[240 Crescent St., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
4 May 1937
My dearest Girl,

I was very much distressed by getting your post card this morning (although at the same time diverted by noticing that the post card was marked ‘private’!) I do hope that it is merely a cold, because I have found that a cold is sometimes a God-send, as it gives one the opportunity when very tired to stop in bed and sleep and sleep. I hope that it is not really mumps (FaberFaber, Geoffreycomposes Alcaics from sickbed;f8 had them or it very badly, and spent his time writing me a masterly set of Latin verses in the manner of Horace)1 and I am thinking of sending you a reply paid cable in the morning. If it IS merely a cold, then it may give you just the rest you need before facing the end of term and examinations. ICriterion, TheJuly 1937;d4'Commentary';a1 have been tied up for the last few days in writing my Commentary, which always comes at an inconvenient time; and the weekend was not of very much use to me: because it was my Saturday morning at the office; andHayward, Johnwalked round Earl's Court;g7 I took John Hayward for a walk in the afternoon, the weather being fine (that is to say I wheeled him about Earls Court in his chair – I ought to have done this before, as I find he has no one to take him out now; and I may be able to do so again this Saturday, as I do not go away until Monday) andJennings, Richard;a3 dined with him and Richard Jennings in the evening; and Sunday was of course mostly taken up by parochial duties. I am all alone with Elizabeth, asCheetham, Revd Eric;c7 the vicar is taking his needed Easter holiday now – heHansell, William;a1 had to delay it for the funeral of Sir William Hansell,2 and he will be back just before I leave. Elizabeth is rather terrified at being in such a lonely place, without curates and church workers running in and out; so we have a double lock and an enormous bolt and a kind of grating on the door like a speakeasy so that she can peer out at visitors before she opens the door, and I am terrified of finding myself locked out one night. LastLiterary Society, Thecomical evening with;a3 night a dinner of the comical Old Buffers Literary Club. I was greeted on arrival by an unknown hearty old gentleman dressed in what was obviously the fashionable style of evening dress for gentlemen dining among themselves in 1888, with the words: ‘What! so you’ve just arrived, have you?’ I replied in the affirmative with a few words about the difficulties of traffic owing to the bus strike. He then began to grumble about the strike.3 IBinyon, Laurenceconverses discreetly on Greek tragedy;a2 shouldCecil, Algernon;a2 have liked to pursue this topic, as I am all in favour of the strikers, and he obviously was not, but the phantasmagoria shifted and the company was pushed into a different formation by an influx of more members, and I found myself jammed between Lawrence Binyon4 and Algernon Cecil. At this point there was a sort of Musical Chairs motion, and we all sat down where we could. It was a large and brilliant party of old buffers who must come because they think they are in literary society – the literary society being Binyon and myself, who discussed Greek tragedy in low tones. I go because I like to collect curios: butWood, Edward, 3rd Viscount Halifax (later 1st Earl of Halifax)at The Literary Society;a1 ICooper, (Alfred) Duff, 1st Viscount Norwichat The Literary Society;a3 can hardly believe that such a human curiosity animates busy cabinet ministers like Lord Halifax5 and Duff Cooper6 – why they go I cannot conceive. WhatHeadlam, Sir Cuthbert;a1 I wanted was to overhear the conversation of other people; but the only opportunity was when I heard a red-faced old man with bushy white eyebrows who looked as if his name was probably Sir Cuthbert Headlam K.C.M.G., K.C.S.I., K.C.V.O. say to someone ‘You see, I knew Mallarmé’. Dear dear. TeaWoolfs, theand TSE argue about honours;d1 to-day with the Woolfs, whom I had not seen since before Christmas. Argument about honours. We agreed that literary folk ought not to accept Government Honours (sheWalpole, Hughto be knighted;a3 says that Hugh Walpole is to have a knighthood!) but Virginia is opposed to their accepting University Honours as well, and naturally I didn’t agree about that. But it was all very friendly; andWoolf, Leonardamong his pets;a5 the marmoset cuddled under Leonard’s coat and the devoted spaniel lay on his lap, and we discussed the wickedness of authors and authors’ agents at the expense of the poor publisher.

