to Eleanor Holmes Hinkley

T. S.Eliot
TS Houghton
Faber & Faber Limited
From 3, Kensington Court Gardens,
London W.8.
26 October 1957
Dear Eleanor,

We were both very pleased to get your long letter to us, undated, but postmarked Oct. 18. FirstHinkley, Barbara (TSE's first cousin);b8 of all I must say how sorry I was to learn of Barbara’s trouble. I have never had, or even heard of a compressed vertebra (one hears often enough of ‘slipped discs’) but it does sound most agonising torment; and from the treatment and special conveniences needed it sounds by no means easy to cope with. I know what emphysema is, or rather I know the meaning of the word as my doctor uses it – I have been suffering from shortness of breath sometimes, as an after effect of bronchitis, but he has never suggested that any lung cells had been destroyed! But I have to do breathing exercises – it is equally important, they tell me, to expel all the air from the lungs, as to inhale well. But please give Barbara my love and our sympathy.

SecondOn Poetry and Poetsreception;a2, to thank you for what you say about my book, which gave me, like all your previous encomiums on my essays, great pleasure.1 I'Johnson as Critic and Poet'favoured by Eleanor Hinkley;a8 particularly wanted you to like the Johnson essay,2 and I am proud to hear that you propose to read it to the Verney Club. The reviews here have been curiously contradictory – some hailing the collection as my ripest and most mature critical work, andSacred Wood, The;a2 others pointing out what a falling off it was from the criticism of The Sacred Wood! TheSunday Times;a7 most unexpected criticism was that of Raymond Mortimer in the Sunday Times, who confined himself to expatiating on the badness of my prose style.3

Itravels, trips and plansEH's 1957 visit to England;j2which TSE consults Eleanor Hinkley over;a4 want to ask if you can throw any light on what seems to us the very strange behaviour of Emily Hale. Two weeks or so ago, I had a letter from her saying that she had taken a cottage (or a small house) at Campden (Gloucestershire, where she used to spend summers with the Perkins’s) and indeed that she would be there by the time I got her letter. She gave no explanation of why or for how long, or whether anyone was to share it with her. IEliot, Esmé Valerie (née Fletcher, TSE's second wife);c3 wrote to the address she gave, saying that of course I and Valerie would be very happy if she would lunch with us when she was in London next (but suggesting no date, as I was still confined to indoors after Asian flu and not allowed visitors yet, as I explained). I expressed some surprise at her coming to the Cotswolds in winter, for the winters there can be rather severe. Her reply, which arrived only a few days ago, was more surprising still. In the first place, she sent it to the office instead of to Kensington Court Gardens, so it was delayed as I have not been to my office yet. She said that the excellent local doctor had dissuaded her from carrying out her intentions, and under his advice she was returning to Boston in a few days. Meanwhile she said that she was moving to a local hotel – she did not give me the name of the hotel – before coming up to London (presumably to return back by ship, as that was how she came, via Montreal). Nor did she say where she would be staying in London. It all seems very odd and unnatural, and makes one rather apprehensive about her state. Nor did she give any address in Boston. So I cannot communicate with her (which I must say, simplifies the problem for the moment!). If you know or learn anything I should like to know what you think. I wonder whether you knew anything about her movements.**

IMerchant, Revd W. Moelwyn;a1 was amused, but also slightly annoyed, on reading of your meeting with Father Merchant.4 I think he has been to see me exactly once, just before he sailed for America; I may have met him previously but have no recollection of it. WePound, Ezra;e5 had quite a pleasant conversation, and he seemed normal and intelligent (he has got on like a house afire with Ezra Pound!). But for him to ask for a copy of a photograph of me taken at East Gloucester, and to say that he knew I would love him to have it, is such appalling cheek that it seems merely irresponsible and wafty. Well well. Valerie has told me that many Americans have tried to get to see me at short notice on the ground of being old friends, and that some impostors have even pretended to be cousins of mine – she has warned my new secretary not to believe any such stories without my confirmation. But for a man like little Merchant to try it on with you takes my breath away. WhyEliot, Esmé Valerie (née Fletcher, TSE's second wife)TSE collecting photographs for;c4, I want every photograph of the past that I can get hold of, to give Valerie. Could you spare the extra copy, or alternatively have it photographed, or let me have it photographed and return it to you?

