Barbarossa & The Crusades

Tuesday 29 May 1945
By today my will power is defeated. I lay in bed when I should have been up for early Mass.
I gave in a nasty exercise on turning parts of Hannibal and Epaminondas into ‘oratio obliqua”. Betty had practically done it for me the night before in the library. Eileen Betty’s sister did not turn up again and Betty left her writing case at Victoria. A disheartening day.

Wednesday 30 May
Essay on Barbarossa returned. I lunched with Marie Gormer and Pat’s crowd in the Snack Bar of Women s Union.
Went to Central Reference Library to start an essay on the Crusades. slogged on books in French.
Phoned Mama. she met me in Town having brought some provisions for the Sedgley party. I sent a PC to Auntie annie about the Sedgley Choir Broadcast.

Thursday 31 May
Feast of Corpus Christi. We went to the Priory for Mass and Holy Communion.
Liver paste for breakfast.
Prof Redford gave his last lecture–an awfully good one.
During this week I think I spent every spare minute swotting at Maupassant.
That night at Sedgley Dr. Knight lectured on Eliot, a magnificent lecture which inspired me afterwards to write a huge letter home chock full of Eliot quotations.
Before the lecture Mother Cecily asked me to sit next to her and share my Eliot with her. Thus I was mixed with the Hierarchy. She also asked me to contribute to the discussion to prevent Knights taking away the idea that Sedgley was altogether dumb.
Julie Lynch and Joan Ince from the University English school came to the lecture.
Knights did “The Hollow Men” “Ash Wednesday” “A Song for Simeon” “Triumphal March” and the Four Quartets of which only the first “Burnt Norton ” is in My Eliot.
Julie was absolutely thrilled and we went to bed enraptured. A splendid evening ( Knights was one of the foremost exponents of Eliot’s Poetry.)

Friday 1 June

Did not get up (for Mass)
Whitehead in his last set book lecture did the first three stories in Maupassant. In the afgernoon he gave a literature lecture on Maupasssnt, truly excellent. He compared Daudet and Maupassant with real psychological insight.
The I took Sister Vincent to the Drawing room of the Union to hear the Sedgley broadcast. Lyn Lewis came in to hear it. The singing sounded very good but was spoilt for me by the rotten wireless.
Later went to Caf. Austin & Tony Delahunty were there, Frank arrived with a new girl June Terry.
I went to Christie for a book on the Crusades. came back to find Joan and Shirley with B. & B. in the reading Room. After some time we went to get ready for the Ambrose Barlow Society party.

In the ensuing conversation perhaps as a result of this Teddy described Betty’s hair as straw.
In “Ash Wednesday I noticed a line
“Oh my people what have I done unto thee” which I recognised as a quotation from the Reproaches sung in the Good Friday Mass.(Micah 6:3)
We had a long argument about whether they were called reproaches or not. Bernard said no and his missal in latin gave them without a heading. strangely enough no Catholic seemed to have heard of them. Bernard recommended all Maritain’s works and James Joyce’s “Ulysses” as reading.
After Hicks’ Lecture I suddenly remembered it was the History tea in honour of Prof. Cheney’s arrival. I sat next to Rosalind Wrong ( an excellent young lecturer) or rather she to me. She was most amusing.
Cheney gave an address on the correct use of words in essays and lectures which rather amused Prof. Redford who said if we were all as careful as Cheney we would never get anything done.
When the end of the tea was announced I muttered to myself “this is the way the world ends” 3 times “not with a bang but a whimper.”
Miss Wrong made the astonishing remark “Do you know what a prickly pear is?” Obviously she is acquainted with “Ash Wednesday”.
Unfortunately I was too dumbfounded to reply.
In Caf. were B. & B. with Robert Markus (and his friends Walter Stein, Jean Radcliffe.) Bernard McCabe had left for Middlebrough.
I returned to Sedgley alone and chewed toffees and read Edith Sitwell’s Criticism of Eliot which I thought very penetrating.ThenI went to Benediction. Gave Mother Cecily some books on Eliot. She is very enthusiastic the only one of the Sedgley lecturers who seems interested in modern poetry.

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