David to May Holzminden Letter No 27 August 1st 1918
I have just had four of your letters altogether and so took them outside to thoroughly enjoy myself. I am awfully glad you do manage to “find a few minutes for your darling” as life would be pretty empty without your letters. I have received a parcel of three books containing “Mr Issacs”, “The Barrier” and “The Simpkins Plot” and since then Mitchell’s Building Construction. Did you send them? If you did it is good of you, but you shouldn’t do it. D’you hear? Thanks too for ordering those gardening books for me. The Allotment Book sounds as though it ought to be better than the one I asked for. Of course they haven’t come yet, but should turn up soon. “The Twinkling of an Eye” hasn’t arrived either. Please thank Muriel very much indeed for the books she sent and tell her that three or four of them were on subjects upon which I had already had other books, so that they are particularly useful as they give me different points of view. Please tell her that I am most anxious for her to take the three of us up the river again. Her threat to kill you might possibly relieve her feelings, but wouldn’t be any sort of satisfaction to me. Its awfully sad that her several love affairs have all ended so suddenly and tragically. I would write to her if I could, but she knows I can’t at present. I don’t know if you have read “Mr Issacs”. It is an Indian tale with a marvellous man in it, who, altho’ he doesn’t claim to be anything out of the ordinary, yet does miraculous things such as being in two different places at the same time etc etc. “The Barrier” is a tale of Klondyke with the usual hero, heroine, and a sprinkling of villains, but both books are not at all bad. I haven’t read “The Simpkins Plot”, but I am told by another fellow who borrowed it, that it is funny.
You don’t tell me much about what you did when you took your girls out. I want to know all about it. How they behaved themselves and how you misbehaved yourself and where you went to tea and what it felt like to steer a family of 22 into a theatre and down the middle of a tea shop. Thanks very much for writing to Cox. I rather expected they would do nothing without actually having a note from me, but they should, by this time, have had my post card of June 1st, and paid the balance to Mum. Look here I shall not send you any more plans of bungalows or other things, if you are going to keep awake at nights over them. Thanks very much for my birthday letter. I did like it, but I expect I would have liked that train journey better. By the way I have had a letter from Maud. There was nothing in it – I believe she mentioned that she missed her mother or brother and one or two things like that. Please thank her for me. I also had a letter this week from an old school fellow of mine. Harold Gordon, I think I told you about him. You remember I received a letter from his girl while I was in France. He writes from Princetown where apparently he has been doing “time” and although he does not say so, I think he wrote with the idea that I might be able to find a job for him. Of course I haven’t his address here, but I believe it is in a small address book in one of my drawers. I wish you would ask Mum to write to him and explain that I cannot.
I have finished the Quantities of the house and have made some attempt at getting at a price for it, but from the result I seem to be all at sea with the prices. It works out at about £800 at present, so that I shall have to go through it again. But of course this pricing is of very little use under the present conditions, except that it gives me some rough idea of what each item will be likely to come to. While writing this an idea struck me. I think we might perhaps lower the Kitchen and Hall half of the house by about a foot and so save the cost of a foot of everything over that portion. I must see how it works. You remark on the Kitchen being on the large size. I thought you would like this, especially as it is Kitchen and Scullery combined, as you probably have noticed. I also have another idea which is to put an attic floor in the roof. There is plenty of room for it without any alteration besides windows. It should give three or four more rooms up there and this of course would add considerable to the value of the house if ever we wanted to sell it, altho’ of course we should not need them ourselves. I have not gone into it yet, but I think in any case we might make a provision for this addition, so that it can be done easily if we wanted, even if we don’t do it to start with. Fifteen per cent for that bungalow with the use of it thrown in, sounds attractive enough and seems quite feasible provided the spot is well chosen. The ideal place I should think would be within 1 ½ to 2 hours of London and within easy reach of a town. In fact another Shoreham, but transported elsewhere. No more building papers have turned up, but I expect some more will come along soon. There are numbers of books I want to read, in fact the more I read the more books I want, but it isn’t worth while asking you to send them as I already seem to have more than enough work ahead of me now to keep me very well employed for some considerable time yet. I haven’t touched any bookkeeping yet. My Dutch progresses. I was doing so well at one time with their G, that I thought that in the course of a year or so and the aid of a bad cold in my throat, I might be able to pronounce it sufficiently well for a Dutchman to have a dim idea of what I was driving at, and then suddenly it turned up twice in one word! That did it! I turned my face to the wall and wept. I think I shall now have to teach them all French in order to talk at all or carry on as a dentist and I did once. We used to converse in the most fluent sentences compounded of French, German, Latin and English carefully compounded into a rich and intricate mixture. Esperanto was a fool to it.
I have not yet had your letter about Malayalans, but this is what happened. On April 30th 1917, I bought 15 shares on June 6th – 10 more and on June 25th 10 more making 35 in total. Mum cancelled the last order so that I should have 25, but still I don’t think it is worth while writing about it now, as it has gone so long, it may as well go on a bit longer. You seem to be awfully busy most of your time. I do wish it wasn’t necessary to stay late though and you are continually doing it now. I know what effect this sort of thing has on you. Can’t you stop it?