Thursday October 9 9.15 am [1941]

Every day, “an arch wherethrough gleams the untravelled world”.

I read that this morning in a book by Alpha of the Plough, (the stars not the farmer’s) so I wrote it down. I must quote it in my letter to Ron. He was home yesterday and said he had been thoroughly “browned off” this last week. I heard a fellow yesterday saying he was not browned off but “burnt off” so think they are all a little bored. Ron had not much to do owing to the fog.

9.35 am. I had just got out of bed to go to the bathroom when the doctor arrived. I was looking out of the window and saw a car stopped and could hear a genial voice speaking to Father downstairs and suddenly realised it was Dr. Menzies, pronounced as if you had a lump of toffee stuck on your palate. I hastily got back into bed and tossed the heap of mangling Jean had left on to the little table as he came upstairs. Says I am much better, can get up if I promise to sit in a chair. No trying to do anything tho’ he says I couldn’t if I tried. Says when I am up I force myself to do things which is quite true. I think he must have a touch of Irish as well as being Scotch as he told me on no account to do anything when I got up as it wasn’t worth “killing myself to live a day longer”.

The expanded quote ‘I am a part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move.’ is from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92). The poet was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire (see East Lincolnshire Map). ‘Alpha of the Plough’ was the pseudonym of Alfred George Gardiner (1865-1946), author and journalist.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

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