20. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 12 August 1922



Telephone 37 Glastonbury

12 August 1922

My dear Roy,

Your letter found me disporting myself in Camp by the silvery sea - not a military affair, you may be sure, but a mixed lot of lads from every quarter; there was a theory that they were to recognize one another as ...., but I held (& hold) the view that they'd do better to begin by recognizing the tremendous differences between them, + an unsentimental acknowledgement that the others were some sort of human being.

All Souls' papers. I'm sorry, I destroyed all traces of that absurd escapade. The general tenor is well-known, I suppose: the Essay subjects were all for philosophers, the general paper covered everything from Oxford architecture to the .... of decadence and the future of war in the air; the unseen translations were extremely easy except for the Greek & Latin which were up to Greats standard - the Latin anyway; the others were so easy that there was one which I could translate pretty well tho' I'd no idea what the language was - i.e. they were really meant to test if one could read the language in the ordinary way, not if one had a scholar's knowledge of it. I can say nowt about the History, except that every paper had something of every period in it, & provided plentiful pegs for any learning one might have had - an invitation to expound what one really knew, not a searching out of dark places. It seemed to me that there was devilish little economic history in it, but perhaps that was because I'd been attacking that subject particularly. G.Catlin is with us here for a few days - I was thunderstruck when I heard of his apostasy, and inclined to blame myself for having caused him pain - I always told him he had no place in the Church; but I really think I was right as to that, and he seems to be still temporizing and not yet finally outside, so I'm really of less use to him than I'd hoped to be. The upheaval is anyway a triumph of honesty as far as it goes, and I think that's a comfort. I'm afraid I have to leave him very much alone here, being at work, but plenty of plain food and sane company ought to be good for him - and sleep, which is overpowering in this place. You will come & see us, won't you - but not between August 24 and 31, when we are weeping over the ruins at Hopwood. And some day you will send me the list of economists. I have read nothing serious for about six months. (I've omitted the customary expressions on your first - I'm afraid you must be a very good examinee! It would take me 20 years to get a first in History, & I think you find the subject little more congenial.)

I am trying to find some more folk to argue with, but there seems little enthusiasm in these parts. I looked in at the Summer School at Oxford, & encountered Beechman & Herbert at the rival propagandist establishments - I think I shall never make a propagandist, & so your kind wishes for my public works will never come to be. Perhaps some day I shall be a Town-Councillor of Glastonbury, and greatly wrangle with my fellow-tradesmen on the subject of drains - a limited sphere, no doubt, but an honest one.

Poor G.Catlin! His devotion remains unchanged, I think; but he had made the common mistake of ignoring the essential incredibilia in his busyness about sects; I think I shall convert him to Quakerism, where a man can be at once as unbelieving and as devout as he pleases.



  1. 1. British Library, Harrod Collection, Folder Add. 71613, fols. 6-7 (transcribed by Charity Scott Stokes)

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