I shall write again at or just before the weekend, and after that I am afraid there will be nothing but postcards and short scrawls for two weeks. As soon as I get back, I hope to go down to Campden for a weekend – but I shall have rather a rush – interfering again with the poor play – to get my speech for the Friends of Canterbury done.

My Love, I pray for your recovery, and if I may have a note in your own hand before I leave I shall be happy. Within seven weeks I shall see you!

to Emilie from her Tom

1.GeoffreyFaber, Geoffreycomposes Alcaics from sickbed;f8 Faber’s diary, Thurs, 8 Apr.: ‘Definitely mumps – & must have had it for past week, so to bed & stay there, writing mock alcaics for T.S.E. (subsequently published in Criterion over anagram of name Offa E. Freyberg).’ Geoffrey Faber to Frank Morley, from Wales (‘Friday’): ‘I can’t write – not now – I haven’t the energy, & the post is going. All my spare strength has gone into those Alcaics for TSE – now finished & being annotated. Very elaborate joke indeed’ (E6/48).

See ‘Poetae Cuiusdam Ignoti: Carmen Singulare’ [‘Unknown Poets: A Singular Song’], Criterion 16 (July 1937), 655–65.

2.WilliamHansell, William Hansell (1856–1937), barrister.

3.TheLondon Passenger Transport Boardorganises strike;a1n 30,000 bus workers employed by the London Passenger Transport Board went on strike on 1 May 1937, demanding a reduction of the working day from 8 hours to 7.5 hours. The GWU did not achieve its aim, and the strikers went back to work after four weeks.

4.LaurenceBinyon, Laurence Binyon, CH (1869–1943), Keeper of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 1932–3; translator of Dante. In 1933 he succeeded TSE as Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard. John Hatcher, Laurence Binyon: Poet, Scholar of East and West (1995).

5.EdwardWood, Edward, 3rd Viscount Halifax (later 1st Earl of Halifax) Wood, 3rd Viscount and later 1st Earl of Halifax (1881–1959), distinguished Conservative politician; Viceroy of India, 1926–31; Foreign Secretary, 1938–40; British Ambassador in Washington, 1941–6. See Andrew Roberts, The Holy Fox: The Life of Lord Halifax (1991, 2019).

6.AlfredCooper, (Alfred) Duff, 1st Viscount Norwich Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich of Aldwick (1890–1954), since 1937, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Binyon, Laurence, living TSE's dream in Cairo, converses discreetly on Greek tragedy, commemorated at poetry reading,

4.LaurenceBinyon, Laurence Binyon, CH (1869–1943), Keeper of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 1932–3; translator of Dante. In 1933 he succeeded TSE as Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard. John Hatcher, Laurence Binyon: Poet, Scholar of East and West (1995).

Cecil, Algernon,

2.AlgernonCecil, Algernon Cecil (1879–1953), barrister, author and historian.

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.

Cooper, (Alfred) Duff, 1st Viscount Norwich, gets TSE's bye-election vote, and Lady Haig, at The Literary Society, his resignation, his resignation, for which TSE congratulates him, and wife at Meurtre gala,

