32. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 13 May 26
13 May 26
My dear Roy,
I spent a very pleasant evening with J.D.W. yesterday - he was down here on the Abp's. gambit - and found him much likeabler than ever before. I admit that he bribed me with a very good dinner in Wells, but - anyway I very much enjoyed his company.
The sorriest thing he told me was that you are oppressed by your surroundings. I most heartily hope that either he exaggerated the mischief, or else my imagination did, and I hastily take up my pen to press you to complacency. Wherever you go you will find humanity dreadfully disappointing, and the "industrious classes" are not really much more satisfactory than the dons. The devil of it is of course that one expects so much more from the dons; but there was no reason for this optimisim - and, damn it, though 99 out of a hundred are imitation-gentlemen the odd one out is the salt of the earth, and Oxford surely remains one of the very few places on earth where you not only have to tolerate your neighbours (which you have to do anywhere) but when that is done you are free to choose your friends because you like them.
I judge that for myself I have attained complete intellectual freedom - at the price of never meeting anyone whose opinions I respect, I mean of course in the ordinary pursuit of my calling. And though I never counted the cost, I do not grudge it now; you see, my brain deteriorated a good deal during the war, and probably never was capable of any great thing. But it would be deplorable if all the brains in the country were to be buried in that way.
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