John Donne: Meditation XVII


Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris (Now this bell, tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.)
John Donne (1573 - 1631)

Perchance, he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. 
The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; 
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the SeaEurope is the lesse, as well as if  a  Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were;
any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Rudyard Kipling: Gypsy Vans

Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)
Unless you come of the gypsy stock
That steals by night and day,
Lock your heart with a double lock
And throw the key away.
Bury it under the blackest stone
Beneath your father's hearth,
And keep your eyes on your lawful own
And your feet to the proper path.
Then you can stand at your door and mock
When the gipsy vans come through...
For it isn't right that the Gorgio stock
Should live as the Romany do.


Unless you come of the gipsy blood
That takes and never spares,
Bide content with your given good
And follow your own affairs.
Plough and harrow and roll your land,
And sow what ought to be sowed;
But never let loose your heart from your hand,
Nor flitter it down the road!
Then you can thrive on your boughten food
As the gipsy vans come through...
For it isn't nature the Gorgio blood
Should love as the Romany do.


Unless you carry the gipsy eyes
That see but seldom weep,
Keep your head from the naked skies
Or the stars'll trouble your sleep.
Watch your moon through your window-pane
And take what weather she brews;
But don't run out in the midnight rain
Nor home in the morning dews.
Then you can buddle and shut your eyes
As the gipsy vans come through...
For it isn't fitting the Gorgio ryes
Should walk as the Romany do.


Unless you come of the gipsy race
That counts all time the same,
Be you careful of Time and Place
And Judgment and Good Name:
Lose your life for to live your life
The way that you ought to do;
And when you are finished, your God and your wife
And the Gipsies'll laugh at you!
Then you can rot in your burying place
As the gipsy vans come through...
For it isn't reason the Gorgio race
Should die as the Romany do.
 

INDEX TO POSTS

This list is alphabetical by title (last updated on 19 January, 2014). Some but not all references are hyper-linked to the relevant post. To find an author, title, or a post use the search box at the top or the 'Labels' on the right. 

A very short song ... Dorothy Parker
About Jewish women ... George Orwell
African adventure ... Ariel Sharon
All Our Yesterdays ... Natalia Ginsburg
Annabel-Lee ... Edgar Allan Poe
Antwerp ... Alan Ross
Appointment in Samarra A very short story ... Somerset Maugham:
Aspatia's song ... John Fletcher
Cargoes ... John Masefield
Counting Arab casaulties ... Martha Gellhorn
D-Day (a memoir) ... Robert Capa
Das Deutsches wolk ... from an article by Martha Gellhorn
Dream pedlary ... Thomas Lovell Beddoes
Eternity ... William Blake
Fair warning ... from a short story by Robert Olen Butler
Finis ... Dorothy Parker
First sight ... Christopher Marlowe
Gypsy Vans ... Rudyard Kipling
Infant sorrow ... William Blake
In after days ... Austin Dobson
Letter from Murnau (1934) ... Dorothy Thompson
Love song ... Dorothy Parker
Love's secret ... William Blake
Lucy ... William Wordsworth
Mandalay ... Rudyard Kipling
Meditation XVII ... John Donne
Mein Kampf ... review by George Orwell
Money for Jam ... Alec Guinness
Nightingale ... Richard Bamefield
Offering ... Luis Cernuda Bidon
Oh, for the time when I shall sleep ... Emily Bronte
On Marilyn Monroe ... Arthur Miller
On meeting Stalin ... H. G. Wells
On Shakespeare ... John Milton
Ozymandias ... Percy Bysshe Shelley
Paris in the '30s ... Caroline Moorehead: Martha Gellhorn: A Life
Quatrain ... Francois Villon
Quotations ... from books by Ernest Hemingway
Remember ... Christina Georgina Rossetti
Rubaiyat ... Omar Khayyam
Ships that pass in the night ... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Song ... Frederico Garcia Lorca
Suicide note ... Arthur Koestler
Suicide note ... George Sanders
Suicide note ... Virginia Woolf
Suicide note ... Stefan Zweig
The bait ... John Donne
The Book of Ruth ... from the Bible
The Carpathian Lancers (1944) ... Martha Gellhorn
The cuckoo clock speech ... Orson Welles (The Third Man)
The day is done ... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The diminished ... from a short story by Douglas Glover 
The first day of World War Two ... William Shirer
The fraud ... Margaret Gardiner
The heart of another ... Willa Cather
The Isles of Greece ... Demetrios Capetanakis
The last leaf ... Oliver Wendell Holmes
The miller's daughter ... Alfred Lord Tennyson
The rainy day ... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The World of Yesterday ... Stefan Zweig
Time of roses ... Thomas Hood
Truth ... Coventry Patmore
Tyger tyger ... William Blake
Wait for me ... Konstantin Simonov
War Diary ... Hermione Ranfurly
When I am dead my dear ... Christina Georgina Rossetti
When I was one and twenty ... A. E. Housman
When we two parted ... George Gordon Byron

