[No surviving envelope]

T. S.Eliot
Faber & Faber Ltd
Letter 41.
5 December 1944
Dearest Emily,

Your letter of November 2 arrived in the middle of the week, so it appears that ordinary mail takes between three and four weeks, which is not too bad nowadays. Somebody has just received a first post card from Southern France, which took just six weeks. ByEliot, Theresa Garrett (TSE's sister-in-law);c7 the same mail I had a post card from Theresa, mentioning your visit with pleasure, and saying that you were looking very well; subsequentlyEliot, Henry Ware, Jr. (TSE's brother);i6, it seems, Henry took to bed with a cold. I am always apprehensive about his health. I was very much amused to hear of the reception of my cable. I should never have ventured to put such a greeting into a cable: it was the operator who interpreted it for me. What I actually wrote was ‘love and (best) Wishes’. You can give this explanation to your landlady if necessary. You give a very good impression of her: and I can see that, especially if she has but few friends, she may be rather a strain. It would be easier to have a landlady who was not quite so genteel, and whom one did not have to see except for business explanations. However, good food and cleanliness, and warmth in the winter, are what matter most; and I am glad that you have these. I remember Miss Anderson as a person of charm and gentleness, though I am sorry that she was invited to a birthday party. I don’t think that I have been to a dinner in evening dress since I was in Campden: I put a dinner jacket on in the country (except that I left off doing so while the neighbourhood was disturbed by explosions) but that is only to make my other clothes last longer.

I think I will send this by air, at least, so as to reach you in Concord before you break up for Christmas; and will address the next to Commonwealth Avenue. I hope you will have long enough for a visit to friends as well, during the holidays. ChristmasShamley Wood, SurreyChristmas at;a5 at Shamley will be rather crowded. RayMirrlees, Maj.-Gen. William Henry Buchanan ('Reay')at Shamley for Christmas;b1 [sc. Reay] Mirrlees (the General) is back for a conference, and expects to stop over Christmas, to the great happiness of his mother of course. That is very pleasant, as he is a simple easy person to get on with; butCokers, thedue at Shamley for Christmas;a1 if his sister Margot is to be here for Christmas too sheCoker, Lewis Aubrey ('Bolo')reputation at Shamley;a2 must bring her husband: and this is too much of a family party, especially as he (Aubrey Coker), whom I have never met – he is actually quite the last of that family, they left the village in the 14th century, before we arrived – is not very popular with his in-laws, and I gather is a somewhat uncouth country squire.1 HoweverBehrens, Margaret Elizabeth (née Davidson);c2, I have nowhere to go; and the Field Marshal, who is still at Mrs. Knight’s at the foot of the hill (at the moment she has gone to a local nursing home because she doesn’t like the smell of new paint) will no doubt join us, which is a comfort.

IChurchill Club, TheMilton talk for;a3 did myMilton, JohnTSE's Churchill Club talk on;a5 speech on Milton at the Churchill Club last week; 2 andLang, William Cosmo Gordon, Archbishop of Canterbury (later Baron Lang of Lambeth)chairs TSE's Milton talk;a6 Lord Lang did very well. The audience not so good as the previous time, as so many of the best of the Americans are now on the continent, but still very attentive and asking questions. Only this time, not so many of the questions came from the soldiers. SoMoot, Thediscusses TSE's paper;d4 no more engagements this year except a weekend of the Moot – partly'On the Place and Function of the Clerisy';a1 to discuss a paper which I have done for them: 3 IRichmonds, theTSE's Netherhampton weekends with;a7Richmond, BruceRichmonds, theRichmond, ElenaRichmonds, the had mistaken the date, and so unfortunately have had to put the Richmonds off until next year. AndMurder in the CathedralHoellering film;g1TSE adapting for screen;a3 there is no more I can do for the film at this stage – he is reconstructing his scenario, and cutting out some of it. I am to give one morning this week to recording part of it for him. Apparently, my record can be skeletonised in some way, removing the words and leaving only my verse rhythms: he then proposes to make the actors learn their words to my rhythm. It is an interesting way of getting verse spoken properly by actors, and I am glad to make the experiment.

IFour QuartetsEnglish edition of;a7 am very glad that you like the production of our ‘Quartets’. I was very well pleased with it.

Your devoted

1.Major Lewis Aubrey Coker (1883–1953) lived with his wife Margot (Mirrlees) Coker at Bicester House, Oxon., which had been in the Coker family since 1584.

2.‘Notes for a Lecture on John Milton.’

3.‘On the Place and Function of the Clerisy’, CProse 6, 533–62. The paper was unpublished in TSE’s lifetime.

Behrens, Margaret Elizabeth (née Davidson), comes to lodge at Shamley, tends to Shamley hens, mainstay of Shamley sanity, does not spoil her dog, takes refuge from Shamley's dogs, reports on poultry-feeding manuscript, sequesters dogs for TSE's recording, makes vatic pronouncements on Operation Overlord, cheers up Shamley, jeremiad on Shamley, introduces Violet Powell to TSE, in Ilfracombe, settled in Lee, during Christmas 1945, departing for Menton, visited in Menton,

4.MargaretBehrens, Margaret Elizabeth (née Davidson) Elizabeth Behrens, née Davidson (1885–1968), author of novels including In Masquerade (1930); Puck in Petticoats (1931); Miss Mackay (1932); Half a Loaf (1933).

