[41 Brimmer St., Boston]

T. S.Eliot
Faber & Faber Ltd
12 April 1932
Dear Lady,

I am hoping to have this week some fuller record of your activities and thoughts than has come for some weeks: are you embarked on some new dramatic engagement, I wonder, and does the spring come so slowly and frigidly up Boston way as it does here. Aprilspringthe cruelties of April;a4 is an unkind month, but perhaps May nowadays is still unkinder: I always find the first burst of spring, andautumndisturbs;a2 the last glory of autumn, the two moments most troubling to my equilibrium and the most reviving of memories one must subdue. The first sweet smells of spring and the last autumn smokes and damp leaves and earth arouse feelings which summer and winter leave undisturbed. Most of the time one works away like a mole, or a seaman on a submarine – or half a dozen similes of the sort. One cannot help coming to the surface at times with a realisation of how intense life can be – or how it was – or how it might have been.1 MoreChristianitymysticism and transcendence;c3;a3 rarely still, with quite a different, or rather quite another feeling: that of fulfilling a part, however small, in some purpose or design so large that it can only rarely be grasped, and of transcending oneself in a satisfaction which gives reconciliation. ThatChristianityvirtues heavenly and capital;e1charity, towards others;a3 is what one is really aiming at, perhaps, in the incessant small, and often very tedious and unsatisfactory efforts, to satisfy oneself through helping the lives of others – sometimes, oddly, an especial satisfaction when the others are people not intimately in one’s life at all, the merest strangers. OneChristianityvirtues heavenly and capital;e1faith;b2 goes on through necessity, through habit, but also through faith; without any immediate expectations. ButChristianityresignation, reconciliation, peace;c8'peace that passeth all understanding';a3 I do always feel convinced that every moment matters, and that one is always following a curve either up or down; that the gradual development upward, slow as it is and imperceptible, is what matters, and that the goal is something which cannot be measured at all in terms of ‘happiness’ – whatever ‘the peace that passeth understanding’2 is, it is nothing like ‘happiness’, which will fade into invisibility beside it; so that happiness or unhappiness does not matter. One would not avoid happiness, certainly – and those who have it deserve it – and it would sound presumptuous to say that ‘happiness is for those who have no destiny’ – and certainly wrong if one presumed to form a notion of what one’s ‘destiny’ is.

au jour la journée –

1.‘April is the cruellest month […] mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain. / Winter kept us warm, covering / Earth in forgetful snow’ (‘The Burial of the Dead’, The Waste Land, 1). Cf. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse: ‘to be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being onself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. […] Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and this is what you see us by.’

2.‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4: 7). TSE’s original note to the final line of The Waste Land, ‘Shantih Shantih Shantih’ (a Sanskrit term), reads: ‘Shantih. Repeated as here, a formal ending to an Upanishad. “The Peace which passeth understanding” is our feeble equivalent to this word.’ In later appearances of the poem he dropped the epithet ‘feeble’.

