Day 1. Tolkien, writing to his son Christopher, describes the beauty of late October — proof that he didn’t save all his descriptive powers for his books:
At no time do birches look so beautiful: their skin snow-white in the pale yellow sun, and their remaining leaves shining fallow-gold.
Day 2. Encouraging Christopher to sing liturgical songs:
Longað Þonne Þy læs Þe him con leoÞa worn, oÞÞe mid hondum con hearpan gretan; hafaÞ him his gliwes giefe, Þe him God sealde.
“Less doth learning trouble him who knoweth many songs, or with his hands can touch the harp: his possession is his gift of glee which God gave him.”
Day 3. Laughing to Christopher at the very idea of C. S. Lewis being “ascetic” (as one newspaper put it):
I ask you! He put away three pints in a very short session we had this morning, and said he was “going short for Lent.”
Day 4. Tolkien, distressed but not surprised at Christopher’s reports of the war:
Dys dogor Þu geÞyld hafa weana gehwylces, swa ic Þe wene to.
“For this day have thou patience in every woe, even as I know thou wilt.”
Day 5. On the manners of Jane Austen’s day:
They made life a lot easier, smoother, and less frictional and dubious; and cloaked or indeed held in check (as table-manners do) the everlasting cat, wolf, and dog that lurk at no great depth under our social skin.
Day 6. Tolkien’s faith despite the pain of war:
We are in God’s hands. Our lot has fallen on evil days: but that cannot be by mere ill chance.
Day 7. Encouraging Christopher with the philosophy of eucatastrophe:
No man can estimate what is really happening at the present sub specie aeternitatis. All we do know…is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success — in vain: preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.