I’m sorry you didn’t get a letter again yesterday but it really was impossible. You see, we were on afternoon watch which, you’d think, would give plenty of time for writing as we don’t start actual work until 1.30. What actually happened was that we cleared up the room until 10 o’clock and then had to go to a building some distance away to be paid. We hung about there until 11 and then I made a dash for Charing X and home to see if there was a letter from you. There wasn’t so I dozed until 12.30, which left me barely an hour to get to town, snatch a meal and get to work. At the gate I met the postman and received your very welcome letter which was very relieving. In spite of one’s own confidence, it’s good to have all doubts swept aside. That news in itself should do you the world of good.
There are several points which occurred to me as a result of your news of what Rees said and perhaps they are best itemised. They are:
1. Do you think there is any prospect of me getting the liver and iron concentrate here in London? If so, for how long have you to take it, and can you send me the prescription or the name of it? How long does 2 ozs last?
2. What is the cost of the injection treatment, how many will you have to have, and what period will they cover?
3. Have you paid the doc that £1 you got, and have you anything else towards it? What is the bill for the whole thing likely to be?
4. To whom did you apply for that extra grant; wasn’t it the Sailors Soldiers something or other? I have a feeling that you can apply to a government department – the same one as sent the old boy to see you before the original grant was made – and that you will do better from them. Let me know what your knowledge is on this point. Can you also get some idea of what has been spent at Durrants in the last six or seven weeks and if it comes to any sum get a bill from him for it. We might have a go at the office, after all. With them, and this government department if I can find out where it is, we might solve the problem. I don’t want your recovery retarded by worry about the expense or to have you skimping on little things because of the extra cost. You are on the right track when you say that nothing is dear if it makes you well. Are you still taking your Guinness?
Now that, I think, ends the inquisition for the moment. I am sorry to harp on the financial side so much but I am only trying to help you and to share the worry of it, so if you can let me have answers to these points I might be able to help in some way.
And now, love, many thanks for your letter and all the flattering things you say about my letters. I’m so glad they do help you a little because when I write to you I do so as if I was sitting talking to you or, better still, lying in bed in the dark with my left arm under your head and my right straying to places while we thrash these matters out. And then, of course, you would have one of my very own course of injections – a course which will take a long time; probably a life time’s infliction on poor little Stelly-well! Not that I mind, of course. I’m always willing to help! And could I help you if you were here now! Oh, angel, the thought of it sends me all goosey.
Before I go into a coma, I’d better answer some of your queries and different points. Yes, I believe Harold will envy me. You know if you go the rounds of the various clubs and canteens you can get tickets for all sorts of shows. Charlie and Jack have had a few and I think that now I have settled down a bit I may stay in town on one or two of my days off and get hold of some myself. Dot, Jack and I were going to see Ronald Jeans’ show ‘Home And Beauty’ but it suddenly closed down on Monday – the day we were to go! Just my luck. So I have only been to one cinema show so far – a record I think Harold would have beaten by a long way! If you do mention about tobacco, what happened about the last lot? Did you do anything? I didn’t. It clean slipped my mind.
I’m so glad that you have made the effort to get out, apart from mere routine outings. I know how much of an effort it can be on occasions, but I think you will find that it has been worthwhile. Your letter is distinctly more like your old self as a result of it, and I have no doubt that represents an effort on your part, too. I do appreciate it, darling, and I honestly think all these little things will build up into the greater achievement of getting well again. Without being depressing, I don’t think you can hope to feel really top of the world during the winter months, but if you can slowly build up now, then when the spring comes you will feel perhaps better than you have done for a long long time. And God help John if he is anywhere within reach! And talking of that pleasant subject, I take it that you didn’t mention the matter – I almost wrote “raise the point”! – with Rees? I don’t blame you and I must say I appreciate all the things you say on that question – and agree with you, too.
I spent a very pleasant evening with Bill and Emily. I got there just before five for tea – a most pleasant meal of steak pie etc and marmalade pudding. They have a gorgeous flat – a real ‘Woman And The Home’ type of affair. It’s in a very pleasant and quiet part of Wimbledon. A ground-floor flat, exquisitely furnished in light oak, I think. Block floors, cream paint and a very light decoration scheme in general. In short – said he, cattishly – just the sort of place you can have without children and with money. I should say it costs a pretty penny, but Bill’s a hard worker and a good lad and I’m glad to see he’s done so well. I always feel very poverty stricken when I see the homes other fellows have built up. Still, ours has far, far more of the homey atmosphere, thank God. For all that, you’d be very interested to see it. All the rooms, by the way, are bigger than ours and the hall itself is about as big, at least, as our living room. One nice feature of the lounge was that in addition to a nice open fireplace there were electric heaters each side of the fire, set into the wall, if you just wanted to heat the place up for a few minutes.
After tea – or dinner – we went round to their local until ten o’clock and I was unlucky to be caught in the chair with two people drinking scotch! A pity, really. Still, it was a nice night so perhaps I shouldn’t begrudge it. You’ll be interested to know that both Bill and Emily have now settled down to life in London. They defend the people there on the grounds that 90% of them are, like themselves, provincials. And they don’t want to come back north! I must say I was a bit surprised, but London seems to get most people.
They both asked particularly to be remembered to you and both hope that you will soon be fighting fit again. Bill, by the way, is expecting to be called up for his medical at any moment and is going to try for the Navy. Emily makes no secret of the fact that she doesn’t want him to go, although she says “I suppose he’ll have to go if so many others have gone.” Bill’s attitude is very much the same as mine was: “Do nothing to get in and nothing to get out.” That, I think, covers that subject pretty extensively.
Congrats on your engineering feat with the stove! Nice work, love. It’s a dirty job, I know, and I should have done it long ago. If ever you have to do a job like that again, try holding the nut still and turning the bolt with the screwdriver. Sometimes – not always – it makes the job easier.
Give my love to May when she comes. I hope Auntie Amy will be out and about soon. Does it mean she will be parked on May for her convalescence?
Does this woman who is going to stay with Mother mean that Will really has gone, or is it just a preparation for his departure? I had a note from Mother a few days ago but she doesn’t mention him at all. This woman must be, from your description, a relative of Sadie Reid, of whom I think you have heard us speak on several occasions. We were kids together.
Now, angel girl, I think that just about exhausts all my news, views and answers to questions. I’ll try to prepare a list of Xmas cards in the very near future and I’ll keep it as brief as possible.
Well, sweetheart, do look after yourself. I love you too much to have you taking any risks as soon as you feel a little bit better. Oh, angel, I want to hold you and fuss you and make love to you, silently and volubly, tenderly and brutally. Anyway, I will. Don’t worry about that. And how you thought that the longer I’m away the better chance you have of getting well again! Selfish, but true, so make the most of every day, love.
If I’m to make sure of that post I must go. Bye until tomorrow, sweetheart. Give my love to the children.
All my love, angel. I love you very very dearly.
P.S. If you see Mother, thank her for my watch which I received today. It was evidently posted by Eric but there was no note inside.