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World War ll London Blitz:  Buy On Smashwords
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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: 10-4-43 to 10-25-43 We have had air raids every night since Sunday. Last night’s was the heaviest yet. Two bombs dropped on the Golf Links. I actually went outside to look at the sky and saw a Gerry caught in the searchlights.

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October 4, 1943
It is old Herbert’s birthday, he is seventy-five today. I was talking to Hilda at breakfast about history. She does not know even her own Scottish history. I asked about Mary Queen of Scots, her answers showed that she confused Mary with Elizabeth! She thought they were the same person! She knew nothing at all about Darnley, Rizzio, or Bothwell, all she knew was that Queen Mary was to be regarded as a martyr. She thought the English called her, “Good Queen Bess.” The depth of this girl’s ignorance is in-computable. So I asked her what school did she go to? A Catholic Church school? And she said, yes, then a Catholic High School? She replied, no. In fact, she has been to no high school at all, but she isn’t going to say so.
This girl was born in Glasgow of an Irish father and a Lancashire mother. The mother was a convert after marriage. The father is an ardent Catholic, presumably the usual fanatical ignoramus. The children are made to go to mass, and to the Catholic elementary school. Hilda is one of the expected products. She can read and write and is familiar with elementary arithmetic, but that is apparently the complete sum of her education. She knows neither the geography nor the history of her own country, Scotland, though she has a few hazy notions about it. I suppose she knows Mary was beheaded; but why, she has no idea. Mary was a martyr, that’s all she knows. I suppose the nuns who taught school couldn’t possibly mention Darnley or Rizzio because they were “lovers” or Bothwell because he was a “Protestant.” Perhaps even the nuns themselves were ignorant of these persons and events.
As for Hilda she doesn’t want to know anything. She has no hunger for knowledge, so she will never seek it. She isn’t a natural fool, but simply a colossally ignorant person. Nor has she an accomplishment of any sort at all. She can neither sing nor play, she can’t sew, she doesn’t even knit, or even play cards. What Artie is going to do with her as time goes on, I’m sure I don’t know, but I’m sure when his love-fever burns itself out, he is going to be a very bored husband. I think he is going to be ashamed, too, for her ignorance of all rules of politeness, of etiquette, of good manners, is on a par with her ignorance of the usual school subjects. She isn’t vulgar or rude, she’s just blank. She knows enough to say please and thank-you at the table, but not enough to say goodbye when she goes out, or goodnight when she goes to bed. She treats this house like a hotel. She doesn’t show disrespect to Ted or me, but she certainly doesn’t show respect. She exists only for herself. Courtesy, she has none. That she should have regard for the other person apparently has never dawned on her. She is one of the most unlikable persons we have ever met. Ted feels the same way about her.
October 8, 1943
I was dreaming of my own book. My dream was of Hamlet House, which merged into the Knickerbocker Road House, and of Grandma Searle, who became Mrs. Currie, then Mrs. Cecilia Perry of this road. Oh, how I want to get down to my writing! I am sleeping badly, because my mind is too active for sleep. I want to think and to write, not sleep.
We have had air raids every night since Sunday. Last night’s was the heaviest yet. Two bombs dropped on the Golf Links. I actually went outside to look at the sky and saw a Gerry caught in the searchlights. The moon up, the stars shining, the lights criss-crossing, colored flares dropping, it is a beautiful night, but what a devil’s beauty. During the evening Ted wrote me two checks, one for my hats, the other to cover Jo Tibb’s dressmaking bill. I duly thanked him.

