[22 Paradise Rd., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
12 October 1938

Your very satisfying letter of the 5th arrived last night by the Queen Mary, and you shall have a reply by the same ship. Idogs'Boerre' (Norwegian Elkhound);b7;a5 am glad incidentally to have news of Boerre, and further details about the great hurricane. I had a good deal of information from Henry about the damage on the South Shore. WeRotch, Edith Eliot (TSE's cousin);a1 have many relatives with summer places down that way, chiefly at Nonquit – Edith Roth’s Rotch’s1 house was moved some yards etc. and the whole contour of the shore seems to have been altered. I hope you are now feeling better again: you know this is the first time you have given me any news of your own health.

OneMunich Agreementand British domestic politics;a2 is still in a state of upheaval over the government and its critics. Most of the people I know seem to sympathise strongly with the latter. ForCooper, (Alfred) Duff, 1st Viscount Norwichfor which TSE congratulates him;a5 the first time in my life I wrote to a public man to congratulate him on his speech: Duff Cooper, whom I know only slightly, but whom I felt I had always underrated.2 I am sorry his speech did not make such a favourable impression on you; to me it seemed dignified and restrained. He chose the right moment at which to resign, and by so doing he has dished his political future – unless there is a violent upheaval in the Conservative Party, which I think is unlikely. At least, the rank and file of the Commons are well-disciplined ‘yes-men’; and the ‘cave’, though able (such men as Lord Lloyd and Harold Macmillan are very able) is small. IVansittart, Sir RobertTSE writes in sympathy to;a4 also wrote to Robert Vansittart to express sympathy, in delicate terms, over the way he had been ignored when his official position entitled him to have been taken to Germany instead of HoraceWilson, Horace;a1 Wilson (whom nobody had heard of before).3 ButHitler, Adolfand Vansittart;a5 Vansittart is not acceptable to Hitler. OurAll Souls Club, Thediscusses war policy;b3 All Souls’ Club dinner, last night – I was the host this time – got off its agenda (IOldham, Joseph;c4 had elected to start a discussion on the lines of Joe Oldham’s excellent letter to The Times, which I enclose)4 and resolved itself into a discussion on public policy. DuncanDuncan-Jones, Revd Arthur Stuart, Dean of Chichesterattacks government;a6 JonesGermanyDuncan-Jones on religious persecution in;b5 was one of the most animated in attack on the government (his history of the last 5 years’ of religious persecution, whichPalmer, Roundell Cecil, Viscount Wolmeragainst Chamberlain's government;a2 was published recently, is a useful book, and he knows Germany well);5 and the presence of Lord Wolmer, who was one of the Conservatives who abstained from voting in the division, helped to direct the discussion in this way.

IHouse of the Resurrection, MirfieldTSE's weekend at;a3 won’tCurtis, Revd Geoffreyat Mirfield;a3 go into details of my weekend visit to Mirfield6 – aSociety of the Sacred Mission, Kelham Hall, Nottinghamshirecompared to Mirfield;b7 similar institution to Kelham, of which I have often spoken. I had never been to Mirfield before – it is a long journey, being up on the moors not far from Huddersfield – and had promised my younger friend there, Geoffrey Curtis, a visit. I think it gave pleasure, but was also fatiguing, because of the students, who, as at Kelham, fasten like famished wolves on any visitor like myself.

