18    Feb 20110 comments

A Love Letter from the 1920s

Since we've been looking for the best UK love letters this week, we thought we'd showcase a nice letter we had sent in.

This letter was sent in by Ann Jameson, and was originally written by her father in 1928. Her parents originally met at Oxford in the 1920s, where Ann's father would leave anonymous notes in her mother's bicycle-basket, or cough-lozenges or bicycle lamps if he saw she needed them. They eventually started having tea together, and after continuing to see each other after university later got married. Thanks to Ann for sending this in, and we hope you enjoy the letter as much as we did!

Oxford in the 1920s

4 Matlock Tuesday 14/2/28.

I haven't any very clear idea as to the nature, constitution, aims and ideals, of the Woodpeckers Club, “with which is associated the Norwich Arts Society”, but it appears to be a meeting-ground of the local (soi-disant) intelligentsia, under the leadership of Monck, Bachelor, and Geoffrey Birbeck (one of the Birbecks of Norfolk, as we all know). Tonight I am to be delighted – in addition to the amiable and improving conversation of the aforesaid wits, by the Norwich string quartette, and a ballet produced by Monck. I’m not frightfully eager to don a breastplate and stir abroad – it’s always a bit of an effort to make myself look decent when you’re nowhere about – but one must have a social conscience, I suppose. I wish, tho’, that I hadn't accepted the invitation to this beastly dance on Thursday.

The Rachel-Cousin Jean episode is really rather fatuous. Of course Rachel was, with due apologies, an ass to leave the incriminating document about, but it serves as one more instance of my thesis that it is folly & wickedness for people to imagine that, qua ‘grown-ups’ they may with impunity read children’s letters.

I don’t know whether I can properly allow the hoi-poloi of Johns to presume to address compliments to my Lady. But perhaps one can hardly expect any poor youth to gaze at a room without commenting upon its most beautiful piece of furniture. Darling girl, do you think you are wise not to keep quiet in your rooms when the C comes? I remember once before, when you went to tea with Brian, it made things worse next time. My poor girlie, I would give pounds to be able to bear at least my full half share of the burden.

Referring to something you said in an earlier letter: there is something I feel I must say, tho’ I don’t like doing so; mentioning a thing does make it happen, anyway. I believe what you say, darling, that you could never love another man as you do me, my splendid unselfish perfect lover. And I’m equally certain that, tho’ many men might love you, none would do so so passionately as I do. But if anything should happen to me, and God grant that it won’t, I want you to feel that, should any man offer to you something which is at any rate much better than a long life of loneliness and hardship, and should you feel that you could respond so far as to give him contentment, you would not be, in this world, bound to keep your troth with me. I mean, supposing, for instance, that it were a case of making life easier for kiddies: oh dear, I only get tied up when I try to express what I mean. It’s so difficult. I feel that we are so bound together for all eternity that it would be unthinkable for either of us to enter any sort of union with another. But I want you to be free, my precious woman. You see, it’s only a selfish man who begs his wife never to marry again. You do understand, don’t you beloved?

I had a good night last night, and I dreamt we were dancing together, a weird sort of dance. The swelling is going down gradually, and the pain has ceased. I was tasting blood slightly all today, but that has stopped now as well.

There isn't any news, so goodnight darling

Your own adoring
Ray X

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