Beyond the Books - Letter to Joan and Todd, 1936

Charterhouse School

June 11 1936

Dear Joan and Todd,

Of course I’d have loved to have been at your wedding but I also understand you wanted to get married reasonably soon - say within the foreseeable future? That rather means I’m staying here, though to be honest, at the moment on this usually bleak Surrey hilltop the sun is shining and it is all strawberries and cream.

I have got into Pembroke College in Cambridge and will be reading Economics. It was that or Law and I did not want to give up mathematics entirely. At the moment I am reading a lot of improving novels while pretending to watch cricket. The library here is odd – they only have Crime and Punishment in French. I know it is unfair but I think I have been put off for life. I like the Checkhov stories though and Tolstoy’s Anna K is wonderful, though I find myself skipping the bits about agricultural reform. I’ll be off to the French next.

I hope you had a wonderful day on the 8th. Mother says you are settling in Manhattan. I don’t know whether or not you are planning a trip to Europe – but let’s hope it isn’t too long before I see you.

All my congratulations and love to you both.


Final School Report: ‘Quick-witted and sensible, he should do well at Cambridge in the subject he has chosen. He expresses himself clearly and to the point. One or two of his masters suggest he has a tendency to be too brief, almost laconic and he sometimes gives the impression of compliance but without much enthusiasm.
His mind is not speculative or prone to flights of fantasy. This leads him possibly to turn down opportunities that he considers unsuitable for his talents with a persistence he should watch. He has, however, done well as school goalkeeper and thrower of the discus.´

Although there is quite a lot of criticism here, I imagine our parents won’t be too upset.    P.