[22 Paradise Rd., Northampton, Mass.]

T. S.Eliot
Shamley Wood
Letter 74.
Lady Day 1941
[25 March 1941]

I have received your letter no 79 of February 24th yesterday. Since you wrote we have of course exchanged some communication by cable, and you have no doubt had some letters from me, but not many. This one ends a new gap, though not so long as the last. After getting a start, and going up to town three weeks running, I found myself with bronchitis, and kept away from town for another fortnight. It has not been severe: but I think the doctor has been the more cautious because of my previous illness. He made me have an X ray of my lung in Guildford, to the tune of three guineas. Of course, when a doctor makes a suggestion like that you have to act on it, because of the possible danger to everyone else: but the result was, as expected, entirely satisfactory and my lungs are perfectly sound. IFaber, Geoffrey;h7 was unlucky in that Geoffrey had a severe cold one week while I was with them; butShamley Wood, Surreyoverheated;a7 I think that a predisposing cause is the fact that this house – as is inevitable with a house inhabited by two old ladies accustomed to spending their winters in the South – is overheated: and although I can keep my bedroom at the proper temperature, one gets so used to the heat that one forgets; and the servants are so used to it that they are apt to shut the windows and turn on the stove when I am out of the room. AllShamley Wood, Surreydepressingly female;a8 this is a strain on one’s patience and spirits; andPerkins, Dr John Carroll (EH's uncle)starved of male company;d9 the confinement to a limited and strictly female society depresses me as I believe you have suspected it to depress your Uncle John. Also, personalities get on one’s nerves (thoughMirrlees, Emily Lina ('Mappie', née Moncrieff)not an irritant;b2 never, I must say, that of Mrs. M herself. But, although she is a much more intelligent as well as wiser woman than my Aunt Susie, and with much wider interests, IMirrlees, Hopeirritates like Eleanor;b8 must say that H. comes to remind me more and more of Eleanor, even to the pottering about with literary work of which nothing seems to come: and I don’t think that I could stand very much of Eleanor’s company at a time. And unpractical women irritate me, especially when they take no interest in public affairs). Now that parenthesis is off my mind I feel better.

I'Towards a Christian Britain'on its fourth draft;a3 have toiled and toiled over my broadcast: it is difficult to believe that it is worth all the trouble. I have now done four drafts and would probably go on if there was time: it is largely a work of simplification and leaving out, and calculating how to put things in such a way that they cannot be misunderstood (it is better that people should be completely mystified than that they should think you mean something quite different, I think). All this is much more difficult than doing writing of a more permanent character. I am allowed by the doctor to go up to London for one night next week, to deliver this talk on April 2. ItFabers, the;f6 willBritish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC);c2 mean spending the night at the B.B.C. as the Fabers will have just gone to Wales; andde la Mares, thegive TSE wartime refuge;a6 as the broadcast ends at 8, there would not be time to get out to the De la Mares the same evening. I shall go to them the following week for two or three nights. On a previous occasion I spent the night at a hotel, but that is no longer in use. There is no change in my parts of London.

I will send you a copy of my broadcast: I do not think one is allowed to send printed matter without a special licence (periodicals and books can be sent by the publishers and certain booksellers). IArchbishop of York's Conference, Malvern 1941;a7 shall be interested to hear any rumours of your Northampton Conference about the Malvern Conference: though on the other hand I should prefer to forget all about the latter! but'Christian Conception of Education, The';a3 I can’t yet, because my next job this week will be to revise my paper on the Church and Education for the volume of Malvern Papers which is to be published. It will come in useful later as material for a series of studies of tendencies of the present time which I contemplate.

Of course I do a good deal of business work as well, even while immured in the country: reading manuscripts and correspondence. Don’t even altogether escape interviews. ThereNoel-Buxton, Rufuscontinues to ply TSE with verses;a4 is a very nice young man whom I know named Rufus Noel-Buxton who lives four miles away. He is back in Oxford most of the time, as he is taking (on top of his ordinary B.A.) an agricultural degree; but whenever he is about he comes over to see me. He aspires to write poetry; and constantly sends me fresh batches (registered): which has to be criticised and discussed when he comes. He is in the unfortunate position of going to be a not very well to do peer, and he hasn’t the money to buy an estate and farm it himself, which is, I believe, what he was created for; and I fear that his gifts for poetry are not equal to his zeal for it. But his heart it is in the right place, and so one must not offend him. The job of criticising the work of would-be poets is one of the most irksome and difficult, and certainly cannot be avoided. IRoberts, Michaelfingered for TSE's mentor role;a8 think I shall make Michael Roberts criticise some of Rufus’ work: it is time some younger man began to share the burden.

