Baker, James

Letter
Date:
January 12, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Jan. 12, 1942

Well here I am back after a most exciting and enjoyable weekend. Just after I finished reading the letter I had written to you I looked at my watch and found it was twenty minutes to twelve noon and I had to meet Lance at a place nearly three miles away at noon! Out I rushed and grabbed a taxi and just got there in time for the appointment. I shall never forget the look of surprise on Mr. Hulton's face when Lance introduced me. I don't think he could get over the fact that I was a private. But we got along famously and were soon chatting away like good friends. He is a short, stocky man with a high, white forehead, deep piercing eyes, swarthy-coarse skin, very prominent nose and an impression that behind that touch of nervousness was an icy brain which carefully weighed each word before he said it, but which worked at such speed that his speech is on the whole very fluent. He has many peculiar mannerisms which make him stand out in a crowd. He is delicate in everything that he does with his hands, delicate almost to the point of effeminancy and yet his hands are broad and strong, the hands of a builder. But his thinking proves that his is a dreamer. He is - as would be expected in an editor, very well informed on world affairs but has also a thorough cultural and artistic background which continually colours his comments on world events.

I thoroughly enjoyed the political meeting and probably got the greatest surprise of my life when I found out that I was one of the minor attractions. I was given a seat at the head of the table on the left hand of the President and feasted right royally...never had such a tea in England. We found out later that many women had sacrificed two weeks meat points so that we could have real sausage rolls. They were really delicious. I'll never forget the welcome those kind people gave me. I was even the subject of special remarks in the President's opening address, I had to sit there on the platform facing the crowd while the speeches went on. I was afraid they might ask me to make one too but fortunately, there wasn't time. I found out afterwards that it had definitely been planned that I should speak, but fortunately Mr. Hulton had to get back to an editorial meeting.

Mr. Norman MP. the other man who I was introduced to, was also very interesting. He is a tall, gaunt and white-faced, has sharp yet sunken features, hollow cheeks, severe lips. prominent nose, low wide forehead, stringy wispy hair brushed carefully over his bald top yet on the whole, a pleasant manner which quite offsets his rather startling appearance. I am convinced he is a coming power in the government of England.

After the meeting we went back to the flat for supper with Mrs. Beverly. Sandhurst is a wonderful cook and he really did us proud! Then we went off to the Player's Club which I have described once before...it was just as amusing, just as exciting as before. Mary met us there and we came home together. Lance's car is only a tiny Ford and Mary and I were slightly squashed-up in the back seat but we didn't mind that, we were much too busy singing all the old music-hall choruses we could think of. So ended Saturday.

Sunday we lay a-bed till nearly ten, then leisurely up and bathed, breakfasted in Lance's room (for he hadn't got up yet) and then downstairs to finish reading "Major Barbara" by George Bernard Shaw: I was truly surprised...he is readable!

Then chicken lunch with Mary, Lance and another man at the Universal Universities Club. The other man was the nephew of Sir Stafford Cripps and told us many interesting things about Iceland where he used to spend all his holidays, taking his car out aboard ship and then travelling all over the island "on atrocious roads" as he put it. After lunch Mary and I were to go to a show together but Mrs. Beverly wasn't very well so Mary went back to the flat. Lance and I went to the Plaza Theatre in the Haymarket. We saw "Sullivan's Travels" and I enjoyed it. Then back to the Beverly's for an hour or two, back to Lance's for supper, then back to the Union Jack Club near Waterloo Station where I climbed into bed at exactly three minutes to eleven.... up at 4.30 AM. to catch the 5.27 AM. train and arrived back here in time for breakfast. And that was my weekend! Very interesting and enjoyable, don't you think?

O yes, while I was in London, I got talking to a sailor from the "Restigouche" and from what he said I just missed Bob Sheppard by a week. He had been on leave in London but had had to go back to let some other boy come on leave. But I sent a note to him by this fellow and hope to hear from him soon. Well I guess that is all for now Mom, Cheerio!

Love to you all,

Jim


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