Alec Guinness: 'Money for Jam' published in 1945







Alec Guinness (1914 - 2000)
During World War Two Alec Guinness served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve  first as a seaman and then as a commissioned officer. In the invasion of Sicily he commanded a landing craft and later ferried supplies to Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia. His short story 'Money for Jam' appeared in 1945 in Penguin New Writing. 

It is not widely known that Guinness wrote short stories nor that he was notoriously superstitious. The following is an excerpt from the story which is believed to be autobiographical.


~ ~ ~

The sun was hot and the foreign sea like plate-glass, the colour of peacock's tails. Little breezes played around a salt, low, bare, rocky Arcadia, and at noon, when we sailed, the day sang with prettiness. It was like the sound of a flute. Or an oboe. Or was that the wind? The wind? No, little breezes pirouetting down from the north, a trifle cold, for they come from high, snow-covered mountains. Even in retrospect the day held nothing sinister, not until the sun went down. There was nothing that wasn't quite as it ought to be. Yet this was the day dated 31 December, 1943. Curiously enough, I still have my diary for that time, somewhat battered and stained, but legible, and a proof to myself what life was like before the storm and what I was after it. There is no entry under 31 December except a jotting in pencil, , 'St Luke 12. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.' Why does this fascinate? Then it is blank for three days. Finally in ink, with a strange borrowed pen and writing mine, but not like my own, are the words, ' January 2nd. Not the second or third watches. Unprepared in the morning, but resigned in the Dogs.' For January 3rd there is entered up, 'We took the rings off Broadstairs' hand.' After that I didn't bother to keep a diary.

This was the situation. The enemy, thirty miles up the coast, also held all the opposite shore except the island of K. During the week ending 28th December they had attacked and overrun the three large islands that are grouped round K. It was apparent they would land on K. at any moment. They had complete air superiority in that part of the world, and no Allied craft could sail in those waters except under cover of darkness. The idea was that the ninety-foot schooner, of which I was the captain, should run fifty tons of ammunition to the resistance group on K., and take off as many women and children as possible. K., being the last link on the opposite coast, must be saved at best, or turned into a battlefield at worst. Losing it was out of the question. It meant a trip of two hundred and twenty miles for us, there and back. The plans were hurried, but reasonably good and simple.  We were to arrive at midnight and leave not later than 2 A.M. That would give us six hours of darkness at ten knots to get away from enemy reconnaissance planes. Everything had to be done in the dark, and if, by some misfortune, such as breakdown or encountering an enemy vessel off the island, it would be imprudent for us to get away at the prescribed time, we were to find a small creek, run the schooner alongside rooks, disguise her with branches an camouflage netting and try our luck the following night. That is if we weren't spotted during the day. When loaded with the 'ammo' the Peter - for that was her name - sat down squarely in the water.

'You know what to look for, don't you?' said the very little naval officer who brought me my sailing orders. 'There's no moon, but it is a clear night you should see the mountains of B. fine on your port bow by 22:00. Z. island is very low, but as you can see on the chart, there's plenty of water round it. Keep as close inshore as possible in case of mines. When you come into the bay keep the guns closed up and slow down. And for God's sake tell the crew to keep their mouths shut. Silence is vital.  When the chaps on K. spot you they will light a bonfire for ten minutes. If they light two bonfires or no bonfires, buzz off - it means we are too late. If it's all O.K. and they are ready for you, they will swing a red lantern at the end of the jetty. There's a Major Backside there, a drunken old so-and-so, but he knows his onions. He'll give you the latest dope which, incidentally, we'd like in the office when you get back. So long! It's money for jam.'

'One moment,' I said. 'What other craft are out tonight?' 

'Well, there's the usual patrol, but they won't touch you.Anything you see will be enemy. Except for twelve schooners, including Mother of God, Topaz and Helena, which are leaving here a few hours after you and working their way up the coast. Secret Job. But you won't see the on the outward passage. Possibly coming back, though.