We’retravels, trips and plansTSE and EVE's 1958 trip to America;j3;a1 hoping to see you in May, you know. I wonder which would be the best place in Cambridge for us to reserve rooms at (as soon as I know the dates)? Commander? Continental? Have you any opinions?

Much love to you,

**Her first letter ends as follows: ‘Nothing seems natural these days, but if you care for me to meet Valerie and continue a long friendship normally, I think the moment has come perhaps. Emily Hale’.

1.On Poetry and Poets.

2.‘Johnson as Critic and Poet’ (1944).

3.Raymond Mortimer, ‘The Prose of a Poet: Picking a Bone with Mr Eliot’, Sunday Times, 15 Sept. 1957, 6.

4.RevdMerchant, Revd W. Moelwyn W. Moelwyn Merchant (1913–97): Welsh academic, Anglican priest, poet, critic and sculptor, who undertook research in the autumn of 1957 at the Folger Library in Washington, DC, and visited Ezra Pound at St Elizabeth’s Hospital. Merchant was to become Professor of English at the University of Exeter, 1961–74; later, Willett Professor at the University of Chicago and Chancellor of Salisbury Cathedral, 1967–71. In Aug. 1957 he had sent TSE, whom he had met, a copy of Wordsworth’s A Guide through the District of the Lakes, illus. by John Piper and with an introduction by Merchant. See further Merchant, Fragments of a Life (1990): ‘Despite [Pound’s] tragic circumstances, the omens were good for my visits to him in Washington, for T. S. Eliot had briefed me carefully on the personal issues and the pattern of friendships which surrounded Pound in face of official animosity’ (147).

Eliot, Esmé Valerie (née Fletcher, TSE's second wife), comes highly recommended as secretary, which she recalls becoming, ticked off indirectly by EH, but exclupated by TSE, on leave in Leeds, fending off invitations for TSE, types up The Confidential Clerk, gets EH ticket to Confidential Clerk, vets Muriel Spark, helps TSE with Christmas cards, marries TSE, TSE on marrying and widowing, EH congratulates on marrying TSE, continues temporarily as secretary, writes to EH, installed as newlywed at Kensington Court Gardens, TSE collecting photographs for, her father's death, receives photo from EH, and the Hale letters, Theresa on TSE's relations with, nurses TSE, shielded from EH's importunities, admired by EH, admired by TSE's family, urged to correspond with EH, meets EH,

7.EsméEliot, Esmé Valerie (née Fletcher, TSE's second wife) Valerie Fletcher (1926–2012) started work as TSE’s secretary on 12 Sept. 1949, and became his second wife on 10 Jan. 1957; after his death in Jan. 1965, his literary executor and editor: see 'Valerie Eliot' in Biographical Register.

Hinkley, Barbara (TSE's first cousin), TSE's antipathy to, not an intimate, Hinkleys celebrate her second marriage, her irreligion, speculations on her failed marriage, TSE on, reports on Dear Jane, hosts grand dinner, TSE revises criticism of, distinguished from husband, handicaps Eleanor, left by husband,

6.BarbaraHinkley, Barbara (TSE's first cousin) Hinkley (1889–1958) was married in July 1928 to Roger Wolcott (1877–1965), an attorney; they lived at 125 Beacon Hill, Boston, and at 1733 Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass.

'Johnson as Critic and Poet', being and not being written, threatens to outgrow its occasion, as essay was lectured, described for EH, revisited with view to publication, revamped for Princeton, favoured by Eleanor Hinkley,
Merchant, Revd W. Moelwyn,

4.RevdMerchant, Revd W. Moelwyn W. Moelwyn Merchant (1913–97): Welsh academic, Anglican priest, poet, critic and sculptor, who undertook research in the autumn of 1957 at the Folger Library in Washington, DC, and visited Ezra Pound at St Elizabeth’s Hospital. Merchant was to become Professor of English at the University of Exeter, 1961–74; later, Willett Professor at the University of Chicago and Chancellor of Salisbury Cathedral, 1967–71. In Aug. 1957 he had sent TSE, whom he had met, a copy of Wordsworth’s A Guide through the District of the Lakes, illus. by John Piper and with an introduction by Merchant. See further Merchant, Fragments of a Life (1990): ‘Despite [Pound’s] tragic circumstances, the omens were good for my visits to him in Washington, for T. S. Eliot had briefed me carefully on the personal issues and the pattern of friendships which surrounded Pound in face of official animosity’ (147).

