must look under the bedspread to investigate everyday. Fool! Yesterday evening when it grew chilly I closed the door to the kitchen. To save matches Ted has made a habit of going into the kitchen to light a spire at the gas stove every time he wants to light his pipe. Actually this consumes more fuel than any lighting of matches, for he turns a burner on full blast every time. I say nothing. Well last night he went through to the gas stove, but coming back into the dining room he forgot to close the connecting door. My back was aching and it was an effort for me to pull up out of my chair, I said, “Close the door, will you?”
I went to the movies this afternoon to see, Gone With The Wind. I liked it better than I had expected to. I was unable to read the book. I went to the pictures mainly in an attempt to break my mood, which remains a bad one. Ted is on my nerves most frightfully. I don’t know how to endure him.
My feeling of misery persists. I want friendliness in the house and there is none. At breakfast Ted said, “Do you want those apples? If not I will throw them away.” They were windfalls, standing in a box in the wheelbarrow. I began to explain why I had not used any of them.
I have heard disquieting news about Dr. Keighley. She has left home, practically run away. The report is she has gone to Scotland, and that a lot of her furniture has been removed from the house. Dr. John, her husband, came back from the Army early this year, and has remained at home ever since. They did not agree. I believe it has been an unhappy marriage almost from the beginning. He is a Catholic and she is not. Once she told me that the subject of birth control caused a lot of trouble in the house. She said that in the beginning they couldn’t afford to have a family, and now it was too late. Another time she said that her sex life was very meager, and that though a younger woman then myself, I probably had a fuller sexual life than she did. Report says Dr. John has “affairs” with various young women. Anyhow, it was generally known they were unhappily married. Now she has up and left him! Betty says she is going to join the A.T.S. the boy is at Beaumont.
It is dusk now and we are delaying lighting the lights, so as to conserve electricity, at twilight Ted came into the dining room and sat with me for a while. I was resting on my sofa; he made himself comfortable on his. In the next house a raucous old gramophone was ceaselessly playing and the row irritated me. Ted began talking his banalities. I looked at him there in the gloaming, and I wondered about him again, and why it is that such an insignificant being can prevent me so much. Why? Above all, why have I permitted him to do so? I felt cramped in this room, with no outlook, and the horrible distracting noises of the neighbors coming through the walls.
I am in a better frame of mind this morning, and this, of course, as so often with me, is due to a dream. After daydreaming yesterday about Tenafly, I went to bed and dreamt of America. Naturally. My dream was back in the summer of nineteen-twenty, and the months we shared a house on East Thirty-Fifth Street, Bayonne, with the Taft’s. The Taft boys and our boys flitted in and out across the dream, the old crew, all still in knickerbockers. We were fixing up the house for a party for them. The most important part of the dream was Alice. Neither her Ted nor mine were there, so we were full of talk, women’s talk. Most of it was Alice’s talk. “The trouble with you Rue,” she said, "is you don’t control your imagination enough. Use your imagination, but not to land you in miseries. If you can’t have what you like, like what you have. You worry where worry won’t help you. All very bad for you, you know. It is Bad for your hair, your skin, your teeth, your hands, and your circulation. Worry means fear, and what are you afraid of? Afraid you won’t get back to America? You will. But remember, worry means fear, and fear paralyzes the mind and upsets the digestion. Remember that. You know, all this unnecessary mental and physical wear and tear arises from a bad mental habit. Stop it. Stop it before it wears you out anymore and makes you older than you need to be. There’s no sense in being afraid. Never be afraid of anything or anyone. Don’t be afraid of life. Don’t be afraid of Ted. I’ve told you before, Rue, Ted can’t hurt you; only you can hurt yourself. The cure for worry, for dread, for unhappiness, must come from within you. You must say to yourself: 'Here I am for better or for worse, and its more likely to be for better than for worse. The sun’s still shining in the sky, and only the sky’s the limit.' You, know, the normal, healthy person is happy merely to be alive. You’re normal Rue, absolutely sane and normal. You know you are. So you know that the joys of life outweigh the sorrows and that to live is the greatest adventure we shall ever know.”
This is how my day ended yesterday. I was sitting in the gloaming when Ted returned from church, listening to some community hymn singing, coming from Cobridge Parish Church. I did not particularly want to hear hymns, but the only alternative program was a talk about yellow ochre, which I certainly did not want to hear. Immediately on entering the room Ted commented on the hymn in progress disparagingly. It was one he did not know; therefore it couldn’t be a well-known one, so why sing it?
The Ottawa government has announced the loss of Canadians in last months raid on Dieppe. The figure given is three thousand three hundred and fifty killed, wounded, missing and believed dead. This is the loss of the Canadians only; our own losses have not been given out. The Germans claimed to have killed or captured ten thousand men. Very likely they did. Our government has been suspiciously quiet on the subject of Dieppe. Naturally everyone considers it a major disaster. “Reconnaissance in Force” is what it is described as. Also, general opinion is, that the raid was ordered by Churchill, at the instigation of Stalin, also that Churchill went to Russia to bolster up Stalin and keep the Russians in the war, he even said on his return that Stalin thought we should do more in the West, but that “it was difficult” to make Stalin understand our difficulties of water transport. Very likely. We have two large bodies of opinion in this country, one is that we should immediately open up a second front in the West, to help Russia, and the other is, that we cannot do so, and that to attempt to invade the continent is to bring about another Dunkirk. Dieppe would seem to prove that the second opinion is the right one. There is much talk about helping Russia, so far so indeed that you would think Russia entered the war of her own free will, to help us. This is nonsense. History is, that whilst we were negotiating in Moscow, for an Alliance with Russia, Stalin signed his non-aggression pact with Hitler, and further very soon after that, Russia invaded Poland and invaded and attacked Finland. All that is forgotten.
“Donkeys! Janet, donkeys!” Thus Betsy Trotwood. Well, I have a phobia, definitely it is nuns. One morning during the week the doorbell rang whilst I was upstairs dressing. As in this house a window is most conveniently placed directly over the front door, I can open this window to see who is at the door and ask them to wait whilst I descend the stairs, or do my business with errand boys without coming downstairs. Well, whatever morning it was, when I looked out of the window I saw two nuns, at the door, one of them in a brown habit. They smiled at me very ingratiatingly and said, “Mrs. Thompson? We’ve come.” Come to beg of course. I didn’t answer them. I simply shut the window and returned to my room. They did not ring or knock again, and presently went away. I was angry for a moment, but I forgot them. Except that same night I dreamed of Blanche Sivell, but before she went into her convent.
I have passed Colonel Casado’s book to Ted to read. Though dry in places, that is, for civilians, it is an extremely enlightening book on the Spanish Civil War. Casado, though a Republican is definitely against the Russians and their so-called help in Spain. He declares Spain was lost because of Communism, and Soviet intervention. He complains of their practical control of the radio, and how Spaniards, instead of being reminded of heroic Spaniards and of Spain, heard only interminable laudations of Stalin, and ceaseless Russian music, etc. This makes us think of what is happening in England, where daily the B.B.C. gives us preponderantly Russian themes and Russian music, Russian artists, and constant praise of “our allies, the Russians.” It is all very insidious. True, the Russians are fighting well, disagreeably surprising Hitler but they are not fighting for us, or for civilization, they are fighting for themselves, and that only because they were attacked. The pact they signed with Hitler before he invaded Poland is forgotten. Had Hitler not invaded Russia it is certain Russia would not have come to our help against him; but we go to hers. Then our wireless and press talks daily of the wonderful Russians! Yes, they are fighting, but for themselves.