[41 Brimmer St., Boston]

T. S.Eliot
Faber & Faber Ltd
1 December 1930
St. Andrew the Apostle.
Dear Emily,

Your letter, more wonderful and precious even than the previous, arrived on Friday – the very first day, by my computation, on which it could have come if you had answered at once. So it was a surprise, although my mind was full of it. O dear, there is so much to say in answer to it, that I must reply in two instalments; but I wanted to write at once if only to say how happy I am. Of course I was apprehensive and frightened after writing, because I feared after all that my letter might make you turn from me – yet I felt that I had to tell you what I did. And when one is accustomed, as I am, to gauging always the extent to which one can trust each person, it is terrifying, for the first time at the age of forty-two, suddenly to find that one trusts one person absolutely. I have been, indeed, for the last six weeks, in a kind of high emotional fever; but I think that now I can begin to calm down and fit this new experience into my daily life. I am distressed that my words should have bruised the wings of my dove;1 but ecstatically happy with so marvellous a response. You cannot persuade me that I overrate you in any respect, when your letters only convince me that you are finer still!

It is strange to find happiness and pain so involved with each other and almost identical. Your letter must have been as painful to write as pitiful to read. I shall write about it in more detail: I am grateful for your candour, and all that you have suffered makes me feel more closely bound to you. At least, you have nothing whatever to blame yourself for; and you have succeeded grandly in making a find [sc. fine] and useful life in the greatest difficulties. I am very proud of you, if I may say so without impertinence. I wish I had more time, but I will write again in a few days.

T. S. Eliot

1.‘Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest’ (Psalm 55: 5–6). Cf. too Henry James’s novel The Wings of a Dove (1902).