The End ... and a Beginning: 94
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
The End ... and a Beginning: 95

Bridge survived, but it took him a very long time to recover his former spirits. Two months after his collapse, it was still the uppermost thought in his mind:

Having never before been more than temporarily indisposed it is quite a shock to find that I have been seriously ill and that where on other occasions it has been someone else who has to go through the mill of convalescence, this time it is ME! ... I hope I shall be getting fairly normal in about ten days.3

Much to Bridge's annoyance, it took six months of recuperation - two hours' rest on the bed each afternoon were obligatory - and a sunny holiday in the south of France to restore him to something like normality. From then on, bouts of work were interrupted by enforced rests, although by 1940 he felt he had learned how to live with his particular ailment, realizing just how much work was now possible without causing undue strain.

Because of Bridge's ill-health, a nurse, Elizabeth Baldock, was kept in attendance, and she acted not only as a companion for Ethel and helper in emergencies but also accompanied Bridge on his trips to London. Bridge enjoyed having the company of her three children at 'Friston Field' during the school holidays, and memories of these visits provide heart-warming details of life at Friston during the final years of Bridge's life:

[He was] a man who smeared honey over his moustache before he came to tuck us up in bed; or marched loudly up the stairs with a swishing walking-stick in his hand and a waste-paper basket on his head! I remember his lovely panama hat, and the baggy cardigan (beige) he always wore, and the smell of his pipe around him. Breakfasts used to be the big event of my day also, when he ladled out the porridge from the big table in front of the study fire and said that this was the meal when children could be 'heard' and learn their table manners ... I remember their bedroom hand painted by Marjorie Fass with black doors decorated with honeysuckle and daisies - the piano stool Ethel Bridge covered and embroidered with two love-birds for him to sit on when he was working - the croquet game played with aggression and cream cakes, and the prawning nets they used early mornings and evenings at Birling Gap.4

3 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 8 December 1936.
4 Letter, Joan Vernon to John Bishop, 20 June 1976.