October 12, 1943
The Devil to Pay. Last night there was a hell of a row here over Hilda. I say curse Hilda. This girl behaves towards me absolutely insolently and she goes in and out of the house as nonchalantly as she would go in and out of a cinema or a restaurant. She never says good-by or hello. She comes down to breakfast and never says good morning. She goes up to bed and never says goodnight. She sits up in her room, or in the parlor, until a meal is ready, then comes to the table when she is called. I resent this. She ignores me more than she would ignore a servant. This house is not a hotel, nor do I live for the pleasure of cooking her meals. This is a home, where she is receiving complete free hospitality and I expect her to pay the due courtesies of a home. I expect her to cooperate a trifle in the chores, and I expect her to smile and be pleasant and friendly. She is disagreeable and a dour unlikable person. All she wants is admiration and adulation and to be waited on, and for why? Simply for her pretty face. She is one of the most ignorant girls to be found in the kingdom, she knows nothing, and she does nothing. All she wants is to go to the movies everyday, and presumably, to look like a movie heroine. She is rude to all the people who come into the house, whether they are Artie’s friends or mine. She simply won’t cooperate about anything. She’s sly and underhanded. There is much of the usual deceit of the born Irish Catholic about her.
Well, Sunday night I spilled over. She had done nothing in the house all day except feed her face, and most of the evening she spent in the parlor with Ted and Artie. I stay alone here in the dining room, but quite content to be alone. Ted came in at nine o’clock to hear the news, and then returned again to the parlor. A little later Artie came in, and crossed the room to kiss me goodnight. Hilda stayed out in the hall, awaiting him. She never said a word. She did not even come to the door and smile a goodnight. Well, I boiled over. I waited until the pair of them was upstairs, but then went through to Ted and exploded at her bad manners. She’s not my daughter, and I don’t count it a privilege to work for her, but seeing that she’s living on the premises I think the least she can do is to treat me with ordinary politeness. She doesn’t. So I exploded, and called her a little cat, and a blasted bitch, and meant it too. Unfortunately in my anger I didn’t stop to close the parlor door behind me, so my words carried upstairs and she heard them. I didn’t mean for her to hear them, but there you are!
So yesterday, of course, there was trouble with Artie, and general gloom's all around. Sulks. Well, I hate sulks, so at teatime I spoke out and said, “Hilda, I want a few words with you before you go to bed tonight. I think we need to come to an understanding.”
She looked frightened, but went off upstairs, where she and Artie stayed all evening. Early in the evening Doreen Peel came in, and stayed until after ten. When she had gone Artie came down, in his bathrobe, and said “I have come to say goodnight, and to say goodnight for Hilda.”
I jumped. I said, “Oh, isn’t she going to face me? Or is she too tired? If so we can have our talk tomorrow morning.”
Artie said, “No, I won’t let her. She’s my wife and I won’t have her bothered.”
Then we talked for half an hour, both Ted and I pointing out her faults and annoying actions, and Artie, in true bridegroom fashion, excusing her. Naturally. I’m sorry for Artie, for he’s between two women, his wife and his mother. I don’t want to hurt Artie, on the other hand, I don’t want to be hurt myself, and I’ve had three months of the girl’s barbarities and uncouthness, and I can’t stand any more of her. This girl is poison to me, and if she doesn’t either change or get out, I shall have a nervous breakdown.
Now this morning she is still in the sulks. She wouldn’t come to breakfast, nor let Artie have any either! Then he took her out to lunch. Half an hour ago he suddenly appeared in the room, looking for his writing case. They had both come back into the house noiselessly, something very hard to do, considering Artie’s crutches and sneaked away upstairs. Now, I’m not going to bite the girl! If accepting our hospitality, she doesn’t want to behave with the normal courtesy of a guest, then we no longer wish to extend our hospitality towards her, and she must leave. The same goes for Artie. After all, this is my home, and I will not be treated as less than a servant in it. She acts as though she is here by right divine and it is my natural business to attend to her necessities. No, it’s not good enough, and I can’t stand any more of it.
Of course she nags Artie. Yes, she’s been a very skillful little slum miss, and she’s landed herself a husband, and now she’s going to collect all the benefits, very smart and very nasty. Artie’s made a disastrous pick, but at present, of course, he’s in love. That will wear off, and then he’ll realize the bed he’s made for himself.
I feel sick about Artie. As usual I laid awake a long while after I had gone to bed last night, and I thought, I’ve said goodbye to Artie. I had that queer feeling which I sometimes have about Ted, that he’s a stranger. I feel, Artie isn’t my son, there is nothing of me in him, and we don’t belong together. I remembered something Mrs. Renacre said about him last Friday, “You know, Freddie wasn’t straight, Mrs. Thompson. There was a lot of deception. You wouldn’t know, but there was.”
I have known. In different instances in the past I have known Artie tricky, deceptive, unreliable, not to be trusted. Not an outright liar, too clever for that, but tricky in ways I haven’t liked. Right here about this Hilda Kane he deceived me from the beginning. He knew she had no education, no decent family to show, he knew all that, but very carefully kept the knowledge to himself. He only produced her photograph and said merely, “She was a nice kid.” He knew we wouldn’t approve of her as a wife for him, so he fooled us. Well, he’ll pay for his choice, but he was deceitful about it just the same.