He went as briskly as he came, leaving my first lieutenant muttering 'Money for jam!' Jimmy had an instinctive and often unreasonable, dislike of the people who issued orders from offices. But really it wasn't a bad-looking little job, so long as the weather lasted. Never cared for the Peter when the sea got up. Always considered her top heavy.

So we sailed at noon on this cloudless day, hardly apprehensive, Pleased to think we were on a mission of some small importance, but grumbling that it was going to mean New Year's Eve at sea. This annoyed the Scots lads in particular, but Tuffey said 'Think of the WOMEN we will be bringing back'; and the coxswain said, 'Got a tin of turkey and two of ham. Big eats!' Able Seaman Broadstairs went down to the mess-deck, stripped, and vigorously applied hair-oil to his chest. 'You'll never get it to grow by to-morrow night, son,' grunted Stoker White, the oldest member of the crew. Broadstairs had a fine figure, and was a decent living kid, but he had no hair on his chest, which distressed him deeply. Whenever women were mentioned out came the violently-smelling hair-oil. Now he put it away and took to cleaning his silver signet rings with metal polish. He wore five of them and had a ring tattooed on the little finger of his left hand.

'Money for jam' said Jimmy. 'I could kick the tight little arse of that office boy!'

We sailed up the coast for ten miles, then pushed out to sea. I came off watch at tea-time and Jimmy took over. The crew consisted of the two of us and fourteen ratings, and we worked it watch and watch about, which is easy going on these short trips. Off watch in the daytime I usually sat in the cabin reading. Thinking to myself, I'm bound to be up all night, I turned in to get some early sleep after tea. The sun had grown dim, the bright blue sky was overcast with pale grey, and the sea was oily looking, shot with patches of dark satin-like water. No stars, tonight, I thought, I thought, and turned away from the scuttle and the light. A minute later Broadstairs entered the cabin to 'darken ship.' Very easily and swiftly I fell asleep. No dreams that I can remember. I slept for nearly two hours. When I woke it was with the strangest notion I have ever had in my life.

I am not a deeply religious man, and before the war was avowedly irreligious. I did not have convictions that could be called atheistic, but they were certainly agnostic. The war brought me back to an acceptance of the doctrines of the Church of England. I suppose I believe in ghosts. Certainly in good and evil spirits. But all that speculation always seemed unimportant - chit-chat for a winter's evening at home, by a log fire, in the good old days of indifference. All thoughts of religious subjects, angelology, demons and what not were far from my mind that evening. I had no worries, other than the navigational one of successfully finding the island K.; and there was no obvious difficulty about that; I only call it 'worry,' because i have never sailed anywhere without wondering whether I would find the place. It is difficult to describe what happened to me at six o'clock that evening, yet I must attempt it, for on it hangs the whole significance of this experience from a personal point of view. It was as if ---. It is impossible to state it simply enough and sound credible.  It was as if ---. I woke up with a start, the sweat pouring off me. I trembled. The cabin was filled with an evil presence and it was concentrated twelve or eighteen inches from my left ear. Fully awake, I heard with my ear, so it seemed to me, the word  'TOMORROW.' ...


~ ~ ~

[And what happened 'TOMORROW' is almost out of this world]










Hermione Ranfurly: War Diaries 1939-45

Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly (1913 - 2001)


At the outbreak of the Second World War Hermione Ranfurly's husband, Second Lieutenant Dan Ranfurly, was posted to Palestine and she followed him to be near him. She was 26-years old at the time. The following passages are taken from her wartime diaries To War With Whitaker, published in 1994 when she was eighty-years old. 


~  ~  ~


Since I was about five years old I have kept a diary. Though I am now eighty, most of these have survived my many adventures and travels and sometimes I glance at them to remember with laughter.

Growing up is like entering a jungle where some of the larger creatures look alarming and possible man-eaters; and most of the smaller ones - like insects - go unnoticed. As one grows up the jungle gets denser and so, most likely, do you.

But now I am old and in the Departure Lounge - though certainly still growing up - I look back with amusement at how 'cock-sure' I became and how often wrong; so many of those creatures who, at first, looked big and fierce became my life-long friends; so many 'insects' turned out to be brilliant, fascinating and kind companions.