autumn, quickens, disturbs, irritates, at Pike's Farm, in Kensington versus Massachusetts, at Shamley,
Christianity, and human isolation, and modern economics, Ada on TSE's personal piety, scheme for 'Pro Fide' bookshop, among the Eliot family, and beauty, its sects like different clubs, Anglo-Catholicism, TSE's conversion to, which he dates to Eccleston Square meeting, Anglican Missal sought for EH, but unfortunately out of print, discussed at Boston Theological School, and the Petrine Claims, apostolic succession, over Roman Catholicism, as refuge from VHE, and the Reformation, asceticism, discipline, rigour, the necessity for, and TSE's daily exhortation, making and breaking habits, mastering emotions and passions, as salubrious, only remedy for a prurient culture, confession and communion, more possible during Harvard year, the case for unattainable ideals, in time of war, gets TSE up before 7 o'clock, hereditary with TSE, belief, and good poetry, faced with Second World War, and conversion, antidote to TSE's skepticism, Christendom, TSE ponders the decline of, TSE on his prominence within, its ruin, the Church Visible and Invisible, and TSE's war work, the Malabar Church, prospect of total reunion within, confession, helps to objectify sin, more dreaded than dentist, harder in the morning, death and afterlife, the struggle to prepare for, consoles TSE in life, and cremation, Requiem Mass, gives meaning to life, and what makes a desirable burial place, the nature of eternal life, divorce, unrecognised by Anglo-Catholic Church, which TSE regrets, in church law, would separate TSE from Church, evil, TSE's belief in, and moral percipience, guilt, and the New England conscience, hell, TSE's 1910 vision of, and damnation, according to TSE, liturgy, TSE's weekly minimum, Mass of the Pre-sanctified, Requiem Mass versus Mass of Good Friday, and whether to serve at Mass, Imposition of Ashes, at Christmas, High Mass over Mattins, aversion to Low Church Mattins, Roman service in Wayland, Tenebrae, in country parish church, as guest at Kelham, remarkable sermon, over Christmas, Tenebrae and Family Reunion, during Holy Week, Mass of Charles King and Martyr, love, loving one's neighbour, marriage, TSE's need for privacy within, mysticism and transcendence, interpenetration of souls, intimations of life's 'pattern', 'doubleness', arrived at through reconciliation, orthodoxy, only remedy for contemporary culture, and pagans, sets TSE at odds with modernity, necessarily trinitarian, 'Christian' defined, iniquities of liberal theology, and creed, authority, Transubstantiation, TSE disclaims 'self-centredness' in maintaining, politics, the Church and social change, how denomination maps onto, need for working-class priests, church leaders against totalitarianism and Nazism, Christianity versus Fascism and Communism, Papal Encyclical against Nazi Germany, the 'Dividend morality', Presbyterianism, TSE quips on the meanness of, Quakerism, resignation, reconciliation, peace, TSE's love allows for, 'peace that passeth all understanding', the struggle to maintain, following separation from VHE, retreat and solitude, EH at Senexet, the need for, a need increasing with age, and TSE's mother, Roman Catholicism, TSE's counter-factual denomination, Rome, sacraments, Holy Communion, marriage, sainthood, TSE's idea of, the paradoxes of, susceptible of different sins, sins, vices, faults, how to invigilate, the sense of sin, the sinner's condition, bound up with the virtues, as a way to virtue, TSE's self-appraisal, when humility shades into, when unselfishness shades into, among saints, proportionate to spiritual progress, daydreaming, despair, lust, pride, perfection-seeking pride, spiritual progress and direction, TSE's crisis of 1910–11, EH's crisis, versus automatism, TSE's sense of, towards self-knowledge, in EH's case, as personal regeneration, temptation, to action/busyness, the Church Year, Advent, Christmas, dreaded, happily over, TSE rebuked for bah-humbugging, church trumps family during, season of irreligion, thoughts of EH during, unsettling, fatiguing, in wartime, Easter preferred to, Ash Wednesday, Lent, season for meditation and reading, prompts thoughts of EH, Lady Day, Holy Week, its intensity, arduous, preserved from public engagements, exhausting but refreshing, excitingly austere, Easter, better observed than Christmas, missed through illness, Unitarianism, the Eliots' as against EH's, the prospect of spiritual revival within, as personified by TSE's grandfather, regards the Bible as literature, as against Catholicism, divides EH from TSE, and whether Jesus believed himself divine, according to Dr Perkins, in England as against America, over-dependent on preachers' personality, TSE's wish that EH convert from, outside TSE's definition of 'Christian', the issue of communion, baptism, impossibly various, virtues heavenly and capital, bound up with the vices, better reached by way of sin, charity, towards others, in Bubu, TSE's intentness on, delusions of, as against tolerance, chastity, celibacy, beneath humility, TSE lacks vocation for, faith, and doubt, hope, a duty, TSE's struggle for, humility, distinguished from humiliation, comes as relief, greatest of the virtues, propinquitous to humour, not an Eliot virtue, opposed to timidity, danger of pride in, is endless, TSE criticised for overdoing, theatre a lesson in, most difficult of the virtues, possessed by EH, possessed by EH to a fault, TSE compares himself to EH in, the paradox of, distinguished from inferiority, self-discovery teaches, possessed by Dr Perkins, patience, recommended to EH, its foundations, possessed by Uncle John, purity, distinguished from purification, temperance, with alcohol, beneath humility,
spring, tormenting, bittersweet, unsettles, the cruelties of April, troubles, ennervates, irritates, weakens, languorous, at Shamley, in wartime, melancholy,