Emily Hale to T. S. Eliot

T. S.Eliot
9 Lexington Road,
Concord, Massachusetts
April 21st 1948
Dearest Tom,

I trust very sincerely you are safely back from this long expected final assignment at Aix – a sword of Damocles I call it – andCocktail Party, TheEH begs TSE to continue;b6 that now you will try to give yourself a little peace of body and mind – and continue creative work on your play. I wish you could say ‘no’ to even what you call engagements of ‘obligation’ (outside Faber & Faber) – you are too prone to be afraid of hurting someone by refusal – when I think it is now more of an obligation to create for the world at large – if I may say so. IMirrlees, Emily Lina ('Mappie', née Moncrieff);g2 am truly sad for you that your dear friend, of long standing, Mrs Mirrlees, has by this time probably gone to her well deserved rest. A true loss for you, my dear, and I am very sorry. How very much you brought to her of happiness, Tom – I trust you will admit that to help comfort your missing of her.

I am practising what I preach by writing hastily as I have a few minutes before the mid-week trek to Andover. The weather has been very bad lately – much rain and wind – and it will be nice to see some sunshine and not travel always for rain preparedness. YesThorp, Margaret (née Farrand);c2, of course, the enclosed letter was from M. Thorp – I have called her Maggie for years – and I know no one else in Princeton. SheThorp, Willarddue to teach at Harvard;c3 spent a night in Concord 2 weeks ago and visited with me at dinner & breakfast before going in to look over the house in Cambridge they have taken for the summer, when Willard teaches at Harvard.1

My plans are awfully vague for many reasons, at present. More later. I’m sorry not to write more fully along lines about which you inquire don’t become a ‘public symbol’, my dear. What tragic words. It is just from that, I must add, that I had hoped to keep you from becoming. Perhaps I still may, if you will just help yourself to keep as personal as you can in your own thoughts of your life, to other private lives.

Always your

1.The Thorps were living at 57 Francis Avenue, Cambridge 38, Mass.

Cocktail Party, The, copy inscribed to Miss Swan, Martin Browne's preference for a popular play, plot ruminated, still a distant prospect, deferred by war, at last begun, being written, EH begs TSE to continue, stimulated by the Martin Brownes, titled and nearly drafted, interrupted, attempts to reconcile EH to title, to be discussed with Brownes, to be continued in Princeton, end in prospect, TSE rewriting, alternative titles, its star appeal, 1949 Edinburgh Festival production, Martin Browne to produce, production schedule, the Martin Browne collaboration, 'reading' for, reviewed, cuts made during rehearsal, TSE's opening-night impressions, stage-set for, copy to be sent to EH, EH on, TSE disavows autobiographical basis, post-Edinburgh prospects, 1949 Theatre Royal, Brighton run, its fate, closing, 1950 New York transfer, TSE skeptical of, its fate, being negotiated, fixed, revisions made in mind of, alarmingly successful, royalties from, prospects beyond 1 June 1950, final act still being rewritten, its reception, EH's second opinion on, 1950 New Theatre production, preliminary week in Southsea, its fate, opening night, to close with provinicial tour, comes off at New Theatre, Mrs Nef's reading-group reading, in which TSE reads Reilly, and casting for Confidential Clerk, its first draft, difficult to produce in France, 1954 Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier production, reception, Muriel Spark on, EH detects hidden meaning in,
Mirrlees, Emily Lina ('Mappie', née Moncrieff), taken round the Tower, invites TSE to Shamley, described for EH, offers to house TSE gratis, her religion, as horticulturalist, concerns TSE, her distress on animals' behalf, not an irritant, secures better gardener for Shamley, circumstances in which she offered TSE refuge, indifferent to enlarging acquaintance, engineers solitude at Shamley, surprises TSE with lobster and cigars, reduces TSE's rent, celebrates 80th birthday, abed and anxious, anxious about North African campaign, going deaf, boosted by son's promotion, receives offer for Shamley, theatrical by nature, TSE prefers being alone with, TSE's sense of responsibility to, spoils TSE on his birthday, aflutter over Christmas turkey, delighted by recording at Shamley, takes in hopeless cases, collector of recipes, pleased by TSE's lawnmowing, hankers after life in Menton, dreams of leaving Shamley, pulls out of selling Shamley, as landlady, frustrations with gardener, her aura, summons TSE to Shamley, during TSE's final Shamley Christmas, dying, still just living, dies following operation, Wishful Cooking,
see also Mirrleeses, the

3.HopeMirrlees, Emily Lina ('Mappie', née Moncrieff) Mirrlees’s mother was Emily Lina Mirrlees, née Moncrieff (1862–1948) – known as ‘Mappie’ or ‘Mappy’ – see Biographical Register.

Thorp, Margaret (née Farrand), accompanied TSE and EH to Tristan, VHE's liking for, TSE on, TSE's Tristan references lost on, compared to husband, possible trustee of Hale correspondence, one of EH's few confidants, would think TSE romantic, TSE on EH's feeling of inferiority to, approachable but for Willard, Criterion review of her book, an unsoothing presence, F&F publish book by, teased for liberalism, EH on, EH seeks job opportunity through, encouraging EH to augment Princeton deposit, America at the Movies,
see also Thorps, the

16.MargaretThorp, Margaret (née Farrand) Farrand (1891–1970), author and journalist – see Margaret Thorp in Biographical Register.

Thorp, Willard, introduced by TSE to Dobrée, at the Criterion meeting, grows on TSE, teaches Ombre to the Eliots, EH thinks of entrusting letters to, seems lifeless, has stiffening effect on TSE, requests Paul More tribute, which he delivers to More, congratulates TSE on Family Reunion, invited TSE to Princeton, due to teach at Harvard, compared to Margaret, resembles Sweden's Crown Prince, formally notified of EH's bequest, objects to TSE's 50-year moratorium, and EH's 'recordings', seeks again to shorten moratorium, but again refused, invited to petition TSE directly, but shifts responsibility to Dix, makes transcript of EH's 'recording',
see also Thorps, the

1.Margaret Thorp, née Farrand (1891–1970), contemporary and close friend of EH; noted author and biographer. WillardThorp, Willard Thorp (1899–1990) was a Professor of English at Princeton University. See Biographical Register. See further Lyndall Gordon, Hyacinth Girl, 126–8, 158–9.