Letter from George Yeats to Thomas MacGreevy. 1 July 1926.[p.1 recto]
DUBLIN DRAMA LEAGUE.Going back to Ballylee tomorrow
82, MERRION SQUARE.
July 1 1926
My dear Tom.
Two letters I seem to have of yours unanswered. I was reminded of it this morning by half waking in the early hours murmuring "The cow in music" and then on wholly waking and wondering why I dreamt it, of course, by obvious sequence, Wagner, and then your letter about Rhein-ringing. I'd never a good Wagner moment, and being less civilised than you had I so completely rhein-ringed I'd have got a moment out of it in spite of the fact that I would certainly have found the music an excellent background to the thought of the moment. Then you'd met O'Casey buying good cigarrettes for a lady probably totting it in the Tottenham Court Road... without being catty I think that would be his spiritual district... Leicester Square would think him a little outré and there are too many handsome foreigners there, and Picadilly wouldnt think his clothes worth bothering about. And then dear little 'ErbYeats's old friend Herbert Vincent Reade was a civil servant whom MacGreevy visited in his home in Ipsden and who was apparently an emergency volunteer during the general strike. pushing one foot before the other, from Queensgate to Whitehall, and then volunteering for "service" after hours. That's why WE have an Empire - which includes IRELAND........... And later on Commissarjevsky. Well I dont know. No one's been very enthused so far at the suggestion and I dont know that its practicable. He'd have to stay over here for the devil of a time rehearsing these people.
Then in more serious mood, as regards Lennox, I think you exaggerate the hatred. Its waning in any case, and I think, though [p.2 recto]I'll throttle you if you ever let on to him or to anyone else that I said this, I think that he is very soon going to take
steps that will most effectively put an end to the rumours and gossip of the Oscar Wildish sortDespite homosexual inclinations, Robinson had been in love with Iseult Gonne before her marriage to Francis "Harry" Stuart
and their move to Glencree. He hasnt in so many words told me so, but he has gone as near it as anyone could. I havent the vaguest idea who it is
for one never sees him with any one here and he hasnt been in London for ages. But I am perfectly certain that I am right. It may be secret, but I know from something he said a few weeks ago
that one will hear fairly soon. I havent the vaguest idea what he is thinking about
of it, but he has said very often that he is lonely. I wouldnt tell you this but your letter really seems needlessly worried. And I havent
told anyone else, though I did tell Willy tonight, for Iseult was here, and there is to be a baby in September, and Harry has bought a horse and is having it trained at the Curragh for racing, and all their money or rather his money is going on it And as Willy was saying how he wouldnt have any influence over Harry because he was too old, and a younger writer would have more influence, I thought it better to tell W. straight out after she'd gone that it would be criminal to tell Lennox. I think, or know, that L. has lost interest there but if he is told that sort of thing and thinks Harry is behaving badly, it will all start up again. And I do really believe that if he got married he'd have a decent chance
of being happy. In any case its no use harrowing him over something that he is powerless to control, or help. Do you agree?
[p.3 recto]But perhaps he has told you? And is that why Hester is not going to Dalkey!!!! I am rather puzzled, he doesnt seem very cheerful but that may partly be worry about money. Willy is getting TullochGeorge H. Tulloch was the Abbey Theatre business manager. to advise that his salary as producer be increased (this roundabout way because of Lady G.....) and that will make a difference. This also is a deadly secret because I dont know what Tulloch will say, and to tell the truth I only put it to W. tonight when telling him to keep his mouth shut about Harry's goings on. Life's too difficult as you frequently say. I do very much feel that if its going to come off it will probably be a great success and even if it isnt a success he wont be much worse off than he is now. And he's an affectionate sort of person who's likely to get accustomed to anyone quite soon if he gets his dream even for five minutes. If he doesnt he'll make her life 'a little hell' as Bella says in the White Blackbird.Robinson's play The White Blackbird had been produced at theAbbey Theatre in 1925
Thats a devilishly long dissertation and I dont quite know what you'll make of it all.....
Then, your second letter— O this is a vile way to write but I have so fallen into the automata of "In reply to yours of the inst or ult" Yes, we motored from Ballylee to Limerick... lunched Yes, J.P. O'ReillyPerhaps the Rev. J. P. O'Reilly, Roman Catholic parish priest. was there..... went with the resident eng-ineer and some other potentate to the Shannon SchemeThe Shannon Hydro-Electric scheme, which led eventually to the establishment of the Electricity Supply Board and the electrification of the entire country, was initiated by engineer Thomas MacLaughlin and built by a German company; the first sod was cut in August 1925. armed with pass, saw all and understood devilish little... motored back via Killaloe and the mountains. On the whole a very perfect day.
[p.4 recto]About the Valery... I sounded W. He is inclined to think that it would be out "of the series". They are all so damned Irish I pointed out that it would be an Irishman's translation, but he still thought it would be too much out of the series. If you do do it, send it along and I'll read it to him. MacGreevy's translation of Valery's Introduction à la méthode de Léonard de Vinci was rejected by WB Yeats for the Cuala Press
Sean O'FaolainWhile earning his his Master's degree at Harvard, O'Faolain compiled his first book, a selection of Lyrics and Satires from Tom Moore, published by the Cuala Press. "may know Irish but doesnt know much else at present" but he has written a play about the civil war 1922-23 which is devilishly near being a very fine play (he was a republican) Its got an emotional and intellectual intensity which is startling. The Abbey wont accept it, I forget why, but it may be they think the second act loose and dont understand the third. Nor do I for that matter. Willy, with his usual formula for a first play, says "re-write it" Lennox, with his usual formula, says "write another" and I would say only obviously I dont say it, "write another but use more than half of this material again with re-writing". But the creature may be going to America on some sort of scholarship and of course he'll be completely ruined.
I hope to be in London at the end of September. I wonder shall I see you there? Dont chuck London too soon. Have a book of verse out first, and your foot so firmly wedged in the door that its there for ever. Rather English advice perhaps, but you've written better there than you ever did in Ireland. Very unfriendly of you not to send one anything to read since 'Red Hugh' I wont spell it Gaelic. How the White HerringMary Devenport O'Neill found out twas yours I cant -- [p.5 recto]fool that I am, it was Russell of course. He is incapable of keeping any secret but that of a love affair.. and what a revelation by the way that is of his character.
Willy is taking himself seriously at the moment — as a legislator — and Spengler's "Decline of the West" The Decline of the West (1918), in which the philosopher Oswald Spengler puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline
of civilizations, would have been of interest to the Yeatses' work on George Yeats's automaticscript and the theory developed
for WB Yeats's A Vision, first published in 1925.is being read (by me to him) and when not read, talked about; or your new Irish CoinsW.B. Yeats chaired the Senate committee developing a distinctly Irish set of coinage. — God Help You — or your MaynoothOriginally established as a seminary for Roman Catholic priests, St Patrick's College of Maynooth was a recognized part of
the National University of Ireland. which has "approached" the "President" to declaim against the resolution recently passed by the school teachers that a local
rate be struck for the maintenance of the schools and that the management of the schools be under local committees... its
all tried on the dog first... or your local farmer 300 yards!
years from Ballylee who recently knocked down a girl of eleven and kicked her when down because she called names at him, and got fined 5/- and
costs (7/0) for doing so.... No, Tom, I wonder if the 'Erbs of the world dont leave the unworldl ry a little more free mentally?
What an awful length of a letter! Sorry -