On Poetry and Poets, sent to EH, reception,
Pound, Ezra, within Hulme's circle, at The Egoist, indebted to Harriet Weaver, epistolary style, on President Lowell, TSE recites for Boston audience, distinguished from Joyce and Lawrence, TSE's reasons for disliking, attacks After Strange Gods, as correspondent, needs pacification, and TSE's possible visit to Rapallo, recommended to NEW editorial committee, anecdotalised by Jane Heap, of TSE and David Jones's generation, his strange gift to Joyce recalled, delicacies of his ego, Morley halves burden of, lacks religion, his letters from Italy censored, one of TSE's 'group', indicted for treason, TSE on his indictment, his legal situation, correspondence between TSE and Bernard Shaw concerning, visited by TSE in Washington, defended by TSE in Poetry, Osbert Sitwell on, his treatment in hospital protested, his insanity, TSE's BBC broadcast on, The Pisan Cantos, TSE writes introduction for, TSE chairs evening devoted to, further efforts on behalf of, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, The Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, 'The Seafarer',
see also Pounds, the

3.Ezra PoundPound, Ezra (1885–1972), American poet and critic: see Biographical Register.

Sacred Wood, The, EH discovers inscribed copy of,
Sunday Times, announces Murder production, awards TSE £1,000 Literary Prize,
travels, trips and plans, EH's 1930 trip to England, EH's proposed 1931 England visit, called off, EH's 1932 summer holidays, the Eliots' Derby Day excursion, related, the Eliots' July 1932 Hindhead visit, the Eliots' August 1932 Eastbourne holiday, described, TSE's 1932–3 year in America, Norton Professorship offered to TSE, and the prospect of reunion with EH, which TSE refuses to see as decisive, which angers EH, who writes and destroys a response, TSE's financial imperatives, TSE's itinerary, and the question of discretion, opportunity for adventurous lecture-tours, TSE speculates on attendant feelings, TSE on the voyage over, TSE reflects on, TSE's return from, the Eliot family's Randolph holiday, TSE's 1933 westward tour to Scripps, proposed to EH, and TSE's need to lecture, possibly via St. Louis, TSE's itinerary, possible stopover in Seattle, a shameful source of happiness, still a happy thought, described by Havens and others, TSE reflects on, TSE's return from, TSE wonders at after-effect on EH, EH urged to reflect honestly on, Ada on, and a conversation about divorce, in EH's recollection, possible EH 1933 summer in England, TSE's 1933 Faber summer holiday, set for mid-August, postponed, rearranged, TSE buys summer outfits for, described, TSE's 1933 tour of Scotland, possible itinerary, Morley's preparations for, described for EH, TSE's 1933 trip to Paris, mooted, described, EH's 1934–5 year in Europe, TSE delighted at the prospect, attempts to coordinate with TSE's 1934 summer plans, the Perkinses due in Chipping Camden, EH's itinerary, TSE's initial weekend at Chipping Campden, TSE books rooms in Lechlade, TSE visits Campden again with family, and again alone, which visit TSE reflects on, TSE's plans to entertain EH en route to Europe, EH's continental itinerary, VHE and propriety inhibit pre-Paris arrangements, L'Escargot lunch, weekend in Sussex for EH's birthday, possible London tea-party, second lunch at L'Escargot, EH and TSE's November excursions, a month which TSE reflects happily on, EH's summer 1935 plans, EH departs England, EH in Florence, arrived in Rome, TSE coordinating with EH's return, TSE recommends Siena, EH returns to Florence, EH sails for Riviera, EH returns from France, L'Escargot lunch on EH's return, EH sails for Guernsey, May 1935, EH's June 1935 London sortie, TSE attends Dr Perkins's birthday, TSE's July 1935 Campden week, TSE offers to