IGielgud, Johnsubsequent negotiations with;a3 hadFamily Reunion, Thepossible John Gielgud production;e5 an interview with Gielgud last week; meetingBrowne, Elliott Martin1939 production of The Family Reunion;c1mediates between Gielgud and TSE;b5 Martin Browne at Gielgud’s dressing room after his play, and going on with them to a restaurant, where Gielgud refreshed himself with a kippered herring. ThereBeaumont, Hugh 'Binkie'party to Gielgud negotiations;a1 was also present a sharp looking youth (of the type that might be called ‘Baby Face’) named Binkie Beaumont, who turned out to be Gielgud’s business manager.7 I am very much inclined to accept their proposal, provided the terms of the contract can be satisfactory. (1) It would mean definitely a very conspicuous production in February, and I am anxious to get the play well produced before the next international crisis (2) produced in this way, as a charity matinée for a month, or if successful two or three months, it would attract the right audience and probably be more tolerantly handled by the critics than if it were a commercial competitor with the ordinary drama of doodle plays etc. (3) such a production would be taken much note of in New York and would prepare the ground for Gielgud to take it over there in repertoire in the autumn. <This is a part of his scheme>. On this last point particularly I want your opinion. Also, I feel that it is important for the future, not only of my own work but of verse drama in general, that this should not be a flop. AMercury Theatre, Londonpossible venue for Family Reunion;b9 briefer triumph now would I think pay better in the long run than a quiet longer run with a company of unknown people at the Mercury. The advantage of Gielgud is that he could – at least more likely than anyone else – get anybody he wanted to act with him. PossiblyFamily Reunion, TheGielgud-level casting;e6 MayWhitty, Dame MayGielgud potentially able to cast;a2 WhittyWilliams, Emlynon Family Reunion casting wishlist;a2,8 orEvans, Edithconsidered for The Family Reunion;a7 elseThorndike, Sybilideal Family Reunion casting;a1 Edith Evans, for Amy; possibly Sybil Thorndike9 for Agatha (I am going with Martin tonight to see her in her present play, in order to judge), Emlyn Williams for Downing etc.

IFamily Reunion, TheBrowne's final revisions;e7 have been through this last revision of the play with Martin. He has made a number of points which I accept: but they are all small ones; and I think I can get the text into final shape within the next few days.

This has had to be a long letter of information, and not a very personal one! But I wanted you to know about the play at once, and there have been so few good boats lately. I shall write again later in the week.

Your loving

1.Edith Eliot Rotch (1874–1969), accomplished tennis player. A graduate of Radcliffe College, she won the U.S. Women’s National Championship, 1909, 1910; Mixed Doubles, 1908; and Women’s Doubles; she excelled too as an ice skater. Later a radio enthusiast. See John Morgan Bullard, The Rotches (New Bedford, 1947).

2.See TSE to Duff Cooper, 5 Oct. 1938.

3.Letter not found.

4.J. H. Oldham, ‘Lessons of the Crisis: Western Civilization at stake: The Christian Heritage’, The Times, 5 Oct. 1938 (cutting enclosed).

5.A. S. Duncan-Jones, The Struggle for Religious Freedom in Germany (1938).

6.House of the Resurrection, Mirfield, nr. Leeds, Yorkshire.

7.HughBeaumont, Hugh 'Binkie' ‘Binkie’ Beaumont (1908–73), noted theatre manager and producer; co-founder of H. M. Tennent company in 1936; close associate of the actor John Gielgud.

8.May Whitty – Dame Mary Webster (1865–1948) – distinguished stage and film actor.

9.SybilThorndike, Sybil Thorndike (1882–1976): acclaimed British actor of stage and screen, she was a dominant presence in productions of Shakespeare and the Classics – arguably the greatest tragedienne of the twentieth century. George Bernard Shaw felt such a regard for her talent that he wrote Saint Joan (1924) specifically for her. In 1938–9 there were discussions with a view to staging the premiere of The Family Reunion, to be directed by John Gielgud (who was eager to play the hero, the tormented Harry), with Thorndike as Agatha. But Thorndike is reported to have advised Gielgud, ‘You know, Eliot’s not going to let you have his play – he says you have no faith.’ In Peter Brooks’s revival of the play at the Phoenix Theatre, London, in June 1956, she was the matriarch Amy (with Paul Scofield as Harry). Thorndike to TSE, 8 June 1956: ‘My ambition is fulfilled – to be in one of your plays …’ Created a Dame of the British Empire in 1931, in 1970 she was appointed as a Companion of Honour.

