[1418 East 63d St., Seattle]

T. S.Eliot
Faber & Faber Ltd
25 August 1931
My dear Lady,

I don’t know whether I have even begun to give you an understanding of how it came about; and of course I can never make a perfectly irrational act seem rational. But at least I hope I have made it clear that I do not feel wholly and solely to blame for that or for the present conditions. OfEliot, Vivien (TSE's first wife, née Haigh-Wood)separation from;f1reasons for not having happened;a4 course it is possible that V. might have been happier and therefore healthier with a different kind of man; but it is equally possible that she would have gone to pieces in any circumstances; and certainly a great deal of damage had been done to her mental balance before ever I met her. It is certain in retrospect that I should have separated from her a year after our marriage. But at the time, and for a long time, I felt too much to blame for my folly to contemplate that; furthermore there were financial reasons. For several years my father paid my rent. A separation would have meant that he would have had to allow me enough money for two people to live separately, and he could ill have afforded it. Then later, the fact of V.’s irresponsibility and incapacity to look after herself weighed with me; and off and on I had hopes that I could at least make a tolerable and fairly good life for her, if not for myself. OfEliot, Vivien (TSE's first wife, née Haigh-Wood)the possibility of divorcing;f2TSE's objections to;a1 course, in the early days I should have been willing to go through the horrors of the English divorce court – which involves staging a fake adultery – had she found any other man whom she wanted to marry; nowChristianitydivorce;b5unrecognised by Anglo-Catholic Church;a1, of course, I belong to a church which does not recognise divorce in any circumstances or for any reason.

AndEliot, Vivien (TSE's first wife, née Haigh-Wood)mental state;e8childlike;a1 I think she is as fond of me as she is capable of being. Her emotional and moral life is that of a very young child; though her mind, even though incapable of concentration or brain work, is rather decidedly above the average. SinceEliot, Charlotte Champe Stearns (TSE's mother)screened from TSE's domestic nightmare;a4 my mother died I have found that what kept me going was largely the desire to keep my mother in ignorance of the truth. Since then, indeed, I have several times raised the question of separation with V. – sometimes in fits of hysteria, but also when quite calm; but have never made the slightest impression. It produces a quarrel, but in twentyfour hours she has quite put it out of mind; in short, it seems as if the only way to arrive at a separation would be for me to make a bolt. OfEliot, Vivien (TSE's first wife, née Haigh-Wood)drug habits;e7in TSE's absence;a2 course I have already given you the minor reasons which make me hesitate to press a separation, including the reason that she would certainly drug herself into a sanatorium in a few months. Yet I agree with everything you say, and have searched my conscience endlessly; withEliot, Vivien (TSE's first wife, née Haigh-Wood)marriage to;e6its morbidity;a4 all the reasons I have given against separation, I yet feel almost unclean to go on living in the same flat, feeling towards her as I do. It is not even as if I had ever cared for her; to have felt any sort of passion, even had its duration been very brief, would impose a continuing bond; but as it is I don’t feel that I have ever been married at all. But she realises nothing; it is one of those minds which build up an impregnable defence against reality.

Enough of this, I dare say, for one letter. DidGeorge, Robert Esmonde Gordon ('Robert Sencourt')in thumbnail;a2 I ever answer your enquiry about the man you met with us? His name is Robert Esmonde Gordon George – a New Zealander – ex-officer in the Bengal Lancers – sent up to Oxford late, after the war – Roman Catholic convert, and very devout – always buzzing about with Cardinals and Abbots – lives in Hyères, having poor health – and seems to know an immense number of people everywhere – writes under the name of Robert Sencourt – I believe his recent Life of the Empress Eugenie was very successful both here and in America. He is inclined to take a little too much upon himself, but otherwise is a very refined and sensitive person, and I like his company. Very eager interest in human beings. TheSchiff, Sydney (Stephen Hudson)described for EH;a2 ‘Sydneyanti-Semitism;a2’ is Sydney Schiff; a man of about 60 – half a Jew – family of rich bankers – he writes autobiography thinly disguised as fiction under the name of ‘Stephen Hudson’; alert mind and in some ways very sensitive, in some ways, like most westernised Jews, rather coarse and thick-skinned. Not altogether an admirable character, but likeable. Used to patronise the arts. PlayedRothermere, Mary Lilian (née Share)introduced to TSE by Sydney Schiff;a1 an important part in my career at one moment, as he introduced me to Lady Rothermere – what a strange woman that is, I must tell you about her some day – hence the Criterion etc;1 andLloyds Bankhis work on pre-war debt;a2 but for the CriterionCriterion, Theintroduced TSE to Whibley;a2 I might never have become intimate with WhibleyWhibley, Charlesintroduced TSE to GCF;a4, whoFaber, Geoffreyintroduced to TSE by Whibley;a9 in turn introduced me to Faber; so otherwise I might still be in Lloyds Bank. IGermanyand TSE's Lloyds war-work;a4 did not altogether loathe the Bank; and for two years I had an extremely interesting job, settling the pre-war debts between English and Germans, largely legal work – I was able to help a few poor wretched Germans who had lived in England all their lives and had their property confiscated, and didn’t want to go back to Germany at all – some indeed were English women married to Germans; but most of the work was complicated litigation and interpretation of the Peace Treaty.

