Enclosure – Letter to RG and LR from Sam Graves

St. Christopher,
Dear Robert and Laura,
Thank you very much for your nice long letter which I got yesterday.
I did write you a letter, only it was about 4 days ago, which was delayed because I lost your address which Nancy forwarded to me.
About the letter which you wrote to me during the summer, I don't remember ever receiving it at all.
Anyway, it can't be helped. I liked that house which you showed me on the picture post
card. I have indeed no doubt of its [sic: it] convenience and its situation, which would help you on your bookwriting.
Your room must have been very simple in its equipment of its furniture and decorations.
I remember having written your name on your guide sheet, which I did just for the excuse of trying out my new fountain pen.
I hadn't thought about your "waste paper basket." I should think it is often emptied everyday!
Oh, yes. A boy here, who is a German, called Itto Hirsch, is reading the only book by you in our School
Library, called 'Lawrence and the Arabs,' and he asked me if it was 'a good book' and of course I said 'yes,' having read it myself, but I didn't tell him about all the place names which he would come across!
I only told the main story ××××, telling him about Lawrence's career [sic: carreer] in Arabia, about his blowing ups of the important railway lines with the Arabs.
I am sure your efforts on the new dictionary1 will be worth it, even if it would take you about 2 years. I was very amused about the dictionary
joke, which I must show to some of my friends.
I will tell you a joke about Hitler which I read in a daily newspaper.
Father. "You must say, 'Thank Hitler and God for my breakfast' every breakfast time."
Daughter. "And after dinner?"
F. "Yes, after dinner as well."
D. "And tea?"
F. "Yes."
D. "And supper?"
F. "Yes."
D. "But what can I
say when Hitler is dead? "
F. "Thank God"
[figure - figure – oversize exclamation point]
I am very glad about your two books coming out this autumn, only tell me what their titles are and tell me what they are like. But be careful about only[SG] your money being available in France like in the case of Germany. ×××× [indecipherable] in Nazi Germany, there is a new law allowing Nazi policemen to take out the valves in motor car tyres and let the air out, as a punishment
to the owner driver if he offends the police by breaking any road rules, while the policeman sees that the driver blows them up again.
Your poems ought to be a success, because I have read about a part by[SG] a person who interviews books in a daily paper, saying that your poems may certainly be rare but they are very good and thorough, at least something in that line.
Its very good about Laura's poems coming out in such succession [sic: succesion]
Naturally [sic: Naturaly] I expect Laura holds a very sober point of view in her political book which I hope to read so,
being interested in current politics myself.
Congratulations on your successful amateur [sic: amueter] cooking. I am trying to learn cooking myself, and learning the recipes as well, which isn't really quite so simple as it sounds! I am trying to be 'independent'!
It is getting colder here too, as the days go by, except in the morning, which used to be freezing every early morning.
Last night there was a gale which banged the windows about until I had to get out of my cosy[SG] bed and shut them at once!
Make a patch on the back
of your French corduroys, so that your neighbours [sic: neibhours] will think they are Dutch!
I am glad about Laura having a cat and a kitten as well so that she will have company. She must have felt the loss of her lovely kitten which you used to have at Alma Sq.
I am very surprised about David's intention of flying at Cambridge, but of course I have heard of the Cambridge University Flying Club. Oxford Universities have one.
In my whole life with my brother, I have never
known him to have any connections with mechanical workings whatsoever.
David only [sic: onlys] likes Nature. so he says. I may be flying on my part, but it costs something like £1.15s [shillings] per quarter of an hour, even more.
David may be coming over here on his bicycle.
I wasn't the least surprised about the war scare. I confess, though, that I felt in myself that I didn't mind war coming at all, in fact I didn't mind at all so long as if we could literally [sic: litteraly] 'smash' up the 'Boches'2 for ever.

I thought exactly what you told me about Hitler's bluffing, and I wish we could show our old traditions in battle.
I was very interested about that poor Spaniard who wanted some chocolate. he must have been overjoyed.
The worst part about giving things to another person is that you can't see the accepter's face when he receives it.
How did you know that Joan Junyer was the best painter in Spain, surely he ought to be a fellow of the R. [Royal] Academy, than being miserable in flooded trenches.

I am getting on all right at school.
I am being highly successful in the football world here. Am now a regular permanent member of the St. Christopher Football 1st XI. The F. [Football] Captain even gave me my 1st XI stockings, which is a great honour from my point of view. I scored this season's first goal, as a left half (which is my permanent position). Well, you see, I had to kick a penalty g[SG] kick very near the halfway line, and I just got the ball over the goalkeeper's hands and under the bar. Ha! Ha!

In the same way I got another goal in the 2nd XI (only time I played in that XI) as left back. I told the referee, a German, our games master that I wanted to play forward in the forward line, but he refused, so I said behind his back, "O.K. I will take the ball for sure and dribble up to the opponent's goal and score." I did.
This afternoon there will be a House match between Gold & Green Houses today. I'm Gold. In every House[SG] match that i have played in I have never lost.

Did you hear that England won the International match at Highbury against all–Europe by 3-0? Good wasn't it.
I have only just been down to the Police Court with the Chief Councillor and councillors of my group, to see about my bicycle, which I regret to tell you was stolen by someone right out of my school sometime ago. It may be 50-50 chance that I may get it back. Don't worry over it.
I am going home next Friday for my half term holiday

I am getting to like our home outside the township of Oxford.
Nancy will be waiting for me with fireworks! Hooray. Pity you can't be having any fun with fireworks where you are staying. Still, you can celebrate with chocolate and plenty of alcohol!
I am sorry writing such a long letter, I believe its my record for words, but my pen is always working day after day nowadays [sic: nowdays].
Perhaps you might think that in this case 'the pen is stronger than the sword'!
Well I will have to leave off now! With all my love,
X Sam XX

Editorial Notes

2French soldier's name for Germans eds.

Hands Referenced

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

Places Mentioned

  • Alma Square

    London, Westminster, England
    Between Maida Vale and Abbey Road; R.G. & L.R. lived there in the winter of 1937. eds
  • Cambridge [University]

    Cambridge, England
    University attended by RG's son David. eds.
  • Oxford

    home of Oxford University eds.

People Mentioned

  • Laura

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

    Lawrence, T. E.
    'Lawrence of Arabia.' Met Robert in Oxford in the early twenties. Made Robert his biographer and had him write "Lawrence and the Arabs." WG
  • Robert

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

    Graves, Samuel
    R.G.'s youngest child by Nancy Nicholson. C.P.& WG
  • Nancy

    Nicholson, Nancy
    (1899-1977) First wife of Robert Graves; married 1918, separated 1927, divorced 1949. eds.
  • Hitler

    Hitler, Adolf
  • David

    Graves, David
    R.G.'s second child [by Nancy Nicholson]. W.G. In RAF; killed in the war. The only one of Graves' children who might have become a poet had he lived. K.G., eds.
  • Joän

    Junyer, Joän
    Nephew of Sebastian Junyer. Also a good painter. W.G.; Deaf-mute Catalan painter, ex-pupil of Picasso's, who lived in his uncle's house in Lluch Alcari [Llucalcari]. K.G.; introduced Ward and Dorothy Hutchinson to RG & LR in 1935 eds.

Organizations Mentioned

  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Dictionary [projected project; unfinished]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: Lawrence and the Arabs
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Jonathon Cape
    • Idno: A26
    • Date: 1927