Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 12. June 28, 1939
"The Hopeless Sort"
"The Hopeless Sort"
Don't you often feel you cannot Settle down? After dinner, for instance.
I do. But this unsettledness worries me most at the beginning of summer, when we've stopped having fires in the house, and it seems awfully silly sitting there with one's feet up against the chimney . . . Then it is loo early in the year to go out and do a bit of clipping, and too late to settle down in that definitely winterish way with a pipe and a book, because you cannot turn up the lights yet—unless you want to look funny—and well, everything is in that wretched transition stage. Like adolescence, and moving, and dawn, and all those trying times . . .
Another thing: there is my wife. She is unsettled too, is not quietly sewing. That makes me more so. Because she is down with the servant-girl, standing on a chair, turning out the top shelf of the linen-press, where she keeps the children's summer things—their bathing suits and so on. I hate these turnings-out. They have nothing whatever to do with me . . . And a smell of naphthalene comes out, and Lois gets fluff in her hair, and of course the servant-girl always discovers the moths have eaten into Bub's bathing-suit. She would. Well. I mean to say, she is a girl whose joy is to have something to tell . . . Can make the most of it.
So I go into my room. It bucks me tremendously to find here that I can potter round and do quite a few odd things. I can take the measurements for a new bookcase, for Instance. I go and hunt for my rule, find it eventually amongst the kids' things. Then I take the measurements, sit down and begin to work out . . . But I cannot settle down. My mind goes flying off like a blessed bird, and in the end I am looking out of the window and thinking: 'By Jove, October already!!'
Yes, October already . . . And how light it still is!
I could dust my books. I take out one, then two, three, a whole row. I feel pleased to think of myself dusting off that whitish sort of moss which comes on books, you know. A man ought to have some pride in this sort of thing. I look at the first, then the second; I've looked at the whole jolly row, but there's not a sign. Of course Lois is always flicking round them . . .
I wander over to the window again, my pipe in my hand.
"By Jove, how the nights are drawing out! We can do without the lights for ages after dinner now . . ."
Back I wander, sit down al the desk which was father's, and pull out some paper. I owe about ten letters. Well
"Dear Dave" (I wrote). "I simply cannot settle down, so I------"
And that's as far as I go. A most—you know—time of the year, don't you agree?