A small red notebook, approx. 23cms x 15cms. Discovered, February 2012, in a box in the attic of the rectory of -- in the county of --. The box also contained miscellaneous items (including exercise books for Maths and Chemistry, and a school tie), and a set of school reports from the Chalet School referring to one L. M. 'Tom' Gay.
The contents of the first part of the notebook are rather miscellaneous, dominated by fragmented notes and sketches. At about the midpoint the entries in the notebook begin to take the form of a diary. In this latter portion of the notebook there are numerous crossings out and several missing leaves. Where the crossed out text is still legible it has been reproduced in the following transcription; however, at some points the crossing out is so heavy that the text below is illegible.
One hand predominates: a curiously square hand which belongs, it would seem, to the notebook's owner, Tom Gay. At least two other hands appear in the notebook: firstly, that of the author of the inscription on the front endpapers (probably Mrs. Gay), and secondly, a small neat hand which appears intermittently throughout the notebook and belongs to one Loveday Perowne. In the following transcription these two hands are rendered in italics to distinguish them from the predominant hand.
The notebook contains several illustrations. These have not been reproduced in this transcription; they have, instead, been briefly described.
[Front endpaper: inscription in blue ink]
With love and best wishes for the new year!
Mother and Father
This Notebook belongs to
194[illegible - could be a 6 or an 8, or possibly a 9?]
[three games of noughts and crosses in blue and black ink - noughts wins each time]
[a sketch of a woman - the blackboard in the background suggests that it is possibly a teacher?]
[several drawings of houses, each with detailed measurements]
[an unfinished game of noughts and crosses]
[a careful drawing of a roof and chimey-stack. Detailed measurements have been given, but alongside this technical specificity, the drawing reveals a touch of humour: a cat is shown, crawling stealthily along the ridge of the roof, unseen by the birds that perch there]
Materials - supplies list for Miss Dene
paint - brown, green? red
- what to do about landscaping the garden? what can we do for grass / trees / etc...and can we make a little pond or something?
[two more drawings of roofs-and-chimney stacks]
[a game of noughts and crosses; a game of hangman with the winning answer 'bullnose plane']
ideas for the competition??
name the house? name the year? name the owners?
can't we just raffle it and be done with it?
[small sketches of items of furniture including a chair and table; a book-case; a kitchen table; a bed; a wardrobe]
This notebook has been seized by
Tom Gay - Keep out!
Dear lovely red notebook,
you may have noticed that you have a new owner. It is I, Loveday. I promise that I will treat you much more kindly than did your previous owner, who, in a scandalous disregard for your lovely crisp white pages, threw you at the bottom of her desk, and only called upon you to draw sketches of houses and plywood. A shameful neglect of such a lovely item! I have decided to take you into my custody until such time as Tom - that fearful creature! - should decide to treat you with the respect and honour you deserve.
[a game of hangman: winning answer 'favourite']
Geog prep - copy map p. 47 of red textbook, noting major towns, rivers, etc
[a game of hangman: winning answer 'fanciful']
For Miss A - learn sonnet 116....boring....
[a sketch of a young woman with short hair standing, frowning, concentrating intently on something (it's not clear what) on the table in front of her. In her hands appear to be a hammer and chisel (?).]
27 May 194-
This notebook has been returned to its rightful owner, Tom Gay.
I, Loveday Perowne, do solemnly swear, that I do hereby and forthwith relinquish all rights I ever claimed to this notebook, and return it without question to its rightful owner, [here 'Lucinda Muriel' is crossed out and 'Tom' is inserted above] Gay.
[drawing of a church]
What we shall do this summer, by Tom and Loveday
make [^eat] cake
swim to France
build a toy farm
Instructions for Tom
Tom, please read these carefully. And do what they say!
1. Pack. Pack sensible things, Tom, like clothes. Not like tools. Clothes. Because, Tom, when you're on holiday you can't wear tools. But you can wear clothes. And it might be an idea if you bring something a little bit smart. Because I'm not sure how my parents'll get along with you turning up to dinner in shorts...
2. a. Find out train times.
2. b. Ring me up to let me know what time you will arrive.
3. a. On the appointed day (i.e. 24 July) go to the train station and get on the correct train.
3. b. Change at Plymouth to the train for Newquay.
3. c. After approx. several hours, get off the train at Newquay.
3. d. Don't lose your suitcase during steps 3. a-c.
4. Have a lovely time staying with Loveday. For three whole weeks!
[a series of sketches; several landscape panoramas, populated by one or two figures; several drawings of the same, pretty teenage girl]
Phew, made it on to the train! That was a bit of a close one, really. Off to the aunts now. That's going to be a bit of a change of pace after these weeks with L - time to remember how to be on my best behaviour!
[pp. 67-72. The writing on these pages is struck through but still legible. It appears to be a series of false starts to a letter]
just a note to say that I had a really great
hope you're well! I'm now at my aunt's, and it's not nearly as much fun as being with you
I'm going out of my mind and I don't know who to talk to. Can I talk to you? Oh, I really don't know. I can't tell anyone about this, can I?
I miss you.
Oh, Tom, what are you doing? This is madness!
[the rest of the page is heavily crossed out and illegible]