Oct 291944

Dhariwal, Punjab, India
My dear Stella,
I had a letter today from Geo which she wrote on the 17th October. She rambled on about ordinary things and I was reading it at the lunch table – just waiting for lunch to be brought. I came across the sentence – “I dare say you will have heard of Arthur’s death” and began to wonder who Arthur could be – somebody we mutually knew – I did not connect it with myself until I saw YOUR name. I have heard nothing from anyone else, but am going carefully over and over Geo’s letter and am becoming convinced. I’m nearly afraid to send this, in case there’s some mistake – at the moment I’m in a haze – IS it true? Have I lost the one who after Jack means more to me than anyone in the world – have YOU lost – Arthur? If it’s true – what can I say to carry the ache of my heart to you in some sort of companionship to your own? In the last 15 months I have lived with an almost daily fear of my own coming “alone-ness” – (so low has Jack been, so often) and I feel as a result I have a LITTLE understanding – nearly a year ago, I was warned to “prepare for the worst” and for some weeks nearly experienced it in my mind – I know from the letters of both of you what you mean to each other and have often said to Jack how very much the right person you were for Arthur.
We have been very proud of the way you have tackled life while Arthur was away from home and I longed for the day when you could all live your normal lives together, with the great joy of watching the children develop. I said, in one of my recent letters to Arthur, something to the effect that should the necessity ever arise, we would do what we could for the children and I hope you will keep as closely in touch with us now as you have always done. I should be very sad to think you would ever drop out of our lives – in fact, I don’t believe you COULD do so. You must know what a happy relationship existed between Arthur, Jack and myself – and since our last leave we have considered it a good “foursome”. Hardly a day passes in this weird country without our saying “What would Arthur say to THAT” or something of the sort.
Will you write us when you can, telling us what happened to him? His last letter to me was written on the 24th September and posted on the 26th. He was very happy and he always imagined he was in no very real danger.
I wish I could be with you, or you with us here – I don’t know when we will meet again, as things are now, but I will feel very lost if you do not write often. I may cable you tomorrow when I have considered whether it would be a wise thing, for your sake, to do. I know that my family has not always been as kind to you as they might have been, but this, I’m afraid, is more the rule than the exception with “inlaws” – Jack and I have always regarded you and Arthur with the same affection. If you feel like writing and telling me of your plans when you have time to see the future, I will be very grateful.
We are going to send Arthur a little money tomorrow with our love to all of you – you can use it for him in any way you like best. And we are here to help you ALWAYS, should you need comfort of any kind. We have been talking lately, since Jack has been so much below par, of the ultimate destination of this world’s goods we may leave behind. We will have to make the best use of any capital we may have for a retirement which I’m afraid will have to come earlier than we anticipated, but in the event of our both departing this life (and it must come to all of us one day) your children will be remembered in anything we leave behind. This was, curiously, talked out between us only in the past few weeks. It occurs to me, if you are not in any great need of the little gift we are cabling you, you might use it to take yourself and the children away from your present environment for a little while, but that rests with you.
I wrote Arthur for Christmas on the 13th October, but he wouldn’t get it. Had there been no wartime restrictions I would have begged you and the children to come to us, but that, I’m afraid, is impossible. We are having to take our leave (a short one, of only three months after seven years!) somewhere else than England, as I am advised that once I get to England I will not be granted a passage back until the war is over!
I know all I’ve tried to say is a poor expression of my desolation today, but you MUST be able to gather from it something of our grief for you. We will never change or forget – I feel that only you can even guess how much has gone out of our lives since we got this letter today. I’ve been writing with my heart and it’s too sore to do any more just now – I must leave you.
Is there ANYTHING we can do for you?
With our love to you and the children.
Jane and Jack
P.S. I bought a collapsible doll’s bed for Wendy last week but don’t know if the P.O. will accept it.
Have you got anything belonging to Arthur which you could keep for me – a book he used or anything else? No use sending it out – it might get lost.