I feel terribly let down about Artie. When I think that this kind of girl satisfies him, I wonder where is his judgment! There is nothing to this girl, except her pretty face, and all of the bloom of that comes out of bottles! I think Artie is an empty head to be pleased with such an empty head, and such a nonentity. This girl doesn’t even want to know anything. All she wants is a man and lovey-dovey. It’s deplorable. Artie is another letdown, a write off. So it is goodbye Artie. Queer how one feels about one’s children, isn’t it? I think, in the long run, those people who never have children at all are the best off.
It is now eleven p.m. and when Artie and Hilda returned from the movies half an hour ago they both came into this room. Ted was here. We spoke this evening, asked if it was a good show, yes, and was it a fine night? Yes. Was the moon shining? “I didn’t notice,” said Artie, then to Hilda: “Was it?”
“I don’t know,” she said very grumpily. Then Artie crossed over to me and kissed me goodnight, and then he kissed his father goodnight. Hilda, still standing only in the doorway, gave a twisted smile to Ted and said, “Goodnight, Mrs. Thompson.”
I said, “Goodnight, Hilda,” and they went upstairs. One inning to me. I had told Artie she never gave me a name, and that it was heathenish to address people with out a name, you should use names occasionally.
October 13, 1943
It is Arthur Thompson’s birthday. Had he lived I suppose he would have been fifty-seven or fifty-eight by now. When Hilda came downstairs she actually addressed me first, and said, “Good morning, Mrs. Thompson.” Good! Maybe she’ll practice manners yet.
A letter from Kay this morning to Ted and me. "Dear Mother and Dad," she addresses us. It is a shocking letter. It is written August 17. She wrote that she came home June 23, and was met by Harold with the request that he would give her a divorce, as he wanted to marry a slut in the office. She adds, "Harold can sleep with a different woman every night if he wants to, but I am married to him for life"
She tells us that whilst she was away, Harold took eleven hundred dollars, which her brother had sent her from New Guinea to help with expenses, and spent it all on women in New York. She says he left Sheila and Dickey alone nights, all night. She also says he brought in a married woman who slept in her bed. She implores us to write to her. She says she is quite recovered, and is determined to stick by her children. She says Harold is heartless.
If all this is true, then Harold is heartless. I think it must be Kay’s delusions. I cannot imagine that Harold would behave like this. He might go off on a bat, yes, to forget his troubles; but he wouldn’t desert his wife and four children for some other woman. I don’t believe it. I think Kay must still be mad. What her original trouble was with Harold of course we don’t know; but something is radically wrong, that’s absolutely certain.
After reading the letter Ted turned on me. It's all my fault, of course. I didn’t bring the boys up right. They’ve lost their religion, so what else can you expect? Ever since we had children whatever they did wrong was my fault. I don’t try to rebut this anymore. If Ted wants to believe this, he must believe it. What I think is, if they all sunk it would be our fault, for leaving them as we did in 1927. Our desertion of them was a criminal action against those young men. That they have turned out good husbands and fathers and good citizens is a fluke. If Harold is a failure, then it is Ted who is to blame rather than me.
Ted went on and on about my religion and lack of religion. “Ours might have been a mixed marriage,”  he said. “How could the boys ever know where they were with you in and out of the church, the way you carried on.” So on and so on. I made no replies, but inside I felt sunk. I thought, its no good, I’ll have to stick in the Catholic Church, willy-nilly, so long as ever Ted lives. I can’t break away again. I simply can’t face it. I don’t believe it anymore than I ever did, I’ve simply got to conform to it. Next Sunday I must go back to mass. Sincerity is not for me; the conditions of my life with Ted will not permit it. He compels me to present all the appearances of Catholicity. Damn him! Damn him! Anyhow, I shan't go to confession. I think that is beyond my powers of compliance forevermore.
October 14, 1943
It is a rainy day. I spent it with Joan. She read out to me parts of Aileen’s last letter. Aileen writes, that she judges two out of three of my boys are neurotics, but does not specify which. Charlie, she prefers to the others. She says he is kind, affectionate, sincere, and very Boy Scout. She says Johnnie is the handsomest and cleverest of the boys, but is bogged down in domesticity, and that you feel that inwardly he is very unhappy. She says that Harold has the least brains of any of them, that he is “terribly confused,” that Ted has confused him further with the curse of conscience, but that he is kind and good and very high principled. This contradicts Kay’s accusations, so probably my guess is right, and Kay is still slightly mental. Aileen says that although my boys are good normal Americans, still they are disappointing to her, they have too much of Ted in them and too little of me, that they lack the Side family vividness and aggressiveness and wit, and that Ted has confused all of them with his ideas and his religion, and she says, “Again, say, curse, religion!” She finishes, “To see them makes me sad, they are only dim reflections of Ruby in a receding mirror.”
I feel that too. For long I have felt that my sons are but strangers to me. I lost them when they lost me. When Ted wrenched me away from them it was a living death he imposed upon the family. Ted destroyed the family. Ted destroyed me, but he flourishes. Yes, our family history is a tragedy.

