[240 Crescent St., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
22 October 1936
My darling Girl,

I have been delayed a bit with this letter by a slight cold, a vexing interruption at a time when I was feeling especially well and with a great deal to do. ThereCheetham, Revd Ericon London colds;c4 have been many about, and I suppose that six weeks of purer air had weakened my resistance to the foul air of London – or such is Father Cheetham’s opinion, as he had the same experience, he says, on his return from Canada. Anyway, I felt miserable on Monday, but did not like to break my engagements unless it was necessary, and so went on through Tuesday, but yesterday felt too feverish to go out, and stopped in bed all day – also to-day until the middle of the afternoon, though I feel quite well again, and shall be out tomorrow. I shall however go to see my doctor presently about the inoculations. TheChurch Literature Associationbut illness prevents;a8 annoying part is missing the meeting at Oxford which I should have attended, both because it was important and because I wanted to make sure that my resignation as secretary was accepted. Nothing to worry about, and I don’t think I am any the weaker for it.

ISmith CollegeTSE's response to EH's initial response;b4 am glad to have your letter of the 12th with more news of your work, which I should think ought to become more and more interesting: and if the voices are bad, so much the more to be done for them – and so much less responsibility of yours if they never do become very good! I think your first impressions of discouragement at the apparent indifference and offhandedness of some of the girls may be mistaken: one’s first impressions are apt to be of a monotonous dead level, and after a time one becomes aware of the few more interesting and responsive, and that alters the whole pattern of things. IHills, the;a1 am very glad to hear of Mr and Mrs Hill, as beginning of new friends, and I am more than glad that you have made the acquaintance of the vicar and his wife. Don’t apologise for your letter as containing ‘silly things’, for they do not seem silly to me, and you know I want you to write exactly what you are feeling, about whatever is in your mind, at the moment of writing, and I am not to take any one letter too seriously, any more than you are to take any one of mine.

Everything that hurts or worries you at the moment you are to mention, even if you are not sure that you will not feel differently about them later; because I want to know you from day to day not as you think you ought to be but as you are at the moment. If you are anything like me, you will probably imagine yourself as a misfit for the first six months.

I want to know whether you sleep, and eat, (I was glad to hear that the food was good) and take a walk every day, or get some social diversion. As for the girls, you must remember that being outside of a house has its drawbacks, though I am very glad you are – I mean that it will make things a little slower, getting acquainted with any of them informally, than if you were living with them. ItScripps College, Claremont;f3 is also slower in a college so much bigger than Scripps, and with so much larger a faculty.

ItMurder in the Cathedral1937 Duchess Theatre West End transfer;e8announced in Times;a2 seems settled that ‘Murder’ is to be transferred to the Duchess Theatre – it was announced in The Times to-day.1

I am with you always, and in particular when you kneel in church; and you are with me at the same times, and now, and in the night.

My Emilie from her

I hope the Chestnut Hill anniversary was a happy & blessed one.

1.‘Mr T. S. Eliot’s verse drama, Murder in the Cathedral, in which Mr Robert Speaight has the part of Thomas à Becket [sic], is to be transferred from the Mercury to the Duchess Theatre a week to-morrow’ (The Times, 22 Oct. 1936, 14).

ReviewMurder in the Cathedral1937 Duchess Theatre West End transfer;e8reception;a4 in The Times, 31 Oct. 1936, 10: ‘By ordinary standards this is by no means an easy play. Its intellectual argument is extremely close; it throws us no sops to the unintelligent; its convention is unnaturalistic, and so, to most playgoers, unfamiliar; but it stands for those very reasons that might have seemed to imperil it, and perhaps because of its piety … The play has lost none of its freshness of attack, and what at first seemed examples of wilfully spectacular scansion and rhyming are not softened by time. Mr Robert Speaight, who sometimes became too slow during the long run at the Mercury, has regathered the spirit of his delivery, and his representation of Becket, particularly when he preaches, is full of persuasion and fire. Mr Norman Chidgey and Mr Martin Browne distinguish themselves among the Knights, and the Chorus, though not simple enough in the design of their dresses, have greatly added to their force and cohesion since the first performance in Canterbury. Whether the altar, with its electric candles, is a valuable addition may be doubted; it introduces a note of toy-like naturalism which conflicts with the play’s austerity of style.’