My diaries, written mostly at night and always in haste, in nurseries, school rooms, cars, boats,  aeroplanes and sometimes in loos, expose how we all arrive, helpless,  innocent and ignorant; and then, as we step gingerly into the jungle, show how afraid, selfish, show-off and silly we often are. Mine also prove how lucky I have always been. Most of the creatures in my jungle have been extra special.

Two friends who helped me through thick and thin I never met: Alexander the Great, who said, 'One must live every day as if it were one's last, and as if one would live for ever, both at the same time,' and Oscar Wild, who said, 'All of us are standing in the gutter but a few of us are looking at the stars.' These two remarks should get anyone through their jungle.

Then, of course, there was Dan; forever the best human being I'll ever know.

I have only one regret: that soon the diaries must stop and no longer record - with laughter - what happened next. This is an account of my life during the six years of World War II.


*  *  *


3 September 1939
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

Two days ago we left Torridon. It seems an age. As we stacked our guns, golf-clubs and fishing rods into the back seat of our Buick, fear pinched my hear, those are the toys of yesterday I thought; they belong to another world. General Laycock, Dan [Dan Ranfurly, Hermion's husband] and I sat in front. We hardly spoke. No doubt the General was thinking of his sons, Bob, Peter and Michael, who will al have to go to the war. Questions teemed through my mind; where will Dan's Yeomanry, the Notts Sherwood Rangers, go? Will I be able to see him? Mummy, ill in hospital in Switzerland - should I fetch her back to England? And Whitaker [ our cook-butler - perhaps he is too old to be a soldier? It was raining. The windscreen wiper ticked to and fro' and it seemed as if each swipe brought a new and more horrifying thought to me. We had started on a journey - but to where? And for how long?

We sent a telegram from Inverness to our flat in London and drove on to Edinburgh where we were surprised to find the street lamps out. All night we drove slowly, through thick fog. It was hard to see without headlights. None of us slept.

We dropped the General at his house, Wiseton, near Doncaster, where we ate a hurried breakfast and then drove on to London. Whitaker and Mrs Sparrow, our charlady, were waiting for us and a telegram from Dan's Yeomanry saying he must report immediately at Redford in Nottinghamshire. After reading this Dan asked Whitaker if he would like to go with him. The old fatty looked over the top of his spectacles and said, 'To the War, my Lord? Very good, my Lord.' Then we started to pack.

Short and stout, his huge face much creased from smiling, Whitaker has many abilities - all self-taught - but I just can't imagine him going to war on a horse. [The Notts Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry was part of a Cavalry Division.] ...

Thousands of children are being evacuated from London to the country. They, and their parents, must feel as desolate as me.


10 January, 1940

A Farmhouse in Lincolnshire

Nancy Yarborough has organised a canteen at Brocklesby Station for the Sherwood Rangers, who are leaving in batches all this week. I bicycled over to help her. We doled out tea and buns on a long trestle table and watched horses being loaded on to the train - some of them were terrified and took ages. Straw had been laid down everywhere to prevent the horses from slipping on the icy roads and platform. There are about 1000 horses to be moved.
It is bitterly cold - the newspapers say 'It's the coldest snap in the country since 1815, the year of Waterloo.'


4 March, 1940
Rehovoth, Palestine

I am staying in Rona Trotter's rented, unfurnished bungalow on the edge of Rehovoth alongside an orange grove which smells wonderful by day but seems creepy after dark. With camp beds, orange boxes, and a table, two chairs and some blankets lent by the Royal Scots Greys' wives who live nearby, we are quite comfortable. Dan and Henry Trotter are camped at Latrun some distance away. They can come and see us on their two half-days off a week.
The worst of the Troubles in Palestine are supposed to be over but tensions still exist. Rona and I have been warned not to stray off main roads or go out after dark. There is still risk of roads being mined - rape and murder are not unusual. Even soldiers may go out at night only in pairs. Rona has been given a revolver and we are to have shooting lessons in a quarry.


20 May, 1940
Karkur, Palestine

Winston Churchill, now Prime Minister, has made another broadcast. It gave a clear understanding of the gravity of the hour and of his absolute belief in the British people - that we will never surrender. His news was petrifying but I felt braver for his words. Whitaker came up to the bungalow. He, too, had taken courage from Mr Churchill. We had a chat before his bath and he looked over the top of his spectacles and said, 'My Lady, the likes of me believe we will win this war, somehow, someday. I think it will help all our "hesprits du corpses" if you and His Lordship gave a Ball in this bungalow - just like they did before Waterloo." I agreed. When he'd gone back to camp, I locked the doors, pulled the curtains and wept till I fell asleep.