Churchill Club, The, Walt Whitman talk for, Milton talk for, Poe talk for,
Coker, Lewis Aubrey ('Bolo'), reputation at Shamley, at Christmas,
see also Cokers, the

5.MargaretCoker, Margaret Rosalys ('Margot', née Mirrlees) Rosalys Mirrlees – ‘Margot’ (b. 1898) – wasCoker, Lewis Aubrey ('Bolo') married in 1920 to Lewis Aubrey Coker, OBE (1883–1953), nicknamed ‘Bolo’, a major in the Royal Field Artillery. T. S. Matthews, Great Tom: Notes towards the definition of T. S. Eliot (1974), 126: ‘The married daughter, Margot Coker, had a large country house near Bicester …’

Cokers, the, due at Shamley for Christmas,
Eliot, Henry Ware, Jr. (TSE's brother), hears TSE's Dryden broadcast, as potential confidant, sibling most attuned to TSE's needs, witness to the Eliots in 1926, surprises TSE in Boston, his aura of futility, disputes New Yorker profile of TSE, at Eliot family Thanksgiving, attends second Norton lecture, his business in Chicago, hosts TSE in New York, TSE reads his second detective story, his immaturity, accuses TSE of wrath, writes TSE long critical letter, the favourite of TSE's parents, sends New York Murder clippings, writes again about religion, insensitive to European affairs, Peabody Museum employ as research associate, gives TSE pyjamas for Christmas, sends TSE luggage for Christmas, hosts Murder's Boston cast, sends present to Morley children, cables TSE on 50th birthday, given draft of Family Reunion, gives TSE portfolio, champions Kauffer's photograph of TSE, explains operation on ears, sends list of securities, takes pleasure in shouldering Margaret, undergoes serious operation, recovering at home, as curator of Eliotana, as curator of Eliotana, war imperils final reunion with, and TSE's rumoured Vatican audience, corresponds with TSE monthly, offers Tom Faber wartime refuge, nervous about TSE during Blitz, as described by Frank Morley, recalls The Dry Salvages, has appendix out, cautioned as to health, frail, condition worries TSE, as correspondent, friend to J. J. Sweeney, tries TSE's patience, reports on Ada, describes Ada's funeral, beleaguered by Margaret, sent Picture Post F&F photos, likened to Grandfather Stearns, goitre operated on, his archaeological endeavours, back in hospital, imagined in exclusively female company, ill again, as brother, has pneumonia, terminal leukaemia, prospect of his death versus Ada's, anxieties induced by deafness, writes to TSE despite illness, death, memorial service for, on EH's presumption, Michael Roberts's symptoms reminiscent of, his Chicago acquaintance, friends with Robert Lowell's father, invoked against EH, on TSE's love for EH, buried in Garrett family lot, The Rumble Murders,

3.HenryEliot, Henry Ware, Jr. (TSE's brother) Ware Eliot (1879–1947), TSE’s older brother: see Biographical Register.

Eliot, Theresa Garrett (TSE's sister-in-law), witness to the Eliots in 1926, draws TSE, co-hosts Murder party, remembers TSE's intention to marry EH, her immaturity, expresses solicitude for EH, careless of Henry's health, inflator of rumours, apparently ill, a 'lovely person', as correspondent, more agreeable than an Eliot, TSE on, unsuited to resist Margaret, and Henry's mania for Eliotana, wishes to take Henry on holiday following illness, made fretful by Henry, relationship with Henry, ignorant of Henry's true condition, on EH and TSE, after Henry's death, sends TSE Henry's old greatcoat, EH reports on, visits lawyer with TSE, avid for Eliotana, star-struck, undergoes operation on ear, for which TSE bears cost, hosts TSE in 1952, hosts TSE in 1955, custodian of Henry's collection, hosts TSE in 1956, visits England, on whether to return EH's letters, on TSE not marrying EH,
Four Quartets, as publishing proposition, as conceived by TSE, deliberations over title, published in America, whose first edition appals TSE, reviewed, English edition of, appearing in French in Africa, recorded by TSE, BBC broadcast TSE reading,
Lang, William Cosmo Gordon, Archbishop of Canterbury (later Baron Lang of Lambeth), non-committal benediction on Murder, petitioned over Purchase Tax, over which he proves industrious, blesses TSE's South India intervention, chairs TSE's Milton talk,
Milton, John, on TSE's brain, TSE on Comus, appealing to the ear, TSE's Churchill Club talk on, British Academy lecture on, Frick lecture on, Comus,
Mirrlees, Maj.-Gen. William Henry Buchanan ('Reay'), with brigade in North Africa, source of anxiety in Shamley, promoted to major-general, awarded DSO, homecoming animates Mappie, returns from India, TSE's impression of, returns to regiment, at Shamley for Christmas,

1.MajMirrlees, Maj.-Gen. William Henry Buchanan ('Reay').-Gen. William Henry Buchanan ‘Reay’ Mirrlees, DSO, CB, MC (1892–1964), served in the Royal Artillery. He was the only son of William Julius and Emily Lina Mirrlees, brother of Hope Mirrlees.

