Thursday, Feb. 3,
The way you get (or rather DON'T get) my letters is our worst problem. Although I so carefully space them, one every day, or every other day and then you have to wait a week, or longer to get the whole lot at once. When I think of that awful time at Xmas when we could not contact each other at all. When I was desperately telegraphing every minute or so and writing eleven long letters and not one of them turning up for two weeks. I nearly died of anxiety. Since you left this time, I have had a daily assurance that you are well and alive and love me, so I am peaceful and unworried.
My girl friend came to tea yesterday and brought me a huge chocolate cake which she bought in the Black Market! It was made of real eggs, white flour, chocolate butter filling and chocolate icing. I reciprocated with a glass of THE orange-juice, after which the two black market queens sat down to have an earnest discussion of how you and I were going to see each other in the future. No solutions but she said she would put on her thinking-cap and let me know any good ideas she had. If you could manage to come down for your next leave on Thursday- Friday, we might go down to her. Thursday is the night her husband stays in London for business meetings and conferences. I don't want him to be in on anything, as the fewer people who know the better.
Saturday, Feb. 5
These last days have been terribly disappointing. You said, just as you left, that you thought you'd be back before 2 weeks. I realize now that it will be two weeks and maybe longer. Your last note, dated Feb. 2, said nothing about when you could get away. Since then I've not heard from you at all. I do wish your silences would not always synchronize themselves with announcements in the papers that bombing raids have resumed. When I read of one, and connect this with no letters from you, I live in a kind of fever until I hear again.
Have been writing every day, hope some of them are in your hands at last. Aren't you lucky; the Love of a Good Women is yours! There's nothing like It!
Sunday, Feb. 6
Having been thoroughly spoilt by getting a letter a day for eight days, I've been feeling pained and forlorn since there was no word since Wednesday. Jumped to the conclusions of you being on Ops. - and went through the usual rise of temperature, pangs, tears! We both go through such fiendish worry - you not hearing from me because of the f------ inefficiency of the A.P.O. bastards - and me daily expecting a telephone call which never comes. My worries are worse than yours, because you're in a war, a few days silence could mean there was no more You to write to me. You at least, know that I'm not in any danger, and can be pretty sure that I'm all right in a physical sense.
This last week has been almost pre-war in the sense of actually seeing a few people and going out. One night had dinner with Elaine and her menage, another night dined at the Berkeley Hotel with some of the Ministry moguls. My girl friend came to tea, bringing me a sumptuous chocolate cake, and lastly, a Lt. in the Navy Aviation Dept. (Chairborne) rang me up to say he had a lipstick from a very charming and pretty girl in New York who has sent me a steady stream of presents ever since I left there. He asked if I would join him at the Dorchester for a drink. I debated whether it was worth going out for a mere lipstick, finally decided there might be other things to be painlessly extracted if the Lt. had only just arrived, so I went. He turned out to be quite nice, about 40, poker-faced, never smiles or lights up, definitely not my type. However, meeting a new man for the first time made me realize how COMPLETELY I belong to you. I live in a world peopled by pallid jelly-like creatures whom I look through, to the one person who holds my whole breathless interest.
But to return to the Lt. He was so poker-faced that I had no idea if he was horrified at the result of his blind date. As he was taking me home in the taxi, he made very determined efforts to make another engagement, and said a number of things that showed that I had "clicked". However, I did not know what night to keep free for you next week, so I was very vague, and may not see him again. He is off to Furrin Parts - I couldn't care less.
As for dinner with Elaine, she and her fiance share a house with two charming young people, married with a baby. They have very little money and live in a simple way, in good taste and comfortable. Poldi cooked the dinner and it was all quite fun. Poldi is the obvious dreamer-thinker type, but not the "doer" or man of action. Too physically delicate, I expect. His views and ideas are refreshingly liberal and advanced compared with most of the conventional people one knows - people who are narrow, selfish, caring nothing for the rest of humanity just, "What's in it for me?" Poldi is unconventional, and believes in a free world and a free life and free thinking for everyone. I give him full marks for this, because he is a real Prince, brought up in what was probably the most limited society in the world. He was interested in you and talked about you at some length. I was delighted that you had made such an impression. Although I notice, you always make an impression - whether good or bad, it's, an impression!
