47. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 3 Oct. 1939

as at Glastonbury


3 Oct. 1939

My dear Roy,

Imprimis, to inform you of what you no doubt know already - & maybe somewhat assisted in, in which case many thanks to you - that my wife's worthy & ingenuous young cousin Brooking Clark has, in the altered circumstances, been accepted by your College for admission now, this autumn, to my very great delight & that of his parents; & any small kindness you can show him once will be a kindness done to me - he is a thoroughly decent youth of ordinary abilities, honourably anxious to please.

So. That said, I have fulfilled my mission; save to congratulate myself & you on the daily multiplying proofs of the non-existence of god, from which I derive a certain simple satisfaction, which I like to believe to be intellectual, tho' it may be merely moral - or immoral; & of the invincible stupidity of our rulers, who (as far as I can see) are laboriously setting about to implement Winston Churchill's policy of a `Grand Alliance', in blissful blindness to the fact (which can scarcely have escaped them) that the Grand Ally has gone over to the enemy, & the policy is therefore no more capable of being carried to a successful conclusion than the defence of Poland or putting salt on a sparrow's tail. These things I have written to the weekly press, which is little likely to take note of them ....

It follows therefore that after a long & bloody & unsuccessful war we shall at best be where we are, by mutual exhaustion. More probably the British Empire will have ceased to exist, India will be a shambles, Africa a German-Italian `protectorate', China divided out between Russia & Japan, & Australia and New Zealand Japanese colonies. Canada will naturally seek protection from the U.S.A., and France will be a second Spain. In England, liberty will have gone the way of all liberty. The incompetent asses who will have bungled every department of our daily lives in different Ministries (Supply, Information, & God knows what) will have given way to even more incompetent asses, who will anyway have a purpose, & will to some extent effect it - namely the regimentation of our every thought & action, & the abolition of all private `rights' (which will be all to the good) & of privacy (which will be the devil); & there may or may not have been a bloody revolution. I think there will be.

My own part in all this remains uncertain. I re-undertook certain obligations of a military character 4 years ago, when I was encouraging all & sundry to turn out & fight for Abyssinia & the League, if necessary - as I still think we should have done; & had we not been plainly unwilling to do so, should never have lost that bloodless campaign, nor found ourselves involved in this one, which will be anything but bloodless. I went to Camp this summer. My name is on the list. But I shall be 43 this month, & it may well be that His Majesty's advisors will ultimately advise him that I am a silly old man who had much better stay where he is; which for the moment I am doing anyway - & have no option - but with a divided mind & very little profit, to anyone.

I earned £3,000 last year, & bought a pretty house, 300 years old. My wife should be brought to bed for the sixth (& last) time, next month. The preparations of all my friends & acquaintances for cashing in on the present `emergency' infuriate me. I live only for the day when the damned thing will be over, & that I may have strength to dig out those sods [? CSS] who will have dug themselves in behind the passing needs of war. (Last time it took 10 years.)

Forgive an excursus from an idle fellow belatedly summer-holidaying; & send me a post-card to say so


  1. 1. British Library, Harrod Collection, Folder Add. 71613, fols. 19-21 (transcribed by Charity Scott Stokes)

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