All Souls Club, The, TSE joins, first dinner with, discussion vague at second dinner, even vaguer at third, to discuss 'Church, Community and State', discusses adult baptism, discusses the Edinburgh Conference, discusses church music, discusses war policy, discusses Encyclical, and Revd Duncan-Jones,
Beaumont, Hugh 'Binkie', party to Gielgud negotiations,

7.HughBeaumont, Hugh 'Binkie' ‘Binkie’ Beaumont (1908–73), noted theatre manager and producer; co-founder of H. M. Tennent company in 1936; close associate of the actor John Gielgud.

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.

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.

Curtis, Revd Geoffrey, torn between Mirfield and Rome, at Mirfield, visited at Burnham, seeks TSE's counsel,

4.RevdCurtis, Revd Geoffrey Geoffrey Curtis (1902–81), Anglican priest, scholar and teacher: see Biographical Register.

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,
Duncan-Jones, Revd Arthur Stuart, Dean of Chichester, to lunch with EH, member of All Souls Club, where he speaks on adult baptism, leads discussion on church music, attacks government, with TSE over South Indian Church, dies, TSE's memorial on,

7.RevdDuncan-Jones, Revd Arthur Stuart, Dean of Chichester Arthur Stuart Duncan-Jones (1879–1955) held various incumbencies, including St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, London, before becoming Dean of Chichester, 1929–55.

Evans, Edith, as Viola in Twelfth Night, unmissable even when playing Bernard Shaw, compared to Athene Seyler, TSE would endure Evensong for, in voice and in person, 'Acting Shakespeare' sent to EH, considered for The Family Reunion,

2.EdithEvans, Edith Evans (1888–1976), versatile stage and screen actor; enduringly celebrated for her appearance as Lady Bracknell in the film of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (1952). Evans won her reputation during her long association (from 1925) with the Old Vic, London: her other notable roles included Judith Bliss in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever on the stage and the movie Tom Jones (1963). DBE, 1946.

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,
Germany, and The Road Back, and Triumphal March, needs to cooperate with Britain and France, and TSE's Lloyds war-work, TSE listening to speeches from, its actresses, and its Jewish population, in light of Versailles, Oldham reports on religious resistance in, remilitarises the Rhineland, its territorial ambitions under Hitler, Germans compared to Austrians, under Nazism, Duncan-Jones on religious persecution in, German conduct in warfare, Germans compared to Swedes, TSE's post-war sense of duty to, TSE diagnoses its totalitarian slide, TSE urges renewed cultural relations with, TSE on visiting,
Gielgud, John, TSE takes against, declares interest in Family Reunion, subsequent negotiations with, on Family Reunion, renews interest in Family Reunion, in The Duchess of Malfi, as Harry in BBC broadcast, as Harry again,

2.JohnGielgud, John Gielgud (1904–2000), distinguished actor and theatre director. Knighted in 1953; awarded Legion of Honour, 1960; created Companion of Honour, 1977; Order of Merit, 1996.

Hitler, Adolf, Bishop Bell on, occupies the Rhineland, post-Anschluss, and Mussolini, and Vansittart, Kauffer's photo of TSE resembles, and appeasement, and the future of Europe, replies to Roosevelt, his Reichstag speech on Poland,
House of the Resurrection, Mirfield, Curtis drawn to joining, TSE's weekend at,
Mercury Theatre, London, Yeats proposes season at, from the outside, possible Murder premiere at, season in financial straits, stage too small for Doone, to stage Murder revival, rehearsal at, Murder coming off at, hard to imagine Murder beyond, Dukes proposes new Mercury Theatre, Martin Browne's York Nativity Play, presents The Ascent of F6, Murder in re-rehearsal at, possible venue for Family Reunion, Dukes's La Mandragola, new Murder revival at, attempts season of miniature operas, 'initimate opera' at, its French equivalent, hosts New Plays by Poets, and 1946 Family Reunion revival, Martin Browne's proposal to stage revue at, presents Saroyan play, graced with royal visit, staging Playboy of the Western World, possible destination for Cocktail Party,
Munich Agreement, with respect to Czechoslovakia, and British domestic politics, TSE on Chamberlain's conduct during, TSE's reservations as to,
Oldham, Joseph, lunches with TSE, convenes discussion of contemporary Christianity, at the Unemployment Conference, éminence grise in Council for Life and Work, hearing improved, spearheading anti-Nazi Church movement, puts TSE up to BBC talk, sent TSE's Revelation contribution, which he prizes, organises Lambeth Council, initiates 'Moot', and the Moot, first Moot meeting, bewails mankind, anointed reader of Boutwood Lectures, founds new wartime committee, which meets, sent drafts for CNL, as editor of CNL, views diverge from those of TSE, pleased with TSE's education supplement, needs holiday, convenes education group meeting, propagates yet another religious body, his style, to meet Michael Roberts, Church, Community and State,
see also Oldhams, the

