AA Milne is best known as the creator of “Winnie-the-Pooh” and that bears escapades with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. He was also a successful playwright (Toad of Toad Hall) and admired novelist. Milne died in Sussex in 1956, aged 76.
Milne Published the following Book in 1931, this was written when Milne’s own Marriage was under strain. The following extracts come from Milne’s Novel “Two People” so much of Milne himself was in the book.
Milne’s Book “Two People” considers how two people can make a relationship work when those concerned have little in common but that intense fragment they shared when first they fell in love.
Quietly and quintessentially English in every facet, “Two People” shines with a gentle humour and a subtle delicacy of style.
Running away with another man meant (horrible) loving him. Could Sylvia love another man like that? Love is much more personal to a woman, he thought, than to a man., physical love. Any decent man could contemplate spending the night with any decent woman, even a stranger, without alarm or disgust. But most women would have to have some strong feeling for the man first. A man could leave his wife and take a mistress, any mistress, just because he was bored with his home. A woman couldn’t. Wouldn’t. She might run away, but not to a man. Sylvia loves only me; she couldn’t, she couldn’t, love any one else….Not as she loves me.
But she could be bored with me, and run away from me- where? Well, just somewhere. Anywhere. That is just the one thing which one will never know–whether one is perhaps boring somebody else. How boring is the other man’s golf story, how interesting seems one’s own. How incapable one is of looking at one’s own story with another’s intolerance. Perhaps I have been boring Sylvia all these years. Have I Heavens, how bored she must have been at Westaways…Was she?
He looked at his watch–twelve o’clock. This was really rather too bad of her. I mean twelve o’ clock. She couldn’t not be back at twelve. Unless, of course, she’d had an accident.
An accident! Why not? People had accidents every day. Every hour. An accident, Sylvia hurt, Sylvia dead.
Considering this was first written early 1930s some attitudes never seem to change, reading and writing the first chapter I have taken from the book, the last two lines “she loves only me, she couldn’t, she couldn’t, love anyone else……Not as she loves me” – reminds me of my late Husband I was Thirty Years younger than him I was in my Twenties when I married December 27, 1975 and innocent, very innocent. Brought up in a strict Catholic Irish Family my experience and knowledge of Sex was NIL.
I had met my future Husband when I started work, I was 16 and fell for him but did not realize that I loved him until much later, when some words he spoke in a Pub one Lunchtime to me, in Leather Lane London ECI as it was then, I remember going home standing by my wardrobe in my bedroom and BANG I was in love it hit me like a rock, had never felt this way before.
But Marriage was not what I expected, my Husband would tell people “trouble is Anna Loves me too much” which I believed to be a compliment it was not until many many years later did I realize that is not what my husband meant, it was a criticism. He would also say to people “I know Anna would never leave me, never” he was right I couldn’t not that I had not thought of it, where would I go I had no money no one I could go to that would help, I longed to be on my own, he was powerful I had no power or strength. Our first Row he took me home from where we had our own House in South Benfleet, Essex to my Parents home, where he informed my Father he could take me back, he (my Husband) no longer wanted me, whereupon my Father told my husband “you made your bed you lay on it” – I recall just standing there crying, no one wanted me.
You can be Married and yet very lonely within that marriage, as I was. When my Sons were born I had them to love to teach, I could never ever leave them. My Sons are wonderful and we have such a close relationship. I had years not just because of my Husband but because he signed me into a situation I still have to try and cope with these days and he has been dead 21 years, years of absolute hell.
My Husband being that much older, having been in the RAF during the War, having loved the life in the RAF and the time he spent in India the way of life the English had in places like Calcutta – like the days of the Rajj no doubt. I was alive, he had opened the cage I had been locked in all my life and I was able to fly free at least for a few years. Then he put me back in that cage and years and years of absolute hell to the point I thought I would have a breakdown.
Marriage can be very cold, mine was – I don’t think David could cope with me, I loved to play my records finally, at home I had not been allowed, but now in my own home I had the freedom, that was as long as my Husband did not have to hear them. I was told to learn about Classical music, nothing wrong with that but I felt I was being suffocated again, my clothes had to change I felt older than my years. I stopped talking about modern things it seemed and became Old. He couldn’t cope with a girl who was passionate, perhaps too passionate and romantic, I needed to be loved wanted to love and look after someone but instead he did not want any of that and I so longed and ached for someone to love and most of all love me. I recall once doing a Romantic Dinner for the two of us, low lights, Candles, scented Roses, soft music – fillet steak he loved, the right Wine, the lot. He barely spoke to me, when I said it would be nice to do it again, he tolds me “I wouldn’t bother” do you have any idea how that hurts, even typing it I still feel the pain.
I guess you just in the end give up and accept what the other person wants. I grieved for him for 16 years
Then one day innocently a “close woman friend” of his let something slip – I believe in all innocence, my Sons say it was deliberate but whatever I learned that he had LIED he had lied for countless years, not just for me was I upset but mostly for our two Sons who had been so young at that time he did what he did all those years. In that instant the “friend” spoke the words, everything I felt for my Husband died, I had no love for him. These days I look back with bitterness and realize what a complete fool I was, I threw my young life away, the love the passion I had to give wasted. I feel nothing for the man I married. Even though I was born in England and am proud to be English and will defend my Country, I have the Irish blood in me, I have the passion within my veins, my husband was Cold maybe the English of that time were cold, as much as I tried my love was rejected. Perhaps its that old thing “The English and the Irish”?
Maybe the “English” men are different now, but that generation I married is in the above book I feel. Marriage was something they did, not necessarily did it mean they loved you. I would never have admitted this way back then, but I feel my marriage was a sham it covered a secret. I was used to mask it I feel. I was a fool, I fell in love without any experience, looking back I regret I had no experience. I was so very hungry to love a man and be loved, it was not to be
I hope you enjoyed the extracts from AA Milne’s Novel, I am not sure if it went out of print. The edition I have was published by Capuchin Classics in 2009 and Reprinted 2013. I recall reading an article in one of our respected papers about this book being Reprinted and that it had been “lost”. I am not overstruck about the book, but see what you think.
This is my favourite Song of all time, sung by many, by one in particular I love, but this by the great Matt Monro. By the way he had been a Bus Driver and my late husband had known him, small World. You will no doubt find this Song sung again on my Site, it just means so much. Enjoy.
Matt Monro, died far too soon. Sinatra never came over on a Tour but he did not have Matt Monro as part of it, apparently Frank Sinatra just loved Matt’s voice. No wonder, Matt Monro had an incredible voice, so Romantic – there I go again “Romantic”!!
Listen to the words of this, so so beautiful. I so often sing it around the House maybe told to “stop” but I still sing it.