October 18, 1943
There was a very heavy raid again last night. Rockingham Avenue, about a mile or a mile and a half from here, got a direct hit, ten houses down and six people killed outright, several others injured and taken to the hospital.

October 19, 1943
There was a raid again last night. It’s moonlight of course. Nothing fell here, thank God. Yet somewhere else got the bombs. Oh, when will this damn war finish! What frightful times we are living in! What infuriating ones, for none of the world’s troubles need be. Men have made the world the way it is. Men destroy society and civilization. Fool men. Wicked men. Goddamn men! God does damn men. We are all damned.
October 20, 1943
I am very restless and very tired. Another raid last night so we are all losing sleep, and that’s making us all cranky. Ted is on my nerves excessively. I do think him a fool. He fusses about nothing and too pious for words. I loathe his piety. Why oh why can’t he be a normal man? I think he is a maniac, and I am so tired of him I do not know how to go on living with him any longer. He’s good and he means well, but the fact is, I can’t bear him. I’ve had too much of him. Marriage last too long. I hate marriage. One night soon, perhaps tonight, he will want his pleasure, and he’ll take it. Will he say his prayers over that? Of course not. In the morning he’ll be up and off to mass, as per usual. Habit.
October 21, 1943 — Trafalgar Day Salute to Nelson 
We had another very bad raid last night, between one and two this morning. I trembled so incessantly that this morning my limbs ache as though I had climbed a mountain and even my arms ache. I retched so much I am feeling my ribs are bruised, as though somebody kicked them. I am so tired from lack of sleep my eyes are smarting. During a raid like last nights it is easy to understand how human beings can die of shock and fear. Once I held my breath thinking the house was surely hit, but it wasn’t, nor anywhere immediately near, so far as I know. War. This fiendish war, the sport of men.
October 22, 1943
There was a raid again last night, between two and three a.m. and another this evening about half past seven until nearly nine. This evening was a very heavy one. The Gerry’s have got through to London every night now for a week, but it was the last quarter of the moon yesterday, so we may hope for quieter nights next week. We are all very tired. Since Gerry came early this evening we hope for an undisturbed night tonight.
October 23, 1943
Tonight’s news is that today David Lloyd George married at a registry office near Guildford, a Miss Stevenson who has been his private secretary for thirty years. The bride is fifty-five, whilst Lloyd-George is something over eighty. His first wife, Dame Margaret Lloyd-George died in nineteen forty-one. Late this afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd-George left Chart for an undisclosed location. The honeymoon couple! My God! What a silly old goat! What a glaring  instance this is that men do not love women and they only love themselves. A man must have his pleasure. His pleasure. Oh God, how I hate men!
October 24, 1943
We have now had nine consecutive nights of bombing again. It is most wearing. Oh this damn war, this lunacy.
October 25, 1943
At bedtime last night I said when I opened the window before getting into bed, “The stars are shining, though not very many of them.”
“Is it moonlight?” asked Ted.
“No” I said, “No moon.”
“Not visible, you mean. The moon hasn’t ceased to be. It is not visible. Why can’t you speak properly and say what you mean? Is it against your principals to speak clearly and to tell the truth?”
Now I ask you? Of course I said no more, but as I lay down in bed I smiled to myself and nearly laughed aloud. What a fool of a man I’ve got! Even abed and half asleep he has to correct my errors of speech and reprimand me, and by obliquity condemn my morals and assert his own self-approval. Really, I think he’s a fool, and a most boring garrulous old man. He is a fool, an ignorant boring fool.

