Monday, March 24, 2008

Tuesday 13th September 1938

Rumours of war increasing… State of Emergency declared in Czechoslovakia, caused through outbreaks of fighting between Sudeten-Germans and Czech police. Nine killed.
Just the first nine?

Business is not too good, naturally. No orders yesterday but two – both new accounts! – today. One was from Johns Ltd, North Woolwich, to whom I’d been introduced by “Pa” Shervill.

Lois had a slight headache today, so I volunteered to fetch Mrs Rogers from the Bowling Club. Mr Rogers accompanied me. (He knew that I had something to discuss with them.) So I parked the B and AV in Kenilworth Gardens, gave them a cigarette each and brooked the subject of Lois’ “curfew” hour. They were implacable in their ignorance. Particularly Mr R. – Lois’ mother not so abnormal. I can still hear his distasteful, abrupt voice saying roughly, “It isn’t respectable for a girl to be out late at night and as long as she’s home she’ll keep decent hours, however old she is.” I also learnt that he disapproves of people going into places which carry “a full licence” apart from whether they drink or not.
That also is “not respectable”. An uncouth sort of feller. (The Lincolnshire word is “clunch”.)

Beginning to bubble up inside like a bottle of lemonade charged with carbon dioxide, I eventually just said I was sorry we couldn’t agree, and drove them home. (Mrs Rogers, in parting, whispered hurriedly that, he’d “always been troublesome”.) Took Lois for a short drive. She mentioned an incident that made me definitely dislike Mr Rogers – the sanctimonious old bounder!

Apparently it had rather frightened him when, knowing I wished to see his wife and himself on family business, he had discovered Lois to be unwell. He walked into the bedroom demanding to know what was wrong? What did I want to see them about? What was the matter with her? She admitted she was disgusted with her own father when she realised how he was linking things up inside his dirty-minded head. What have you been doing? Have you disgraced the family? Are you going to have a baby? What a contemptible lack of trust! What are children driven to? Deceit. In this case, such an attitude would probably lead to a broken engagement or a too-early marriage – as a form of escape.

Thank God my mother and father are not like that! Incidents like this make me realise how lucky I am.

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