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Messages - andrew

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General topic / Re: Ian Holm, 1931-2020
« on: June 19, 2020, 10:22:43 PM »
Ian changed my life in so many ways ...  He was the most generous of men, and my debt to him is immeasurable, not only in his portrayal of JMB (to those who had known Barrie, Ian was Barrie) but also his interpretations of Anno's poems, never to be surpassed.  Bless you, Ian. I have never known such pleasure working with any other actor, before or since.
Davies Family / Re: What Exactly Was Dark And Morbid About Rupert Buxton ?
« on: February 24, 2020, 08:17:34 PM »
Nothing, so far as anyone other than Boothby has ever alleged, and Nico was of the opinion that Boothby may well have been motivated by jealousy.
JMBarrie / Re: Barrie's Notebooks
« on: February 17, 2020, 05:03:40 PM »
I've now added my 1976 transcription of Barrie's sprawling Notebook #14 - fascinating to anyone interested  in his developing work, as well as the many oblique references to his future wife, Mary Ansell ...
JMBarrie / Barrie's Notebooks
« on: January 29, 2020, 04:16:26 PM »
I'm gradually uploading my 1976 selected transcripts from Barrie's notebooks. I say selected because I was initially only looking for good lines that I might be able to fillet into my Lost Boys scripts, but I became so engrossed and intrigued that I found it hard to resist typing up more and more, particularly as I became increasingly familiar with his scrawl. The notes are IMHO among his most pleasurable writings, a wonderful mix of canny observations, witticisms, characters and storylines. Of course those familiar with Barrie's novels and plays will derive additional pleasure in spotting their gradual evolution, but even if you've never read a single line of his other than Peter Pan, these notes are a treasure-trove of delights ...
JMBarrie / Re: Barrie autograph
« on: January 11, 2020, 03:23:02 PM »
Yes, they are both genuine autograph signatures in my opinion, "Quality Street" using his left hand, "Margaret Ogilvy" more probably with his right.
Davies Family / Mary Hodgson
« on: December 02, 2019, 02:08:30 PM »
For those interested in knowing a little more about Mary Hodgson, here's a brief account written at my request by her niece, Mary Hill, in 1976:

