I can’t advise you in my favour because I
think it would be beastly for you, but think how nice
it would be for me. I am restless & moody
and misanthropic & lazy & have no money
except what I earn and if I got ill you would
starve. In fact it’s a lousy proposition. On
the other hand I think I could do a Grant and
reform & become quite strict about not getting
drunk and I am pretty sure I should be faithful.
Also there is always a fair chance that there will
be another bigger economic crash in
which case if you had married a nobleman with
a great house you might find yourself starving, while I
am very clever and could probably earn a
living of some sort somewhere. All these are very
small advantages compared with the awfulness
of my character. I have always tried to be
nice to you and you may have got it into your
head that I am nice really, but that is all rot.
It is only to you & for you. I am jealous
& impatient — but there is no point in going
into a whole list of my vices. You are a
critical girl and I’ve no doubt that you know them
all and a great many I don’t know myself.
From a letter written by Evelyn Waugh in 1936, after his first wife had left him, asking her cousin whether “you could bear the idea of marrying me”, found at Futility Closet. Submitted by Marika Rose.