I am worried about what this coming season will bring you. It does not look as if prosperity would come in time to create much demand for lectures this winter. Now I shall relieve my feelings by writing to Willard Thorp to ask him to let me know when they arrive – Brown Shipley2 I think you said – the letter is locked up downstairs. God bless you my dear; you have daily the prayers of your grateful and humble


1.MaryRothermere, Mary Lilian (née Share) Lilian Rothermere, née Share (1874–1937), Viscountess Rothermere. The daughter of George Wade Share, she married in 1893 Harold Sydney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere (1868–1940). Discussions concerning her support of The Criterion – a successor to Art and Letters – began in July 1921, and the project became a reality when the first issue of the Criterion appeared in Oct. 1922, featuring the first UK publication of The Waste Land.

2.Brown Shipley: merchant bankers; originally a trading firm

anti-Semitism, and Marie von Moritz, and Mosley, within TSE's racial hierarchy, in After Strange Gods, and Mosley's Albert Hall rally, and Nazi persecution in Vienna, and the prospect of immigration, and EP, in South Africa,
Christianity, and human isolation, and modern economics, Ada on TSE's personal piety, scheme for 'Pro Fide' bookshop, among the Eliot family, and beauty, its sects like different clubs, Anglo-Catholicism, TSE's conversion to, which he dates to Eccleston Square meeting, Anglican Missal sought for EH, but unfortunately out of print, discussed at Boston Theological School, and the Petrine Claims, apostolic succession, over Roman Catholicism, as refuge from VHE, and the Reformation, asceticism, discipline, rigour, the necessity for, and TSE's daily exhortation, making and breaking habits, mastering emotions and passions, as salubrious, only remedy for a prurient culture, confession and communion, more possible during Harvard year, the case for unattainable ideals, in time of war, gets TSE up before 7 o'clock, hereditary with TSE, belief, and good poetry, faced with Second World War, and conversion, antidote to TSE's skepticism, Christendom, TSE ponders the decline of, TSE on his prominence within, its ruin, the Church Visible and Invisible, and TSE's war work, the Malabar Church, prospect of total reunion within, confession, helps to objectify sin, more dreaded than dentist, harder in the morning, death and afterlife, the struggle to prepare for, consoles TSE in life, and cremation, Requiem Mass, gives meaning to life, and what makes a desirable burial place, the nature of eternal life, divorce, unrecognised by Anglo-Catholic Church, which TSE regrets, in church law, would separate TSE from Church, evil, TSE's belief in, and moral percipience, guilt, and the New England conscience, hell, TSE's 1910 vision of, and damnation, according to TSE, liturgy, TSE's weekly minimum, Mass of the Pre-sanctified, Requiem Mass versus Mass of Good Friday, and whether to serve at Mass, Imposition of Ashes, at Christmas, High Mass over Mattins, aversion to Low Church Mattins, Roman service in Wayland, Tenebrae, in country parish church, as guest at Kelham, remarkable sermon, over Christmas, Tenebrae and Family Reunion, during Holy Week, Mass of Charles King and Martyr, love, loving one's neighbour, marriage, TSE's need for privacy within, mysticism and transcendence, interpenetration of souls, intimations of life's 'pattern', 'doubleness', arrived at through reconciliation, orthodoxy, only remedy for contemporary culture, and pagans, sets TSE at odds with modernity, necessarily trinitarian, 'Christian' defined, iniquities of liberal theology, and creed, authority, Transubstantiation, TSE