Mary Hodgson (Dadge to her family) was born on 16 October 1875 and died in December 1962. She was the fifth daughter and eighth child of Thomas and Mary Hodgson (Wilson) of K[irby] Lonsdale, Westmoreland. Thomas was a stonemason and sculptor of lettering on memorials. He died at the age of 42, leaving a widow with eight children. The two eldest had died in infancy.
Any plans for the future of the younger children had to be abandoned, my grandmother insisting that there was to be no favouritism.
My aunt could remember little of her father, and all her life had a very close attachment with her mother, as did all the family. In Mary's case, particularly so, for throughout her life, when in doubt she turned to her mother for advice.
The eldest brother emigrated to Australia and was later joined by a younger one. My aunt was corresponding with the family until her death.
On leaving the local school, she went as nursemaid in the family of Maurice Llewelyn Davies, and after five years became under-nurse and then nurse in the family of Arthur, the youngest brother. At this time the Rev Llewelyn Davies was the vicar of K. Lonsdale; my grandfather had been a sidesman at his church and the boys in the family were all choristers.
At the time she joined the Arthur Llewelyn Davies family there were three boys, George (who lost his life in the early part of the 1914-18 war) Jack and Peter, to be followed by Michael and Nicolas.
It was Grandma du Maurier, the boys’ maternal grandmother, who introduced my aunt to the family library and advised her on what books to read. My aunt's expression was that she was “taken under her wing". At one point in her time off, she became involved in a meeting addressed by Mrs Pankhurst. This did not meet with Mrs du Maurier's approval, or my grandmother’s.
The early and tragic death of the boys’ father shocked her deeply, and when it was followed by the mother's death, she was deeply distressed.
When the boys were quite small, JMB came into the picture and walks with the children in Kensington Gardens less pleasurable. She did not like her charges being taken over by a strange little man. Later she came to look upon him as an intrusion in the life of the family, and this she met with disapproval.
When it was made known that JMB had been made the children's guardian, she was very upset. She had taken it that the guardianship would be in the family.
She now was not only the children's nurse, but was also in charge of the complete household, including staff, and responsible to JMB. This latter she did not enjoy. The thing that she disapproved of most of all was the subsequent divided loyalties forced upon the boys, JMB fulfilling their every wish, every request been granted. This she considered was a bad thing. Boys should find life a challenge and be trained to meet it. To be given everything was not accepted as a character building effort.
Naturally, as Nicolas was the youngest member of the family and "my baby", she was particularly attached to him, and he to her. Eventually the time arrived when she considered that the boys should be handed over to the sole charge of JMB, and this was done. Nevertheless, she joined in their holidays, being once again responsible for the organisation of the household and for the family and their guests. Organisation it had to be, especially when the house taken by JMB was out in the wilds of Scotland.
Mrs Churchill's mother had always been a welcome guest at the Llewelyn Davies family and in the nursery, and at the time when JMB took over the boys, this was put to good use. Through JMB and at his suggestion, contact was made with Winston Churchill – my aunt had decided that she should go into the munitions factory and help to win the [First World] war. This was not possible as in a personal letter to my aunt, he stated that in the factories he required big strong women, and to train others was a waste of time and effort. My aunt was certainly not big and strong in that sense.
Now she applied to Queen Charlotte’s, to train as a pupil midwife. Here she was again in difficulty – she was 40 years of age, and her years as a children's nurse were considered a handicap rather than an asset. Determination was called for, and eventually she was accepted.
In 1916 the fees for training were demanding on her purse: £35 for a six month course for pupil midwives, £25 for a twelve month course – a limited number only. £1 registration fee.
That her daughter should take up midwifery was an affront to my grandmother, who considered that married women, widows, and possibly wives of clergyman should be in this occupation. This distressed my aunt greatly, because my grandmother refused to take any interest in her work for a very long time. It was not until a Kirby Lonsdale woman died in childbirth, in circumstances that were beyond my grandmother's comprehension and that my aunt could explain, that the situation was eased.
When at Queen Charlotte’s, my aunt had worked mostly in the very poor areas when on the district and had a great admiration for her "ladies" as she called them. Their courage and the camaraderie of the people always amazed her. In her experience she found that whatever was missing from home that was an absolute necessity could always be willingly provided by a neighbour, be it pail, or kettle of boiling water or even clean newspaper. Very occasionally after a “misunderstanding” with a neighbour, it was essential that the request was made by the midwife in person. She also learned that there were areas in London where on a “night-call” her uniform was considered a safe entry, more so than a police escort. On asking a policeman for escort in a particularly down and out area, her reply was – you'll be better without me.
After some time at Queen Charlotte’s, she was asked by two of her friends there to go into partnership in a nursing home, the greater part of the financing of it to be taken over by the two friends in the initial stages. This they did and the nursing home [at] 17 Balcombe Street was in the names of MacAndrew, Heron and Hodgson. The nursing home was in some way connected with the local council. There were always pupil-nurses in training there, by arrangement with the council.
The Second World War was at hand and 17 Balcombe St. was on the list for evacuation. This was done with reluctance, and after some delay. Eventually the police would wait no longer and many journeys were made by bus and ambulance to take the patients to safety. The work completed, the friends separated. Almost immediately the home suffered bomb damage and Miss Heron, the youngest partner travelled to Balcombe St. to see what damage been done. Before she could achieve this, the house was hit by an oil-bomb and almost everything was lost, my aunt having the least to lose. The one loss that distressed her the most of all was an under-the-bed wardrobe – and the article in it that caused her such grief was a dress – unworn – that had been made for her. The reason she had not worn it was a set of unusual circumstances at the home that made it impossible for her to attend the wedding of Nicholas, except in her nurse’s uniform. When I expressed surprise that she had been allowed into the service by the usher, her reply was – They knew me, I just slipped in and out and no one was the wiser.
My aunt then went to live at Halkyn, North Wales, sharing a cottage with her two sisters, which they had purchased for retirement some years earlier. Miss MacAndrew of the Balcombe St. partnership was to join her there and she died there.
My aunt eventually sold the cottage and lived with her youngest brother and his family in Morecambe. On his death she came to my home in Leeds. My two daughters loved her very much and spent many happy hours in her company. Her stories of the Llewelyn Davies family and especially her own childhood days always fascinated them.
To open Helen Bradley's "And Miss Carter Wore Pink" is to see absolute corroboration of the stories she told. The funeral scene is almost word for word.
My aunt's favourite reading, having daily perused the Daily Telegraph and Yorkshire Post was a Book of Friendship given to her by Emily du Maurier in 1909 and the Epistles of St Paul.
She expressed great admiration for (1) Sylvester Horne, the father of Kenneth Horne - she attended many of his services. (2) For General [William] Booth [founder of the Salvation Army] and his sister, for their devotion to the poor. (3) Dr Rendel, who attended the [Llewelyn Davies] family. (4) Dr Alex Bourne at Queen Charlotte’s, and for Dr Roche Lyne, the pathologist.
I am of the opinion that the "Hudson Back Walk" mentioned by my sister Joan was a legacy from walks in Kensington Gardens.

