[No surviving envelope]

T. S.Eliot
Faber & Faber Ltd
Letter 4.
31 January 1944
Dearest Emily

No news from you since I last wrote. I have not been worried, however, as I take it that this represents the moving about during the Christmas holidays, and the business of getting established in lodgings and starting your new work. I fear that you will not have had enough rest before beginning; so I hope that the work will not at first be too stimulating or exacting; the main thing is that it should promise to be what you want to do, that the atmosphere should be friendly, and that you should have a good landlady to feed you and keep you warm. I shall expect you to have written within a fortnight after your arrival! that, I think, is not asking too much.

I have nothing particular to report of myself. The doctor recommends artificial sunlight, if I can get it; I have been perfectly well, but not feeling as energetic as I should wish; the'Johnson as Critic and Poet'threatens to outgrow its occasion;a3 days at Shamley have been occupied with Johnson, who threatens to become much more than I can use in two hours of lecturing. I have got far enough no longer to feel worried about being ready in time, but as I shall want to re-write it all, I shall have no time to spare. The problem will be to find the time in the summer to make it fit for publication; and, evenVirgil Society, TheTSE's Presidental Address for;a3 if I have no extra-ordinary job in the spring (as is just possible) I have to prepare a Presidential Address to the Virgil Society for July, and that is a subject which I am quite unqualified to talk about. However, I am declining a pressing request to write one of a series of ecclesiastical pamphlets, first on the ground of time, and second on the ground that I have nothing that I want to say in that form. I have had to suspend Johnson for an evening and a morning, to'Walt Whitman and Modern Poetry';a2 prepareChurchill Club, TheWalt Whitman talk for;a1 an informal talk on Walt Whitman for the Churchill Club next Wednesday (this club is in an old building belonging to Westminster School, in the close of the Abbey, so that everyone has to be out of it before 10 in the evening, which is absurd, but convenient for speakers). StephenSpender, Stephenchairs TSE's Whitman talk;c6 Spender is to take the chair (he is being very active in this sort of thing); I am more afraid of his ineptitude as an introducer than anything else.

Onbirdsheron;c1at Shamley;a1 my walk this afternoon I flushed four heron by the little pond in the waste forest land behind the house; two wild fowl of the duck tribe also flew out: I hope that these birds are going to nest there. No spring birds seem to have arrived yet, but the residents show a tendency to practise notes. Thereflowers and floraprimroses;c4at Shamley;a2 wereflowers and floracatkins;a8at Shamley;a1 catkinsflowers and florapussy-willow;c5at Shamley;a1 in profusion, and even pussy willows; and I discovered two, very small primroses – exceptionally early for this part of the country, less unusual in Devon. I have never seen snow-drops about here growing wild, but the primroses are good. The season has been so mild until now, that I hope the forward vegetation will not be caught by severe weather later.

Your loving
birds, TSE reading Birds of the Countryside, American Yellow warbler ('Summer Yellowbird'), fellow passenger on the Laetitia, Baltimore Oriole, spotted in Maine, blackbird, more innocent singer than nightingale, Blue Heron, spotted in Maine, blue tits, at Pike's Farm, budgerigar, belonging to Mrs Behrens, cardinals, spotted near Charlottesville, chaffinch, at Pike's Farm, Chestnut-sided warbler, spotted in Maine, chiffchaff, more piping than the nightingale, in Shamley woods, Common whitethroat, identified in Winchester, cuckoo, compared to nightingale, as herald of spring, its song, dove, EH as TSE's, Evening grosbeak, finches, at autumntide, more piping than the nightingale, swarm at Shamley, geese, slaughtered at autumntide, hermit thrush, TSE's personal poetic bird, heron, at Shamley, House Sparrow ('English Sparrow'), fellow passenger on the Laetitia, kestrels, over the Surrey fields, lapwings, in the Surrey fields, Longbilled Marsh Wren, spotted in Maine, magpies, in the fields of Surrey, mockingbird, TSE 'the Missouri Mockingbird', and Walt Whitman, nightingale, EH addressed as, 'clanging' at Pike's Farm, and Sophocles, associated with Pike's Farm, hoped for at Herbert Read's, Pied Wagtail, on lawn at Pike's Farm, songbirds, TSE and Hodgson discuss, tanagers, spotted near Charlottesville, thrush, inspires humility in TSE, more innocent singer than the nightingale, wagtails, on the lawn at Shamley, Willow Warbler ('Willow Wren'), identified in Winchester, wren, more piping than the nightingale,
Churchill Club, The, Walt Whitman talk for, Milton talk for, Poe talk for,
flowers and flora, aconite, at Shamley, imagined in Cambridge, azaleas, summon memories of EH, bamboo, imagined by TSE in California, bluebells, in Shamley Wood, bourgainvillea, imagined by TSE in California, cactus, imagined by TSE in California, carnations, from Chipping Campden, catkins, at Shamley, celandine, spotted at Shamley, chrysanthemums, TSE prefers to roses, cowslips, at Shamley, crocuses, at Shamley, imagined in Cambridge, gladioli, sent to EH in TSE's name, hawthorn ('may'), summons memories of EH, heliotrope, enclosed in letter from Christine Galitzi, hibiscus, imagined by TSE in California, laburnum, summons memories of EH, lilacs, in Russell and Woburn Squares, summon memories of EH, lilies-of-the-valley, delivered to EH on the Samaria, Michaelmas daisies, around Pike's Farm, palms, imagined by TSE in California, primroses, and the English spring, at Shamley, pussy-willow, at Shamley, rhododendrons, summon memories of EH, roses, in autumn, sent to EH on birthday, from Chipping Campden, left by EH in TSE's Grenville rooms, their emotionally disturbing scent, given to TSE as EH's parting gift, for EH's birthday, snowdrops, at Shamley, sweet peas, and EH's performance in Hay Fever, effect of their scent on TSE, no longer painful to TSE, delivered to EH, TSE buys himself at Gloucester Road, cheer TSE up, the essence of summer, sent to Aunt Edith, violets, EH gives TSE as buttonhole, emotionally disturbing, left by departing EH, wisteria, summons memories of EH, Wood anemone, at Shamley, yew, sprig picked for TSE by EH, zinnias, TSE prefers over roses,
'Johnson as Critic and Poet', being and not being written, threatens to outgrow its occasion, as essay was lectured, described for EH, revisited with view to publication, revamped for Princeton, favoured by Eleanor Hinkley,
Spender, Stephen, described for EH, poems published by F&F, what TSE represents to, attacks After Strange Gods, his objections to After Strange Gods, and Sweeney rehearsal, and lunching young men generally, evening with JDH, Jennings and TSE, TSE chairs his 'free verse' talk, at the Woolfs with TSE and EH, describes club lunch with TSE, his first marriage, 'Eclipse of the Highbrow' controversy, introduces new wife Natasha, gives musical party, at Lady Colefax's Wavell dinner, part of British contingent at Norwegian dinner, chairs TSE's Whitman talk, which he does in fireman's uniform, at poetry reading to Free Hungarians, takes issue with Roy Campbell, exchanges conciliatory sonnets with TSE, object of Rowse's anger, his German sensibility, an innocent fool, encomium for TSE's 75th, 'Four Poems', The Temple, Trial of a Judge, 'Vienna',

12.Stephen SpenderSpender, Stephen (1909–95), poet and critic: see Biographical Register.

Virgil Society, The, TSE made inaugural president, letter written on behalf of, TSE's Presidental Address for,
'Walt Whitman and Modern Poetry',