8.JosephOldham, Joseph (‘Joe’) Houldsworth Oldham (1874–1969), missionary, adviser, organiser: see Biographical Register.

Palmer, Roundell Cecil, Viscount Wolmer, member of All Souls Club, against Chamberlain's government,

2.RoundellPalmer, Roundell Cecil, Viscount Wolmer Cecil Palmer (1887–1971), Viscount Wolmer, 1895–41; Conservative politician (MP for Aldershot, 1918–40); Minister for Economic Warfare (running the Special Operations Executive), 1942–5. In 1940, on the death of his father, he became 3rd Earl of Selborne.

Rotch, Edith Eliot (TSE's cousin),

3.EdithRotch, Edith Eliot (TSE's cousin) Eliot Rotch (1874–1969), a graduate of Radcliffe College, became a champion ice skater and tennis player, winner of the national women’s doubles in 1909 and 1910; she later became an expert on radio operation, working for two decades for the Postal Telegraph Company.

Society of the Sacred Mission, Kelham Hall, Nottinghamshire, TSE's September 1933 stay with, TSE's January 1934 weekend at, TSE invited to annual festivities, TSE's June–July 1935 stay, TSE spends night at, TSE's November 1938 weekend at, compared to Mirfield, October 1939 visit, compared to weekend in Sussex,
Thorndike, Sybil, ideal Family Reunion casting, courted by TSE, lined up for Agatha, exerts influence on Gielgud, again, ideal casting for Confidential Clerk, TSE apologises to, praised in The Sacred Wood, eventually plays Amy,

9.SybilThorndike, Sybil Thorndike (1882–1976): acclaimed British actor of stage and screen, she was a dominant presence in productions of Shakespeare and the Classics – arguably the greatest tragedienne of the twentieth century. George Bernard Shaw felt such a regard for her talent that he wrote Saint Joan (1924) specifically for her. In 1938–9 there were discussions with a view to staging the premiere of The Family Reunion, to be directed by John Gielgud (who was eager to play the hero, the tormented Harry), with Thorndike as Agatha. But Thorndike is reported to have advised Gielgud, ‘You know, Eliot’s not going to let you have his play – he says you have no faith.’ In Peter Brooks’s revival of the play at the Phoenix Theatre, London, in June 1956, she was the matriarch Amy (with Paul Scofield as Harry). Thorndike to TSE, 8 June 1956: ‘My ambition is fulfilled – to be in one of your plays …’ Created a Dame of the British Empire in 1931, in 1970 she was appointed as a Companion of Honour.

Vansittart, Sir Robert, and TSE's invitation to Finland, removed from office, possible wartime employer for TSE, TSE writes in sympathy to, approves TSE's visit to Dublin, post-retirement lunch with,

2.SirVansittart, Sir Robert Robert Vansittart (1881–1957), diplomat and author: see Biographical Register.

Whitty, Dame May, considered for The Family Reunion, Gielgud potentially able to cast, lined up for Dowager,

6.TheWhitty, Dame May part of Mrs Bramson, in Emlyn Williams’s thriller Night Must Fall (which premiered at the Duchess Theatre, London, in 1935), was played by Dame May Whitty (1865–1948).

Williams, Emlyn, as Angelo, as Richard III, on Family Reunion casting wishlist,
Wilson, Horace,