IKnowles, Sylvia Hathaway;a4 imagine that you are now just about to have your Easter vacation; and although your life is, I know, [a] limited and often monotonous one, I can see that it is very crowded, and I hope again that you will get away to Sylvia Knowles or some congenial friend at the seaside or in the country. IElsmiths, the;a5 suppose the Elsmiths do not go to Wood’s Holl [sic] until June. The longer daylight is a great relief here, and makes much more activity possible: it means much more to us than in normal times. And shall you have a new Easter costume and hat? You are always, I know, in Northampton during Holy Week. MyBacon, Fr Philip G.receives TSE's confession;a2 old friend Father Bacon is back in London, and I shall go to see him in Kentish Town during that week.

Your ever loving

I think I remember which one was Cynthia Walsh!

Archbishop of York's Conference, Malvern 1941, paper prepared for, occasion recounted, proceedings to be published,
Bacon, Fr Philip G., stands in as TSE's confessor, receives TSE's confession,

2.FatherBacon, Fr Philip G. Philip G. Bacon, then of the Society of Retreat Conductors. Father Bacon (St Simon’s, Kentish Town, London) was to be quoted at the Requiem Mass for TSE at St Stephen’s, 17 Feb. 1965: ‘Eliot had, along with that full grown stature of mind, a truly child-like heart – the result of his sense of dependence on GOD. And along with it he had the sense of responsibility to GOD for the use of his talents. To his refinedness of character is due the fact that like his poetry he himself was not easily understood – but unbelievers always recognized his faith’ (St Stephen’s Church Magazine, Apr. 1965, 9).

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), TSE's committee service for, its future discussed, TSE working on autumn programme for, TSE on educational broadcasting in general, Barbara Burnham production of Murder, lobbies TSE for next play, 'The Need for Poetic Drama', Metaphyical poet broadcasts for, 'The Church's Message to the World', Christmas Day 'Cats' broadcast, dramatic Waste Land adaptation, which is censored for broadcast, repeats 'Cats', plays Parsifal on Good Friday, broadcasts Hawkins interview with TSE, 'Towards a Christian Britain', 1941 production of Murder, Eastern Service broadcasts East Coker, broadcasts Webster talk, Tennyson talk, Dry Salvages, Poe talk, Dryden talk, Joyce talk, European Service broadcasts TSE's talk, TSE declines Christmas broadcast for, wants to record 'Milton II', broadcasts TSE's personal poetry selection, broadcasts Gielgud's Family Reunion, marks TSE's 60th birthday, Gielgud Family Reunion repeated, solicits TSE post-Nobel Prize, TSE's EP broadcast for, records TSE reading Ash-Wednesday, floats Reith Lectures suggestion, approaches Marilyn Monroe to star in Fitts's Lysistrata,
'Christian Conception of Education, The', charged with being dull,
de la Mares, the, TSE forgoes EH's invitation for, TSE's dread of visiting, give dinner for the Morleys, give TSE wartime refuge, the children, teach TSE vingt-et-un,
Elsmiths, the, seminal Woods Hole stay with,
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.

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,
Knowles, Sylvia Hathaway, TSE tries to place, at 'Bleak House', EH summers with, EH spends week with,

2.SylviaKnowles, Sylvia Hathaway Hathaway Knowles (1891–1979), of New Bedford, Mass. – a descendant of a long-established merchant and business family based there – was a friend and room-mate of EH from their schooldays at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Vermont.

Mirrlees, Emily Lina ('Mappie', née Moncrieff), taken round the Tower, invites TSE to Shamley, described for EH, offers to house TSE gratis, her religion, as horticulturalist, concerns TSE, her distress on animals' behalf, not an irritant, secures better gardener for Shamley, circumstances in which she offered TSE refuge, indifferent to enlarging acquaintance, engineers solitude at Shamley, surprises TSE with lobster and cigars, reduces TSE's rent, celebrates 80th birthday, abed and anxious, anxious about North African campaign, going deaf, boosted by son's promotion, receives offer for Shamley, theatrical by nature, TSE prefers being alone with, TSE's sense of responsibility to, spoils TSE on his birthday, aflutter over Christmas turkey, delighted by recording at Shamley, takes in hopeless cases, collector of recipes, pleased by TSE's lawnmowing, hankers after life in Menton, dreams of leaving Shamley, pulls out of selling Shamley, as landlady, frustrations with gardener, her aura, summons TSE to Shamley, during TSE's final Shamley Christmas, dying, still just living, dies following operation, Wishful Cooking,
see also Mirrleeses, the

3.HopeMirrlees, Emily Lina ('Mappie', née Moncrieff) Mirrlees’s mother was Emily Lina Mirrlees, née Moncrieff (1862–1948) – known as ‘Mappie’ or ‘Mappy’ – see Biographical Register.