Davies Family / Re: Jack's letters to Gerrie
« on: December 02, 2019, 01:07:45 PM »
No doubt Jack's attitude towards JMB was at least shaded by the fact that "the little Baronet" was supplementing Jack's naval salary with fairly regular cheques, as well as paying Timothy's private school fees. Virtually all JMB's letters to either J or G enclose money; here's a typical one from 1921, shortly after Timothy's birth:

My dear Jack
Herewith my cheque for £200* with all the pleasure in life. The new arrangement to begin with Timmy’s entrance upon the scene, as I want to be in that to the limited extent possible. It was a real happiness to me to see you both in so pleasant a home and I give Gerry high marks for the skill and taste with which she has beautified it. Most of all of course I am happy in seeing you both so devoted to each other, a good wife and a good husband, things that bring all day long a rich reward.
By the way I think you will like to know that it was Peters own proposal to go to see you. He rang me up and proposed it. He is now in the throes of getting into the new house.
Nico’s long leave is on Saturday but he has only that day here as he and Bridgeman are booked for Sunday and Monday by their friend Knebworth, and I am going too. But he must get a sight of number 12.

* Around £10,000/$13,000 in today's money ...
Davies Family / Re: Jack’s children
« on: December 02, 2019, 12:54:29 PM »
I remember Nico's daughter Laura telling me that Timothy - who completely vanished from his parents' lives in the 1950s - in fact had two children, I think both boys, but where or when I know not ...  sleuth on!
Davies Family / Re: Jack's letters to Gerrie
« on: November 20, 2019, 01:34:11 PM »
Jack's letters to Gerrie, continued:

28-30 March 1917:

I've only written one longer letter than this in my life. That was one that took me 9 days to write coming across the Atlantic from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the girl I'd left behind me there! I remember she was very sweet, nearly twice as old as me & engaged to the Gunnery Lieutenant! One of life's tragedies! I never really recovered. She's married him now. Another of life's tragedies! Incidentally I believe they're very happy. But not half as happy as I shall be! […] By the way, you mentioned something about a photo of me & being a vain man. I've remembered it! I haven't got any & haven't been done since early 1914 when I got my first stripe. The result is an angel child looking up to heaven, so I think I'll have some more done when I'm in town if I have any time at all. I think they do 'em better there & if you tell them 'Don't touch them up at all' - & being so infernally good-looking myself I should hate to have them altered at all! Don't let them alter yours a millionth of an inch. Your shyness is so like my own that it's heavenly. […]
I hesitated about telling you about the cancer trouble because I thought it might frighten you a bit. Incidentally I myself have not the slightest doubt about the whole thing. I've never yet heard of its being hereditary & firmly believe it isn't. […]
Ye Gods dearest do you think I don't want to marry you tomorrow or even sooner? You see it depends pretty largely on Guardy, and I fear me he'll need a lot of wrangling. Still I think there are big hopes, I really do, & for once in my life as far as he's concerned I'm going straight for him & await results. It always bores me so stiff the question of ways & means but I should loathe to think my Gerrie wasn't able to have any hat or roses she wanted. And from that point of view the Navy is so utterly hopeless. It's impossible to be suddenly clever & make pots & pots of money. So I'll have to persuade_the little Baronet to think better of his remark over my being so young.

Monday [probably 2 April 1917]:

My pay’s about £230 & I also have about £180 & with your £100 that’s £510. Wonderful mathematician. Now if I can only persuade Guardy to add £200 - which is such an utter flea-bite to him – I really don’t see why the deed shouldn't be done. But I have a grizly feeling he'll be "un peu difficile" to put it mildly. He's the dearest fellow in the world, but he knows - or rather knew me before I met you. One thing I'm out for. I'm going to persuade him to come up to Edinburgh to meet you very soon after I go south & - if I've failed - if that doesn't do the trick, I'm beaten as far as he's concerned. Mind you, I still have distinct hopes of him without that. Anyhow I want him to come up & see you & your people.