fund EH in London, where EH joins Jeanie McPherrin, TSE's Campden birthday weekend, prospect of EH spending month at Blomfield Terrace, Thorp theatre outing, TSE's 6–8 September Campden weekend, EH staying at 19 Rosary Gardens, EH to Campden for 15–17 November, EH sails for Boston, EH and TSE's final farewell, TSE and EH's final weeks in London, their excursion to Finchampstead, TSE reflects on, excursion to Greenwich, EH reflects on the final weeks of, TSE's 1934 Faber summer holiday, described, TSE's dream of Cairo, TSE's invitation to Finland, palmed off on Robert Nichols, TSE's 1935 tour of Scotland, proposed by Blake, attempts to coordinate with EH, TSE's itinerary, TSE's 1935 Faber summer holiday, TSE writes from, described, TSE's 1936 visit to Ireland, TSE's itinerary, recounted, TSE's spring/summer 1936 trip to Paris, first contemplated, date fixed, Morleys invited, TSE's itinerary, recounted, TSE's 1936 Faber summer holiday, TSE writes from, TSE's 1936 American trip, spring arrival dependent on New York Murder, if not spring, then autumn, possible excursions, autumn better for seeing EH, and possible Princeton offer, and possible Smith visit, efforts to coordinate with EH, passage on Alaunia booked, TSE's itinerary, Murder to pay for, coordinating with Eliot Randolph holiday, the moment of parting from EH, TSE's birthday during, TSE reflects on, TSE's 1937 tour of Scotland, itinerary, recounted, the Morley–Eliot 1937 trip to Salzburg, contemplated, itinerary, EH receives postcard from, described, as relayed to OM, EH's 1937 summer in England, and Mrs Seaverns, EH accompanies TSE to Edinburgh, itinerary coordinated with EH, dinner at L'Escargot, TSE's 10–11 July Campden visit, TSE's 17–22 July Campden visit, TSE's 21 August Campden visit, EH travels to Yorkshire, TSE reminisces about, TSE's 1937 Faber summer holiday, TSE reports from, leaves TSE sunburnt, TSE's 1938 trip to Lisbon, outlined to EH, TSE advised on, travel arrangements, the voyage out, described, EH's 1938 summer in England, and whether EH should spend it at Campden, EH's arrival confirmed, TSE's July Campden visit, EH's late-July London stay, TSE's 5–21 August Campden fortnight, TSE's 3–6 September Campden visit, EH's September London stay, TSE reflects on, TSE's 1938 Faber summer holiday, TSE's preparations for, TSE reports from, possible EH England Christmas 1938 visit, possible TSE 1939 visit to America, mooted for spring, complicated by Marion and Dodo's trip, shifted to autumn, threatened by war, made impossible, EH's 1939 England visit, TSE's efforts to coordinate with, threatened by war, complicated by Marion's arrival, EH's itinerary, EH's initial London stay, TSE's 7–20 July Campden visit, TSE's 22–30 August Campden visit, TSE's 2–4 September Campden visit, EH again London, EH and TSE's parting moments, in TSE's memory, memory vitiated by EH's subsequent letter, TSE's 1939 Faber summer holiday, TSE writes from, possible wartime transatlantic crossings, contingencies, in case of EH being ill, TSE's reasons for and against, and TSE's New York proposition, following invasion Denmark and Norway, impossible for TSE unless official, TSE's desire to remain in England, TSE's reasons for and against accepting lectureship, given Ada's impending death, TSE's abortive 1940 Italian mission, possible but confidential, lectures prepared for, and the prospect of seeing EP, might include Paris, itinerary, in jeopardy, final preparations for, cancelled, TSE's 1940 visit to Dublin, approved by Foreign Office, in national interest, itinerary, recounted, involves TSE's first plane-journey, TSE's 1940 Faber summer holiday, TSE reports from, TSE's 1941 Faber summer holiday, Kipling and fishing-rod packed for, TSE reports from, TSE's 1941 Northern tour, proposed by