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to E V Lucas - 1918


I emerge out of my big chimney to write to you. I was sitting there with a Charlotte Bronte in my hands (when I read her I think mostly of Emily) and there was a gale on the roof; it is probably not windy at all down below but with the slightest provocation the chimneys overhead in their whirring cowls go as devilish as the witches in Macbeth, whom they also rather resemble in appearance [...] As I had to do without you this time, and scorned to put anyone in your place, the decoration of this room is perforce all my own ... The floor is matting, with rugs by Michael Llewelyn Davies, Esq [...]. There are no pictures beyond tiny ones, the books and wood crying out against experiments therewith ... Naught else but in the fireplace two old settles and piles of firewood [...] xxx they turn up their noses at furniture also, and there is nothing new but one soft chair, also by the aforesaid M.L.D. ... I had an odd thought today about the war that might come to something, but it seems to call for a poet. That in the dead quietness that comes after the carnage, the one thing those lying on the ground must be wondering is whether they are alive or dead. Out there the veil that separates the survivors and the killed must be getting very thin, and those on the one side of it very much jumbled up with those on the other [...] Perhaps it is of this stuff that ghosts are made. These be rather headachy thoughts. I expect the lot on the other side of the veil have as many Germans as British, and that they all went off together quite unconscious that they had ever been enemies. To avenge the fallen! That is the stupidest cry of the war. What must the fallen think of us if they hear it. Audrey would be amused with the subject Michael had to write a poem about in the Eton Chronicle -- not had to but greedily pounced on it. Three house masters, including his own, were summoned by an officious special constable to appear at Slough under the Defence of the Realm Act for not pulling down their blinds. Delight of the boys! Opportunity for M.L.D


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