3 November, 1940
Cairo, Egypt

... Orde Wingate telephoned me and asked me to dine with him tonight in his flat. When I arrived he said cheerfully, 'Goodness you are unpopular.'  He explained he got it all taped at GHQ when, just as he was leaving, he was stopped and told there is an order out that no military unit could employ me. He went straight to the Deputy Adjutant General's office where, after an argument, he was told that if he took me to Abyssinia it must be on the understanding that I could not come back to the Middle East.
I explained to Wingate that i'd be foolish to leave neutral territory. He argued that this offer was my only hope of getting a job. I still refused to go but promised that, if I were forced out again, I would join him and try to help but still only on the proviso that when his mission had succeeded he'd get me back into the Middle East, by parachute or whatever. ... I like, and admire, Wingate and feel sure he'll win his little war.  


15 July, 1941
In the train

When I crossed the canal at Kantara and heard the frogs croaking I felt, suddenly, desolate. Palestine will be different this time. Dan is in prison in Italy; Tobby is dead; the Sherwood Foresters are besieged in Tobruk; and Whitaker is left behind in Cairo ... As the train puffed its way north I felt increasingly afraid lest, from panic over my job in Cairo, I'd made a huge mistake.



18 November, 1941
Jerusalem

We have attacked in the Desert. Ironic to be fighting for territory we occupied last year. I hate to think of so many friends struggling down there in the dust.


21 November, 1941
Jerusalem

Bob Leycock's Commandos have raided Rommel's headquarters and it is rumoured that Geoffrey Keyes was killed and Bob is missing. By ill luck Rommel was away and so escaped capture or worse. Other news from the Desert is good so far. It must be a thrilling moment for the garrison in Tobruk.
Cables keep coming from anxious wives and mothers in England asking for news of their men, but, of course, we know little about individuals. In Cairo I was better informed. It's difficult to find time and money to cope with these sad enquiries - telegrams are so expensive.


25 November, 1941
Jerusalem

A letter has come from Dan dated May 10th, written two days after he arrived at Sulmona POW camp in southern Italy. He wrote they had a terrible journey back across North Africa to Tripoli. Nearly all the prisoners had dysentery. He found my telegram waiting for him at Sulmona - forwarded by the Red Cross in Geneva. He wants cigarettes, chocolate, books, tinned butter and a shaving brush. He may only send one letter of eighteen lines each week ... My poor Dan ...


9 July, 1942
Jerusalem

News from Egypt seems a little more reassuring. In Jerusalem emergency preparations are being hurried on. Civilians drill on the golf course.
Lady MacMichael went over to tea with some of the evacuees from Cairo. They are billeted in two convents in Bethlehem  - two thousand of them. 


7 December, 1942
Cairo - Baghdad

I got up at 3.30 a.m. after a chequered night, having been disturbed by the man in the next room quarrelling with his wife, or somebody else's; every time I knocked on the wall he called, 'Come in.' I was collected from the hotel by a lorry, climbed into the back of it with my suitcase and typewriter and drove with a lot of soldiers to the aerodrome. It was dark but peasants were already driving their overloaded donkeys into the markets; they made a soft cloppety noise as they passed.
We flew off before daybreak - twenty passengers packed on narrow steel benches; we had to sit bolt upright because of the joints in the fuselage. When the sun came up over the Sinai Desert, Lord Moyne, who was sitting opposite me, fished  some gadgets out of his pocket and began calculating our height and speed; from time to time he compared notes with the pilot. We landed at Lydda to refuel so I got out to stretch my legs. It had been raining and the earth smelt good. 'Wonderful thing, air travel,' said my neighbour; 'from Cairo to Palestine in a couple of hours - it took Moses forty years.'  Flying over the long stretch of desert to Habbanyeh I began fussing  about my new job; will I ever learn military terms and initials? Will my shorthand be fast enough? Where shall I live? So many people warned me that Baghdad is a horrible place - famous only for boils. ...


16 May, 1943
Cairo


Last week all Axis forces in Tunisia surrendered. The struggle for North Africa is ended. It will not be long now before we invade Hitler's fortress, Europe. Bill Stirling and I dined together and drank to all prisoners of war, this news must be most precious to them if they learn of it.
The RAF have made a thrilling raid on the Mohne and Eder Dams in Germany.