4 April 1917, from 60 Tufton Street, Westminster, S.W.:

I'm writing from the studio of a very old friend of mine. [...] There's usually half a dozen girls from the Palace up here - cheery individuals - but no one is here today. I haven't seen the little Baronet yet, but am lunching with him today. […] I’ve let myself in to be best man at a wedding tomorrow. The man was First Lieutenant of the [HMS] Harpy with me & I've known the girl for ages - nearly married her myself once in fact! Pity about me, isn't it? But lord how glad I am that I didn't. […] I find my two youngest brothers came home from Eton yesterday, so we'll have a cheery time. I do so wonder if Guardy will help at all. But I doubt it. But you can bet he’s going to be tackled pretty hard about it.  [...]

6 April 1917, from Piccards Cottage, St. Catherine's, Guilford:

Yesterday in the afternoon I went shopping at Asprey's on your behalf with Nico in attendance. I think you'll like the ring. I think it's ripping, and I'm quite certain you'll like the watch. […] By the way, sweetheart, you'll have to take a big pull on yourself to bear this news bravely. I'm sure you'll be able to. I spoke to my Guardian about you & he says that to gain his consent and help we are to wait a year. It’s a grizly thought I know, but when you think what his help means to us, I think we can do it, don't you? I shall see you before you can write an answer to this, so tell me then. But honestly darling I do think it's worth it when you think what his help means cause if we go against him & get married he'll never help us. I know him well enough to be sure of that. [...]
I told Nico I was engaged to the most wonderful girl on earth, and he said, "Does she smoke?" I said "No - or at any rate hardly ever" as I wasn't quite sure. (I've never seen you smoking) So he said “That's a good point anyhow!" Rather sweet. He's an awfully dear soul. You'll love him. Dearest soul, I don't see how I can make this a long letter. It's rather rude to the others. Michael and Nico are having tea in here now & pulling my leg hard about you. One has just said, "Don't put crosses at the end, it isn't done!" He got a matchbox in the chest!

21 April1917:

The telephone is a tantalising thing - so near & yet so far. It's so brutal to hear you speaking & not be able to kiss you. I'm glad you've learnt that particular art so soon. There was a time I wondered if I'd ever get a kiss out of you at all. Darlingest I have an idea you're awfully frightened of getting married. You really mustn't be, sweetheart. There's nothing to worry about.- it won't be half as bad as you imagine.

[22?] April 1917:

Darling heart of mine, you were meaning children when you spoke of sharing me with anyone, weren't you? I believe you meant that, but don't quite grasp what you mean about the "sharing" part of it. Of course I love children most awfully, but after all they're only a natural following on. Did you mean you didn't want to have them because they might take a corner of my love from you? Please don't think that, beloved. It's quite a different sort of love one has for sons & daughters you see, & I imagine only makes one's love for their mother the more perfect. Incidentally this will be the most awful mess up if you didn't mean that. […]
Once again the brutal question of OOF crops up. Lord how I hate it but it must be. You and I have got to think of it if my Guardian decides against helping us & pretty seriously too. […] Incidentally & this is a question I hate more than anything on earth - do you bring anything with you? I expect you'll loathe me for asking that, but it had to be. Isn't it pathetic that we should have to think of it at all.

[23 April 1917]

The little baronet has promised to give me [a car] after the war, & I mean to keep him to his word. That is, if we think we can afford to have one!

26 April 1917:

I had dinner with a very old friend last night in the [HMS] New Zealand. I've known him since I was about 4 years old & we were in the same term at Osborne & Dartmouth. His name's Keeling, & he's a very good fellow. He tells me a great friend of both of ours from Halifax, Nova Scotia, is now at Charleston & married to a fellow in the Navy. We were both rather in love with her (at least I know I was!) & it would be very nice to see her again. I haven't heard of her since I was a junior midshipman so many years ago (!) but I remember her perfectly. […]
Think of the time I may be allowed to tie up other things for you! V Dear oh darling, another year or jolly nearly before that's permissible. Damn all hard-headed & so-called level headed Guardians. No, I don't mean that because he's been so almighty good to us. I'm an ungrateful beast, but it's so infernally hard to wait all this time before you are really mine, mine, mine to love and to look after for all time. […]
Ye Gods, who could be stern with a slip of a girl like you. I'd be afraid of you breaking in half. Of I course I can see you as a tomboy - very much so. It's always peeping out somewhere. Did you think you'd hidden it from me really & only let me see the "intensely feminine side of you"? Bosh! You're more tomboy than anything else I think, & I merely love you all the more for it. […]
By the way, I've never sent for those copies of mine [photographs]. I wonder have you? I'm easing mine up for a bit because I want the little baronet to have a chance of forgetting Peter's little fracas before I send him my proofs to see which he wants. So for Pierre's sake, can you wait a little while?