6.AlfredCooper, (Alfred) Duff, 1st Viscount Norwich Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich of Aldwick (1890–1954), since 1937, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Criterion, The, its monthly meetings fatigue TSE, introduced TSE to Whibley, arrangements in TSE's absence, first contributors' meeting since Monro's death, 1932 contributors' gathering, first contributors' gathering of 1934, Russell Square gathering for, particularly heavy gathering, its gatherings dreaded, to be wound up, reflections on ending, shut up against contributions, lamented even in Brno, letters of condolence, reading poetry submissions for, July 1931, 'Commentary', April 1932, laborious 'Commentary', July 1932, 'Commentary', October 1932, 'Commentary', October 1933, 'Commentary' on Irving Babbitt, prepared on holiday, July 1934, 'Commentary', January 1935, TSE ordering, October 1935, 'Commentary', 'Commentary', which TSE regrets as too personal, July 1936, possibilities for 'Commentary', October 1936, being made up, being finalised, to be ordered, January 1937, prepared in August 1936, April 1937, 'Commentary', July 1937, 'Commentary', January 1938, 'Commentary' on Nuffield endowments, which is sparsely well received, April 1938, 'Commentary', July 1938, 'Commentary', January 1939, to be final issue, 'Last Words',
Faber, Geoffrey, made TSE's literary executor, described for EH, as friend, overawed by Joyce, recounts the Eliots' dinner-party, discusses international situation with TSE, his annual effort to diet, introduced to TSE by Whibley, favours TSE taking Norton Professorship, suggests garden-party for TSE, mislays key to Hale correspondence, writes to TSE about separation, which he helps TSE over, blesses Scotland tour with whisky, victim of Holmesian prank, favours 'The Archbishop Murder Case', Times articles on Newman, Russell Square proclaims his gentlemanly standards, forgives TSE and Morley's prank, as tennis-player, champion of Haig biography, social insecurities, and the Faber family fortune, advertises 'Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats', at lavish lunch for Dukes, relieved that 'Work in Progress' progresses, and JDH, needs persuading over Nightwood, on Edward VIII's abdication, Old Buffer's Dinner for, wins at Monopoly, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, thrilled by complimentary tickets, The Family Reunion described to, in line to read Family Reunion, has mumps, composes Alcaics from sickbed, at TSE and JDH's dinner, shares EH's Family Reunion criticism, on TSE's dinner-party bearing, discusses F&F's wartime plans, on meeting Ralph Hodgson, asks TSE to stay on during war, takes TSE to Oxford, argues with Major-General Swinton, and Purchase Tax exertions, and Literary Society membership, TSE's wartime intimacy with, drops teeth on beach, offers criticisms of 'Rudyard Kipling', falsely promised Literary Society membership, but eventually elected, helps revise TSE's Classical Association address, reports to Conversative Education Committee, deputed to America on publishing business, returned from America, Ada too ill to see, discusses National Service on BBC, depended on for breakfast, as fire-watching companion, and TSE rearrange attic at 23 Russell Square, recommends blind masseuse to TSE, in nursing home, and the Spender–Campbell spat, on TSE's Order of Merit, approached for essay on TSE, seeks to protect TSE's serenity, as Captain Kidd, wins fancy-dress prize, TSE's trip to Spain with, and National Book League, receives knighthood, on TSE's paroxysmal tachycardia, dies, his death,
see also Fabers, the

11.GeoffreyFaber, Geoffrey Faber (1889–1961), publisher and poet: see Biographical Register.

Hansell, William,

2.WilliamHansell, William Hansell (1856–1937), barrister.

Hayward, John, in TSE's thumbnail description, his condition and character, what TSE represents to, VHE complains about TSE to, TSE's new chess-playing neighbour, meets EH over tea, hosts TSE, GCF and de la Mare, on EH, on EH (to TSE), gives TSE cigars for Christmas, calls EH TSE's 'sister', and the Dobrées on Boxing Day, and TSE play a prank on guests, backstage at The Times, taken for walk, on Jenny de Margerie, Empson, TSE and Sansoms call on, evening with Spender, Jennings and, exchanges Christmas presents with TSE, exchanges rare books with TSE, sends luxuries to convalescent TSE, TSE's only regular acquaintance, dines with TSE and Camerons, lent Williams's Cranmer, accompanied to the Fabers' party, hosts discussion about Parisian Murder, inspects French translation of Murder, and TSE's Old Buffers' Dinner, gives TSE bath-mitts, given wine for Christmas, one of TSE's dependents, at Savile Club Murder dinner, Empson takes TSE on to see, possible housemate, in second line of play-readers, walked round Earl's Court, and Bradfield Greek play, and TSE drive to Tandys, and TSE give another party, corrects TSE's Anabase translation, watches television with TSE, Christmas Day with, introduced to Djuna Barnes, meets Christina Morley, walk round Brompton Cemetery with, Hyde Park excursion with, moving house, at his birthday-party, honoured at F&F, displaced to the Rothschilds, where TSE visits him, among TSE's closest friends, his conversation missed, the prospect of Christmas without, excursions to Cambridge to visit, 'my best critic', gives TSE American toilet-paper, helps TSE finish Little Gidding, possible post-war housemate, protector of TSE's literary remains, foreseeably at Merton Hall, discusses plays with TSE, flat-hunting with, and Carlyle Mansions, his furniture, installed at Carlyle Mansions, further handicapped without telephone, undermines TSE's aura of poetic facility, irritates except in small doses, helps with adjustment of TSE's OM medal, at the Brighton Cocktail Party, hounded by Time, quid pro quo with TSE, arranges first-night party for Cocktail Party, arranges Confidential Clerk cast dinner, and TSE's Selected Prose, and TSE entertained by Yehudi Menuhin,