disclaims 'self-centredness' in maintaining, politics, the Church and social change, how denomination maps onto, need for working-class priests, church leaders against totalitarianism and Nazism, Christianity versus Fascism and Communism, Papal Encyclical against Nazi Germany, the 'Dividend morality', Presbyterianism, TSE quips on the meanness of, Quakerism, resignation, reconciliation, peace, TSE's love allows for, 'peace that passeth all understanding', the struggle to maintain, following separation from VHE, retreat and solitude, EH at Senexet, the need for, a need increasing with age, and TSE's mother, Roman Catholicism, TSE's counter-factual denomination, Rome, sacraments, Holy Communion, marriage, sainthood, TSE's idea of, the paradoxes of, susceptible of different sins, sins, vices, faults, how to invigilate, the sense of sin, the sinner's condition, bound up with the virtues, as a way to virtue, TSE's self-appraisal, when humility shades into, when unselfishness shades into, among saints, proportionate to spiritual progress, daydreaming, despair, lust, pride, perfection-seeking pride, spiritual progress and direction, TSE's crisis of 1910–11, EH's crisis, versus automatism, TSE's sense of, towards self-knowledge, in EH's case, as personal regeneration, temptation, to action/busyness, the Church Year, Advent, Christmas, dreaded, happily over, TSE rebuked for bah-humbugging, church trumps family during, season of irreligion, thoughts of EH during, unsettling, fatiguing, in wartime, Easter preferred to, Ash Wednesday, Lent, season for meditation and reading, prompts thoughts of EH, Lady Day, Holy Week, its intensity, arduous, preserved from public engagements, exhausting but refreshing, excitingly austere, Easter, better observed than Christmas, missed through illness, Unitarianism, the Eliots' as against EH's, the prospect of spiritual revival within, as personified by TSE's grandfather, regards the Bible as literature, as against Catholicism, divides EH from TSE, and whether Jesus believed himself divine, according to Dr Perkins, in England as against America, over-dependent on preachers' personality, TSE's wish that EH convert from, outside TSE's definition of 'Christian', the issue of communion, baptism, impossibly various, virtues heavenly and capital, bound up with the vices, better reached by way of sin, charity, towards others, in Bubu, TSE's intentness on, delusions of, as against tolerance, chastity, celibacy, beneath humility, TSE lacks vocation for, faith, and doubt, hope, a duty, TSE's struggle for, humility, distinguished from humiliation, comes as relief, greatest of the virtues, propinquitous to humour, not an Eliot virtue, opposed to timidity, danger of pride in, is endless, TSE criticised for overdoing, theatre a lesson in, most difficult of the virtues, possessed by EH, possessed by EH to a fault, TSE compares himself to EH in, the paradox of, distinguished from inferiority, self-discovery teaches, possessed by Dr Perkins, patience, recommended to EH, its foundations, possessed by Uncle John, purity, distinguished from purification, temperance, with alcohol, beneath humility,
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',
Eliot, Charlotte Champe Stearns (TSE's mother), effect of her death on TSE, her religious beliefs, her pride in TSE, screened from TSE's domestic nightmare, her decline and death, was cremated, her grave visited, TSE visits her final address, her death and TSE's guilt, and TSE's poetic inheritance, as parent, and the Stearns family home,

6.CharlotteEliot, Charlotte Champe Stearns (TSE's mother) Champe Stearns Eliot (1843–1929): see Biographical Register.