29 April 1917:

Gerrie beloved it's sometimes filthily hard to go on waiting, and I forsee being pretty desperate before it's all over. One thing, if by any chance I got shifted from here without being applied for by [Captain] Dickens [to become his 1st Lieutenant] I think the little Baronet could probably get me shifted back again all right. He has untold influence if only he'd use it & not have some silly idea about seeing if separation would make any difference to us. Of course it does make a filthy difference, but not in the way he means! 
Davies Family / Jack's letters to Gerrie
« on: November 20, 2019, 12:12:30 PM »
In slowly sorting through my mass of research material with a view to uploading the best of it to the new website, I came across my transcriptions of Jack's early letters to (his later wife) Gerrie. When I visited Gerrie in Cornwall in 1976, she lent me a whole stash of his letters, but I only had time to read through the ones prior to their marriage before returning them. The extracts I made were not at that stage for my book - I hadn't even thought of writing one - but for my TV trilogy, The Lost Boys, hence some were with a view to utilising Jack's wonderfully period language as dialogue, as well as touching on his character - and his attitude towards Barrie.

I imagine that when Gerrie died, her grand-daughter Henrietta would have inherited all the original letters, but what became of them after Henrietta's death I know not.

All these letters were written aboard H.M.S. Octavia, based in the Firth of Forth, addressed to Miss Gerrie Gibb at 7 Western Terrace, Edinburgh. Most of the envelopes were stamped "Passed by Censor", though some were evidently delivered by hand. In all his letters, Jack signs himself 'John', not 'Jack'.

19 March 1917:

Gerrie dear, you really are a very sweet person to forgive me as you have. … I suppose there are occasions when one goes slightly mad & does things like that. But honestly, I never dreamt it would distress you so much. I know you said "Forget it all" but I simply couldn't let it go without one word more of very abject apology. Honest Injun Gerrie, I am very very sorry & I'll never do it again.

21 March 1917:

Did you get my letter all right? I nearly forgot to post it, I was so bucked by what you told me. … It was so utterly beastly at sea today. I haven't been so sick and miserable for ages. I don't believe I'll ever get over being seasick.

22 March 1917:

I hope you've been really mad in your letter & will be even madder in the next one. I hate serious people. Life's far too short to worry. The Captain tries to make me serious sometimes. Grizly failure. […] Will you go and have yourself photographed & tell them to send me the bill as you say you're broke? I simply must have one or two, otherwise with all this going to sea I might forget whether you're lovely or merely pretty! Wouldn't that be awful? […] I loathe the Navy & all that therein is, when it keeps me away from you. […]  One thing, we're pretty certain to get Sunday off. That's a damnably long time, isn't it? Still, war is war, and the sooner it's over the better I'll be pleased. I loathe it more every day, don't you?