Cheetham, Revd Eric, TSE's rent to, as landlord at 9 Grenville Place, asks TSE to be churchwarden, to which TSE agrees, invited to Sweeney Agonistes, taken ill, offers prayers for EH's passage, his pageant for Mothers' Union, on London colds, given wine for Christmas, possible flatmate, pleased to welcome EH, advice in case of fire, unfolds tale of French holiday, and St. Stephen's wartime finances, remembers TSE's birthday, indifferent to rationing, during Blitz, paid to house TSE's books, starts lending library in tube, living in modern penthouse, TSE drafts testimonial letter for, hosts TSE in penthouse, his testimonial, requests TSE's presence for Bishop of London, by whom he is chastened, and Elvaston Place, exhausted by war, prevented from giving TSE customary birthday greeting, one of TSE's few intimates, TSE on, hounded by Time, and the Bishop of Tokyo, retires under doctor's orders, TSE's outgoing tribute and succession, apparently in Hong Kong, leaves affairs in a mess, insouciant letter to parishioners,

4.RevdCheetham, Revd Eric Eric Cheetham (1892–1957): vicar of St Stephen’s Church, Gloucester Road, London, 1929–56 – ‘a fine ecclesiastical showman’, as E. W. F. Tomlin dubbed him. TSE’s landlord and friend at presbytery-houses in S. Kensington, 1934–9. See Letters 7, 34–8.

