12 Charleville Circus
23 July 1914
My dear Mother
I have just finished prowling round the room and complaining to Kath that I have set out to write home and can find no matter for a letter. Today has been a most ordinary day, just like yesterday, just like tomorrow. Then comes the thought; why not talk of the course of an ordinary day just as much as an extraordinary one? Nobody ever seems to lay any stress on their average doings, so it is possible that the daily round may derive interest from its unrevealed mystery. All very well to say of an ordinary matter that it is “nothing to write home about” as the saying goes; but until one has written home about it, at least once, every one of the uninteresting 364 days ought to be just as interesting as the interesting 365th (note that Irish influence is laying a hold on more things than politics).
Therefore to proceed. This is one of the 364. Mrs Horsman nearly failed to wake me at 7.50 am: this is usual. A supreme respect for paint, or her knuckles, or my feelings, or decent reticence in general, forbids her to knock in a practical manner. Her system is not effective, but I suppose it is considered “the right way”. The laws of the Medes and Persians alter far more easily than the right way of doing things, as denied by Mrs Horsman. After a decent interval I arose and went bathwards. I should be doing an injustice to everyday if I forgot to tell you that I harboured my usual regret at the waste of time I have to endure while waiting for the bath to fill. This is a strictly diurnal regret, and it is one of the things that makes me want to be one of the inexcusably rich. I should rejoice to have a valet to prepare the bath for me. After bath I shaved. On my tomb let it be written, “This was no ordinary man. He enjoyed shaving.” Sober fact: I do. Why, I do not know; perhaps it is my tidy mind; perhaps, seeing that most men hate it, it is my contrary mind. After that I suppose I dressed: I say, I suppose, because dressing is hardly a thing one does, it just happens. “Behold,” said Solomon, “I have been young and now am old”: there was no effort in between.
So of dressing: I have been pyjamaed and now am in a condition customary for appearance at breakfast. But it always seems to have occurred without any intervention of my own; exactly like growing old. Breakfast is a trying meal for one who is always hungry thereat. A small breakfast means consequent weakness of the starved mortal, with plenty of time for the journey to work: no one will pretend that it is easy to travel, even at a slow rate, when one is reduced for want of nourishment. A large breakfast means great store of strength and small time for the journey: who will pretend that it is pleasant to journey at terrific speeds while one is yet digesting an ample meal. I repeat, breakfast is a trying business, whichever way you take it.
I see that the daily round will occupy much more than a single letter. About a dozen might cover it. One day I will continue from the point where I halt before the hat-stand and make the vexed choice between a variety of hats.
Much love from
Your affectionate son
George M Sladden