25 March 1917:

I can honestly hardly believe my stupendous luck. Fancy being engaged to you! […] By the way, in your letter you say you're not worth it. Don't say that again, darling, it's such hopeless rot when you come to think of it. You not worth it! Ye Gods, then who is? Answer me that, Madame! […] Tonight at dinner we're going to break a bottle to the future Mrs Davies. (Note the 'e' in Davies! You've been leaving it out!) [...] Je t'adore ma mie saperlipopette* comme je t'adore! (* Good word that) But even French, the most adorable of all languages, is no use. There's no language Gerrie that has ever been invented that really gives one a chance of expressing oneself. I just want to be with you and holding onto you & the words aren't necessary. Nothing's necessary but you. Are you happy, my best beloved? Cause l am nearly delirious with sheer unadulterated joy. Nothing else matters. England, Scotland, Czar or Spud – they can all go hang, and you’re still mine. Let the Germans win – you’re mine. Let the ship go down - I should be alright – you’re mine. Let Bottomley be Prime Minister (and that really would be the end of the world) – you’re mine. By Jove, I just can't get over it! […] Your very good health has been drunk in bubbly & your man is feeling a bit tipsy! Fizz always makes me feel rather dazed! […]
Why on earth a wonderful person like you should see fit to be kind to a bloke like me beats me all of a heap. Still, you do! You are a child Gerrie aren't you. 19 - ye heavens, what an absurd age! You make me feel 40.  [...]
I think the prospect of being with you tomorrow seems rosy. It's a deadly game being photographed. There's a heaven-sent place in town - the Gainsborough Studios in Oxford Street - that I've always been taken at, where they don't say 'smile' & then paint out what they don’t like in it. […]
I cannot see the point of being engaged for years & years can you? It seems such unutterable waste of very good time. Perhaps (your word is law) you think otherwise in which case yours so very humbly has only to be told. But, bien aimée, & these loathsome details have to be faced, my Guardian has to be talked to gently on the everlasting question of dibs. Lord but it is unseemly to mix up filthy lucre in a question of any sort, but it has to be done, doesn't it, & knowing the dear little man as well as I do this sort of question has somewhat naturally never cropped up before & I'm hanged if I know what he'll say. He's infernally wealthy himself but knows me - or rather knew me before I met you - & so knows my wonderful incapacity for keeping money. Still I shall see him this next visit to town & as I know so well he's one of God's own I have the highest hopes. Of course it's been done before now on far less than it's my luck to have now but - the more the merrier! Thank heavens I've got that off my chest to you. I'm still so shy of you Gerrie & there's always something horrible to me in pounds shillings & pence. […]
You're my sweetheart Gerrie. Do you realise that? I think sweetheart the prettiest word we poor English have ever thought of. I don't think many people do. Most people associate it with 'Arry and 'Arriet. It's awfully hackneyed & made a bêtise of I know, but it's a delicious word. […]
We've a house in London that no one lives in now as we're all away, but you'll simply revel in it. It's quite small but my mother did it all & it's most wonderful inside. Personally I couldn't wish for anything more heavenly and I'm perfectly certain you'll fall down and worship too. It's near Notting Hill Gate - do you know it? - to me one of the most attractive places in London. Guardy lives in a beautiful flat just off the Strand looking over the one & only river, but I'd sooner be in our house. I wonder will it be OURS one day? As a sailor one has such a mighty small use for a house in London - still it's for one of the family Davies so why not us? Do you mind being family Davies, Gerrie? The family will fight for you if I know anything of them. My particular pal is Nicholas - the youngest whose smile you liked in my cabin. He's a bird & will ask to take you straight to his heart. George, John, Peter, Michael & Nicholas, we're all saints. Poor old George was killed in France. He was a wonderful person. That really was a case of "They whom the Gods love." Peter is one of God's own. Michael is at present rather trying, but he'll get over it. Just 16 & full of Eton you know, but withal a good fellow, & Nico. He'll never be trying. Forgive all this about my family Gerrie, but I know so well you won't mind. Mother you really would have adored. Everyone did. Father died when I was 12 & Mother never really got better. They were wonderful people, I suppose really rather too perfect to go on. But I should so have loved to go to Mother & say, "Here's a daughter for you at last." She always longed for a daughter but never had one. She was so lovely herself that it seems a great pity she hadn't a daughter like her. There are so very few people darling I can ever talk to about this sort of thing that I know you'll forgive me.

