[22 Paradise Rd., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
28 January 1938

I have had such a busy week that it seems longer ago than Tuesday that I wrote to you. IFabers, thetake TSE to pantomime again;e2 wasGerard Hopkinses, the;a2Hopkins, GerardGerard Hopkinses, theHopkins, MabelGerard Hopkinses, the rather tired on Tuesday, after my exertions at lunch and dinner on Monday, butLycaeum Theatre, LondonBeauty and the Beast;a1 had to go to Beauty and the Beast1 with the Jerrihoppers2 and the Fabers. WhetherHopkins, Mabel;a1 it was fatigue, or eating dinner rather rapidly as the pantomime began at 7.30, or as I think (I say as I think because Faber I found had suffered in somewhat the same way) something wrong in Mable [sic] Jerrihopper’s very delectable food, I was tormented during the following night or rather early in the morning with something like ptomaine poisoning – anyway my body worked very hard for some hours to expel the poison in every way known to it; andHutchinsons, the;b7 that again left me feeling not very fit to dine at the Hutchinsons after the Wednesday book committee, but that passed off very well and I was carefully abstemious, andMacCarthy, Desmondat the Hutchinsons;a4 Desmond Mac Carthy was in very good form – JackHutchinson, St. Johnlooking ill;a6 Hutchinson, I thought looking jaded and ill – IvorSpencer-Churchill, Lord Ivorat the Hutchinsons;a1 Churchill (that’s the younger son of Madame Balsan) not contributing much, but I never really took to him.3 AndMonro, Alida (née Klementaski)regales TSE with Irish escapades;c3 last night dined quietly with Alida Monro, though that was something of a social effort too – but she gave a very amusing account of a motor tour last summer in Ireland, where, according to her, the natives usually, but unfortunately not always, drive on the wrong side of the road, though occasionally two cars both on the wrong side of the road manage to collide. The panto was a very good one indeed, and I was cheered to find so much of the tradition surviving, because the panto I went to with the Fabers and Morleys a year ago was a very degenerate affair indeed. There was even a harlequinade afterwards, though that was hardly more than vestigial; but the humourous scenes were good, and the scenery not unpleasing.

ThereMacCarthy, Desmondrates Westminster Theatre Volpone;a5 areWestminster Theatre, The, Londonpresents Volpone;a4 twoJonson, BenVolpone;a1 plays I want to see while they are on: a production of ‘Volpone’ which Desmond thinks quite good,4 andChekhov, AntonThree Sisters;a6 oneChekhov, Antonas master;a3 of ‘The Three Sisters’ which I have never seen, and I do admire Tchehov and think there is something to be learned from him.5

OfOckenden, Revd Albion C.whose conversion he encourages;a3 course I do not know anything about your Mr. Ockenden. He may be a wise man, but priests, when zealous for converts – as they should be – do not always realise that the preparation of an adult should be a very different matter from the preparation of young people who have been brought up in the Faith. (I mean Anglican priests, because I imagine that this is more cut and dried, and the preparation as a rule more thorough, in the Roman communion). The preparation of adults should I think be much slower, and the persons involved should be examined for evidence that they know exactly what they are doing – a person who has been converted and relapses is in worse case than one who has never been converted at all – and that they realise that what they are taking is a very big step, the most important decision of their lives, and not merely an affirmation of something they have believed already. A convert should realise what conversion is, and has a greater responsibility than others to know what he does believe, and as much as possible about his Church and its history. (I speak from experience, because I see now that my priest and the examining bishop who confirmed me both assumed my qualifications a little too readily. I should have been kept waiting longer). And any priest who minimises, instead of emphasising, the difference between what you believe at this stage and what the Church maintains, would be acting wrongly. Mr. Ockenden may have behaved most wisely and correctly, and I have no reason to suppose that he did not – I am generalising. But I am sure that you were right to hold back. (Incidentally, I should like to know what his ‘confirmation class’ consists of, because I think that the preparation of intelligent and more or less educated adults should be as far as possible individual – a ‘class’ gives a little too much the atmosphere of merely passing an examination at a school or college). – On the other hand, I do think that his interest does, if I may say so, give you a greater responsibility to examine yourself and find out as clearly as possible what you do believe and what you don’t.

NowBrowne, Elliott Martin1939 production of The Family Reunion;c1typescript prepared for;a8 I must get on with another stretch of typing out my fair copy, before lunch. I am anxious to get it off to Martin as soon as possible.

Your loving

1.Beauty and the Beast, at the Lyceum Theatre – starring Anne Leslie as Beauty and Jill Esmond as Prince Hal – was written and produced by Frederick Melville, with music by Conrad Leonard.

2.Gerard and Mabel Hopkins.

3.LordSpencer-Churchill, Lord Ivor Ivor Spencer-Churchill (1898–1956), younger son of the 9th Duke of Marlborough and his first wife, the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. (It was a loveless match arranged by her mother, and it ended in divorce.) Consuelo Vanderbilt’s second husband was Lt. Col. Jacques Balsan, a pioneering French pilot. Ivor Churchill became a collector of art.

