Thursday, March 23
My sweet Love,
Have been so worried today because you did not telephone last night, knew you were anxious to get the information for your friend, so I fretted about your getting caught AWOL? I got the information, but do not like to put any names in a letter. Darling please do not involve yourself with this by bringing in people like Joe the Lip. I don't want you to get mixed into something not your fault. Let me handle it for you - it's far safer that way.
Are you going to chance it on my night off, - March 28, - Please let me know, it's worth it to drop everything when you come, you do make me so happy and keep me alive.
Adoration from Bubi
Thursday, March 23
Midnight Precious Boy,
The Siren has just gone off, so I am sitting here waiting for - what? Anyway, here goes a letter to the dearest person on earth. I shall put it in an envelope that has glue flavored with Wintergreen! My Mama also sends me airmail envelopes that have assortments of flavors - peppermint, vanilla, etc. I can have any taste I choose when I lick! It would be Americans who thought of this. Great help in winning the war, don't you agree, my love? The thing about these succulent envelopes of Les Americans is that the tasty glue does not stick, so I have to put stamp paper to hold the flap down.
Just to pass the alert away. I've been thinking of things you and I would do IF we had time together; not having to worry about each other being killed. To be relieved of the strain of secrecy - no sirens and land mines - no queues - no rations - when we could be ourselves, honestly and loving and devoted. We could spend hours in the Metropolitan Museum, go to see a really good show, go out and eat a steak at one of the Longchamps restaurants at five o'clock in the morning. Go to Easthampton for the weekend - and wander for miles along the deserted beach where the snipe pick their way so daintily along the wet, opalescent sands -
This dreaming has helped to pass away the Alert, so I can go to bed - and will continue this tomorrow. I have already written you twice to say that I have the information you wanted for the R.C. girl. All very respectable so don't go messing round with Lefty Louie or whatever your fellow degenerate is named, you might find yourself blamed for something really awful. Let me do what I can first.
A lovely morning and I am hoping my darling Gerry is enjoying the rare, pale sunlight of England and the green of Spring. You were so certain and definite that you were going to ring me up Wednesday at 11:00 - in order to arrange for the girl to come to me - yet here it is Friday and there isn't even a letter. Once again, I fell a victim to the haunting uncertainty . . . has something happened to him, again? (Something is ALWAYS happening to you, my dear one.) By the way, after I went to bed, I thought of more places I'd like to go to, with you. Minsky's Burlesque for one, and the Planetarium. A weekend in Connecticut during a heavy snowfall with great log fires, and a turkey, and nice things drink, and good talk, and the smell of firs and pines, at the farmhouse of a friend of mine. Florida - I've never seen. Anywhere is fun with you, and anywhere is lonely without you. Life loses its sparkle.
Your shoes should be done by the time you come up. Today I'm washing all those handkerchiefs used for nefarious purposes, so you'll have plenty of clean ones on hand. (Though perhaps hand isn't exactly the right word!) Now, I must start my food-hunt for the day. Probably end up with half a pound of sprats, and a cabbage. How exciting, please, please, please, please write. I love you with all my heart.
Saturday night. March 25
It's after midnight, so I gather you were unable to ring, to arrange about your young lady and all her woes! I did have a 'phone call from one of my pansies - in a great state of excitement he rang up to say he had read in the Evening News: "During a recent raid, Miss Barbara Donalds turned her house into an informal dressing station when the house opposite hers was destroyed." He became horrified when he could not get a dialing tone for my number! He and Gordon went into a frenzy ringing up friends of mine, who were all out! Finally he tried again and got me. I was alarmed for fear you too might have read it in tonight's paper and be worried. They (the newspapers) should check on their facts before putting in things like that.
After you called last night, we had quite a good-sized raid - one of the longest, it lasted over an hour, the planes coming over in waves from different directions, a very heavy barrage was put up. Harry came down wrapped in his blanket like an Indian brave. We all sat in the kitchen, discussing the plays we'd seen and telling jokes, trying to make bright conversation to cheer each other up. One doesn't get much sleep these nights. It's all so up and down, up and down! Hunting for the keys, torch, one's fur coats, where is the safe key? Are the tubs full of water? One can never get to bed early, because what is the use of undressing at eleven, when you may have to dress again at twelve, or later? Waste of energy.
I suppose you will let me know what day the R.C. girl can come to London and I'll then get an appointment for her. Bring her, when you come next time. We can take her round with us, and cheer her up. If she comes up without you, I'll talk to her in a constructive way, say some things that will help her. An older woman can often find just the right words at these bad moments - having been through similar moments, so to speak. When I was her age - or a lot younger - I was helped by the counsel of two very wonderful women. If I could help some foolish young girl (most young girls are very foolish!) through a time of doubt and indecision, it would be my way of giving thanks for the courage, sympathy, belief and friendship those two women gave me. You might tell her what a Victorian once said; "Life is a bad quarter of an hour with exquisite moments."
