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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Friday, 4 September 2015


Friday, September 4th., 1925.
At Cadogan Square, London.

The big new French clock was on the floor in the box room. She said: "I put it away there because it stood out on the mantelpiece, and all the curves of the ornament, leaves and twigs and things, seemed to be the same as the curves of my nausea. So I put it away until the nausea has gone."

She saw two nice looking little boys in the restaurant at Harvey Nichols, and kept on referring to the extraordinary niceness of the face of one of them. At last she said: "I should like my boy to have a face like that." The secret was out. 

I have often written about babies and children in my novels and short stories. In fact one of my most successful short stories (I think) is "Baby's Bath" in "the Grim Smile of the Five Towns". Also I think I dealt well with the childhood of Cyril Povey, and sensitively with the relationship between Edwin Clayhanger and George Cannon. Indeed I am not without experience of children. However it is not quite the same as having a child of one's own. Will I show to advantage in this new role that fate has placed in my path? I hope so! 

There are other issues, and I am thinking particularly of the relationship between myself and Dorothy. She is an emotionally volatile person, by turns strong-minded and fragile. We have been content together for the last three years but naturally I have, as an older, more experienced and confident man, been the centre of her world; what now when I am displaced by the infant she is carrying and, subsequently, our child? I have already started to inform our family and friends, who have been supportive of our unconventional relationship. I hope and think that they will continue to be so. Nevertheless I cannot close my eyes to the fact that we will be parents to a bastard child, and all my best efforts will not shelter him or her from those who wish to be disapproving. Perhaps Marguerite will reconsider my plea for a divorce, but I doubt it.

To discover that I am to be a father has been a shock to me, though I think I have disguised it pretty well. I know it will change my life tremendously, and that is not an easy thing to contemplate at the age of sixty. But I have a curious feeling of elation, of response to a challenge from destiny. 

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