Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday 26th June 1938

The family has a cottage at Aldeburgh. Today I took My Lady to meet them there.
It’s been quite a hectic week for both of us; congratulations and good wishes in the post, or delivered in person. Now that she has met the family – as my fiancée – we can settle down to be a normal engaged couple. How staid and pompous that sounds! But how thrilling it really is, now that the novelty has died!

Father and Mother met us with the car about ten miles out of Aldeburgh. So Lois was spared the horrors of a formal meeting. The heat-wave was nearly over, but it was still warm enough for a swim to be enjoyed. Lois and Richard and I, went in. The beach shelved steeply and waves buffeted us, only a few yards from the verge of the furthest little ripple. (“Oh Steve!” said Richard, “Fancy you getting engaged!”) Lois and Robin in one canoe, Richard and I in another, paddled about the broad at Thorpeness.

We left Aldeburgh in the evening. The Vauxhall escorted us some distance along the road. Lois liked them; they liked Lois. All’s well! Ipswich, Colchester, Maldon, Battlesbridge. Night. We were late in reaching Eastwood but nevertheless drove into “the back lane” before parting. Kisses of happiness. How sweet this is – not bitter-sweet! I’ve never felt so emotionally secure before. A strange feeling. I just know that she is mine and I am hers.

Those five Others – those ghosts? They all know, now. One knew before I told her; and when I did speak of it, I just said that she had saved me from making an awful mistake – just far-sighted things she had said. One – this was happiest of all – was ever so pleased, because she, also, was becoming engaged, and had wondered how I should be told! One had been tempting me to sleep wither, when I told her – apropos of nothing – my news. Her face hardened a little. She was very subtle and quickly and casually impressed that the invitation had not been what it was. One, who heard it from her Mother, seemed vivacious (a rare thing in her) when we next met. (“Hasn’t she got lovely hair? You will bring her to see us, won’t you? When shall you get married? Of course, you are in love, aren’t you?) Only the fifth was hurt. I know too well that she was hurt. Oh hell! That last, lovely letter of hers! And she, of them all, I imagined would not care. I did not reply to the letter; she did not want it. She is the only one of the five whom, probably, I’ll never see again.
Five ghosts. But Milady is vital, alive, mine!


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