Those moments, when they do come, are so very exquisite that they are worth waiting for. Some day the little R.C. girl from the pig farm will find her exquisite moments, and then be happy she decided to "stick it" through the present unpleasant situation. You are obviously deeply concerned over this girl. I could tell by your voice when you spoke to me on the telephone. Your nature has such quixotic streak in it that I am alarmed over the possibility that your wish to help her will take a disastrous form. You might get a sudden impulse and say: "Well, look, lets get married." All very gallant, but you'd hate each other in a month. I hope you will not carry things that far. It would be a shattering mistake. Also, it is important to have a good-sized bank account to start off with when the war is over, to study what you wish, and have breathing space to rest and have fun. Don't go and give this girl all your savings to pay for something not your fault. The father of her child is a Captain; he should pay for anything she must do. He must get a very good salary, she should make him pay for his callous carelessness. Remember my love for you, Gerry, is eternal.
Monday night - midnight. March 27
Dearest, sweetest of men, Here I am tucked up in my nest, feeling grisly with another cold, complicated by The Curse. It's not a pink nest tonight, I put on mauve linen sheets thinking they would match my lilac hair, alas they match my mauve nose instead! Can't understand why I've had so many colds this winter. As to The Curse of Womankind, I was really surprised at its arrival. After your last visit, it did not seem possible that I could escape being landed with a baby. All those Persian Pranks and Roman Games we were up to. Being sexually harmonious in the way we are is supposed to create the closest union possible between two people. Our mutual orgasms do not exactly suggest a union, so much as a fusion! We seem to become fused together as if it were done with an oxy-acetylene blowtorch - or whatever those things are called! The pleasure, or is it pain, is so intense that it feels like molten metal. I suppose if a fertilized cell did get into me, it just frizzled up in the white-hot excitement! Hence the arrival of the old Curse, with its little piece of dangling string! I'm hoping that both these ailments (including my mauve nose) will be on their way by the time you arrive. You say you are coming at the end of this week, so I'll plan something or other for us to do. I dashed you off a hurried note today to remind you to bring back the Well's History this time. You're moving round so much that it isn't safe to leave it too long. It's a book I'm fond of; I'd hate to lose it, as it couldn't be replaced. Better get things tidied up, events are moving fast. Bring up anything you want to store here, I've got heaps of room. Bring all the photographs. The Big Show has been in rehearsal so long they wont be able to put off the Grand Opening much longer, or the actors will be too stale. The peak moment of the war, was when the Russians crossed the Bug, Gneiper and Pruth Rivers. Churchill's speech was unusually optimistic about Japan. I am enclosing this week's Nat Gubbins bit about war pessimism should cure you of those fanciful ideas of being in the army for another six years! Gubbins is not so much a humorist, as a Lampoonest or Satirist, with a strong Left trend. Did I tell you we had another heavy raid, about 100 planes, after you rang up that night? You will be pleased to know that THIS time Bubi bore herself with great calmness, making chitchat, darning socks for an hour, with not a single shiver! What scared me the night you were here was hearing the land mine come down so close. I've seen what those dreadful things can do, whole streets laid flat, and I thought we were in for it. It was a relief to get your three letters today, after a week's silence. I thought about those highly emotional scenes with the R.C. girl - you know how those hours, when girls sit on your lap and cry on your shoulder, usually end! I did not see how you were going to get out of screwing her when she was in such a strung-up state - you wouldn't want to get out of it, since the damage was already done. This upset me; it's too soon for us to be unfaithful to each other. Your letters were very confusing and sort of distracted, I guess you're pretty busy. If you are prevented from coming to me this week, will you please explain why your letters have to go through the Censor? And what you meant by saying that your "status in the army was changed"? Does that mean you are flying again, what about the job that was to start in April? If you must write through the censor, please don't write me formal letters like the ones from the hospital. It breaks my heart to have the sweet, natural intimacy of our letters broken off. Remember the Censor swims in love-letters, they bore him stiff. You do have to be guarded in the things you say about army life, people, and the language you use, but there is no need to be guarded in your expression of your love for me. Do not address the envelopes to "Mrs." - just use my name, no prefix. Censored letters take anything from 3 days to a week to go through the bottle-neck, so any arrangements, or important news must be sent by telegram - that's much quicker, 24 hours, or a bit longer. Any possible chance to telephone me, please seize it, darling!
