Wed 14-Nov-56: Walked shops & booked in Debenham Court [Granville Place]. British Museum, saw sculptures of Egypt, Greek, Hindu.
Tuesday 9:30 p.m.
13 Nov 56
I shouldn’t write at all tonight. My mood might affect you who are so sensitive to other’s condition. But seeing as how, this thing of mine will be about a week in the past when you read this, I don’t guess it will matter much. It gets dark so dammed early here-a little later than 4:30 p.m.-and the evening seems so long. I went out for a meal and staggered down to a newsreel for an hour. Place was full of necking couples. Here on the continent people seem to neck anywhere-particularly so in Paris where it’s nothing to see them kissing in the underground trains or in the cafes. Have just ordered a cup of tea-it is something they really make well in this lounge. As a matter of fact it is a much more cheerful drink, than Guinness Stout.
Graham said in his last letter that you weren’t well and you have mentioned seeing Cummins. I do hope you are managing to keep going without too much strain, sweetie. I don’t want you to feel poorly while I’m away. I wish I could help somehow-like being home-I wish I was at that. I should have written you about the Gallery at lunchtime when I was fresher. I went back and it was nearly dark when I came out. It’s got a bit wearing-despite the magnificent early Italian works. I think I’ll read for a while and go to bed.
You needn’t worry about me getting home-things here seem quite normal and placid. In fact, one hears little talk of trouble. A few letters in the papers, appears to be the only manifestation of steam letting off. This ponderous letter will be the death of you. I really must cease. Shall carry on in the murky light of dawn. Lots of love to you my dear little hugging girl. Nothing, absolutely nothing would be better than really to sleep against you, and there somehow, find again a small boy’s peace. I occasionally get quite frantic at the thought that such a pleasure is so far off. Seems, sometimes, I’ll never have it again. But then, that’s nonsense-in fact it is less than three weeks off. But how long those 3 weeks are to become is more than I care to contemplate. I am desperately in need of you. It’s weak of me-but I get relief and comfort in admitting it. And why shouldn’t I open up to you, who are now so much part of me? As I have, it seems, become part of you, and the rest of your life. We are now, inextricably woven of a piece and it gives me happiness to think of it. Good night-other half of my heart. Sleep easily from me.
Wed 9:30 a.m. 14 Nov.
I am a new Willie-stronger in all respects-ready to face the rain of intrepid calm. I have been posting off some small books and catalogues and pamphlets. Getting too heavy to handle. My bag is now swollen and I shall have to get a cheapjack one to take the overflow. Must make a move to organise myself more precisely. Trouble is I don’t know yet what the accommodation will cost by the time I leave tomorrow. I’m moving into a 21/- a day dump. Have to, as I want to buy some things. And feeling much brighter and had best make a move out into the drizzling city. God bless you, you little beaut! I love you brightly this morning. Watch out for a vigourous return of the prodigal boy.
7 p.m. back again from the cold dark city. Am up in my eyrie, back with you, where I belong. Went out to the shops again this morning to have a look around and as there are so many of the flaming things I am little better off now than when I started. Called at Simpsons to get an idea of what they have. Looked in lots of other windows-made arrangements to move up near Oxford Street, behind the fabulous Selfridges store. By the time I leave here (in the morning) this place will have cost me £18.5.2. (8 nights at £2, one dinner 14/6, one ½ bt claret 8/6, 1 coffee 1/-, 3 breakfasts 19/6, 4 phone calls 1/8). The new place looks quite comfortable and I’ll be £1 a day to the good. Wish I had moved earlier. Food is expensive in London and cigs are 4/-a packet. Although I haven’t bought many. Still smoking some I got duty-free on the ship I came across the Channel in. Incidentally I am writing this letter with a pen I picked up in the Rue de L’Opera, Paris France. I feel very fond of you, ducky. Got my air plane ticket and pick the plane up at Zürich. I will be home at 7 a.m. on Sunday 2 Dec.