13 January, 1944
Cairo

We have said goodbye to all our friends in Cairo, the Sofragis, baggage men, our Italian dressmaker and her fat pug, the King of Greece in his villa on the Nile, etc. Daphne and I are packed and ready to go to Algiers. For years I have lived close to the Desert but never seen it. Tomorrow I shall see the stage of all those adventures, tragedies, retreats, sieges and victories. The land where all those people I knew and listened to, lived and fought and perhaps died.


11 October, 1944
Caserta

The Poles in Italy are keeping two weeks' mourning for Warsaw. The fate of Poland, and particularly Warsaw where most of their families are, has been a deep agony for them. For once neither their gaiety nor their elegant manners could hide it. It is comforting to remember that though Catherine the Great of Russia used the throne of Poland as a lavatory seat - she died on it.


14 November, 1944

Caserta

Yesterday was my thirty-first birthday. It was a warm sunny morning and Raphaeli carried his canaries out into the garden. A puff of cloud or white smoke hung over Vesuvius. On the way to work Olroyd told me about a gang of British and American deserters and some Italians, who have been doing armed hold-ups on the main roads. Sometimes they are dressed as military police and travel in a jeep. They halt cars, like a check post, and then rob the owners. ...


31 December, 1944
London

The last day of 1944 - 366 days of terrible fighting on land, sea and air - and of unforgettable heroism and tragedy. It seems unbelievable that for five and a quarter years we've all left our homes and happiness behind to concentrate on conflict. We can never get those years back - or all the friends we've lost. Pray God the New Year will bring victory and peace so we can all have private lives again.


3 February, 1945

Caserta

... Randolph Churchill paid me a visit, full of gossip from Malta. 'The Prime Minister had received a telegram from Stalin at Yalta saying "Here I am. Where are you?" The Prime Minister's valet had left Churchill's handkerchiefs behind which caused a major rumpus ... '  Randolph always refers to his father as the Prime Minister or Churchil, and I always interrupt and say, 'Oh, you mean Daddy.' Randolph is so often rude to high and low that we enjoy teasing him. For all his nuisance value and rudeness I am fond of Randolph - he reminds me of nursery days when often I was disgracefully rude to Nannie. He's never grown up.


13 April, 1945
Caserta

... [during breakfast] I reached for my newsheet. I read it from start to finish and then folded it up and put it in my pocket.


VOLUME III, NO. 131SIGNAL CORPS BULLETINFRIDAY, 13 APR. 1945
ALLIED FORCE HEADQUARTERSOFFICE OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER
WASHINGTON: THE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCED LATE YESTERDAY THAT PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT HAD DIED AT 3.35 P.M. CENTRAL WAR TIME AT WARM SPRINGS, GA., OF GENERAL HEMORRHAGE. HARRY S. TRUMAN WAS SWORN IN AND BECAME THE 33RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN HE REPEATED THE OATH BEFORE CHIEF JUSTICE HARLAN STONE AT 5.09 EWT.

26 May, 1945
London

On Thursday I put on my prettiest clothes and arrived at King's Cross Station an hour early for Dan's train. 'When the train glides in,' I thought, 'it will be the end of all our misery - the beginning of living happily for ever after ... '
I saw him a long way down the platform. I stood and watched him, just like I did a long time ago, on sand, at Rehovoth. Heaven ... is being together.








                     

Arthur Miller on Marilyn Monroe




Miller and Monroe in happier days
Arthur Miller was married to Marilyn Monroe from 1956 until 1961. The following passages about Monroe are taken from his autobiography Timebends - A Life, published in 1987.


... a young woman to whom Kazan had introduced me some days before created a quickened center for the company's interest, attended by its barely suppressed sneer. Her agent and protector, Johnny Hyde, had recently died, but not before managing to get her a few small roles that had led to John Huston's using her in The Asphalt Jungle as Louis Calhern's mistress. In a part practically without lines, she had nevertheless made a definite impact. I had had to think for a moment to recall her in the film. She had seemed more a prop than an actress, a nearly mute satirical comment on Calhern's spurious property and official power, the quintessential dumb blond on the arm of the worldly and corrupt representative of society. In this roomful of actresses and wives of substantial men, all striving to dress and behave with an emphatically ladylike reserve, Marilyn Monroe seemed almost ludicrously provocative, a strange bird in the aviary, if only because her dress was so blatantly tight, declaring rather than insinuating that she had brought her body along and that it was the best one in the room. And she seemed younger and more girlish than when I had first seen her. The female resentment that surrounded her at Feldman's approached the consistency of acrid smoke. An exception was the actress Evelyn Keyes, a Huston ex-wife, who managed to draw Marilyn out, sitting  with her on a settee, and who softly said to me later as she watched her dancing with someone, "They'll eat her alive." 