World War ll London Blitz: 9-1-43 Four years today since Hitler attacked Poland and started the World War.

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September 1, 1943

Four years today since Hitler attacked Poland and started the World War. The Pope announced last week that he would make a broadcast “to the world” today. So far have heard nothing from Rome, but shall probably do so this evening. Yet what can the Pope say that anyone will pay attention to? Hiherto he has always condoned his Italians: condoned war. The non-Italian and non-Catholic world, I think, will turn a very deaf ear today to his holiness the Pope.

Last night Churchill broadcast a speech from Quebec. It sent me to sleep. He uttered nothing but platitudes and compliments, the chief idea seem to be to keep the Russians buttered up so that they keep on fighting. Do we really care for the Russians? I don’t think so.

The Pope’s broadcast was an appeal for peace. Coming now this is farcical, also presumptuous and impertinent. When Mussolini raped Abyssinia and later Albania (and that on a Good Friday too!) the last Pope said nothing. This Pope, Pacelli, is a Roman aristocrat, he has never rebuked Mussolini for any of his war crimes, never pleaded with the King of Italy for peace and justice, never urged the Italian people to disobey their corrupt government. Sometimes he has given out a lot of general rhetorical words, but he has never said to Mussolini, not to the Italians “Thou art the man.” He has never preached Christ the peacemaker and peace bringer. No, he is merely another Machevelli. So long as Italy was attacking her neighbors, think what she has done to Greece! And winning, the Pope uttered no single word of protest, let alone dissuasion; but now that Italy herself is being attacked, and losing, the Pope cries out to the world for peace. Wonderful! Who does he think he is going to get to pay any attention to him? He could have talked the Italians out of the Axis in the beginning, if he had wished to do so. He didn’t. I suppose, like the rest of the clever and tricky Italians, he thought Hitler was going to win the war. By now he has found out differently, so he appeals to the world for peace. Bah! Another rat. Another Italia diplomat, another schemer, that’s all he is. Peace indeed! We are all sick of the war, but we shall carry on with it until the Axis is beaten. The Pope knows the terms for peace for his Italy, unconditional surrender. This war is hell, but we didn’t start it. We shall finish it, and we shall be the victors.

September 3, 1943

The fourth anniversary of our entry into the war, today the fifth year of the war begins. It begins well, for us, for it is announced that at four-thirty this morning British and Canada made a successful landing on the toe of Italy. The allied invasion of the continent of Europe has begun.

September 8, 1943

Italy has surrendered. At half past five this evening General Eisenhower broadcast from Algiers, that our armistice terms have been agreed to, without reservations and the Italians having laid down their arms, fighting against Italy has ceased, the armistice commencing at once. So Italy is out of the war. Eisenhower also added a promise to the effect that if Italy is attacked by any other power, we, the United Nations, will help her fight her attacker. This, presumably, is for the benefit of the Germans. Will the Germans round on Italy? Quite possibly. They signed a peace pact with Russia in 1939, but that didn’t prevent them from invading and attacking Russia in 1941.So what next?

September 16, 1943

The Germans were over this area again last night, and dropped bombs in three different London areas. Nothing dropped here, but it might have done. What’s the use of money in the bank to a dead woman? So I went and bought two new hats and very becoming ones at that. At least I’ll look all right, even if I don’t feel it. Now I have got to cook this afternoon. Mushrooms to be fixed for tea, and I suppose I had better do something about the pastry. What a life!

