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Letter from Thomas MacGreevy to George Yeats. 7 January, [1926].

[p.1 recto]

at 15Cheyne Gdns
S.W. 3.
7th January 1925

My Dear George,

Thanks for a long good letter — though it had a devastating postscript.Yeats's letter of 31 December 1925 closed with 'And, to really come to an end, I do not like the last poem you send "Dashing about or parked"' referring to the draft of 'Nocturne of the Self-Evident Presence' which MacGreevy enclosed with his letter of 30 December 1925.note I am so glad Anne does a bit better and hope all trouble is coming to an end now.Anne Yeats was ill over Christmas with double pneumonia, needing a day and night nurse but vehemently refused to let a strange nurse do much for her.note It must have been a pretty ghastly month. I saw the Mayoress of Worthing was dead and wondered whether I had placed her right. Excellent that she has at last gone her ways and I hope that all comes out as you want it to. Its a long time till the first week in April, but I'm sure you'll find me still in London.Yeats had been planning to go to London for the reading of the will of her father's step-aunt Ellen Chapman, Mayor of Worthing. Probate on the will was granted in February 1926 allowing Yeats to receive the rest of her inheritance from her father's estate. See Yeats's letter of 5 January 1926.note At present I am bothered with a return of the soreness where I was 'wounded' in the warMacGreevy was wounded twice while serving as a Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The second time, on 2 October 1918, the officers' quarters was struck, and he was wounded by shrapnel in his right shoulder. The wound was serious enough for him to be invalided to England for the duration of the war.note and I can't move my head without hurt, result wakeful nights and tiredness as well as the discomfort. I'm going to get my neck and shoulder — it was some tendon or other running from the base of the skull to the right elbow that was snapped by a piece of something — massaged, and though it will be much worse after it may get better more quickly. Odd that it should return[p.1 verso] for except when I was in London last November twelve months it hadn't hurt seriously during the years since 1918. Fortunately I have no engagements, though 'ErbHerbert Vincent Reade, or 'dear little 'Erb' was one of George Yeats's oldest friends.note asked if he could join me at dinner some time and I have suggested tomorrow or Monday — I hope he'll say Monday. My party with Mrs. Shakespeare was very pleasant. There was also a Miss Bedford.MacGreevy dined with Shakespear and Bedford on 1 January 1926.note I fear I may have again exceeded the time-limit, though I was back in Chelsea at 10.30.While he lived in London, MacGreevy lodged with Hester Travers Smith, a noted medium and former Dublin hostess, at 15 Cheyne Gardens.note When Mrs. S. said she wanted to go to Spain, must go to Madrid &c. I said 'If you're going all that quick you may go off without my seeing you first so let me urge you here and now to go to stop at ValladolidMacGreevy visited Valladolid with Lennox Robinson in April 1924. His search with a local priest for the burial place of the Irish prince Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill, provided the inspiration for his most well-known poem.note on the way' to which she responded 'If you're not careful, I'll take you with me'. So even though it isn't Berlin its going to be all right.It does not appear that MacGreevy ever travelled with Olivia Shakespear.note Lennox sent me his story. I think its admirable as Lennox Robinson. Mr. Simcox and all such Jamesian people more especially at second-hand are tadpoles, but I don't expect Lennox to be strikingly effective in prose ever, and as the thing stands I approve, and think it good that he has taken pains to leave no loose ends which is more than one can say of most of his stories. In the pleasure of thinking about Spain I sent him my effort about 'the vast high light-beaten plain,'Seventh Gift of the Holy Ghostnote which had reverted to its first title 'Castille' some time previously, not for his opinion which I have never had any[p.2 recto] great regard for, but to show that I had appreciated in my own way the treat he gave me when he paid for my ticket to Spain. He replied that had he 'didn't know what to say about it' and wound up with the query that if a man like Eliot liked such things wasn't it good enough for meSee Robinson's letter to MacGreevy 2 January 1926 (TCD MS 8103/109).note. Though I have no regard for his opinion I have regard enough for him to realise that if his opinion did matter to [unclear] me, he couldn't have been much more brutal. As I see scarcely anybody — no men whatever, literary or otherwise, and I don't hand out my efforts in the Cheyne Gardens nunnery I have only you and Phibbs to send things to, and Phibbs since matrimony does not write letters.In 1924 Phibbs married the Irish painter Norah McGuinness.note I'm sorry you didn't like the 'nocturne.'MacGreevy enclosed a draft of 'Nocturne of the Self-Evident Presence' in his letter to Yeats of 30 December 1925.note No doubt the treatment is unsatisfactory but I felt sure there was the germ of a poem there. I wish I had someone to say things aloud to — a wife would have to submit. Shall I get married so as to improve my verses, sometimes in my vanity I think they might be worth it, but — however. The 'parked' had disappeared before you wrote, the whole thing I think improved. (in a rather Gaelic style — was it your sound anti-Gaelic instinct I wondered for a moment that made you so categorically dislike it) but 'dashing about' I rather want to keep, as it seems to me to suit the whole childish passage — Immaculate Conceptions, Domenichino cherubs, &c — that it belongs to. However[p.2 verso] I don't really know at all. The whole lot are tentative. The last lot Eliot wrote about acknowledging he only said 'I'll write about them later — I hope you'll soon have enough for a book' which was non-committal yet not discouraging.See Eliot's letter of 2 October 1925 (TCD MS 8113/20).note And if I thought I could write one good poem I wouldn't give it for all the art criticism I could write in a life time, of course I mean a poem that I'd think good myself and that the half dozen people in existence whose good opinion I want would at least take seriously.