Eliot, Vivien (TSE's first wife, née Haigh-Wood), takes a liking to EH, EH urged not to blame, relations with Charles Buckle, unbearable to holiday with, takes to Margaret Thorp, accompanies TSE to Poetry Bookshop, and 57 Chester Terrace, on TSE's religion, TSE declines invitations excluding, her driving, hosts various writers to tea, considers flat in Gordon Square, arranges large tea-party, as theatregoer, declares desire to make confession, taken to Eastbourne, recalls the Eliots' visit to Rodmell, Alida Monro reports on, in Alida Monro's opinion, falls out with Lucy Thayer, meets TSE for last time at solicitors, seeks TSE's whereabouts, haunts TSE in London, such that he forgoes the theatre, news of, inquires after Man Ray portrait, harries F&F office, on Mosley Albert Hall rally, dies, her funeral, Requiem Mass for, Theresa remembers, marriage to, TSE on entering into, alleged affair with Bertrand Russell, sexual relations, its morbidity, TSE on his own incapacity, its torments providential on reflection, in OM's opinion, its lessons, humiliating, TSE's father's reaction, unrecognised by TSE, to outsiders, TSE reflects on, painful yet stimulating, as an act of self-rupture, drug habits, sleeping draughts, in TSE's absence, 1926 bromidia delusions, mental state, childlike, benefits from active social life, compared to EH's mother's, at the Malmaison sanatorium, and dining in public, TSE's influence on, post-separation, the prospect of institutionalising, prompts institutionalisation crisis-meeting, and TSE's departure for America, against TSE going, adjusting to the prospect, might coordinate with a return to Malmaison, in denial as to, threatens to come, from which TSE tries to dissuade her, aggrieved at being left, possible arrangements in TSE's absence, still in denial as to, TSE dreads scene of departure, possibly beneficial to VHE, TSE describes the moment of departure, separation from, TSE, for and against, out of the question, obstructed by self-deception and responsibility, reasons for not having happened, Dr Miller's opinion on, contemplated, plotted, would necessitate TSE's sequestration, TSE encouraged in his determination, Alida Monro independently suggests, communication with solicitors on, TSE describes going through with, VHE's response before and after meeting at solicitors, impasse over financial settlement, which VHE misrepresents to friends, VHE in denial over, separation deed drawn up, which is yet unsigned, delayed by death of lawyer, general impasse, financial settlement put into force, complicated by VHE renewing lease on flat, efforts to retrieve TSE's property, which is eventually recovered, financial consequences, the possibility of divorcing, TSE's objections to, against what TSE symbolises, likened to Newman's conversion, in common and canon law, in Ada's opinion, how TSE's attitude might seem, would involve permanent division from Church, inimical to future TSE's happiness, her death, and Theresa on TSE remarrying, TSE's shifting response to, formerly wished for, EH reflects on,
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.

George, Robert Esmonde Gordon ('Robert Sencourt'), in thumbnail, staying with the Eliots, records TSE's argument with Koteliansky, recites chapter from new book, creates harmony between the Eliots, offers to lend TSE fur coat, relays gossip about VHE, stirs up situation, extends invitation to Cairo, and Stead visit Campden, forces himself on TSE, TSE's mixed feelings toward, The Life of Newman,

3.RobertGeorge, Robert Esmonde Gordon ('Robert Sencourt') Esmonde Gordon George – Robert Sencourt (1890–1969) – critic, historian, biographer: see Biographical Register.

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,
Lloyds Bank, TSE's first boss at, his work on pre-war debt, safeguards TSE's Order of Merit,
Rothermere, Mary Lilian (née Share), introduced to TSE by Sydney Schiff, TSE recalls wearing make-up to the parties of,

1.MaryRothermere, Mary Lilian (née Share) Lilian Rothermere, née Share (1874–1937), Viscountess Rothermere. The daughter of George Wade Share, she married in 1893 Harold Sydney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere (1868–1940). Discussions concerning her support of The Criterion – a successor to Art and Letters – began in July 1921, and the project became a reality when the first issue of the Criterion appeared in Oct. 1922, featuring the first UK publication of The Waste Land.

Schiff, Sydney (Stephen Hudson), owns Wyndham Lewis's drawing of TSE, described for EH,

8.SydneySchiff, Sydney (Stephen Hudson) Schiff (1868–1944), British novelist and translator: see Biographical Register.

Whibley, Charles, as friend, memorialised by TSE, his marriages, introduced TSE to GCF, disliked Lady Colefax, recalled by J. M. Barrie, introduced TSE to Pickthorn, stayed in Cognac chez Hennessey, as older male friend, his portrait remains on TSE's office wall,

7.CharlesWhibley, Charles Whibley (1859–1930), journalist and author: see Biographical Register.