Church Literature Association, Archbishop requested at annual meeting of, TSE reports on Book Committee to, 'The Christian in the Modern World', Book Committee meeting, Book Committee plot against Harris, comments on 'The Church and Marriage', resignation from Book Committee intended, but illness prevents,
Hills, the,
Murder in the Cathedral, idea for initially suggested by Laurence Irving, offered to Martin Browne, St. Thomas as TSE's muse, TSE on writing, tentatively, 'The Archbishop Murder Case', uncertainties over title, currently 'Fear in the Way', which proves unpopular, TSE on rewriting, title settled on, final revisions for printer, tentatively critiqued by EH, and EH on TSE as dramatist, chorus copied for EH, Virginia Woolf's aspersions on, the form of its choruses, defended from obscurity, did not test TSE's plotting, book-sales to-date, $1,000 offered for American rights, pays for 1936 American trip, Italian and Hungarian rights sold, and Whiggery, Savile Club dinner to celebrate, compared to next play, discrepancies of Canterbury Text, Martin Browne's initial response to, TSE recognised as author of, TSE on its cheerful title, EH on, abandoned Mercury Theatre premiere, suggested by Yeats and Doone, in the offing, and Doone's response to first draft, EH requested at, imperilled, text copied for Yeats, 1935 Canterbury Festival production, in rehearsal, opening night, reception, final performance, and EH's response, 1935–6 Mercury Theatre revival, Martin Browne pushing for, in rehearsal, which EH attends, compared to Canterbury original, at the box-office, its 100th performance, still running, proposed tour to end, 1936 BBC radio version, BBC bid to produce, broadcast fixed, BBC memo on, in rehearsal, TSE on, abortive 1936 New York transfer, Dukes visits America to arrange, blighted by Brace's actions, quashed by Federal Theatre production, its usurper founders, deferred to autumn, unsolicited 1936 New York production, licensed by Brace, to be directed by Rice, seemingly withdrawn, Rice resigns from, delights EH and Eleanor Hinkley, TSE sent press-cuttings for, EH reports on, TSE speculates as to textual discrepancies, attended by Eleanor Roosevelt, extended and potentially expanded, TSE to the Transcript on, may predispose immigration authorities favourably in future, royalties from, 1936 University College, Dublin student production, described by TSE, rumoured Australian and American productions, 1936 Gate Theatre touring production, TSE's long-held wish, scheduled, 1936 touring production, due at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, as it was played in Cambridge, 1936 America pirate production, 1937 Duchess Theatre West End transfer, date fixed for, announced in Times, dress-rehearsal attended, reception, reviewed, royalties, still playing, ticket sales pick up, coming to an end, receives royal visit, 1937 touring production, scheduled post-Duchess, beginning in Leeds, then Manchester, going strong, 1937 Harvard University production, 1937 Amherst College production, singled out for praise, 1937 Old Vic production, touring production arrived at, in rehearsal, 1937 Tewkesbury Drama Festival production, 1938 American tour, projected for January 1937, said date seconded by Dukes, deferred to September 1937, confirmed again by Dukes, pre-tour dates in Golders Green, then Liverpool, opening in Boston in January, over which EH is consulted, tour itinerary, Family Reunion keeps TSE from, preparatory re-rehearsal for, pre-crossing Liverpool dates, EH's judgement desired, EH reports on first night, reviewed in The Times, EH sends New York cuttings, prematurely transferred to New York, Dukes reports on, Westminster Cathedral Hall charity performance, 1940 Latham Mercury revival, revival suggested in rep with Family Reunion, wartime modern-dress production suggested, ambushes TSE, in rehearsal, first night, reviewed, Browne's wartime Pilgrim Players' adaptation, Hoellering film, Hoellering's initial approach made, Hoellering's vision for, TSE adapting for screen, reconnoitre of Canterbury for, casting Becket, recording made for, development process described to NYT, non-actor found for Becket, screenings of Groser, set-dressing, screening, approaching release, still in the edit, final screening, and Venice Film Festival, seeking distribution, soon to premiere, opens, initial reception, circulating in shortened version, 1945 Théâtre du Vieux Colombier production, compared to Martin Browne's, royalties, apparently a hit, reviewed, reaches 150 performances, Fluchère's involvement, 1946 German production, 1947 Edinburgh Festival production, 1948 Milton Academy production, 1949 broadcast, 1949 Berlin production, politically resonant, 1952 University of Rennes, Grand Théâtre abridgment, 1952 Théatre National Populaire production, 1953 Old Vic revival, waiting on Donat, TSE on, 1954 Harvard production,
Scripps College, Claremont, EH headhunted to teach at, but EH declines post, still a possibility, TSE on whether or not to accept post, which EH does, TSE hopes to visit EH at, sounds picturesque, EH expects suite at, EH reassured about feeling 'inadequate', EH arrives at, TSE asks for full report of, grows on EH, EH's all-arts theatrical workshop at, TSE's lecture at, TSE's desire to deliver EH from, TSE's visit to, its suspicious characters, its effect on EH despaired of, year's leave requested from, EH considers returning to, encouraged by TSE to return, despite TSE forswearing, refuses EH's return, EH on not returning, under Jaqua, EH's existence at, EH's extra-curricular work at, preferred to Smith, bequeathed EH's TSE book collection, compared to Concord Academy,
Smith College, TSE's speaking engagement at, which proves luxurious, EH considers matronship at, offers EH job, appoints EH assistant professor, in TSE's recollection, EH installed at, TSE's response to EH's initial response, EH unhappy with work at, reappoints EH, reappoints EH again for two years, compared to Scripps, EH encouraged to stick at, despite feeling unsettled, reappoints and promotes EH again, EH's employment insecurities at, EH considers leaving for war-work, appoints Hallie Flanagan, places staff under assessment, does not renew EH's contract, TSE reflects on EH's time at, EH visits, EH invites TSE to speak at, which TSE declines, EH approaches Marianne Moore for,