59. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 14.x.57




Dear Roy,

See, now, even my writing is rejuvenated - tho' I write, still, in the inconvenient sitting-up-in-bed posture.

It was, did I tell you, the commonplace `prostate op.' - not so much `non piss....' (I never let it get to that) as persistent slow posioning by inefficiently voided urine. That was the real trouble & had been, I am sure, for years.

Now, tho' temporally off-duty, of course, I feel as if I had just come back from a long campaign during which the words "expectation of life" had lost their meaning; & am delightedly readjusting to 20-25 years more of quiet usefulness?

Charity is, indeed, our last. born (1939). We had 4 great girls in a row (1921-8), then a 10-year interval - that's economics for you! Then I came home, all .... up, from a visit to the States in '37, & that produced Henry (due at New Coll. next year - failed Science schol. - wishes read p.p.e - "style but no plumbing", as the Emperor of Abyssinia said, when he went over the local mansion (when in exile), with a view to renting it. And went away sorrowful.)

Of course, when I wrote, I supposed you & Billa still keeping house in St.Olds - It must have been a great wrench, but the College must be jolly glad to have another `duty' Don?

Do ask her to breakfast! It would be the thrill of her life. Where are your young eagles? (She was co-educated, which I do think a blessed thing - makes for so sure an assessment & absence of foolishness about the other sex - no safeguard, in the long run of course (e.g. Molly Morland!), but the right start.)

My work? 2_ years ago - not feeling fit, I suppose - I chucked up my `great ['] position, & devoted myself to County Council work - & to translating the Greek Testament, old & new, for the benefit of my very good but utterly ignorant fellow-Quakers - & of course, primarily, to make myself read the texts again; & have had particular pleasure in the Greek Psalms, which I never became acquainted with, until a year ago.

On the County Council, I am of course, with my "record", put on to Finance (Chairman of Accounts & Estimates) whereas what I would like to do is Education. But there it is, & very important; & amazingly unregulated - How, in the absence of ordinary profit-&-loss considerations, is one to judge how much to spend, capital or revenue, on Education or anything else? I have not the beginnings of a clue about this; & I don't believe anyone else has? And I am shocked at the way the officials "do it all", loudly parading their desire for "instructions", all the time, of course!

Now about inflation - & I do know that you haven't all the day to do nothing in, as I have! -

As I see it, any man who has had anything to sell - from _ a day's unskilled labour to £100,000's worth of merchandize, has found a ready market for it, pretty much at his own price, these 18 years. That is what is called "full employment" &c - Quite admirable, in almost every way; &, as a result, there are 100 people who can & will buy my woolly boots &c for 1 who did 20 years ago. And, as I can only make 5 or 6 times as many, I am sitting pretty.

But - human nature being what it is, the consequence is that the price of everything - from the _ day's labour aforesaid to Council Houses - goes up & up. And will, until people are brought to their senses by the realization that it can't go on forever.

Consider Council House costs: -

1921 20/- .... 1928 12/- 1932 9/-

1947 30/- 1957 40/- + ?


  1. 1. British Library, Harrod Collection, Folder Add. 71189, fols. 89-90 (transcribed by Charity Scott Stokes)

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