11.JohnHayward, John Davy Hayward (1905–65), editor and critic: see Biographical Register.

Headlam, Sir Cuthbert,
Jennings, Richard, described for EH,

5.RichardJennings, Richard Jennings (1881–1952), leader writer and literary editor of the Daily Mirror; noted bibliophile. He lived at 8 The Grove, London S.W.5; later at 8 The Little Boltons, S.W.10.

Literary Society, The, TSE's reasons for joining, comical evening with, TSE's efforts to elect GCF to, finally admits GCF,
London Passenger Transport Board, organises strike, which TSE approves on spiritual grounds,
Walpole, Hugh, in thumbnail, to be knighted, qua toaster, failed by his Times obituary, his memorial service, Times obituary protested by TSE,

7.NovelistWalpole, Hugh, man of letters, bibliophile and generous patron, Sir Hugh Walpole (1884–1941) became first chairman of the selection committee of the Book Society and of the Society of Bookmen. His novels include The Cathedral (1922) and the Herries saga (1930–3).

Wood, Edward, 3rd Viscount Halifax (later 1st Earl of Halifax), at The Literary Society, 'wooden', rumoured to be pro-German, his position post-Anschluss, subtler than Churchill, references The Waste Land,

5.EdwardWood, Edward, 3rd Viscount Halifax (later 1st Earl of Halifax) Wood, 3rd Viscount and later 1st Earl of Halifax (1881–1959), distinguished Conservative politician; Viceroy of India, 1926–31; Foreign Secretary, 1938–40; British Ambassador in Washington, 1941–6. See Andrew Roberts, The Holy Fox: The Life of Lord Halifax (1991, 2019).

Woolf, Leonard, TSE's confidant in matters of mental health, and Keynes discuss Abyssinia, intimate with Labour Party divisions, described by EH, among his pets, shows TSE rings of Saturn, TSE promises article for Political Quarterly, TSE sends letter of condolence, invites TSE to Rodmell alone, at Rodmell alone,
see also Woolfs, the

13.LeonardWoolf, Leonard Woolf (1880–1969), writer and publisher; husband of Virginia Woolf: see Biographical Register.

Woolfs, the, at Clive Bell's for lunch, TSE's dearest London friends, company compared to that of Christians, host TSE and Elizabeth Bowen to tea, Rodmell described, closer to TSE than to VHE, visited on TSE's 1933 return, refreshingly childless, amazed by TSE's appearance, and Tomlin dine with TSE, Keynes and TSE dine with, TSE's Bloomsbury weekend with, described in their Tavistock Square domain, have TSE for tea, TSE dines with, and TSE argue about honours, compared to the de la Mares, host TSE for weekend, abandon London for Sussex, where they invite TSE, TSE's Sussex stay with, on their return from Sussex, host TSE, give dinner without mentioning war, TSE plans to visit in Sussex, 52 Tavistock Square bombed,