Tuesday, March 28, Night. 1944
Dearest, Most of this day was spent in bed, trying to get rid of this blasted cold so I'll be all right when you arrive - I HOPE in about 2 days. I had dinner of a very small egg (it being the week for Our Egg) - coffee and toast. The same as breakfast, but no egg then, the hen fruit made it Dinner with a capital D! Did a lot of work after dinner, I'm sitting in the kitchen waiting for an air raid. Your photograph came, it was besides me while I ate my meal, and now while I write. I cannot help thinking how your face reveals your character. Your strong will and fine mind shows in the purposeful, keen glance and the very strong jaw, the loving side of your nature shows in your beautiful mouth. It's one o'clock, perhaps it's safe to take my clothes off. So to bed - taking your photograph with me. I hope you manage getting here before the First of April, the Coast Ban starts then - the coming invasion will undoubtedly affect troops leave. I dread the coming months - London bombed and bombed and bombed . . . not seeing you at all . . . perhaps not even your sweet letters to hearten me through the mad nights full of noise and fireworks . . . all the time tortured by thoughts of you in danger. I know I've got the spunk to "take" practically anything except losing you permanently. I don't mind losing you for short, or long periods, as long as we see each other again, as soon as it's possible. The important thing is, always to keep in touch.
Wednesday, March 29,
Your little note came early this morning - dated March 27 - just a few lines - I couldn't make it last. I gather conditions at present are not suitable for letter writing, so I'll be patient. It's grand knowing you are all right. That's the main thing I fret about. Darling, this is awful about you not coming for "quite a long time". I've been counting on seeing you before the First, even invited some people so we could have a party! Oh, dear, oh dear. If it's going to be long, try to write often. Why not carry a pad and pencil in your truck, when there is time, write me little bits, then when you get a chance gather them together and post them. That's the way Napoleon wrote to Josephine - in his coach as he raced from one battle to another, all over Europe. He would write and write to her, throwing each page out of the window of his flying coach. The Courier would catch them and sort them out, returning to Paris with a mad love- letter. He did this for 3 years. Will write again tomorrow, my very dearest.
Weds. Night. March 29
Darling One, It seemed wrong to go to sleep alone last night after becoming used to spending "the night off" with you. The violet linen sheets would have made such a perfect background for your copper hair. Had your photograph next to me, and kept flashing my torch on it for one more look - Speaking of hair, you promised to send me a lock of hair cut after you washed it. A nice thick piece, in a wave or curl with no grease. How I wish you had come back to kiss me when you saw my torch signaling "I love you" out of the window! Since I've not been held tight against you for 9 days, that one last kiss we didn't have looms BIG. Oh, I was relieved to know you got safely back to camp, always an anxiety. The ride back was very fortunate and comfy - though you sound as if you had not had many comfortable moments since then, I wish I knew a bit more about what you are doing. It would help me sort my thoughts out. Your shoes are finished! I trudged home with them in my bag he put a fine pair of all-rubber soles on, which you can't get anywhere else. (They don't use rubber on shoes now.) I bribed him and did a bit of wheedling!
Thursday, March 30
Today I sent, in a separate envelope, the address you wanted for your friend. Let me know if you get it safely. Also, these Chiclets which I was able to get. Make a note of the date of my next night off, (which I'll keep free until I hear that you can not come.) It's Thursday, a week from today - I believe the date is April 6, and that is a full moon! Hooray, no raids on full moon nights.
I love you
Friday: March 31.
Yesterday I posted you some of H.B's Chiclets, with a letter - also, the address your friend wanted, in a separate envelope. Just post it on, as it is, (not in your writing, nor on your typewriter), and without an accompanying note. Don't keep a copy of it. It's in the London telephone book. Thinking about our last two days together, I was horrified to recall how much I wept! Darling forgive me it's due to being worn out by all the strains and troubles of over four years of war life. In normal times, when I feel very sad about something, I meet the thought resolutely and swallow my feelings - and tears. I'm not at all the crying sort, really. Now, when something upsets me, I am too weak to master my emotions, so they show. It's merely a question of health, and nervous tension. You were so sympathetic and helpful; you couldn't have been sweeter. I cannot be sad for long when I have your arms round me tight, and feel your deep love pulsing through me. It always gives me strength to face anything. The film we saw was not very good - but the scene when Mm. Curie cried while looking at the little box which held the few things reminding her of her husband. That period when I thought you were dead, or in some serious trouble, I went through just such a time. Went around frozen for about five days, everything was black. Then I found a pair of your khaki socks in the laundry basket, and held them in my hands. They had the pathetic look inanimate objects so often have, and suddenly, a sob tore out of me, - I began to cry those racking sobs that come from the depth of your being and tear you to pieces. I promise not to shed a single tear the next time you are here, and we mustn't have a cross word, or anything but laughter and being happy. But WHEN will it be? I am enclosing a slip of paper to put in your pocket, which gives the date of my next 2 nights off. Keep it, then you won't get mixed up about it. I can't wait to see you, darling.
Your very own
March 23-31 1944