The other dinner-party was a purely business duty affair which I had to attend. The men were quite clever, but their wives were conventional little women, with babies, in G.B.D.s (this is known in my family as a Good Black Dress!). However, I am never at a social loss. I put on my most soothing manner and listened with fascinated interest to obstetrical details and servant troubles. Inwardly I though, did either of these two worthy ladies ever have a beautiful red-haired lover, were they ever as wildly happy and as wildly unhappy as I am at this moment? Poor sweeties, I fear not.
Now, it is very late, but I shall not sleep, I am too worried about you, ARE YOU ALIVE? I know if you are alive, then our love is still alive and that you will fly to me the very minute you are free.
Monday, Feb. 7
Oh, dear. No letter this morning - I stayed awake most of the night hoping for one. My emotions follow a pattern during the periods when you come - and go. First, I spend 2 or 3 days "digesting" your visit; turning it over in my memory. Your presents are so fresh and vivid that I do not feel lonely. I am tired from lack of sleep and there is usually a letter from you right away. I don't worry, I have the renewed knowledge of your great love for me - life is tolerable! Every day after that means an increase in anxiety. I fear you are not getting my letters, I madly write more and more - and longer ones, - hoping some of them will reach you - I send telegrams and worry because I know they don't get there either. Then you stop writing. Days pass and I go over all the reasons for silence. Last time he was in a hospital - has he sassed an officer? No, of course, he must have gone on Ops. - has he come back? Visions of you floating down under a parachute. I've been through this about a hundred times.
Then I go on the other tack; he doesn't get my letters and has decided the whole thing is too difficult, too much trouble - the war, - the "triangle" - never being alone with me. Well, so it was all day today - and yesterday and many, many other days. I try hard to cling to one thing, if you don't get killed, and if the war is over in a year, then there will be real happiness for You-Me. Happiness not tainted with continual agonizing sorrow and pain. Hard though it is, you are now my ONLY happiness. I am desperate beyond words without you. By the way, dearest, I forgot to commiserate with you about losing your months salary! What a shame, what a lot of dinners, theaters, and taxis we could have enjoyed with it. The diversion of a crap game from making 7 copies of this and that, checking instruments, mud, the same men, I don't blame you one bit.
- S. Have written nearly every day since you left (about 12).
- P.S. Haven't had one from you since Feb. 2 but got lots before that date.
Thursday - February 10 '44
My darling Gerry
"I only know what I read in the papers", as Will Rogers used to say. This morning the papers said in last Friday's raid on Germany, "only 12 bombers were lost." ONLY!, you may have been in one of them! You lulled me into a false sense of security telling me you wouldn't have to do any flying for a month or two. I did not worry - much - and went on writing every day, but last night the breaking point came. I suddenly realized that there has not been a word from you for 9 days, no letter or post-card, no telephone or telegraph. NEVER before has it been longer than 5 days. I jumped up to look at the 8 o'clock post, this morning, and, there was nothing. Not being in the best of health these days, I broke down. Fortunately T. was at home, and was as staunch and steady as a rock. He is wonderfully dependable when I am in desperate trouble. He said all the nice things he could think of about you and rings me up at intervals all day to suggest various other things that might have kept you from writing. Well, by now, I must have made it perfectly clear to anyone who reads this letter that I'm quite demented, and I hope that you - or "they" will dash to a telegraph office and put me out of my misery - one way or the other.
Your very loving, and utterly miserable
- S. Believe it or not, I lost 5 pounds in weight since yesterday.
Saturday, Feb. 12
Thank you for 3 sweet notes this morning. The postmarks were 9:15 and I got them at 11:00! Pretty good for wartime. Thank you also, for a sweet evening. I was amused by the play - seeing things with you, intensifies my pleasure.
