3A Hyde Park Terrace
LONDON W2 5PH
April 10 1997
Dear mum (in law)
Thank you for your letter which was heart-rending in its effect. I cried for ages after reading it. It’s astonishing, isn’t it, how an awful trauma like that can be stored up in your head – and still express itself so powerfully – so many years later. But I’m not sure I’ve got your strength . . . I don’t feel able, at the moment, to ‘discover the truth’ regarding Austen. Suppose what I found out was so terrible that I had to do something? What effect would my actions have on the twins? (I know they have left home now, but still.) Would I be able to cope with life alone and outside the political fold? I like our house; we have lived in it for nearly fifteen years and I like to think that the colours inside and the plants outside have something to do with my own style and tastes. Where, after all, would I go?
It is sunny this morning and a bit warmer. I have been walking round our garden looking at the ‘yellow’ border I planted some years ago (before things got on top of me as they did). There is a variegated Privet; a Mahonia; a variegated Euonymous; a silver-leaved Potentilla; a Phlomis; a Broom; a Berberis, and two Hypericums – all with yellow foliage or flowers!
And also a low Box hedge I planted to form a border all along the edge. Daffodils are blooming in it at the moment and it is beautiful. Now I am sitting in a reclining chair, just inside the patio doors, with next door’s cat on my lap and the sun dozing on my eyelids. I am just having a Lady Grey tea and watching one of those American TV movies that seem to be on most mornings.
I wonder what Austen is doing?
Your loving daughter (in law)