September 18, 1943

At dinner yesterday the B.B.C. broadcast an announcement of the calling in of all five-point value clothes coupons because of a big theft of these coupons somewhere. So both Hilda and Artie said they would have to return some they had, and what a nuisance. Then there was further talk about coupons, and how few we got, and so on. Thence to the subject of stockings, now, ever since coupons were instituted most girls have complained about no coupons for stockings. Stockings are two coupons per pair, and we have only two coupons to last six months. “How many pairs of stockings did you buy ordinarily before coupons?” I asked her. “ “A pair a week?” (Thinking that a lot). “Oh no,” she said: “a pair a day.” Ted exclaimed at that. “Oh yes.” She said, “”but they weren’t expensive ones.” “And you bought a pair a day?” asked Ted, very incredulous. “Oh, Yes, I had to.” “Why?” “Well they laddered.” “Couldn’t you mend them?” “Oh, no. I couldn’t wear a mended stocking, and when your boyfriend took you out, of course you had to have nice stockings.” “Well what do you do with the old ones?” “Oh, my mother would wear them to do her work in.” Ted shut up, but he gave Artie a long look. After Ted had gone back to the office the conversation still went on about clothes coupons. Hilda said the worst problems were shoes and stockings. I said, “How often did you buy new shoes?  “Once a month,” she said. She laughed, and then went on. “Well that wasn’t so bad. You see, I was working in a shoe shop, and my boss was my pal, my boyfriend; and we used to get a bonus once a month, so he used to let me have bargains, so usually I’d buy a pair of shoes with my bonus, or sometimes I’d buy a dress."

September 21, 1943

It is the first day of autumn and the re-opening of Parliament. There was a long speech from Mr. Churchill, who returned from America on Sunday. He said that the bloodiest part of the war is yet to come.

World War ll London Blitz: 7-5-43 to 7-17-43 General Sikorsky was killed last night in an accident, taking off from Gibraltar. Everyone else in the plane was also killed, except the pilot, who is severely injured. The plane was a Liberator bomber, in which he was returning to London from the Middle East. I suppose this is another of those very convenient “accidents”.

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July 5, 1943
General Sikorsky was killed last night in an accident, taking off from Gibraltar. Everyone else in the plane was also killed, except the pilot, who is severely injured. The plane was a Liberator bomber, in which he was returning to London from the Middle East. I suppose this is another of those very convenient “accidents”.

July 7, 1943
I have a guess that our invasion of Europe began last night, though nothing has been mentioned on the radio this morning. The B.B.C. did not even report that our bombers were out over Germany last night! Ted says, “of course not!” They’ve got to cook up the reports first. Nevertheless the air activities over this neighborhood last night were tremendous. We were wakened about midnight by planes directly overhead, and the zooming intensified and went on and on until about three-thirty this morning. Literally thousands of planes must have passed over us. Our planes, for there was no alarm, and no gunfire. The sky as far as we could see, was ablaze with searchlights. They ranged in orderly placing like great shook's of wheat or corn all over the heavens and above them, clear skies, and the multitudes of the stars. It was a beautiful but fearsome sight. It affected me physically of course. I trembled, and my legs cramped, and my stomach turned over and I retched so much that this morning my ribs are sore. I am so tired from nerves and lack of sleep. I’m ready to weep.
Of course, all the flying might have been simply practice; air maneuvers yet I don’t really think so. The Germans opened their long promised, but long delayed, attack on Russia on Monday, so probably we have opened on them with the dreaded Second Front. We’ll know later of course but when there have been practices of night flying in big formation before, the B.B.C. has always informed us it was so the next morning. This morning the B.B.C. was absolutely mum. As Ted says, they’re cooking up what they will say to us. Oh, this damned war! I grow angrier and angrier about it. Not angry with the Germans but angry with all men, and the stupidity of war enrages me. It is a mad world all right. Yet it need not be. That is the awful tragedy of it. Oh God, when will sanity and peace return to us?
 July 8, 1943
No information about Tuesday night, so we conclude our flyer's were simply practicing maneuvers against searchlights.

July 10, 1943
News first thing this morning that the Allies have made successful landings in Sicily; English, American and Canadian troops making the invasion; and General Eisenhower has broadcast from Algiers to the French of Metropolitan France to keep calm, assuring them that the first step in the invasion of Europe has taken place, and liberation is coming to them in due course, but meanwhile to do nothing rash, they will be duly informed what to do when there is anything they can do, but for the moment they must make no rash acts, but keep calm, keep calm! President Roosevelt has sent a letter to the Pope, giving assurance that the Allies will effect the liberation of Italy from the Fascists, and that the safety and neutrality of Vatican State will be strictly observed.

