David to May Holzminden May 16th 1918
Your letter of April 26th came yesterday and said you had had mine of April 1st. I thinks this is a record. Wasn’t it good of the censors to let it come through so quickly, I haven’t yet had several of your previous letters so I don’t know yet if you have had my letter of February 1st and the two March letters. I am rather anxious about Cox’s letter. I think the amount of the balance to be paid Mum should have been between £90 and £100. I hope Mum has seen Cox about it and explained that the letter had gone astray and so stopped any payment being made to anyone other than herself and that through her bank. If I don’t hear from you in the meantime I shall write Cox next month. I am able to write 3 letter cards in place of 2 letters, so if you only receive 2 of these you will know that the third has gone to Cox. Will you please ask them to send me a statement every 3 months.
I like your idea for that beach bungalow very much indeed and I think it would be a good thing to put some up somewhere after the war is over, but don’t you think that most people want to rent this type of hut rather than purchase it outright and I doubt if we shall have enough surplus capital to do it with, at all events for a year or so. However I will sketch some sort of a scheme for it and see what you think of it. I don’t know if you saw the Shaw’s bungalow at Shoreham. It was roofed over so that the central portion formed the Living Room and Kitchen with small sleeping rooms on each side. I am enclosing, as I promised in my last letter, a sketch of a bungalow, or course on a much more elaborate plan than the one you suggest, one which perhaps we might put up for ourselves someday. It is roughly on the lines we used to talk about you remember. We might have big folding doors opening out of the front of the Living Room and the same leading out of the front Bedroom on to the Verandah, which as you see, I have put round 3 sides so that any time one side will be sheltered from the wind. This Bedroom by the way could be, if necessary, divided, thus making 4 small bedrooms instead of 2 and one fairly large one. Let me know what you think of it all and give me any alterations you see.
Yesterday and today a perfect shower of books descended on me with nothing to say who they were from. They came through the Board of Education Book Scheme. I think they must be from you as there was a list of Batsfords and of Engineering books amongst the. Thanks ever so much for them. The books that have come are Belloc’s “French Revolution”, “Mohammedanism” by Prof Margolionth, Wosley’s “Napoleon”, Lockwoods Price book, Lamb’s “Essa’s of Elia”, and Macaulays Essays (these last 3 you remember you have already sent, but they will be useful as I am passing them on). There were also catalogues of the Everyman Library, Batsford’s list and Griffins list of Engineering book. Thanks too for the Metric Tables and Duttons Shorthand, both of which haven’t yet come and “The Twinkling of an Eye” and the other book either, but I shall get them soon I expect. I’ll never to be able to thank you enough for all you do for me. Truly I am well off for books now and you can picture me sitting outside with my head swathed in several wet towels, (ice not being obtainable) my forehead inches deep in wrinkles and my head between arms trying to read 6 books at once and surrounded with a rampart of a 100 others in case of need. Which reminds me, that apart from Civil Engineering which I have been reading in the hope that it may be useful to us sometime, I have been grabbing every book on gardening, (I asked you to send me “The Market Garden”, “Manures & Manuring” and “War-Time Gardening” by the Small-Holder) and reading them from the point of view of profitable gardening, until now, at times, I catch myself pondering deeply, the vital question as to whether nitrate of potash will agree with the equilibrium of forces on a cantilever.
And now I have broken out in another place, in fact in several places and have just joined a small but very cultivated circle of architectural people to discuss various topics of technical interest and also I am having two lessons a week in poultry management, so perhaps part of your dreams may take shape after all. The fellow who is teaching us keeps poultry for show purposes and is thoroughly practical. In my post card of January 17th to you, I had got your letter about taking over Marine Insurance and I told you that the Insurance Institute, 11 Queens Street, holds classes in insurance subjects and have a very good library for which they only charge a small fee and that The London School of Law, Lincolns Inn, gives instruction by correspondence in various insurance subjects.
It makes me wild to hear that another man has been given the job of putting that Acquired Company right while you are really doing it yourself and getting no credit for it. They are a pretty mean crowd, the whole lot of them. I am very sorry to hear your old cleaner has broken down, I hope she will get over it.
As regards your thinking of my being ill, please don’t. Because I asked for salts etc, I am not taking it. I asked for that stuff after that attack of pain in my side last year, in case of a recurrence, but I haven’t needed anything of the sort. The other day I jumped on a letter thinking it was from you and then found it was only from Maud. She says “May is picking up again, but will have to take every care.” This sounds as though you were worse than you told me about. Are you really alright again? Please thank Maud for her letter.
I wouldn’t trouble about that Surveyors Institution Catalogue, as Batsford have sent their list, altho’ even then they only sent a pamphlet and not their full catalogue, but still it will do I think. By the way I shall want to know all about the “shocking” book. If it is as shocking as all that, you oughtn’t to be reading it. Talking about hats with wide brims – when I get back you’ll have to wear brimless hats or no hat at all. The idea of the war lasting another 5 years and being away from you all that time gives me fits. I am envious of that 6/- of yours. I wish my time were as profitable and I do hope some of the things your palmist says come true.