26 March 1917:

I'm so anxious about my poor dear soul who's going to have a baby. .... She always used to write practically every other day so I fear me she must be very bad. You'd love her Gerrie no mistake about that. I've often heard it put down as fatal to praise one woman to another, but I fancy I know my Gerrie. And this woman has been amazingly good to me always you see. I can't possibly help loving her in quite a different way. Once I thought it was in the one & only really important way & told her so which was rotten of me. But she was heavenly about it & pointed out what a pity it was we couldn't go on in the same jolly good friendship & I saw the error of my ways. […]
Yes, pen & ink is the only possible outlet for silent people like you and me. I too find myself extraordinarily tongue-tied. Come to think of it I never even kissed you today. I do so hope that didn't worry you beloved, but I'm not a great hand at it & I'm so stupidly & superbly happy anyhow, & I'm really kissing you all the time in spirit. [...] Feeble thing life was before I met you. Lord how I do realise that now, although bar one or two tragedies, my life has been a very happy one. […] Ye Gods, but it's a grizly thought! [...]
This is a case of 'Till Death us do part' & personally I feel mighty certain the old fellow has no use for us two for centuries yet. He's an obliging old Devil if you really are quite firm with him & shew him he's not wanted. He has no terrors for me personally. If one has to die one has to die and there's an end of it. You see I'm rather a fatalist Gerrie - it's the only possible thing I think & I've more or less cultivated it for years now. Specially in wartime one must be when you hear of all your pals being killed right, left and centre.
Personally I find the Navy a very safe job here. It had its dangerous moments in the Dardanelles, but seems to have none here. They'll never come out to fight us again I don't think, & if they do then yours truly is hot-foot after a medal to present to his Gerrie. But I’m not one of those brave people I'm afraid. Quite ordinary. Quite frankly it frightens me to be shot at, and personally I think it does 99% of blokes. Anyone who says he likes it is either a liar or a freak. I imagine I can bear it as well as most, but it makes my knees very weak. I've seen whole rows of men - proven brave men - Anzacs - ducking like one man - including me - at the whistle of a shell overhead. It was really very comic. You see in the Army you can usually get behind something, but in a destroyer one's only cover is one's uniform which at times seems abnormally thin. However I've meandered off into talking sense, & this will never do! […] I usually have been a lucky sort of bird, but this caps everything! […] If I thought it would hurt you to see me smoking then I'd chuck the lot sooner than go on, but please allow me a few Gerrie. […]
Four days more & I shall see you every day. And pray the Gods by that time properly & openly engaged to you. I don't mean that properly, though. You're engaged to me now, no matter what anyone says, aren't you, bien-aimée? No-one on earth can possibly stop that!

27 March 1917:

Personally I don't care a tinker's curse who sees or what they think or know or anything [about their engagement], but I suppose I ought to wait till I've asked your father. And I'm waiting for that till I know how I stand with Guardy. […] I always said in those humorous days before I met you (!) that my wife must dance and play the piano.

28 March
I've been thinking over my proposal to you. It really was a wonderful effort - so was your saying "Yes." I don't mind betting not a soul in the place realised that one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened took place then. Do you know darling I really expected you to say "No," & that I had been far too quick with you. […] Are you happy darling to know that someday you'll be Mrs John Llewelyn Davies herself. To me it's so wonderful I'm beaten all of a heap!

[more to follow]
Davies Family / Re: George and Mrs Anthony Hope ...
« on: September 20, 2019, 08:46:21 AM »
Peter puts it better than I could in his Morgue:

"George (aged 19) was much intrigued by Betty Hawkins, and I think this was his first [...] experience of the delights of a flirtation with an attractive femme du monde. I also doubt whether Betty Hawkins ever had a more attractive adolescent to play around with. They enjoyed themselves quite a lot, sheltering from the eternal rain in the fishing-huts by the side of those lonely romantic lochs. She was very easy on the eye, and American, which perhaps accounts for the circumstance, rare enough in those far off days, that occasional nips of whisky fed the flames of dalliance. On these occasions George forcibly taught me the elements of tact, i.e. the necessity of making myself scarce, and I envied from afar, being just at the stage when poor J.M.B. had had to give me, by the banks of the burn, a small talking to for indulging at Eton in what my tutor euphemistically termed water-closet talk. He very nearly penetrated my juvenile defences by telling me it had always been his view that a man without some element of coarseness in his nature was not a whole man, which must have disconcerted me, coming from him. But I don't think he knew what was afoot between George and Betty: not that it amounted to anything."

Peter later speculated that Barrie might have even set George up with the French music-hall phenomenon, Gaby Deslys (check her out on Wikipedia) as a farewell present before George set off for the Western Front:

"Did George, during those last few hours of freedom, have anything more than just a mild flirtation with Gaby? I like to think so. Both were charmers, and it would have been a good finale. It is my belief that J.M.B., though so insulated himself (in a sense) from the flesh and the Devil, had the perception and imagination and tolerance and sense of the fitness of things to smile on such a little piece of naughtiness, in the circumstances and even pave the way for it. I have no evidence one way or the other, [...] but I will leave the theory in, because I think it a charming one, which George would have appreciated. And you never know. J.M.B. had his moments of profound insight and wisdom as well as his practically limitless generosity. And he loved George with an exceeding great love.

Re George and Betty Hawkins, Nico wrote to me:

"George and Betty Hope/Hawkins at Amhuinnsuidh: Yes indeed! I'm sure she also took Jack to bed with her, though not at Amhuinnsuidh as he wasn't there. But she was clearly captivated by these two virile and very attractive young men who doubtless could produce a thing or two that "Oh for an hour of Herod!" Anthony Hope had allowed to decrease in Ruritania."