... A few days earlier I had gone to the Twentieth Century Fox studio with Kazan. ... We had just arrived on a nightclub set when Marilyn, in a black openwork lace dress, was directed to walk across the floor. ... She was being shot from the rear to set off the swiveling of her hips, a motion fluid enough to seem comic. It was, in fact, her natural walk: her footprints on a beach would be in a straight line, the heel descending exactly before the last toeprint, throwing her pelvis into motion. 

... The three of us [Miller, Monroe and Kazan] wondered through a bookstore. ... She had said she liked poetry, and we found some Frost and Whitman and E. E. Cummings. It was odd to watch her reading Cummings to herself, moving her lips - what would she make of poetry that was so simple and yet so sophisticated? I could not place her in any world I knew; like a cork bobbing on the ocean, she could have began her voyage on the other side of the world or a hundred yards down the beach. There was apprehension in her eyes when she began to read, the look of a student afraid to be caught out, but suddenly she laughed in a thoroughly unaffected way at the small surprising turn in the poem about the lame balloon man - "and it's spring!" The naive wonder in her face that she could so easily respond to a stylized work sent a filament of connection out between us.

... She [Marilyn] was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence. Sometimes she seemed to see all men as boys, children with immediate needs that it was her place in nature to fulfill, meanwhile her adult self stood aside observing the game. Men were their need, imperious and somehow  sacred. She might tel about being held down at a party by two of the guests in a rape attempt from which she said she had escaped, but the truth of the account was far less important than its strange remoteness from her personally. And ultimately something nearly godlike would emerge from this depersonalization. She was at this point incapable of condemning or even of judging people who had damaged her, and to be with her was to be accepted, like moving out into a kind of sanctifying light from a life where suspicion was common sense. She had no common sense, but what she did have was something holier, a long-reaching vision of which she herself was only fitfully aware: humans were all need, all wound. What she wanted most was not to judge but to win recognition from a sentimentally cruel profession, and from men blinded to her humanity by her perfect beauty. She was part queen, part waif, sometimes on her knees before her own body and sometimes despairing because of it - "Oh, there's lots of beautiful girls," she would say to some expression of awed amazement, as though her beauty  betrayed her quest for a more enduring acceptance. I was in a swift current, there was no stopping or handhold, she was finally all that was true. What I did not know about her was easy to guess, and I suppose I felt the pain of her memories even more because I did not have her compensating small pride at having survived such a life.

... She knew she could walk into a party, like a grenade and wreck complacent couples with a smile, and she enjoyed this power, but it also brought back the old sinister news that nothing whatsoever could last. And this very power of hers would eat at her one day, but not yet, not now. 

... Oddly enough, she seemed not to know fear as she went about rearranging her life; it was when she tried to assert herself and act that the terrors she was born to had to be downed. Strassberg had suggested she study the part of Anna in O'Neill's Anna Christie, and one evening she tried a few pages. Here was the first inkling of her inner life, she could hardly read audibly at first, it was more like praying than acting. "I can't believe I am doing this," she suddenly said, laughing.Her past would not leave her even for private affirmation of her value, and that past was murderous. Something like guilt seemed to suppress her voice.

... Marilyn came up to Boston for the day. No one recognized her in her heavy cable-knit sweater, a deep white knitted hat that came down over her forehead, a black-and-white checked woolen skirt, and moccasins. at twenty-nine she could have been a high school girl. Her sunglasses attracted a few glances on the street since the weather was so dark and overcast. We took a long walk, saw a new movie, Marty, in a neighborhood theatre, and ate in a diner where the waitress, mysteriously drawn to her, kept talking at her, instinctively smelling out something unique about her even in those unexceptional clothes. 
A podiatrists' association, she said, wanted to take casts of her feet because they were so perfectly formed, and a dental school wanted one of her mouth and teeth, which were also flawless. Not without fear we sat looking at each other waiting for the future to come closer.
"I keep trying," I said, "to teach myself how to lose you, but I can't learn yet."
Her face filled with an unspoken anxiety. "Why must you lose me?" And she removed her glasses with a compassionate smile.
The waitress, a middle-aged woman with bleached hair, happened to pass out table just then and overheard Marilyn. Her mouth dropped open in recognition, and she turned fully to me with a mixture of amazement and resentment, perhaps even rage, that I would be so stupid or cruel as to cause her idol the slightest unhappiness. In that second her proprietary sheltering of Marilyn, whom she knew only as an image, sprung forth. In a moment she was back with a piece of paper to be autographed.
As we walked back to the hotel, Marilyn sensed an amorphous weight on me. "What is it?"
"It's as though you belong to her." I left out the rest of it.
"It doesn't mean anything."
But on that empty sidewalk we were no longer alone.