Having only just seen you, there is nothing new to tell you, but I know you would rather hear from me than NOT, so I'll just prattle a bit; (Aways a good start - I LOVE YOU.) My "G.F." (Girl Friend!) rang up to inquire, most anxiously whether I'd had news of you, so I told her you were truly alive -in fact, as full of hell as usual! She kidded me unmercifully - you can imagine, because I had cried on her shoulder for the best part of an hour the very day you turned up! She added that, in future, some way of preventing these fortnightly "crises" should be worked out, or I will become emotionally and physically exhausted - and then just not give a damn any more, (that's what she said, not me).
Beautiful, heavenly darling, please, please marry me. I promise, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, that I'll be good. I will never, never ask you what you want to eat, but will always cook you delicious things, that will make you say, "Please let's have that again". I'll always smell sweet and look lovely and wear clothes the way you like 'em, and even let you approve (or not) of my hats! Whatever we have we'll share always, and back each other up to the last drop of blood in any project or plan and not hurt each other by being casual. I'll be adorably sweet to all your friends, darn your socks with exquisite neatness, and love you fit to bust until the day I die.
Friday, Feb. 18
BOOM! Thump - wizz-z-z! BOOM WHEE-EE-EE! BANG! Tinkle. That was a bomb - and that was another bomb. The first I've heard for about 3 years. It started at one o'clock, after 15 minutes I leapt up, dressed and went out to look. A misty, dark night, low clouds, you could hear "Goering's Goon's" milling round and round, zooming as they took evasive action. Only the search lights could be seen and the flash of the big Hyde Park guns. I went back in. Sat down. Waited. It went on loud and furious, I had the weirdest feeling of having put the clock back to 1941 - quite eerie. Hearing the sound of fire-engines I ran to fill the bath-tubs (which we always used to do) collected a few pails and some heavy gloves. Then I took another look out the front door. To my amazement, the street, was like a street in the clear light of mid-dawn! It was not a glow from fires, but a light like daylight, moments later, a soft pink glow appeared in the clouds, deepened and then numbers of flares of white and red phosphors burst through the mist in clouds of lovely fireworks and stars! It was eerie and very beautiful. I screamed for Tam, so he and The Lodger came tumbling downstairs to look, then went to the kitchen to have some coffee. Shortly after, the unmistakable sound of machine-guns was heard near by. I ducked indoors, particularly as the flak was also raining down all round us making clack-crick-clack sounds on roofs and stones. As it struck on the pave it flashed sparks so that one saw the shining cloud above and the flash of fireflies below.
As there is too much noise to sleep, I decided to write and tell you about it. Although not a Big raid, it is like the regular ones of about fifty planes which we had every night. They dragged on all night, the planes coming in waves. We did not have a big barrage in those days. The defenses were not very good. This one is dying down after just an hour, the all-clear has gone so we are all going to try to get some sleep. The Lodger took it well, his first really lively raid! He was quite unperturbed. Poor kid, He didn't KNOW what could happen to him at any moment! But we did.
Next morning; Sat. Feb. 19
The first post brought 2 long letters from you, which I read with great alarm! What a dreadful accident, it could have been fatal to you both if the car turned over. Good God, Gerry you seem to attract danger and trouble like a magnet. I have never known a single person in my whole life who had so many odd things happen to them. Do you wonder I become quite demented when I don't hear from you? I hope you went to the hospital for observation, a bang like that could cause very serious internal injuries. Things far worse than broken ribs. They may wish you to lie up for a while in the hospital and you certainly must if it is necessary. Now, I must fly to catch the post, so enough for today except to add the hope that I'll see you all in one piece on Monday! Your Siamese Twin.
Thursday, Feb. 24
No letter yesterday or today - the usual "lost" feeling. I'm leaving tomorrow evening for a weekend at my girl friend's. At least, we shall get enough to eat, for a change! The drink is always excellent, better than you get at camp. I shall be back in London Monday afternoon, and expect news, of whether you will be here on Tuesday or Wednesday - Hitler Permitting!
