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BLAIZE—FLEMING. On the 16th October at All Saints, Lynchwick, David Arthur Blaize, of Oakley St, SW3, to Elaine Louisa (née Winter), relict of Maj. Richard Fleming, of Larch Hill, nr Lynchwick.



Mrs George Pillson to the Hon. Mrs George Percival Crabtree

So David is really married: half Tilling (you may guess which half) is crowded under the sycamore on my little field. They are entirely comical, with faraway looks in their eyes and seed-pods in their hair.

But, Ida dearest, now you have seen her, you must tell me what goes on. David’s letter was so perfectly gentleman-like; all I could discover came from poor Delia Lavenham, whose son was at Oxford with hers, and he is in Tangier―not her son, the Lavenham boy. But you know what Delia’s memory is, especially since that lamentable misunderstanding over the Venezuelan trapeze artiste and the War Bonds, she simply takes nothing in, and all she could tell me was that he―not the Lavenham boy, her son―was Caliban when he was in OUDS, and from that I can only conclude the Not Impossible She must be a blue-eyed witch, for none less could convince David to renounce bachelorhood.

Don’t mistake me, I’m scarcely insensible to the conveniences of an arrangement involving all the felicities of married life and none of the bother, and were it not for Georgino, I daresay I should have married him myself. It’s that I simply can’t see the advantage to him: tell me, carissima, does she have any claim to civilisation? Her first husband was a Major, after all, and though I believe the War generation are cast in a finer mould than the Old Hands, it argues nonetheless for certain appetites in those women who are attracted to them. (Elizabeth sends her love.)

Well, my dear, we shall see. I pay no attention to the cynics and gossips, as you know, and am all agog for a reliable and sensible account, as I know yours will be. Did your George enjoy the day, poor lamb? He must have felt conscious of a nervous system, standing in at short notice for the most experienced Best Man in our little circle! Naturally, a mother’s bedside doesn’t admit negotiation, though I’m told that Mrs Maddox made a most expeditious recovery for a woman of her years. I should certainly have been at the wedding myself had I not contracted the self-same wicked influenza and been wholly prostrate. So you see, Ida mia, how entirely I am dependent upon you for news. Do make your very next letter a gorgeous long one to your affectionate,




Postcard to Alexander Deacon, from an unknown correspondent

Change of plan, sorry. Gone to Cambridge. Got a wire, the distress flare sort, from a man who was once v. kind to me but whom I know will only accept a return engagement if it’s a fait accompli. You see how it is. Make it up to you next leave.




Mark Jevons to Alan Turing

...I called on Maddox, but the porter said he had gone out. Dined with Plumb at Christ’s―conversation lurched disconcertingly between the Bursary elections and the Whig Junto; I was at a loss to tell which was which before the claret had gone round twice―so bolted for the Criterion at the earliest opportunity, wherein I discovered him, blind, and practically in the lap of a light-haired young man who returned to my tentative "hullo" the most incredible brass-monkey stare, but upon acquaintance proved to be a merchant seaman with something of a knack for anecdote; not rough, mind you, but educated and very dismissive of it―if I say I was reminded of Skinner?―I’m sure thereby hangs a tale, and not a wholly savoury one. But from which I conclude, and I hope you shall too, that dear old Frank will live



Lisa Clare to Rupert Clare

...I’m sure, stranded out there in the dull backwater of Berlin, you must be dying for news of real moment and fashionable society, so I shan’t omit a single detail. But to be serious for a moment, have you heard from David? I think he is happy in the match and in himself, though how does one tell really? (And the transformation in―I can’t quite bring myself to first name terms despite her condescending to allow them, but ‘Mrs Blaize’ is equally improbable―is nothing short of astonishing.) But he’s worried sick about Frank, of course, and terribly guilty. Dear David, he thinks everyone faces the world with his own innocent resilience. I don’t think it quite sank in until Frank explained that it wasn’t something―with the best will in the world, which he sincerely bore them both―he could actually stand to see done, let alone abet. And―so Margery said―they of single and silent accord dropped into the mode of sixth-formers managing the House, concocted this story of Mrs Maddox’s dangerous illness and primed another old schoolfriend to step into the apparent breach. Extraordinary. Heaven knows what will happen between them.