July 13, 1943
There was an alert in the night, so came downstairs just before three a.m. Before that we had heard an enormous flock of our planes going out. At one today we were told our home-based bombers had made a large raid on Turin last night. So I suppose it was some of them we heard passing over. The moon is now in her second quarter, so I expect we shall have raids every night now for the next two weeks. B.B.C. Says a town in the Southeast was bombed last night, causing damage and casualties but of course they do not say where. We had a bad day light raid last Friday. The alert came whilst we were at tea, about five-fifteen p.m. The worst of that one was on Croydon, where a cinema got a direct hit. It was full of children, who had gone in straight after school hours, and also many W.A.A.F. girls.
I have many letters to write. We had bad news from Charlie last week. Marjorie’s ex-rays show a bad patch on her left lung and the doctor has ordered her into a sanatorium for six months. This is serious, but I have a secret idea it isn’t so bad as it sounds, for Americans take their health very seriously indeed, and rush off to sanatoriums and hospitals for indisposition the ordinary English person would ignore or forget. The Americans always struck me, as verging on the hypochondriac, and that was why Christian Science had such success with them, for it is easy to cure what doesn’t really exist. Marjorie is a trained nurse, apt to always be on a hunt for symptoms. Anyhow Marjorie is going to go to a sanatorium for six months, so she’ll have a holiday, and Charlie will have a deuce of a time, running house and family, and paying the bills. I guess I am unsympathetic. Anyhow I’m sure, I’m no hypochondriac. I like Marjorie, very much, but I have an incontrovertible conviction that she isn’t so sick as she thinks she is.

July 14, 1943
I was awakened by gunfire about three-thirty this morning, and came downstairs, where I remained until five o’clock. Ted remained in bed, as always, but I cannot stay upstairs once the alert is given, or the guns begin.
I was very wakeful and did a lot of thinking. I found myself involuntarily reciting the memorare, and with belief. This is instinctive faith. Is it fear, which creates religion? Or is it necessary for people of today to experience fear, so as to be driven to God, to the experience of God? I don’t know, I only know that it is so. Fear and beauty, these are the two great incontrovertible compulsions which drive us directly to God. Then if to God, I thought why not to church? To the only Church, the Catholic, the Roman Catholic.
I had fallen asleep peevish against Ted, in fact, really angry. He had insisted upon opening the window in the little room, which I had closed on my way back from the bathroom, and I had resented his insistence. Yes, I thought, his way, what ever this man desires he must and will have. Even the opening and closing of a window must be according to his likening. I felt again my awful weariness of this old husband.
Of course when the gunfire awakened me my annoyance had passed away in my sleep, but some solution of lost love had evidently been thrown up, for I found myself thinking in the early morning of this everlasting problem of the conflict of the sexes and its strain. It is like this I thought: the most important thing in the world to man is the gratification of his sexuality, the most important thing in the world to a woman is marriage with its security and support, but in marriage a woman wishes to be loved for herself alone, for her personality, not her body, for her mind and soul, not her womb, and, after satiety, a man become tired of the economic responsibilities of a wife. Keeping a wife is a luxury men would like to dispose of; thence comes the strife and the natural disappointment and dissatisfaction. Legality holds, religion, law, and society hold man and wife together till death does them part, and this is a good thing, it is the wisdom of the ages, luckily for both of them. So they adjust themselves to the harness, ease them as best they can to the gall of it, they accommodate to each other, and that is the successful marriage.
No wonder we turn to God, men and women alike, for God our creator is the only being who knows us, loves us, and endures us. Back we come to agree with the statements of the saints.
I associate the Church with the Irish, and hate it because I dislike them so much. The Irish Catholics, the Irish, how I despise them! Why don’t I think of the French, and French Catholicism? Catholicism in Ireland is the religion of the ignorant and superstitious peasant, but Catholicism in France is the religion of the educated and the intellectual. Ireland has contributed nothing to the world except strife, no art, no literature, and no saints. France has contributed much beauty, reason, great art, music, architecture, poetry, sculpture, science, great people, and great saints. I thought of my very special two, Chantal and Francis.
The B.B.C. has reported speeches made today at Claridge's, made at a luncheon given to Sir Basil Brooke, the new Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Sir Basil said that the Border created no differences it merely recognized them. Eire was neutral and Ulster was at war. One of the many results of this was that the bases in the South, which might have saved lives and shortened the struggle in the long and terrible Battle of the Atlantic, has been denied to the Allied fighting forces … but it was Ulster’s proud privilege that her ports and her airfields should be used by the armed forces of the Allies. … Mr. Morrison said, in the light of the relationship between Ireland and this country in this war, it was bound to have a permanently modifying affect on many people’s opinions in this country … You cannot avoid the fact that in the North, there has been a positive loyalty and cooperation with Great Britain. It is not only that, the great thing is that in the North there has been a positive and courageous loyalty to the cause of human freedom and for the destruction of a menace to our freedom and liberties. Southern Ireland has preferred to stay neutral, the tragic thing is that Eire, a country which has fought many battles for what it conceived to be the cause of liberty in one way or another, should have stood aside neutral and indifferent to this, one of the most dramatic and fateful struggles in the history of all mankind. That does not stand us too well in the history of the nations.”
Exactly. The Catholic Irish again, doing all they can to harm the English. For a long time now our sailors have nicknamed Eire, Traitors Island.