Moot, The, first meeting, invited to TSE's Maritain dinner, no substitute for individual friendships, seems futile, welcomes Reinhold Niebuhr as guest, discusses TSE's paper,
Murder in the Cathedral, idea for initially suggested by Laurence Irving, offered to Martin Browne, St. Thomas as TSE's muse, TSE on writing, tentatively, 'The Archbishop Murder Case', uncertainties over title, currently 'Fear in the Way', which proves unpopular, TSE on rewriting, title settled on, final revisions for printer, tentatively critiqued by EH, and EH on TSE as dramatist, chorus copied for EH, Virginia Woolf's aspersions on, the form of its choruses, defended from obscurity, did not test TSE's plotting, book-sales to-date, $1,000 offered for American rights, pays for 1936 American trip, Italian and Hungarian rights sold, and Whiggery, Savile Club dinner to celebrate, compared to next play, discrepancies of Canterbury Text, Martin Browne's initial response to, TSE recognised as author of, TSE on its cheerful title, EH on, abandoned Mercury Theatre premiere, suggested by Yeats and Doone, in the offing, and Doone's response to first draft, EH requested at, imperilled, text copied for Yeats, 1935 Canterbury Festival production, in rehearsal, opening night, reception, final performance, and EH's response, 1935–6 Mercury Theatre revival, Martin Browne pushing for, in rehearsal, which EH attends, compared to Canterbury original, at the box-office, its 100th performance, still running, proposed tour to end, 1936 BBC radio version, BBC bid to produce, broadcast fixed, BBC memo on, in rehearsal, TSE on, abortive 1936 New York transfer, Dukes visits America to arrange, blighted by Brace's actions, quashed by Federal Theatre production, its usurper founders, deferred to autumn, unsolicited 1936 New York production, licensed by Brace, to be directed by Rice, seemingly withdrawn, Rice resigns from, delights EH and Eleanor Hinkley, TSE sent press-cuttings for, EH reports on, TSE speculates as to textual discrepancies, attended by Eleanor Roosevelt, extended and potentially expanded, TSE to the Transcript on, may predispose immigration authorities favourably in future, royalties from, 1936 University College, Dublin student production, described by TSE, rumoured Australian and American productions, 1936 Gate Theatre touring production, TSE's long-held wish, scheduled, 1936 touring production, due at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, as it was played in Cambridge, 1936 America pirate production, 1937 Duchess Theatre West End transfer, date fixed for, announced in Times, dress-rehearsal attended, reception, reviewed, royalties, still playing, ticket sales pick up, coming to an end, receives royal visit, 1937 touring production, scheduled post-Duchess, beginning in Leeds, then Manchester, going strong, 1937 Harvard University production, 1937 Amherst College production, singled out for praise, 1937 Old Vic production, touring production arrived at, in rehearsal, 1937 Tewkesbury Drama Festival production, 1938 American tour, projected for January 1937, said date seconded by Dukes, deferred to September 1937, confirmed again by Dukes, pre-tour dates in Golders Green, then Liverpool, opening in Boston in January, over which EH is consulted, tour itinerary, Family Reunion keeps TSE from, preparatory re-rehearsal for, pre-crossing Liverpool dates, EH's judgement desired, EH reports on first night, reviewed in The Times, EH sends New York cuttings, prematurely transferred to New York, Dukes reports on, Westminster Cathedral Hall charity performance, 1940 Latham Mercury revival, revival suggested in rep with Family Reunion, wartime modern-dress production suggested, ambushes TSE, in rehearsal, first night, reviewed, Browne's wartime Pilgrim Players' adaptation, Hoellering film, Hoellering's initial approach made, Hoellering's vision for, TSE adapting for screen, reconnoitre of Canterbury for, casting Becket, recording made for, development process described to NYT, non-actor found for Becket, screenings of Groser, set-dressing, screening, approaching release, still in the edit, final screening, and Venice Film Festival, seeking distribution, soon to premiere, opens, initial reception, circulating in shortened version, 1945 Théâtre du Vieux Colombier production, compared to Martin Browne's, royalties, apparently a hit, reviewed, reaches 150 performances, Fluchère's involvement, 1946 German production, 1947 Edinburgh Festival production, 1948 Milton Academy production, 1949 broadcast, 1949 Berlin production, politically resonant, 1952 University of Rennes, Grand Théâtre abridgment, 1952 Théatre National Populaire production, 1953 Old Vic revival, waiting on Donat, TSE on, 1954 Harvard production,
'On the Place and Function of the Clerisy',
Richmonds, the, TSE's new South Kensington neighbours, TSE's alcholic weekend with, host TSE in Sussex, TSE's Netherhampton weekends with, make their home over to maternity hospital,
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,