... By this time [1956] she had been in psychoanalysis for more than a year.with a woman doctor in New York and there would later be two more analysts, ... both of the physicians of integrity and unquestionably devoted to her. But whatever its fine details, the branching tree of her catastrophe was rooted in her having been condemned  from birth - cursed might be a better word - despite all she knew and all she hoped. Experience came toward her in either of two guises, one innocent and the other sinister, she adored children and old people, who, like her, were altogether vulnerable and could not wreck harm. But the rest of humankind was fundamentally dangerous and had to be confounded, disarmed by a giving sexuality that was transfigured into a state beyond even feeling itself, a purely donative femininity. But that too could not sustain forever, for she meant to live at the peak  always; only in the permanent rush of a crescendo was there safety, or at least forgetfulness, and when the wave dispersed she would turn cruelly against herself, so worthless, the scum of the earth, and her vileness would not let her sleep, and then the pills began and the little suicides each night. But through it all she could rise to hope like a fish swimming up through black seas to fly at the sun before falling back again. And perhaps those rallies - if one knew the sadness in her - were her glory.


Miller in 1987, 
the year his autobiography was published.



Jed Kiley - a mini biography





Kiley in 1925
This mini biography of Jed Kiley is an edited extract from the publisher's introduction to the American edition of his book Hemingway - A Title Fight in Ten Rounds, published in 1965, three years after Kiley's death..



In the fall of 1954 Jed Kiley sought Hemingway's consent for a series of articles he was hoping to sell about their friendship. 

"You can write anything you please as you recollect about me, but please don't expect me authenticate it or authorize it," wrote Hemingway to Jed Kiley, adding, "Good luck with everything you write."
  
But Jed Kiley's luck by then was not very good. Although he sold his series of articles on his recollections of Hemingway to Playboy, where they appeared during 1956 and 1957, he sold little or nothing else thereafter. He died in New York in 1962 at the age of seventy-three.

John Gerald Kiley was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 10, 1889. He was educated at the University of Wisconsin and became a reporter on the Chicago Examiner. In later years he was remembered there for, among other things, being the first Chicago reporter ever to own an automobile.

His association with that newspaper ceased when, sent to cover the departure of the First Illinois Cavalry for the Mexican border, he enlisted in a flush of patriotism. 

Eventually, Kiley was mustered out of the National Guard and, after a brief stint on the Chicago Tribune, by 1917 was in Paris as a driver for the American Field Service. When the United States entered the war, Kiley joined the American army in the Service of Supply and remained in Paris. After obtaining his discharge from the army he remained in Paris and took his first steps at becoming a night club entrepreneur. Kiley introduced some of the first Negro jazz bands and blues singers to Paris. 

One of his patrons and good friends was a rich young man named Erskine Gwynne, a great-grandson of the Mrs Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1927 Gwynne started a magazine in Paris called The Boulevardier and Kiley became an assistant editor.

During Kiley's tenure at The Boulevardier its contributors included Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and Noel Coward among others.

The Boulevardier died of financial anaemia in 1931, but Kiley had already returned to the States at the end of 1929, to work as a screen writer at Universal Pictures where he remained for about four years. 

From 1943 to 1946 Kiley published a series of articles on such varied subjects as Monte Carlo, Al Capone, the Gestapo, etc.

In his later years he traveled, revisiting Paris at the age of seventy, and shortly before his death, he made a trip to Japan and the Philippines. On his return, he visited an old friend of his Paris days, Basil Woon in Carson City, Nevada, and then went on to Las Vegas, where his weakening condition resulted in his hospitalization. After his release from hospital, he went to Chicago to visit his sister, and then on to New York, where he died shortly afterwards at age seventy-three.


~ ~ ~