Now I actually embark upon my account, I find there’s not much to say except that it was the essence of reserved rectitude; I think David must have deferred very much to his bride, because there wasn’t even a hint of his gentlest mischief. The effect was curiously―almost vulgar somehow, as if in accordance with a manual of etiquette, though I’m sure no such thing could be found in the Larch Hill library.

It was a morning wedding; two chaps from the pictorial weeklies made the early hour, and were tremendously well-behaved. The bride wore a lavender costume, no―she did!―a shade carefully calculated not to make her colouring look insipid. Her son gave her away, disclosing and exhausting his purpose in life in the same five minutes. Hilary remarks Hilaryishly that this is a positively bitchy thing to say, but I protest: how many people in the world have discharged as much as one symbolic duty with unsurpassable elegance? I mean that without irony: I am sure I will never see it done better, it could not be done better. He looked as though he knew exactly what he was doing and meant to do it. As a matter of fact, Hilary has rather taken him up as a project. She has been driving and to tea with him―I think she and David are plotting a pincer movement to cut the apron strings; David introduces him to all the most respectable stage people he can muster in Mother’s company while Hilary builds his confidence with the aunt-routine. Given that this time next year he'll probably be in uniform, I can’t see the use, but if she can’t have intellectual stimulation, social is the next best thing, I suppose. (On reflection, not. Macbeth I, i, line 1, if you should like it and last time you very much seemed to.)

Oh, the music―the village organist was handsomely paid off and Richard Herrick played. I think he must have taken a firm stand on Lohengrin and Mendelssohn, because it was Bach coming in and ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’, his own arrangement for organ, which skims off a lot of the Victorian syrup, to exit. They were married in some very carefully-chosen amalgam of the new and old forms (perhaps the only evidence of David’s hand), and the bride, who holds no illusions as to her reputation in the district, did not say obey. But I think she is profoundly devoted to him, and sees him as a second―a last―chance at happiness. I can’t say either was exactly radiant, but they took a heartening sort of possession of one another.

The breakfast was at Larch Hill, and insufficient by both the standards of the household and the occasion, which surely must be a record. (Annie anticipated it, and had a delicious luncheon awaiting us…) Honeymoon in North Yorkshire (!)―the best man, who looked like a Cotswold ram enticed into morning dress then suitably shorn, and has quite obviously worshipped David since they were both seven years old, is lending them his house. Splendid partridge, apparently, and she contrived to look almost happy about it. David is keeping on his flat for the time being: I can't really see her, brought up no doubt to regard 'Chelsea parties' as synonymous with the Cities of the Plain, spending much time there. In many ways it is really the very model of a modern marriage... 



Christopher Tranter to Charlotte Abbott

...Thank you so very much for the extracts from J’s letters. It can’t have been easy to copy those, but they’ve been of inestimable help in correcting the Madrid scenes. And for your comments on Inez’s lines: I must confess I was indignant at first, but on reflection I came to see you were quite right. Every playwright needs a feminine consulting service: I could put a dozen clients your way just for starters! You’ll come up for the staged reading of Harvest, won’t you? And, in fact, I had rather hoped I might see you before that―I did enjoy our walk after the wedding. Let me know if you are ever in town.

Have you seen anything of Julian since? I understand that though his stepfather isn’t inclined to be stepfatherly in the worst sense, he is trying to help him along in his career, which sounds moderately putrid, and the adjustment must be generally difficult to make, anyway, after a lifetime of having his mother to himself. And what a mother! I got a letter from him this morning, and bits of it really were fairly queer―stuff about Swinburne (astonished to see anyone still reads him except for the pathology, which is quite an interesting case study, remind me when you come up and I’ll tell you about it) and the chthonic creator-destroyer goddess wedding the year-king. Sort of thing one would be quite blasé about if one encountered it in a psychological handbook, but can’t swallow quite so lightly with kedgeree, somehow. He's probably just overdosed on Frazer, but I hope he doesn’t take one of his idées fixes, it’ll ruin him for playing Anthony. I say, you couldn’t possibly find some tactful way to put this, when you next run into him, could you? I’m a dead loss at that sort of suggestive caper; I have the typical male shortcoming of candour to an almost atypical degree...