Enclosure – Letter to LR from Margaret Russell

Thursday morning

24 [August]

Dearest Laura.
Thank you so much for sweet note just read and your lovely letter the day before yesterday and your dear voices on the phone yesterday. How nice it was to hear you all, hope I did not "jabber" too much, I have been in solitary confinement [sic: confine-ment] so long, I am afraid I say too much when I get the opportunity, & I hate the word confinement, and perhaps in your dictionary something nice can be put in its place. I wish I too knew what to do to be right, and the best for all, there is you, who would, I know appreciate me, as I certainly should you, though I could never give poor service to anyone, and ×××× [indecipherable] I really feel I can't go there, its so[MR] and Norman, he seems to want me to remain with him so much and has told me to get a furnished room and store his stuff, or do as I think
about two rooms and have these things, apart from his bed & lounge chairs. Oh! dear. I have never in my life felt so unsettled anywhere. I was never settled at the Wood's1 but, my job was secure, and it was a job and I knew it so well. She, the old girl, has asked me twice to return to her, but no, I don't want to do that either. I feel it best to see Norman settled, and he does seem to hang on to me like a drowning man to a straw, but, I am no straw, tho, poor Norman. I think it will prove itself some how if I am to remain, by finding a room or some thing soon. Last Sat. [Saturday] I was with Catherine unpacking her things, I told her she took up all the wardrobe, and where were his things going, ×××× they must go in trunks folded up, such selfishness, not if I know it, his lovely dress suit etc and his other good clothes. M rs . Cameron2 has given them some lovely chairs, each seat is different in woolen tapestry, also the huge wardrobe and a lot of silver. Two marvellous glass decanters have
arrived, he says from the neighbours, he ×××× [crossed out] is in bed this morning and I have just given him a hot bottle. Rushed and worried to death, and we were getting on so nicely till [until] the Russian aristocracy attacked us. Christ[MR] God knows how she wants to hang on to me when she has offended everyone else, I think Norman is more firm about that tho' [though] than she is, tho' [although] I feel pretty certain when the curtains are made, the moving done, (I have to be out of here by the 10 th ) I will sleep at Ivor Court3 tho [though], if no where else, I must have a bed somewhere, [sic: )] and their own place ready for them I too will to be told to clear out, and then the Irish & Russian clash!!! My God its a shocking life, and yet all I crave for is a regular job and peace!!! M rs . Simmons4 has just rung up, I could not say much as N. took the phone, besides some one was at her door, and some one at mine I will ring her up tomorrow tho' [though] as I did want to tell her, I had heard you on the phone. I had a feeling all along things were
not right with Catherine & you, since h5 went to France he has been so different & when he told me the other morning, Mon [Monday], it really was a shock, as the more I had thought about it, the less possible it seemed to be. It seems to me, everyone has been used, till [until] she has got him, and then, her object obtained to hell with everyone, its tragic, for before long, Norman, will be more lonely than ever. I hope and trust I will never refer to her again if I have to work for them, then I must be loyal? and respect? her, but God help me!!!
Must away now & take Jane's6 baby out instead of tomorrow. Norman does ×××× [crossed out] not mind being left, says he is getting up now, and going out. I wonder if he will be O.K [okay] for Sat [Saturday] morning. Catherine's last words to me on Tues [Tuesday], get him up in plenty of time, I told her I would give him his breakfast in bed, poor boy. Its true no luck can follow them with all the upset they have given others, how strange it is, those with all the good things like she has had all her life & I do not think it has ever cost her much to live she always seems to have had her expenses paid by some or other. Taken out & about
Really must away now. Best of love to you, & Captain7 Alan & Beryl. all kind friends make Margaret a good soul for Christs sake AMEN.

Editorial Notes

1 Margaret Russell's previous employers eds.
2 Norman Cameron's mother eds.
3? eds.
5? he? eds
6 Jane Lye? eds.

Hands Referenced

    • Annotation: ink correction of letter enclosure
    • Character: regular
    • Ink: black

People Mentioned

  • Beryl

    Pritchard, Beryl
    daughter of Harry and Amy Pritchard, R.G.'s second wife. Formerly married to Alan Hodge. Robert and Beryl had four children: William, Lucia, Juan and Tomas. eds
  • Robert

    Graves, Robert
    [1st person]. (1895-1985). Poet, novelist, essayist, critic, and author of his diary. eds.
  • Laura

    Riding, Laura
    (1901-91) American poet. Laura Riding (née Reichenthal; then Laura Gottschalk).
  • Margaret

    Russell, Margaret
    House-keeper L.R. & R.G. had had in London. WG
  • Norman Cameron

    Cameron, Norman
    Poet. Built Can Torrent in 1932-1933. W.G.; m. to Elfriede, then to Catherine Vandervelde; friend and contributor to LR and RG's work eds.
  • Catherine Vandervelde

    Vandervelde, Catherine
    one of Korda's scriptwriters; friend of RG and LR, met at Denham studios; contributor to World and Ourselves; married Norman Cameron in September, 1938. eds. Diary, and Friedmann 302
  • Dorothy

    Simmons, Dorothy
    Sculptor associated with the Graves-Riding inner circle (1938-39). Married to Montague Simmons. eds
  • Jane

    Lye, Jane
    Married to New Zealand artist/ film-maker Len Lye; son Bix Lye. Friends with R.G. and L.R. Visited Graves and Riding in Majorca (1930), where Jane provided secretarial assistance. eds (RPG 138).
  • Alan

    Hodge, Alan
    Oxford history graduate. Became close friends with LR & RG. First husband of Beryl Graves. CP & WG

Organizations Mentioned

  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Dictionary [projected project; unfinished]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1935