’At the present moment I am in knee-breeches, gaiters, and tunic, and I have just come in. Six o’clock to five, please sir, with half-an-hour for breakfast and an hour for dinner (I eat it out of a red handkerchief under a hedge). It was wet and nasty, and I am pretty tired. But one does not want to stop—because when one stops one begins to think. And my thoughts, except for that shining centre where you are, are so dark and full of sorrow. I miss Desmond every hour, and some great monstrous demon seems to be clutching at me—at you—at England—everything one loves and would die for—all day long. But don’t imagine that I ever doubt for one moment. Not I—
right is right, since God is God,
And right the day must win;
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin.
I know that’s
not good poetry. But I just love it—because
plain and commonplace, and expresses just what ordinary people
feel and think.
’Oh, why was I such a fool about Elizabeth! Now that you are at a safe distance—and of course on the understanding that you never, never say a word to me about it—I positively will and must confess that I was jealous of her about you—yes, about you, Arthur—because you talked to her about Greek—and about ash for aeroplanes—and I couldn’t talk about them. There’s a nice nature for you! Hadn’t you better get rid of me while you can? But the thing that torments me is that I can never have it quite out with Desmond. I told him lies, simply. I didn’t know they were lies, I suppose; but I was too angry and too unjust to care whether they were or not. On the journey from France I said a few little words to him—just enough, thank Heaven! He was so sweet to her in those last days—and she to him. You know one side of her is the managing woman—and the other (I’ve only found it out since Desmond’s death)—well, she seems to be just asking you to creep under her wings and be mothered! She mothered him, and she has mothered me since he shut his dear eyes for ever. Oh, why won’t she mother us all—for good and all!—father first and foremost.
’I told you something about him last time I wrote, but there is a great deal more to tell. The horrible thing is that he seems not to care any more for any of his old hobbies. He sits there in the library day after day, or walks about it for hours and hours, without ever opening a book or looking at a thing. Or else he walks about the woods—sometimes quite late at night. Forest believes he sleeps