Writing this at Wallington, having been more or less ill for about a fortnight with a poisoned arm.  Not much news – i.e only events of worldwide importance; nothing that has much affected me personally

There are now 11 evacuee children in Wallington (12 arrived, but one ran away and had to be sent home).  They come from the East End.  One little girl, from Stepney, said that her grand-father had been bombed out seven times.  They seem nice children and to be settling down quite well.  Nevertheless there are the usual complaints against them in some quarters.  E.g. of the little boy who is with Mrs. —– [1], aged seven: “He’s a dirty little devil, he is.  He wets his bed and dirties his breeches.  I’d rub his nose in it if I had charge of him, the dirty, little devil.” [2]

Some murmurings about the number of Jews in Baldock. —– [1] declares that Jews greatly predominate among the people sheltering in the Tubes.  Must try and verify this.

Potato crop very good this year, in spite of the dry weather, which is just as well.


[1] Unidentified.

[2] See ‘Such, Such Were the Joys,’ 3409, where Orwell refers to his own bed-wetting experience. Peter Davison

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13 Responses to 15.10.40

  1. Ahh poisoned arm. It happens.

  2. George~~
    This has to go down in the annals of blogging history as the Greatest Sentence in the History of Mankind:

    Not much news – i.e only events of worldwide importance; nothing that has much affected me personally

    The context: Germans bombing London and everything else within the range of a tank of fuel to smithereens.

    I beg you, please, let us know whether you were/were not able to verify the murmurings.

    I’ve been on pins and needles. It’s been weeks since you wrote, “Why it is that the lights dip when a bomb passes close by, nobody seems to know.” Did you investigate further?

  3. Pingback: Airminded · Post-blogging 1940

  4. In reference to “the little boy who is with Mrs. —–, aged seven,” I would like to suggest that the woman scared it out of him.

    16 October is a Wednesday in Warsaw: The Jewish ghetto is formally established by decree.

    In the U.S.A., where it is also a Wednesday: 16 million men register for the draft under the Selective Training and Service Act passed by the Congress.

    Meanwhile, in the ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-48 (Lt-Cdr Bleichrodt) operating in the area to the North-West of Rockall Bank, establishes contact with a homeward bound convoy (SC7, homeward bound from Sydney, Nova Scotia) Five further U-boats in the area are directed towards the convoy. They were U-46, U-99, U-100, U-101 and U-123. [Just one of many attacks taking place that day.]

  5. Heather says:

    A poisoned arm?

  6. Pingback: Don’t Forget to Write: The True Story of an Evacuee and Her Family | theukphile

  7. It’s Thursday, October 17, 1940:
    Hitler makes what will be his last visit to the Kehsteinhaus or Teehaus built for him as a birthday gift by Bormann. Hitler’s visits have been few due to his fear of height.

    London: Sub-Lt Jack Maynard Cholmondeley Easton (b. 1906), RNVR, and AB Bennett Southwall (b. 1913), RN, tackled a mine dangling six inches from the floor of a house. It slipped and both men ran for cover, but the huge blast killed AB Southwell and badly injured Sub-Lt Easton. (George Crosses)

    Coventry: 2nd Lt Alexander Fraser Campbell (b. 1898), 9 Bomb Disposal Coy Royal Engineers, lay alongside a bomb in case it began ticking as it was taken from a factory. He defused it but died the next day along with six men of the Royal Engineers when another bomb exploded while he was trying to defuse it. (George Cross).

    German bombing has killed 1,567 people in the week up to today, much of the air raid damage due to new German land mines.

    The Case of the Poisoned Arm contains “more or less” no clues and is, therefore, to be taken at face value rather than as a metaphor. Nevertheless, I have all of my best operatives on it around the clock.

    Meanwhile, I am reminded of this line from The Lion and the Unicorn (February 1941): The fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realisable policy.

  8. wordsmithsuk says:

    What an interesting blog entry this time: poisoned arm, evacuee children, Jews and finally potatoes Would love to know more about all of these things. James – I hope you can track down what is happening with that arm.

  9. Max says:

    My guess is that George was bitten by Marx who objected to something he had written or said. The Blairs are reported to have called the dog Marx to remind them of a writer they found disagreeably unreadable. I wonder which part of Eileen’s anatomy he bit? This is the dog’s revenge. That’ll larn ’em!

  10. wordsmithsuk~~

    A search under various variations of “Orwell’s poisoned arm” brought me face to face with high-resolution, close-up images of a staph-infected knee among other irrelevancies. Without any hesitancy, I ordered my cadre of elite operatives to stand down. I then unilaterally declared the phrase, “poisoned arm,” to be a complex metaphor that may/may not be linked to Orwell’s unmitigated devotion to Ink and Paper.

    Orwell envisions himself as “Outside” of

    …..the lumpen-proletarian fringe which has been able to survive the slump because it is composed partly of genuine artists and partly of genuine scoundrels. The neglected genii, the paranoiacs who are always ‘going to’ write the novel that will knock Proust into a cocked hat, are there, but they are only genii in the rather rare moments when they are not scouting about for the next meal.

    ~~from Inside the Whale (1940)

    Writing ad copy or whatever he’s doing (besides writing The Lion and the Unicorn) has poisoned his arm; the Ink and Paper have become metaphorical toxins. He keeps telling his hand to write something and his hand responds with a demand for words.

    Meanwhile, Agatha Christie published two Hercule Poirot novels this year, Sad Cypress and One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.

  11. andrew says:

    “Not much news – i.e only events of worldwide importance; nothing that has much affected me personally.” This is great.

    Eric, I have six stitches in my neck, you should see it. Doesn’t keep me from writing though – did you get bit by a snake or something?

  12. Steve says:

    On the contrary, the staph-infected knee is highly relevant. Orwell’s poisoned arm and his wrecked lungs are both testament to life before antibiotics. The Wikipedia entry for penicillin is even more interesting than I expected. <image src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Penicillin_core.svg/200px-Penicillin_core.svg.png&quot;

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