I’m leaving London on Monday (as far as I can recollect, having lost the folder. Anyway I must buy the ticket tomorrow, to make certain that is paid for) about 7 p.m.-spend about 5 hours aboard ship and arrive in Holland about 7 a.m. where a full day’s journey by train alongside the Rhine gets me into Basle about 10 p.m. Tuesday. As this hour is too late to catch a plane due off at 10.40 I have made these arrangements, and will write Basle for accommodation overnight Tuesday and spend day in Zürich to get plane on Wednesday 28th at 10:25 p.m. And the whole fare is only £8.16.0. To catch the plane here, first class, would cost me £21.12.0. So it’s quite a saving and if it does by some mischance happened to be a nice day I’ll see quite a bit of the Rhine. Wish me God spend, dearest, I am getting closer. Also bought another suitcase-very much like the one I have, only smaller and light grey in colour. Lined, and with two pockets, soft top, etc, practically an albino twin-45/-at Selfridges. Bought a new translation of the New Testament by a Jewish scholar. Should do me good, more soothing than that wicked Henry Miller I’ve been reading. Went up to the British Museum where my legs gave out and I had to totter off to have some tea and toast. Went back feeling better. Saw a lot of Indian sculpture-was disappointed in the relics of Stupas they had. The whole effect was overburdened and maggoty. Very sad reaction to the old enthusiast. Some of the single figures were very fine. Perhaps I was too buggered. This was before I had the tea. The Tibet’s have some very vicious and naughty concepts about their other worldly hierarchy. The principle of the male and female union, as the basis of all things is depicted with extremely vivid realism. Moreover it is a union that is quite normal in its management. They are very naughty ‘Adavayas’ indeed. After the tea I stayed on the ground floor and was delighted with the Greek and Egyptian stuff. Must have another look. If ever I’m fresh enough I should take some notes. The Tate, National, and Museum should just about use up my time. I was going to take a run up to Oxford but don’t know off I can make it. I certainly can’t get up north to see your father’s people. Finances just won’t stand it. I am not wasting money-but must bring something back. Should go out to Windsor though, it’s only an hour in the bus stop and going out to Rex Reinits place tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. so we’ll have a little social life for our secret anniversary. He is an Australian writer I used to work with many years ago. I think I mentioned I bumped into him in the bar here, or rather next-door. He has a radiogram so I’ll be taking my Romanian records and shall hear them myself for the first time. I hope the technical aspect of the recordings is all right. I am sure the musical part was performed in a suitable manner in the first place. I hope your old trotters have not been giving you too much trouble-and that the warm weather is allying the old screws a bit. You poor little thing-I’d only be too happy to mass arguing this moment-I’d willingly put up with your squawks and shrieks for the pleasure of being around on the chance of getting an occasional nip at your earlobes. Hotel rooms are deadly things on an empty stomach-so I’ll take myself off and fossick for a meal someplace handy. I’ll be with you again very shortly. I’m sure to get chips with whatever I have. These Londoners seem to live on nothing else. Chips-chips-chips-they eat such enormous quantities of them you’d reckon on getting some fresh some time. But not yet.
9:45 p.m. Back again in my beloveds arms.
How right I was about the chips. Just had a great reason plate full of them with a little piece of steak. I think it is the fat that clings to the chips which makes them so much of a must in food. Like Eskimos eat walrus fat, or candles, the carbohydrates are very warming. Better than Guinness. Not inspiring though. This letter is becoming very staccato in touch-little has happened to fire me off into a grand, and sustained, broadside of enthusiasm. Still haven’t dreamt about you, although for £2 a sleep one would expect even a modicum of entertainment during the night. I feel as if I am being diddled by someone, out of a free and harmless pleasure. Don’t know whether to get into bed, or go down and have some tea. Perhaps tea, and a last look around the lounge of the Howard Hotel. This letter is becoming a struggle because I have more than half a page to go with nothing to say on it-absolutely nothing. I’ll go down and see if I can find an evening paper to squiz at.
9 a.m. 15 Nov. have been thinking of you since I got up. I wish I could be at home to give you the loving kiss you deserve on such a day as this. Two years during which I think we are becoming better suited and as for me more deeply attached to you. I send you a great deal of love, my darling, and hope the way I feel at the moment will remain always deep in my being. Rows, I suppose, will be inevitable, but I trust they will be nicer and fonder.
Lots of love again-please get Graham to give you a kiss from me-and ask Trellie to give you a horrid great leak in one go from top to toe. Tell Graham I am anxious to hear the triumphal return music. I hope he has it all pat by the time I get home-he has that extra week’s practice.
I have been sweating blood on working out finance-and if I get the things I want all have to starve to death. I don’t know whether to get you to wire me £20 or not. If I just had an extra tenner I would be right. It’s a flaming curse. Oh, I think you had better-it’s mad to get oneself into a jam all this way off for the sake of £20. O skip all this, I have just seen Peter Gladwyn and he tells me not to worry. They will be able to do something for me. I got your loving cable off him too. Thanks so much, sweetie, I sort of thought I might get one. God love you!
I don’t know whether to catch the plane here-Cook’s Travel Agency says it might be cheaper. I am going down to see capital BOAC about it. It’s hard to determine things whether to see the Rhine or not. Will let you know in my next letter.
Much love and happiness to my dearest little wife from her loving fellow, Bill. XXX
Tell Graham S.A.O.H. to him to!
For the 15th Nov 1954.
How do I recall-
In a crimson pleasure
How do I recall-
Their pearly packets
Piercing irregularities into
My willing limbs?
How do well recall-
The tiny, ardent breast
When my lips
With full of her,
How do I recall-
When her limbs
Came to life
In warm embrace?
How do I recall-
The liquid anguish
Through which we fired
A smouldering sleep?
How do I recall-
From your husband