Hide footnotes
Display footnotes

Letter from Thomas MacGreevy to George Yeats. 11 January 1927.

[p.1 recto]

at 15 Cheyne Gdns
S.W. 3.
11th January, 1926.


I hoped even though I have spent all the whole lot of money I had saved that Grundy might say I could have a week and that I might be coming over between 17th and 30th but alas, no. He says nix. So I shan't see home or Dublin this month I suppose. I don't want to see Rummel without his piano but that wouldn't matter. I'd be prepared to do my share and it would be fun to be there for "Emperor" and Rummel, like being a distinguished talltater. Dolly goes in high spirits. You all gave her a grand time and London has been duller for her in consequence. Liti was a joy of course and Hester was so pleased that she bought a £ 30 cabinet affair (called "Sonora Duse") otherwise no entertainment. Hester on Caruso in "Aida" final duet — "Oh, I'd like to be shut up in a tomb with him" and some days later "Really Caruso has a voice like a down quilt." Still she did have the decency to make the two remarks separately. Tonight she said when Segurola was singing "Porque de mis ojos"[p.1 verso] with Lucrezia Bori "Oh I'd love a man to make love to me like that." Such a school girl. The only thing is that she so enjoys being musically ravished that we get very little time for anything but singing seducers. I send you a Brahms trio which I play myself when she has gone to dinner — she dines at a 2s 3d restaurant at 7.30 I at a 2s 6d one at 8.30 — I like it very much and there is so little clarinet music that it is more precious still. I hope you'll like it. If you don't care for it my shop regards me as such a wonderful customer that they will change it ?? so do say. Or you may have it already. We have the 24 preludes too. How toneless Cortot is. If I weren't finished with Dublin journalism I'd begin criticising Cortot instead of praising Rummel directly. His Chopin is really impossible in the end, and his Pleyel piano impossible in the beginning (and, more especially, in the middle). But his Albeniz, Malaguena & Seguidille have all that his Chopin hasn't, atmosphere, movement, and signs on the part of the pianist that he is able to let them speak for themselves. Rummel, has he not recorded? I see Jelly and Adila in the Vocalion catalogue, but not in Brahms, only Bach and other 18th century people who indulge in goings on. Your mother offered me a present of a record for Xmas but I didn't choose them I took a Thibaud record of two Granados Danzas, and I like it very much. Ysaye-ish rather than Kreislerish and none the worse for that. To Eva Duckette's horror I prefer Ysaye.

Dolly will tell you of our Linguaphone records too.[p.2 recto] I hope to get a lot of Spanish done and French too. But its between them and the gramophone I sent home that all my money went. I see now its no good my staying here on the particular pretence that I am saving. I'll never save, and as I'm only marking time here I'm praying that I'll have the nerve to say I'm going when I get my end of January payment and go at the end of February. In the 12 months since I wrote Red Hugh I have written only Bosch and the two recent things which are of no consequence. I am desperately frightened at the thought of starting off but I might as well try. Leonard Woolf will try to keep me in mind for reviews and Billy Stewart will get me some people to give English lessons to and if I can pay 6 months rent in advance as I should certainly try to and if I have a gramophone I ought to be not only comfortable but cheerful. I am more afraid of beginning in the spring because I may be tempted again to go Lunning and I ought not to do that. ??Don't tell Lennox yet in case I change my mind. Hester hasn't a suspicion. Dolly knows I am shivering on the verge and seems a bit frightened too. She has been terribly good. I hope her décor has a success.

I dined with Mrs. Shakespeare tonight. She was very gay and nice and let herself go on the[p.2 verso] subject of one or two people which is always so refreshing. A really enjoyable evening, and London became human for an evening. Usually it is one enormous wall. She had sent her servants to the play and dining at her club said would I come in without changing or anything.

The play doesn't progress. Nothing progresses except the attitude to me at the office. I have made myself so agreeable that they are all being almost fussy about me. Rosy has written a poem mocking me almost affectionately, the editor asks my permission before sub-editing me, the girls tell me about their motor cars their dogs and their crossword puzzles and generally the idly busy life goes marvellously. I got the first song of the play sketched out and a bit more, but thats all. I am doing no work that interests me.

Your mother comes up February 14th. If you do mention me in writing to her again say I spoke well of her nice record. I hear Mr. Tucker asked his sister to be good enough to instal a wireless before he came, that it would only be about £75! I didn't know your brother was back in England by the way.

Love to you all,


Must WB go on translating Sophocles? Why not Aeschylus if he wants to do a bit of translating (Sophocles seems to me to have a mind much like Professor Dowden). But don't tell him I said anything if he is feeling happy about it. —

By the way who does he know at Benus? I've met one of their people and if I need to go on with the Valéry I may have to go to them and the more the merrier. Eliot could give me an introduction there too but it would be I think to Humbert Wolfe whom I met at the Campbells an outrageous creature. Don't forget to tell me who WB's man is.