the Christendom group, arranged with Demant, itinerary, recounted, TSE's 1942 British Council mission to Sweden, TSE makes cryptic allusion to, as recounted to EH, as recounted to JDH, return leg in London, as war-work, TSE's 1942 New Forest holiday, described, TSE's 1942 week in Scotland, recounted, TSE's abortive 1942 Iceland mission, TSE's 1943 trip to Edinburgh, recounted, TSE's abortive 1943 Iceland mission, TSE's 1943 New Forest holiday, TSE's 1944 trip to Edinburgh, TSE's abortive 1944 North Africa mission, TSE's May 1945 trip to Paris, described, TSE's June 1945 trip to Paris, recounted, possible post-war American visit, and Henry's impending death, ideally ancillary to work, possibly as F&F's representative, waits on TSE's health and Carlyle Mansions, TSE's 1945 September fortnight in Lee, described, TSE's 1945 Christmas in Lee, described, TSE's 1946 summer in America, date for passage fixed, paperwork for, TSE's itinerary, its aftermath, recounted, TSE's 1947 summer in America, dependent on lecture engagements, TSE seeks to bring forward, Henry's condition brings further forward, set for April, itinerary, EH reflects on, TSE's scheduled December 1947 visit to Marseilles and Rome, itinerary, TSE's preparations for, dreaded, Roman leg described by Roger Hinks, EH's hypothetical March 1948 visit to England, TSE's postponed 1948 trip to Aix, itinerary, recounted, home via Paris, TSE's 1948 trip to America, itinerary, TSE's visit to EH in Andover, disrupted by Nobel Prize, TSE's 1948 Nobel Prize visit to Stockholm, itinerary, recounted, TSE's 1949 family motor-tour of Scotland, described, TSE's October–November 1949 trip to Germany, possible itinerary, preparations for, final itinerary, TSE's account of, the return via Belgium, TSE's January 1950 voyage to South Africa, all but fixed, itinerary, described by TSE, recounted by Faber, EH's 1950 summer in England, TSE books EH's hotel room for, TSE's efforts to coordinate with EH's movements, EH in Campden, TSE reports to Aunt Edith on, TSE's 1950 visit to America, and TSE's possible Chicago post, the Chicago leg, November itinerary, TSE's spring 1951 trip to Spain, itinerary, recounted, TSE's September 1951 Geneva stay, itinerary, recounted, TSE's 1951 British Council mission to Paris, recounted, TSE's second 1951 British Council mission to Paris, recounted, TSE's 1952 visit to Rennes and the Riviera, itinerary, recounted, TSE's 1952 visit to America, itinerary, efforts to coordinate with EH's summer, TSE on meeting with EH, TSE's 1952 rest cure in Switzerland, TSE's 1953 visit to St. Louis and America, set for June, to include fortnight in Cambridge, itinerary, EH's 1953 trip to England, EH's Alnwick plans, TSE books hotel for EH, and EH's ticket to Confidential Clerk, TSE's 1953 visit to Geneva, TSE's 1953–4 trip to South Africa, itinerary, described, arrival described to JDH, GCF on, TSE's 1954 Geneva rest cure, Geneva preferred to Paris, TSE's deferred 1955 visit to Hamburg, prospect inspires reluctance in TSE, proposed for spring 1955, dreaded, TSE now returned from, TSE's 1955 visit to America, and contingent speaking engagements, foreshortened, itinerary, Washington described, TSE's return from, TSE's 1955 Geneva rest cure, TSE's 1956 visit to America, passage fixed for April, itinerary, TSE in the midst of, TSE reflects on, TSE's 1956 Geneva rest cure, itinerary, recounted, illness during, EH's 1957 visit to England, TSE and EVE invited to Campden, TSE reciprocates with London invitation, but EH leaves England abruptly, which TSE consults Eleanor Hinkley over, who duly explains, TSE and EVE's 1958 trip to America, as rumoured to EH, EH's 1959 tour of Scandinavia, funded by bequest from cousin, TSE and EVE's 1959 trip to America, TSE and EVE's 1963 trip to America,