Mirrlees, Hope, sketched for EH, at the Eliots' tea-party, part of Bloomsbury society, VHE complains about TSE to, dinner in company with, and mother taken sightseeing, ordeal of a walk with, dinner and chess with, and her dachshund, exhausting but pitiable, her mother preferable, her religion, to Mappie as Eleanor Hinkley to Aunt Susie, irritates like Eleanor, indifferent to enlarging her acquaintance, at Shamley, researching in Worthing Public Library, bathing daily at Lee, and TSE judge fancy-dress parade, during TSE's final Shamley Christmas, suffers 'collapse', in Stellenbosch, visits London, go-between in TSE's second marriage,
see also Mirrleeses, the

2.HopeMirrlees, Hope Mirrlees (1887–1978), British poet, novelist, translator and biographer, was to become a close friend of TSE: see Biographical Register.

Noel-Buxton, Rufus, seeks passage on cargo ship, importunes TSE with sonnets, visits to Shamley, continues to ply TSE with verses, TSE walks four miles to lunch with, as poet, visits Shamley again,

1.RufusNoel-Buxton, Rufus Buxton (1917–80), a scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, was to become 2nd Baron Noel-Buxton. In WW2 he was invalided from an Officer Cadet Training Unit and became a research assistant at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute in Oxford, while also lecturing to the forces. After two further years as a producer on the BBC North American Service, he joined Farmers’ Weekly, 1950–2. In later years he became famous for fording a number of perilous English rivers. His publications include Without the Red Flag (1936); The Ford: A Poem (1955); Westminster Wader (F&F, 1957).

Perkins, Dr John Carroll (EH's uncle), wished speedy recovery, Perkins household apparently restored, and TSE's King's Chapel address, at first Norton lecture, writes about second Norton lecture, supplied with tobacco, unused to intelligent opposition, suggests title for Murder, recommended Endless Adventure, TSE on, novelty birthday-present suggested for, comes by The Achievement of T. S. Eliot, once again preaching, his accent, his versus Eliot-family Unitarianism, reports on TSE from Aban Court, remarks on photograph of TSE, his Pastor Emeritus position endangered, starved of male company, more remote with age, donates Eliotana to Henry's collection, relations with Aunt Edith, ailing, altered with age, and Campden memories, sends photograph of EH portrait, on 1946 reunion with TSE, withdrawn, according to EH, honoured by bas-relief, celebrates 86th birthday, feared for, celebrates 87th birthday, thanks EH for her help, his final illness, dies, elegised by TSE, funeral, obituary and funeral, obituary, TSE receives old clothes of, Miss Lavorgna on, apparently communicated in Anglican churches, Annals of King's Chapel,
see also Perkinses, the

3.DrPerkins, Dr John Carroll (EH's uncle) John Carroll Perkins (1862–1950), Minister of King’s Chapel, Boston: see Biographical Register.

Roberts, Michael, sketched in thumbnail, reviews Collected Poems, introduces radio Waste Land, described for EH, EH interests herself in, singles out Burnt Norton, asks TSE to be godfather, fingered for TSE's mentor role, recommended for EH's 'criticism' course, working for BBC, resemblance to wife, assists TSE in judging translations, at Norwegian diplomatic dinner, makes way for TSE's broadcast, terminally ill, dies of leukaemia, The Modern Mind, New Signatures, T. E. Hulme,
see also Robertses, the

1.MichaelRoberts, Michael Roberts (1902–48), critic, editor, poet: see Biographical Register.

Shamley Wood, Surrey, TSE issued standing invitation to, his situation as paying guest, daily and weekly life at, dramatis personae, Christmas at, ideal situation for illness, overheated, depressingly female, TSE leads fire practice at, TSE takes week's rest from, its melodramas, TSE quarantined from, its lack of music, and Reay's homecoming, TSE distributes food parcels at, TSE's gradual removal from, TSE's post-war week's holiday at, post-hernia convalescence at,
'Towards a Christian Britain', perplexes TSE, on its fourth draft, broadcast,