Weds., Jan. 24;
This is a real bugger of a day - fog, snow, - cold as an iceberg. It must be colder in camp, I was sure you would turn up yesterday to have a hot bath and a warm fire to toast by. You are probably tucked up warm, somewhere in London, hate to think of you being cold and miserable. Having been away and having no communication from you somehow makes the gap between us seem enormous.
I have been reading 2 interesting books, "Verdict on India" (Beverly Nichols), and "Strange Fruit", an American novel about a Negro family and their life in Georgia. Would like you to read them, the Indian question, most Americans know little about, is very important. Reading the two together was odd, for both deal with colour and racial questions from different angles.
Today T.S. took me to lunch at Mirabells, where it was very gay and cozy; she made me drink a sherry, then a Pimm's - but now I am not going to drink anything at all for one month. If I should get the habit of drinking, it would be dreadful.
I am rather sorry I wrote this letter, since you did not have the thoughtfulness to 'phone me to let me know your reason for breaking our engagement. But, since it is written, I will post it. When are you coming home again for a visit? Bring your newest Headache with you if you think I would like her. Any friends, or girls, of yours are always welcome here. In the meantime, do write me about your mad adventures of the past week or so - I love hearing about them, they are always screwy! (In several senses of the word!)
Thursday, Jan. 25
This morning a V1 rocket dropped so near us that some of our windows broke - at the same time I got six letters from you - 3 only contained clippings (waste of stamps, naughty!).
The Churchill story has certainly got around since it was first told to me 2 years ago! It was told first hand to a friend of Fitz's, by the man with Churchill. The man in the other clipping who wants to be everybody's father has such a revolting face that I am sure his own children rush out the minute their Papa comes home. How about me putting my picture in and offering to become everybody's mother? I've had success being your mother (though I must say it has not been at all lucrative!) I might do quite well if I went into it wholesale!
Yes, darling, I saw "Mr. Emmanuel" some time ago and I told you, you might like it, as it deals with the Jewish question. I'm glad you saw it. The cast, all well known London stage players was, as you say, super. The boy gave a most sensitive interpretation of a boy's great loneliness for a mother he deeply loved. Remind me to tell you an amusing story about the girl in it - Greta Gynt.
I don't understand why you say: "I hate movies". It's exactly the same as saying you hate books - music - art - plays. Books fall into 3 groups; reading to learn; reading for sheer entertainment; or for the magic and beauty of words plus content. Plays fall into the 2 last groups, they are seldom purely educational, like books. Films are educational (propaganda, technical, war subjects or nature shots) or they are sheer entertainment. A very small group, achieves artistic merit, taking on the beauty of paintings, with the luminosity of the light behind the picture. They can also tell a story of the human and satirical calibre of De Maupassant (the French film, LA FEMME DE BOULANGER). They use technicolour in the lovely way of Henry the Fifth, and, in that, also give Shakespeare his due of voice, and acting. There are dozens of French and German films which more than hold their own with any good play, both in intellectual content and super acting. You should see some of them. It would make more sense for you to say, "I hate some movies - those made for morons, but I appreciate those made for the small group of intelligent film-goers"
You also say you cannot understand why the public by the billions, go to see trash, in any old cinema. Surely, it's obvious why they go? People seek "escape" from the drudgery of dull lives; everybody must have some diversion in the evenings when work is done. With the level of mind low, their kind of diversions are low, too. They enjoy their own amusements though you and I would not. Watching a film is the same as reading a trashy magazine with pictures, or a detective novel. It has the added advantage that you can sit in a warm place (and not have to burn your own fire, a big item for poor people), it is dark and you can sit by your girl and "feel her up" without the old man objecting. It's cheap, too. The poor have only certain other ways of escape, going to the dog races, the pubs, playing machines in Fun-fairs - reading trashy newspapers. Surely, films do them the least harm and cost the least money. It is no coincidence that when cinema attendance increases in England drinking decreases.
It's for these billions that Hollywood turns out it's narcotic drivel. I'm with you heartily when I say those products are not for such as you and me and anybody who has taste. But there are not enough of us, to pay for more than an occasional film like LA KERMESSE HEROIQUE, or COLONEL BLIMP, or LE ROSIER DE MADAME HUSSON, etc.
Just as I was sitting down to go on with this, the 'phone rang - YOU! It was a lovely surprise, seeing you today was delightful. You looked thinner but well. I might as well post this, since I've written so much of it.
The nicest thing you told me today was that you were going to have a whack at writing! HOORAY! Dearest, if you really try it, and stick at it, I am certain you can write. First, in spite of your youth, you've got more experiences to write about than twenty people put together. Second, you speak well, and if you can just "talk" in print, it will be readable. Third, you write such good letters, and fourth, you know a hell of a lot about sex (also the other sex), what a background for a writer. You've got a lot to say in the political field, too - and are extremely well informed. I taught myself how to write - in a light way - and even that very light style took years and years to evolve, so you are in for some fiendishly hard work, my sweetest.
The thing that pleases me most about your writing is that up to now you have had no serious work to keep you busy. No point or purpose to your life, which has become completely demoralized. Your habit of drifting, irresponsibility, letting everything slip, living from mood to mood, living by whim not by plan, only bothering about "a good time", pubs, women - for a boy of your powers it is such a horrible waste. I do so HATE waste.
Your interest in writing will give you an engrossing work- plan (it's endless, literally endless - and such fun, too!) as well as something to believe in - yourself, and your ability to say something worth hearing. Your friend in the library and his "stinky pipe" and the little room that is warm where you can write - have tea and listen to the radio or talk, - I like the sound of that so much. I'll bet he wears very old baggy tweeds that are as fuzzy as a caterpillar, and glasses!
I will keep the first and second of February free, darling, it's entirely up to you not to mess up these two days in the same way you messed up the whole of January. You did not do one single thing in a whole month to amuse, entertain or give me fun. You told me you were in London about 15 days, out of this I saw you for about 2. Most of it, in fact all of it, spent in my kitchen. It isn't exactly gay for me to spend your visits in my kitchen!
With all my love,
When are we going to start the portrait of you that I want to draw? I do wish it was summer, and the light was good - and it was warm - and you loved me - and - and - and - lots of things.