I fear I can't read Sitwells except aloud. I read a bit of Osbert's 'Triple Fugue' in Cork, but only because I was in Cork. Sacheverell seems to me to have a good intelligence but the family influence on him is bad. Edith is better for reading aloud than Belloc's comicalities, because she has more prettified colour I think. I'll read the 'Cats' though. One can always read a thing one has been put on to. I accused Mrs. Shakespeare of having said 'One approves of the Sitwells, without reading them.' It was nearly what she had said, but she denied the epigram.

God forgive you for saying I am more disruptive than you are — See George Yeats's letter of 31 December 1925.note you treating Ireland like a boy in the street kicking a rusty tin can while I spend six hours a day inventing (casuistical) compliments to England and Wheatley & all the rest of it. The present ConnoisseursMacGreevy is here referring to the editors of The Connoisseur, the London art magazine that he began writing for in November 1925, shortly after his arrivial in London.note were not I imagine at a University at all. The assistant editor was at Westminster School — which means nothing to me except that I'm sure it isn't Winchester. Eton and Harrow are quite Jewish and vulgarian are they not? Still I should feel intellectually very déclassé were it not for 'The Nation'MacGreevy began writing art reviews for The Nation and Athenaeum in June 1925 after he was introduced to Leonard Woolf, the literary editor, through T S Eliot. He would continue writing for the magazine until 1927.note and 'The Criterion'!!!First published in 1922, The Criterion was TS Eliot's high profile literary journal. Eliot was generous to MacGreevy, taking articles and book reviews regularly from him from 1925-27, and again in 1934.note What is Ruskin pottery? I've learned a lot conoozingMacGreevy typically referred to his work on The Connoisseur as 'conoozing'.note but I hadn't heard of it[p.1 recto] before. I think I agree with you about the Senate, but am not sure.In her last letter of 31 December 1925, Yeats said she is trying to get WB to quit his position as a Senator in the Irish Free State government, but Lady Augusta Gregory has been trying to convince him otherwise.note I certainly agree that Lady G.'s ob. was monstrous but it is a different matter. If he decides ultimately that his political work definitely hinders (1) his personal happiness and (2) his work I'm all for his giving it up, but I think he enjoys it a bit? No news, no plays, ballets anything. Billy Stewart is Derry, Trinity, semi-German, rather Teutonic in a talking sweet way. He is a lecturer in English at the Sorbonne, was in college with me, but he improves as he grows older and I have grown to like him very sincerely. Alan maintains that Belinda's love is bestowed primarily on me, secondly on Billy and on him after. I hope for good news of Anne also. All possible good wishes for yourself & W. B. & great Michael.

Tom Mc.

I'll go to Rummel's gladly. I can talk to him if she's there I'm sure & possibly they might have ohers & I do want something besides Hester's collection of boring spinsters. My God!