[22 Paradise Rd., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
The Criterion
Ash Wednesday
22 February 1939
Washington’s Birthday?
My Dearest Emilie,

ThisBoutwood Lectures (afterwards The Idea of a Christian Society);a5 will only be a little note, because I have been spending the day in bed, preparatory to Cambridge. I had a slight cold, which ordinarily would not have been enough to keep me in, but as it was more important that I should be fit to go to Cambridge than that I should attend the book committee this afternoon, and remembering your advice to take care of a cold a day earlier than usual, I have been in bed sleeping most of the day and feel much rested. Everything has come at once: the Cambridge lectures for the next three Fridays, theFamily Reunion, TheMarch 1939 Westminster Theatre production;g3rehearsals for;a2 rehearsals beginning for the new play, which is to be produced on the 21st March, the Portuguese in London for a ‘Portuguese Fortnight’ of lectures, concert and receptions, and to see about the two books which we are publishing, and which have been an endless nuisance.1 My only regret about the play is that you will not see it, unless it should prove so successful that it has to be removed to the West End when the Westminster run is up – and that is too much to expect. ButFamily Reunion, TheDukes bullish on New York transfer;g4 unlessDukes, Ashleyoptimistic on Family Reunion transfer;f3 it falls very flat, we shall probably arrange a New York production: Ashley seems very hopeful about its prospect there, but he is a professional optimist. AsRedgrave, Michaelpreferred to Gielgud;a3 for the cast, Michael Redgrave is to play Harry, and I know that he is a very good actor; and Martin has been very pleased with him at a first reading. I think he should be better than Gielgud. AsLacey, Catherineas Agatha in Family Reunion;a1 for the women, Amy is not yet cast; Martin is trying a Katherine [sc. Catherine] Lacey for Agatha,2 and a young woman (both in the Westminster troupe) whom I do not know much about for Mary.3 I have not, of course, been able to attend a reading yet, but I expect to go on Monday or Tuesday morning.

Lent has begun, and the next thing to look forward to is your Easter holidays. (I hope to take a short holiday myself, after the 21st of March). Don’t worry about my health – but I am inclined to begin to worry about yours about this time of year. And I know that your Christmas holidays did not do you much good.

Your loving

1.António Ferro, Salazar: Portugal and Her Leader, trans. H. de Barros Gomes and John Gibbons; and with a preface by the late Sir Austen Chamberlain, KG, and a new foreword by Dr Oliveira Salazar (1939). António de Oliveira Salazar, Doctrine and Action: Internal and Foreign Policy of the New Portugal 1928–1939, trans. Robert Edgar Broughton (Nov. 1939).

2.CatherineLacey, Catherine Lacey (1904–79): British actor who was Agatha in The Family Reunion at the Westminster Theatre in 1939 and again at the Mercury Theatre in 1946.

3.Ruth Lodge (1914–73), stage and film actor.

Boutwood Lectures (afterwards The Idea of a Christian Society), Spens invites TSE to deliver, being prepared, and Oldham's Times letter, TSE on delivering, being rewritten for publication, approaching publication, published as Christian Society, sent to EH, reception, selling strongly, apparently stimulating to others,
Dukes, Ashley, described by Yeats to TSE, approaches Doone over Mercury Theatre season, lines up Mercury Murder revival, with which he is pleased, his ambitions for Murder, which Brace upsets, instructed as to Murder New York negotiations, hustling in New York, from where he reports, agrees about Speaight's decline, explains miscarriage of 1936 American production, at 100th performance of Murder, latest plans for Murder, revised plans for New York, dares to call TSE in morning, TSE's royalty arrangement with, policing pirate productions of Murder, discusses Murder's America rights, full of grand desgins, takes Browne into partnership, on Murder's Abdication Crisis resonance, among Family Reunion's first readers, plans for Murder, American Murder tour, against Family Reunion as title, pleased with Family Reunion fragment, sent full Family Reunion draft, lets EH down, consulted over Gielgud contract, on Gielgud and Family Reunion, negotiating with Saint-Denis, less persuaded by Family Reunion, optimistic on Family Reunion transfer, instructed on Family Reunion licensing, fields Orson Welles enquiry, suggests wartime Murder revival, which he mounts without consulting TSE, attempting season of miniature operas, submits theatrical reminiscences to TSE, and Murder film rights, book launch for memoirs, reports on TSE's continental productions, gives Garrick Club dinner for TSE, takes full control of Mercury, accompanies TSE to Germany, La Mandragola, The Scene is Changed, Too Many Twins,
see also Dukes, the

4.AshleyDukes, Ashley Dukes (1885–1959), theatre manager, playwright, critic, translator, adapter, author; from 1933, owner of the Mercury Theatre, London: see Biographical Register.

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,
Lacey, Catherine, as Agatha in Family Reunion, again Agatha in 1946 revival, Daily Telegraph singles out, performance swells with praise, possible Mrs Guzzard,

2.CatherineLacey, Catherine Lacey (1904–79): British actor who was Agatha in The Family Reunion at the Westminster Theatre in 1939 and again at the Mercury Theatre in 1946.

Redgrave, Michael, interested in Family Reunion, agrees to play Harry, preferred to Gielgud, as Harry, which does not increase his reputation, performance pruned by Martin Browne,

1.According to Browne (The Making of T. S. Eliot’s Plays,147), MichaelRedgrave, Michael Redgrave – aged 31 – ‘had already made a name for himself at the Old Vic, with John Gielgud in his season at the Queen’s, and with Michel Saint-Denis at the Phoenix’. TSE to James Forsyth, 16 July 1940 (tseliot.com), on Redgrave: ‘He is a most likeable person and very easy to work with. Unlike some actors he does not assume that he knows more about the play than the author does, and is always anxious to co-operate.’