This morning I got a shock. In 1940, every house had a sandbag put on the doorstep; these were to throw on incendiaries during bombing raids. After the big May Blitz, '41, it all just stopped and from then on the sandbags gradually disintegrated, and mysteriously disappeared just as they mysteriously appeared. Lo! As I opened the door this morning, I nearly broke my neck over a brand-new sandbag sitting on our doorstep! Until that happened I thought, the raids are just a flash in the pan, propaganda for the German people to comfort themselves with. The re-appearance of the sandbags (and other signs) reveal that the government expects the London raids to continue and to increase in size as the Bomber Force on the French coast is gradually increased.
The Naval Lieutenant was going to take me to lunch at a famous oyster bar this week. Today he rang up to cancel, this famous luncheon place of statesmen and celebrities ceased to exist, as well as the whole street it was on. Did I tell you we ate our supper last night by candle light? The G.F. rang up to say it was caused by a big land-mine in Hyde Park, just down the bottom of our street. Must have hit the local cable. Now the all clear is sounding, the lights are on again, I must run about looking for incendiaries and then do some packing. Sometimes I feel very much as if I were your wife. I specially do, tonight, and wish you were here to hold my hand when the land-mines go off! How do you like having your wife in the front-line.
I love you with all my heart and will write you from the country. I sent you the G.F.'s telephone number in my letter yesterday, so you can always ring her if you want to know how I am.
"High Meadow" Cookham Dean Berkshire
Friday evening Feb. 25
My Dearest Boy, Latest news from the London front; 6 A.T.S girls killed by machine gun fire somewhere near us. I heard the gun remember? Lou Jackson's business premises' are a Mess! One bomb in front, one bomb behind, and oil or phosphor bomb on roof that burned out 4 top stories. Lou was there this morning organizing things in his usual capable way, getting things going again in the remaining lower floors. Needless to say, it will be well covered by insurance. When his auditor rang up during dinner (a cousin or something) he asked if Lou had any documents he wanted "lost" in the fire! "See me Monday" said Lou, winking at us!
Tam asked after you, and sent his best wishes. We are both sorry about your losing your stripes. You didn't say in your letter, which day you were coming Tuesday, or Wednesday? I think Wednesday is March 1st., so we really ought to celebrate, as that will be just 6 months since we met. Our first half year together if you can call it "together"! Never, in my whole life, did I ever "live with" a man in just this way.
GOSH ! HOW I LOVE YOU!
Next morning: Saturday Feb. 26
Thank goodness London had a quiet night. I was terrified at leaving the house, and spent an hour trying to explain to the Lodger how to deal with incendiaries. It was obvious that he would be no good at all. I am sure that two minutes after an incendiary fell on our premises, he would be among the missing! I implored him to throw all my clothes and furs out of the window, if the fire really took hold! Having lost my entire wardrobe once I shall just give up all hope if I lose it again. (It could never be replaced now).
This morning I woke to a mysterious gray light, and snow falling - T. came in lit the fire and brought me my breakfast in bed, a boiled egg. Can I have breakfast in bed, when I come to visit you, after the war? Before I close this laborious scrawl there is something I want to say to you, my darling. I have said this before, but want to repeat it. I'm not a bit pessimistic, and feel sure that you'll be spared in this war, because I wish it so much. However, if things should go wrong, if you sustain injuries on the order of Richard Hillary's, or Douglas Boder's which would take years to recover from, I want you to remember that whatever happens you won't have to face it alone. You'll have me always beside you - backing you, and helping in all ways. When I say I feel we belong, I mean it, the two of us together can pull through anything. There is no physical change, alteration, or disability, which could take place in you, which would affect or alter my love. I will always stand by you staunchly when you need me. You can absolutely count on me, and you must not forget that.
P.S. Have just spilt a cocktail on this page!