July 15, 1943
It was a quiet night. I received this morning from Watson Sons and Room, a check for my share of the legacies under mother’s will. This afternoon I took it down to the post office and put it in the savings bank. This money I shall save to spend in America.

July 16, 1943
I am very tired. An alert sounded soon after midnight and the all clear at one forty-five a.m. There was a new alert at two a.m. and no all clear until after three o’clock. I spent practically the whole time downstairs. I did not go back to bed after the first all clear, but came down stairs again almost immediately afterwards. I was very wakeful, because all a simmer with anger against Ted, so I kept the light on all the time and tried to divert myself with reading.
Ted had been very ill mannered when I went up to bed at eleven. Rain had started, so of course I closed the slip-room window, but before I could get into the bathroom Ted came bounding out of bed and into the slip room, and opened the window again. He was violently angry. He pulled his hand along the ledge, and then made me feel it on my face, to prove that the rain was not coming in, and of course he passed sarcastic remarks. I was speechless, and when I got into the bathroom I found I could hardly breathe. His rudeness astounds me, but his pettiness I despise. So when I got to bed I could not sleep, I felt in a state of sort of suspension, and ready to be sick, like as in the raids. This man, I felt, was unendurable, and my longing to be free of him surged into my breast into a positive physical pain. Greater than my longing for God, greater than my longing for America, greater even than my longing for the end of the war, was, and is my longing to be free of Ted Thompson.
The other day, when serving him his dinner I gave him new potatoes, boiled in their skins, and explaining why, I began to say “You must peel your potatoes for yourself” but he was up in the air in a moment, I had dared to utter the word “must” to him. I ought to have said, Please peel your potatoes, or, do you mind peeling your potatoes? Really it is impossible to know how to speak to this man. Joan has told me on various occasions she has seen mother crying over me, after her return from a visit here, because of the way in which Ted spoke to me. Once, years ago, way back in the Bayonne days, once Blanche Sivell followed me into the kitchen, crying, for my sake, and she said, “Oh, Ruby, no man ought to speak to anybody the way Ted speaks to you” Ted’s scorpion tongue. Yes, I am tired of it, and I’ve been tired of it for nearly forty years. Oh God, I’m tired!

July 17, 1943
It is Ted’s birthday, and a lovely day. Ted is sixty-four today. He is at the office now and I am cooking the dinner, meat in the oven, all vegetables prepared, and now a breathing space until it is time to start the vegetables.

Yesterday Churchill and Roosevelt; to capitulate, to save them, and not to continue to die for Hitler, to throw over Mussolini and his Fascist Government, broadcast appeals to the Italian people. How can they? In Sicily over twenty thousand Italians have surrendered, but they are soldiers, what can the people of Italy do?