Evelyn Blackett
E. du Perron

Sunderland, 2 oktober 1929

14 Ashby Street -

Wednesday -

October 2nd 1929 -

Dear Mr. Du Perron, -

I liked your last letter very much indeed. I too had fears - but they have gone now. I was afraid that you might be like most of the other young ‘littérateurs’ I have met who are as exasperating as you say - but you write ‘Ce qu'il faut demander avant tout à quelqu'un, c'est d'être vrai’ - which puts things right. - I was amused at your idea of my character - femme de tête energique etc., etc. It has taken me a long time to get together some sort of solid philosophy of life - & heaven knows it has not been simple. But one or two facts I've got clear in the end. Once upon a time I hadn't much courage before life. It seemed to give one so little of what one really wanted - good friendship, sympathy, the realization of one's ambitions for oneself & for others. Thus every third day or so, I decided, like most young people who think at all, to just finish things. I worked myself out of this state by getting to know intimately lots of people - & then it struck me that I was not ‘playing the game.’ I discovered there were whole crowds of men & women much weaker than myself - & that I could do a little towards helping things on if I only stuck to my guns. It seemed as though we were all in a gloomy cavern, - & that the same course of action was to explore the delights of the cavern, if any, - & to make the most of the bits of sunlight that came in. And then, with a little effort, you could persuade the other people in the cavern that it wasn't so bad after all - that there were lots of interesting things in it - & that the bits of sunlight could be really pleasant - if you tried hard enough to enjoy them. - You see, I too am ‘sceptical’ but there are so many others who are ready to say so & to tell me this life is a mess that it would be foolish for me to do so too - seeing that my philosophy of life is more comfortable for the others than theirs. - With a very little persuasion one can make ‘the others’ explore the cavern & enjoy doing so - one can make them see the jolliness one can get out of the bits of sunshine - & that seems to be the main thing. -

At least I am afraid I am just as solitary & ‘individualiste’ as you. Not many people understand quite all one thinks or says or does - but then one must be courageous enough to stand alone & never mind the loneliness & persuade the others that one is not lonely & wretched so that things will be easier for them. -

I think that's about all as for myself. I have been wondering just why you are as you are. - The remark you make about appreciating truth & sincerity make me feel that you are working along the right path. - As for my dislike of the Romantics, I am a little weary of the ‘pleurnichards’ of life, for it is so easy to be one oneself - & then one gets into the most hopeless of messes. - As for the majority of contemporary poets, I too, see that most of what they say is full of ‘attitude’ - & that they don't help things on at all. - Thus, I'm going to give my present philosophy of life a fair trial. I feel there is something in it as it does make things simpler for ‘the others’. -

I hardly know whether to call myself a ‘femme très moderne’. I have a career before me, I appreciate jazz as well as classical music, I like to find myself now & then surrounded by friends who talk about everything under the sun - but I think my real days of relative happiness (I say relative for my new optimism hasn't yet reached the stage of believing in the possibility of the ‘bonheur complet’) come when I can go off to the beach & climb among the rocks with my dog - or when I can be with myself in my room, to read & think & potter about just as I like. - I think, perhaps, that the ‘femme très moderne’ does not wholly agree with me there. -

That is about all. I like you - for you are as I imagined when I read the ‘historiettes’. You may be sceptical & individualistical - but so am I - & the remark about the ‘vrai’ shows that your system of values is solid enough. -

I am enclosing a few snaps - of Durham, my old University city. They are badly taken - & are merely of spots I liked at Durham. I'll send you others later - in which you will see the Cathedral & my old college & the things one should ‘snap’ first. - The lady & gentleman are my sister & brother-in-law who help me to be a ‘femme très moderne’. - I enclose a photograph of myself - which is an awful one, but it's the only one I have - et ma vanité, même féminine, n'est pas très grande. -

I hope you will understand a little more now just why I think as I do. Optimism does not come naturally to me: I can count the times I've been really happy on my fingers. But that doesn't matter seeing that now I've a little courage & a little optimism.

- I should very much like to talk about the theatre in its present state in England, but it will be for later if you so desire. - Meantime, may I thank you again for not appreciating the ‘sinfonies’ & the ‘cabotinage’ & for saying that ‘ce qui compte, c'est le vrai.’ -

Goodbye for now - & good luck. -

Believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

Eveline Blackett. -

Unless something quite unexpected happens (& I have learnt to count on these unexpected things) I shall be in Belgium next Sunday or Monday - & shall let you know when I am likely be in Brussels. -

As you will have seen by my card, I appreciated the Norge after all!

Origineel: Den Haag, Letterkundig Museum

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