4.MichaelWestminster Theatre, The, Londonpresents Volpone;a4 Macowan’s production, at the Westminster Theatre, 25 Jan.–19 Feb., starred Donald Wolfit as Volpone.

5.TSE went with Mary Hutchinson to see Three Sisters on 22 Feb. 1938.

TSESaint-Denis, Michelhis Three Sisters;a5 and Michel St-Denis (London Theatre Studio) exchanged letters in Mar. 1938. TSE’s letter – it was presumably a fan letter about The Three Sisters – has not been traced, but St-Denis responded, 16 Mar.: ‘I am late to tell you the great pleasure I have had in receiving your letter. Your appreciation means much to me and I feel encouraged to go the way I want to go, which is to form a permanent company of actors, supported by my studio.’ Later, at the behest of Alliance Française, TSE wrote this untitled tribute, 21 Dec. 1953: ‘I cannot speak of Michel St Denis as one man of the theatre of another, or, what is more important from the profitable experience of being associated with him in any production. It is only as a member of the theatre-loving public that I can pay my homage: having seen some of his London productions (his production of Tchehov’s The Three Sisters was an unforgettable experience – my only experience, I think, of weeping visibly in a theatre) and knowing indirectly but by reliable report, of the work he did for the Old Vic and for the training of its young actors. His mere presence in London was an encouragement: it gave one the feeling that at any moment something important and memorable might happen on the London stage. When he left us, he was mourned not only by all those who had experienced the charm of his personality in social intercourse, but by a great many people unknown to him, who were aware of his very great influence and contribution to the vitality of the English Theatre.’

Browne, Elliott Martin, meets TSE at Chichester, production of The Rock, meets TSE over possible collaboration, talks over outline of play, meets TSE with Martin Shaw, delighted with Rock choruses, discusses unwritten pageant scenes with TSE, predicament as The Rock's director, well connected in amateur circles, revising into the night with TSE, argues with Shaw at dress-rehearsal, presented to Prince Arthur, honoured by Rock cast-supper, producing Gordon Bottomley's play, speaks at Londonderry House with TSE, 1935 Canterbury Murder in the Cathedral, approached by TSE to 'produce', consulted throughout composition, goes silent, lunches with TSE and Speaight, directs and acts despite illness, pursues London Murder revival, 1935–6 Mercury Theatre Murder revival, engaged as producer by Dukes, keen that EH attend rehearsals, simultaneously part of BBC production, agrees about Speaight's decline, preferred as producer for TSE's next play, and Charles Williams's Cranmer, in which he plays 'the Skeleton', and TSE attend Tenebrae, taken to Cambridge after-feast, producing York Nativity Play, which TSE thinks Giottoesque, at Savile Club Murder dinner, producing Shakespeare's Dream, and Ascent of F6, and Tewkesbury Festival Murder confusion, 1939 production of The Family Reunion, due to be sent script, weighing TSE's proposal that he produce, enthused by script, suggests TSE see Mourning Becomes Electra, against Family Reunion as title, pleased with draft, quizzed on fire-safety, typescript prepared for, new draft submitted to, rewrite waits on, receives new draft, criticisms thereof, reports John Gielgud interest, mediates between Gielgud and TSE, TSE throws over Gielgud for, secures Westminster Theatre production, steps into company breach, then into still-greater breach, and the play's weaknesses, direction of Family Reunion, receives TSE's Shakespeare lectures, 1938 American Murder tour, re-rehearsing actors for, suffers fit of pre-tour gloom, yet to report from Boston, and Tewkesbury pageant, accompanies TSE to La Mandragola, on Family Reunion's future prospects, and possible Orson Welles interest, war leaves at loose end, advises TSE over next play, war work with Pilgrim Players, unavailable for modern-dress Murder, compared to tempter/knight successor, requests Pilgrim Players' play from TSE, New Plays by Poets series, as director, and This Way to the Tomb, and Family Reunion revival, urges TSE to concentrate on theatre, 1946 Mercury Family Reunion revival, in rehearsal, possible revue for Mercury Theatre, and The Lady's Not for Burning, Chairman of the Drama League, 1949 Edinburgh Cocktail Party, to produce, TSE's intended first reader for, receives beginning, approves first act, receives TSE's revisions, communciates Alec Guinness's enthusiasm, arranges reading, surpasses himself with production, in Florence, EH suggests moving on from, and the Poets' Theatre Guild, 1950 Cocktail Party New York transfer, compares Rex Harrison and Alec Guinness, TSE debates whether to continue collaboration with, suggests three-play TSE repertory, 1953 Edinburgh Confidential Clerk, receives first two acts, designing sets, 1953 Lyric Theatre Confidential Clerk, attends with TSE, 1954 American Confidential Clerk, 1954 touring Confidential Clerk, TSE and Martin Browne catch in Golders Green, seeks Family Reunion MS from EH,

4.E. MartinBrowne, Elliott Martin Browne (1900–80), English director and producer, was to direct the first production of Murder in the Cathedral: see Biographical Register.

