[22 Paradise Rd., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
22 September 1938
My Dearest,

I am writing this on Thursday morning, although there does not appear to be any good packet in prospect, because I do not seem likely to have any better time until Monday night. OnMoot, The;a2 FridayWestfield College, Londonvenue for Moot meeting;a1 evening I have to go to Westfield College to stay until Monday (that is only in Hampstead – it is a girl’s college which is available until the term begins) for the meeting of the religious group of which you have seen some of the agenda.1 I have been having a quiet time, with my evenings at home; butCulpin, Johanna ('Aunt Johanna', née Staengel)taken to the movies;c5 yesterday old Jan Culpin turned up on a visit from Paris to see about some private affairs, and of course I had to say I would take her out this evening to supper and the pictures. Another of my old ladies.

IMunich Agreementwith respect to Czechoslovakia;a1 shall not see the papers until noon, but to judge from last night’s news we are to be kept out of war for some time to come, by the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.2 MyBlum, Léonvoices TSE's feelings about Munich;a1 own feelings, and those I should think of most people who can feel at all, were very well represented by M. Leon Blum writing in his Paris paper, and spoke of feeling a mixture of ‘cowardly relief and shame’.3 I fear that this kind of concession to force can only lead to greater trouble later; and this ‘principle of self-determination’ is going to be exploited to the full in the interests of an artificial nationalism. Meanwhile the Sudetens, with the exception of those with axes to grind, will no doubt be worse off under Germany than they were with the Czechs. I have felt almost physically nauseated over the whole business. So far as the outsider can judge, it would have been a better policy in the long run, as well as a more self-respecting and more decent one, to have taken a firm line against Germany from the beginning of this affair. Whether the British and French people would regain their morale if they were actually cornered and forced to fight I do not know: but at present there is a terrible blight of intellectual mediocrity, political timidity, laziness and social disintegration over both countries: a decay which I see nothing to arrest.

Forgive me for writing a sort of informal newspaper instead of a letter; but I have seldom been so depressed by politics for a very long time. Thiswritingon new typewriter;c5 is a new typewriter which the shop has lent me while they are preparing one with French accents, and the ribbon is rather dry. MywritingTSE's 'old Corona';c6 old Corona had done ten years hard work, and composed all my American lectures and all that I have written since; and it was high time that I turned it in for a new model: I am not yet quite used to the action of this. I thank you for your cable from Northampton, anddogs'Boerre' (Norwegian Elkhound);b7;a3 I hope that you found mine waiting for you; and I am anxious to hear that Boerre arrived in good health without biting anybody or doing any harm, and that he is happily installed with you. I know that you will be over ears in the most trying work during the first weeks, and do not expect to hear from you at any length: I only hope that you will be able to take plenty of rest, some exercise, and eat and sleep well. IFamily Reunion, Thefor which TSE credits her;e4 have not told you how invaluable has been, not only your criticisms and suggestions, but your encouragement over the play at the stage at which its satisfactory improvement seemed almost beyond my powers; and now I am particularly anxious to make a success of it (in the best sense) because if it is a success, we can say that you have had far more to do with it than with anything I have written before.

Your very loving

1.TheMoot, The;a2n second meeting of the Moot was held at Westfield College, London, 23–6 Sept.

2.The Munich Conference – between Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini (but without representation by the Czechs) – agreed to the peaceful appeasement of Hitler by formally ceding to Germany the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia: ‘the occupation by stages of the predominantly German territories by German troops will begin on Oct 1.’ Neville Chamberlain returned to London with the dubious news, ‘I believe it is peace for our time.’

3.LéonBlum, Léonon Munich Agreement;a2n Blum (1872–1950), in the Socialist Le Populaire: journal-revue hebdomadaire de propagande socialiste et internationaliste, 20 Sept. 1938: ‘Moi, qui n’ai cessé de lutter pour la paix, qui depuis bien des années lui avais fait d’avance le sacrifice de ma vie, j n’en puis éprouver de joie et je me sense partagé entre un lâche soulagement et la honte.’ (‘I, who have never ceased to fight for peace, who for many years had sacrificed my life to it in advance, I cannot feel joy and I feel myself torn between cowardly relief and shame.’)

Blum, Léon, voices TSE's feelings about Munich, on Munich Agreement, and TSE both passengers in minor car accident,

3.LéonBlum, Léon Blum (1872–1950): French socialist politician – Prime Minister in a Popular Front government, 1936–7, 1938. During the war, as a Jew and stout antagonist of Vichy France, he had been incarcerated in Buchenwald concentration camp. TSE to Elena Richmond, 27 June 1948, of Blum: ‘a most charming man, who recites poetry with learning, taste and expressiveness, but who struck me as, like other socialists, a mediocre political philosopher’.