JMBarrie / Re: J.M. Barrie, Religious Beliefs?
« on: September 20, 2019, 07:35:55 AM »
I asked Nico who couldn't remember JMB ever going to church, nor did he ever discuss it with him (although Nico himself was quietly religious in that he went to the local C of E church on Sundays). But he thought Mackail had it about right, remembering that Mackail knew both Barrie and the Llewelyn Davieses well, so here's what Mackail has to say (p 56):

"As with scores of other young Scotchmen if not with all of them, his family’s form of religion had been driven in so far and so firmly that questioning and experiment were equally impossible. Church-going was as inevitable as Sunday itself. Other denominations were, quite simply, for those who had been brought up in them. More imprisonment? His soul hadn’t noticed it yet, or rather, perhaps, had accepted obedience to what was expected of it without positively involving his mind.

His church-going broke off and ceased when he left Scotland—though it was resumed, as long as his mother was alive, at his old home—as naturally and easily as if it had never been driven into him at all. He never mocked; the moral principles which it formalised or ritualised were an unshakable part of him until the end. But, put to the test, the perpetuation of childish beliefs—which bring peace, comfort, and self-satisfaction to so many—could no longer accompany the queer development of his intellect. In this, at any rate, he grew up, or—if you prefer it—remained always too young for spiritual understanding. During all the best-known part of his life he varied, one might say, between stoic philosophy and brief but natural and human moments of secret panic and terror. His mind wasn’t a religious mind, though his pen and that largely subconscious part of him which so often guided it could touch notes of deep religious sincerity."

Davies Family / Peter's notes on Michael
« on: September 16, 2019, 12:11:02 PM »
I've just added Peter's notes on Michael to the database, which Peter must have made prior to embarking on "Some Davies Letters and Papers" (aka The Morgue) in 1946. If anyone can read the (to me) illegible words, please let us know. Here's my transcription:

M[ichael]. Cleverest. Misery at Eton. Pop XI Field. Scholarship [decreased?]. Influence of JMB over him and vice versa. Strong likeness early photographs of Father. Spoilt - came out all right. Oxford. Poems. Better than much in the anthologies. Boothby stayed with him one night a fortnight before his death. No sign of melancholy. Deep sense of family loss. Hugh Macnaghten - He's all right now. (Shades of Uncle Harry). Friendship with [admirable? adorable??] Rupert Buxton. Death at {left blank}. Body in morgue. Cause unknown. R. a better swimmer than M. hence theory of R. trying to save him. Quite unproved. Some belief in suicide. Perfectly possible but entirely unproven. Last [point?] blow to J.M.B.; never so close to any of the 3 survivors as to the dead ones. [Step?] [mother?] story [supervenes?]. La vie est vaine. [Life is futile]
JMBarrie / Re: Barrie in Masks and Faces silent film (1917)
« on: September 14, 2019, 06:22:45 PM »
A thousand thanks for this!  I had the intro copied onto 16mm back in 1976, along with whatever other JMB footage I could find in the National Film Archives (as well as Movietone, Pathe, etc) - primarily as a help to Ian Holm who was to play Barrie in the BBC-TV Lost Boys ... but I also took a 16mm projector down to Kent and showed it to Nico - he WEPT!  It was the first time he'd seen 'Uncle Jim' since he died in 1937 ... and this "Masks & Faces" film (made to raise loot for RADA) is the earliest film we have of JMB. It's also a repository of many others who were once household names to the theatre-going public  - many of whom I came to 'know' via Nico and the various productions of Barrie's plays (Gladys Cooper I actually knew as she was some sort of cousin, and I stayed with her in LA back in 1964 when I hitch-hiked to Tinseltown) ... but I never watched the whole movie before, so again thanks so very much for sharing your discovery!
Peter Pan / Barrie's 1903 "Fairy" notes for Peter Pan
« on: September 14, 2019, 05:56:07 PM »
Transcribed and uploaded at last: Barrie's first 466 "Fairy" notes (believed lost for 60 years!) for the play that was to become Peter Pan. I've written a longish introduction, so I won't waffle on here, except to say that I believe them to be essential reading to anyone interested in the evolution of "that terrible masterpiece".

Pour yourself a glass of whatever, search for "fairy notes" in the database - and marvel!
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