Chekhov, Anton, at the Old Vic, his distinguishing excellence, as master, supreme modern playwright, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya,
Fabers, the, model of happiness and respectability, their domestic situation, Faber children to tea chez Eliot, visit TSE at Pike's Farm, compared to the Morleys, closer to TSE than to VHE, 1933 summer holiday with, Ty Glyn Aeron described, request TSE to write play, too absorbed in their children, at the Morleys' party, give anti-Nazi party for author, host poker party, 1934 summer holiday with, take TSE to lunch in Oxford, 1935 summer holiday with, for which the children are bought tent, give party, 1936 summer holiday with, at Morleys' Thanksgiving Day party, sail model boats with TSE, and TSE's foggy adventure, cinema-going with TSE, take TSE to Witch of Edmonton, and Morleys take TSE to pantomime, and TSE attend opening of Ascent of F6, 1937 summer holiday with, and the Bradfield Greek play, School for Scandal with, take TSE to pantomime again, 1938 summer holiday with, 1939 summer holiday with, offer possible wartime refuge, 1940 summer holiday with, host TSE in Hampstead during war, TSE makes bread sauce for, brought vegetables from Shamley, move to Minsted, and TSE attend musical revue, 1941 summer holiday with, Minsted as substitute for nursing-home, trying to sell Welsh home, take TSE to International Squadron, invite TSE to Wales for Christmas, host TSE at Minsted, away fishing in Scotland, mourn TSE's post-war independence, 1947 Minsted summer stay, 1948 Minsted summer stay, host TSE for weekend, on 1950 South Africa trip, on TSE's 1951 Spain trip, 1951 Minsted summer stay, 1952 Minsted summer stay, 1953 Minsted summer stay, on 1953–4 South Africa trip, 35th wedding anniversary weekend,
Gerard Hopkinses, the,
Hopkins, Mabel,
Hutchinson, St. John, cordial with TSE, urged by VHE to approach police, helps TSE over separation settlement, made KC, abducts TSE for tea, looking ill, removed to Cambridge post-stroke, recovering from stroke, dies,
Hutchinsons, the, dine chez Eliot, questioned by VHE as to TSE's whereabouts, dine in company with TSE, give TSE Bath Olivers, as friends,
Jonson, Ben, Volpone,
Lycaeum Theatre, London, Beauty and the Beast,
MacCarthy, Desmond, on Doone's Sweeney Agonistes, at TSE and JDH's dinner, which he thanks them for, at the Hutchinsons, rates Westminster Theatre Volpone, criticises Family Reunion, criticisms which TSE deflects, reviews East Coker, reviews The Dry Salvages, praises Little Gidding, mistaken for electrician, dislikes What is a Classic?,
see also MacCarthys, the

1.DesmondMacCarthy, Desmond MacCarthy (1877–1952), literary and dramatic critic, was intimately associated with the Bloomsbury Group. Literary editor of the New Statesman, 1920–7; editor of Life and Letters, 1928–33; he moved in 1928 to the Sunday Times, where he was the chief reviewer for many years. See Desmond MacCarthy: The Man and His Writings (1984); Hugh and Mirabel Cecil, Clever Hearts: Desmond and Molly MacCarthy: A Biography (1990).

Monro, Alida (née Klementaski), deputises for husband at Poetry Bookshop, reads at the Eliots' party, TSE worries for, and the Poetry Bookshop's future, TSE loses bet with, reports on VHE, coincidentally recommends that the Eliots separate, antipathetic to VHE, considers closing Poetry Bookshop, detects life in Willard Thorp, goes on about dead husband's ex-wife, regales TSE with Irish escapades, reports from Selsey, in straitened circumstances, breeding poodles,

3.AlidaMonro, Alida (née Klementaski) Klementaski (1892–1969) married Harold Monro on 27 Mar. 1920: see Alida Monro in Biographical Register.

Ockenden, Revd Albion C., discusses confirmation with EH, whose conversion he encourages,

5.RevdOckenden, Revd Albion C. Albion C. Ockenden (ca. 1889–1937), Rector of St John’s Episcopal Church, Northampton, Mass., from 1926.

Saint-Denis, Michel, counsels Doone against Mercury venture, has proposal for TSE, his Three Sisters, his White Guard, interested in Family Reunion, negotiating with Dukes, his Twelfth Night, his Family Reunion interest checked,

2.CompagnieSaint-Denis, Michel des Quinze: theatre production company organised by Michel Saint-Denis (nephew of Jacques Copeau), together with the playwright André Obey, at the Théatre du Vieux-Colombier, Paris, 1929–34.

Spencer-Churchill, Lord Ivor, at the Hutchinsons,

3.LordSpencer-Churchill, Lord Ivor Ivor Spencer-Churchill (1898–1956), younger son of the 9th Duke of Marlborough and his first wife, the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. (It was a loveless match arranged by her mother, and it ended in divorce.) Consuelo Vanderbilt’s second husband was Lt. Col. Jacques Balsan, a pioneering French pilot. Ivor Churchill became a collector of art.

Westminster Theatre, The, London, The Moon in the Yellow River, presents Uncle Vanya, presents Volpone, their Volpone versus Phoenix Society's, presents Troilus and Cressida, and The Family Reunion, presents Distant Point: A Soviet Play,