Culpin, Johanna ('Aunt Johanna', née Staengel), described, TSE's South Kensington neighbour, weekly chess opponent, 'tiring', reports Nazi horrors, her German refugees, whom TSE helps, quarrels with VHE, leaving for Germany, departure toasted with champagne, returned from Germany, taken to Murder, and TSE watch Show Boat, returns again to Germany, taken to the movies, and company taken to Escargot,
dogs, TSE imagines himself as EH's dog, Pollicle, endear Hodgson to TSE, EH fond of, TSE wishes to give EH, TSE enthuses over with Ambassador Stimson's wife, death of Lord Lisburne's gun-dog, wish to buy EH dog reaffirmed, James Thurber's dog, wish to buy EH dog develops, TSE's wish that EH choose dog for him, of Shamley Wood, Aberdeen Terrier, belonging to Gerald Graham, TSE against, Alsatian, bites F&F sales manager in Cheltenham, Blue Bedlington Terrier, TSE wishes to bring EH, related to the Kerry Blue, TSE fantasises with Hodgson about breeding, TSE wishes EH might have, 'Boerre' (Norwegian Elkhound), travels to America, described, and right-hand traffic, TSE receives photo of, affords EH exercise, envied by TSE, scourge of Northampton, cuts foot, when chasing squirrel, suspected attempt to abduct, 'disorderly', 'cantankerous', taking unaccompanied exercise, decorated at dog-show, goes missing, not taken to Maine, EH decides to give up, poignant photograph of, dies, Bull Terrier, Ralph Hodgson's 'Picky' bites cat, home found for 'Picky', Hodgson fantasises with TSE about breeding, Dachshund, among TSE's preferred short-legged breeds, Hope Mirrlees's 'Mary', elkhound, belonging to Mrs Eames, as breed for EH, Jack Russell, among TSE's preferred short-legged breeds, possible replacement for Boerre, Kerry Blue, related to Blue Bedlington Terrier, at Army and Navy stores, Labrador, the Morleys' eight puppies, the Morleys', Pekingese, TSE averse to, belonging to Mrs Behrens, 'Polly' (the Eliots' Yorkshire Terrier), falls off roof, taken to have wound dressed, barks at Hungarian language, Poodle, as breed for EH, 'Rag Doll' (Scottish Terrier), travels to Grand Manan, TSE receives photo of, EH gives up, Samoyed, considered for EH, spaniel, belonging to the Fabers, Staffordshire Terrier, Hodgson advises Miss Wilberforce on,
Family Reunion, The, and TSE as Orestes, plot sought for, progress stalled, referred to as 'Orestes play', written against countdown to war, should be artistically a stretch, plot still not settled on, begun, compared to Murder, TSE on writing, described (mid-composition), and Gunn's Carmina Gadelica, described to GCF, EH questions Harry's entrance, draft read to Martin Brownes, projected autumn 1938 production, depletes TSE, and Mourning Becomes Electra, its Greek inheritance, alternatively 'Follow the Furies', first draft promised to EH, as inspired by Tenebrae, being rewritten, work suspended till summer, fair copy being typed, waiting on Browne and Dukes, 'Follow the Furies' quashed by EH, aspires to be Chekhovian, Dukes keen to produce, criticised by Martin Browne, under revision, submitted to EH's theatrical wisdom, for which TSE credits her, possible John Gielgud production, Gielgud-level casting, Browne's final revisions, with the printers, Henry loaned draft, Donat and Saint-Denis interested, in proof, progress towards staging stalled, Saint-Denis interest tempered, possible Tyrone Guthrie production, possible limited Mercury run, its defects, publication scheduled, first draft sent to EH, Michael Redgrave interested in, March 1939 Westminster Theatre production, waits on terms, rehearsals for, which are photographed, opening night contemplated without EH, last-minute flutters, opening night, reception, coming off, TSE's final visit to, Dukes bullish on New York transfer, EH spurs TSE's reflections on, and Otway's Venice Preserv'd, American reception, and Orson Welles, F&F's sales, 1940 American production, Henry harps on the personal aspect, its cheerfulness, EH acknowledges part in, 1943 ADC production, in Dadie Rylands's hands, described, certain lines expressing TSE's frustrations, EH discusses with pupils, plays in Zurich, 1946 Birmingham production, 1946 Mercury revival, rehearsals for, opening night, TSE attends again in company, Spanish translation of, VHE's death calls to mind, its deficiencies, BBC Gielgud broadcast version, first aired, to be repeated, goes nominally with The Cocktail Party, Swedish National Theatre production, compared to Cocktail Party, EH's response to, more 'personal' than Cocktail Party, performed in Göttingen, 1950 Düsseldorf production, 1953 New York production vetoed, 1956 Phoenix Theatre revival, described, Peter Brook congratulated on, Martin Browne seeks MS of,
Moot, The, first meeting, invited to TSE's Maritain dinner, no substitute for individual friendships, seems futile, welcomes Reinhold Niebuhr as guest, discusses TSE's paper,
Munich Agreement, with respect to Czechoslovakia, and British domestic politics, TSE on Chamberlain's conduct during, TSE's reservations as to,
Westfield College, London, venue for Moot meeting,
writing, and routine, to EH, like talking to the deaf, development and development in the writer, and 're-creative thought', TSE's pace of working, correspondence, and Beethoven, and whether to keep a notebook, dialogue, and loving one's characters, and the necessity for reinvention, to someone as against speaking, plays written chiefly for EH, prose between poems, poetry versus prose, and originality, poetry three hours every morning, plot, and obscurity, blurbs, letters of rejection, requires periods of fruitful latency, on new typewriter, TSE's 'old Corona', the effect of war on, and reading, as taught by the book, prize-day addresses, weekly articles, concisely, from imagination, from experience, for broadcast, out of doors, rewriting old work, and public-speaking, by hand,