49. The story unravels

During what would become their final months in Carmel, Jigg was becoming increasingly desperate at his inability to fnd work and support his family. Depending on Paula’s relatives was onerous Jigg sought the wisdom and assistance of trusted friends, including Lewis Gannet, an American writer who had known Evelyn for years and had become a friend of Jigg’s. These letters are a heartbreaking insight into the desperation Jigg must have been feeling at the result of years of his mother’s interference.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

January 7, 1961

Dear Jigg,

Margaret [DeSilver] sent me your letter of December 30, possibly thinking I might help about a job, with a footnote “Do at least write to Jigg… No word of this, of course, to Evelyn.”

Well, I’m not in communication with Evelyn any more, although we did politely exchange Christmas cards. Your letter sent me to my files, including a fat lot of letters from Evelyn, some dating back to 1923: Bermuda, Banyuls, Bou Saada, London, Canada, etc, but not the last letters for which I was looking. I keep letters sporadically, and I may have thrown away the last ones in a mood of hopelessness. (Back in the 1920s I thought her potentially the greatest writer in America, and I still remember her books of those days.)

Glancing through the fat file my eye caught an odd phrase in February 1934: “I have had a mild persecution complex for a long time” (it goes on, “on the subject of my abstractions.”) The last letter, October 28, 1956, remarks “I have been ill a good part of the time. . . ‘psychosomatic’ heart, it is said, for my heart is intact, and though I will not accept ‘psychosomatic’ as it is a cover-all for quacks, but prefer to leave strain as reliably old-fashioned.”

I may have replied to that that I too had a heart condition, and the only way to live was to forget it, and I think I received a round condemnation in reply. And then–I would think also in 1956 or thereabouts, I returned to her a stout manuscript, every paragraph of which was carefully moulded into a single sentence, as was the 100-odd page autobiographical introduction, which I had kept for her, at her request, some eight years. She had always referred to it as being in a “safe” in my office, and, after returning it, I think I replied that I had kept it safe but felt I ought to tell here that I had never had a safe–the word was hers–and that the Mss had sat on a shelf all that time. Whereupon I received another round condemnation as a liar and a deceiver of helpless women, and that’s the letter for which I sought and didn’t find, for, as I recall it, it could conceivably have been evidence of derangement.

Perhaps it is better so, for I’d hate to be involved in a court controversy over a person for whom I once had both affection and respect, and it wouldn’t do any good anyway. I can understand your total exasperation, for you have been deeply and constantly involved with her since birth, and everyone who has been even slightly involved with her has in the end been exasperated and come to feel that any attempt to help was hopeless, and things have only become worse year after year. (You must know that, although I have never done anything of any consequence to help her myself, I have been variously involved in various attempts to help her, dating back to her introduction to the Garland-Hales in, I’d think, 1921, and even back of that, and again and again since.) I’ve also watched at close quarters a couple of other attempts to get what seemed to me obviously insane persons put away, seen them come up with something like triumphant serenity in court and fool the judge or judges, and seen the aftermath of futility and increased bitterness. Don’t do it, Jigg; don’t try that desperate route. As your friend (?) Dr Mayers, whom I don’t know, seems to have told you, it just wouldn’t work. I feel sure of that. I’ve seen Evelyn, I think, just once in the last ten years, and that–it was at Margaret’s–amazed me. After I’d read years of hysterical letters, she preserved an outer appearance of charm and calm; she’d do it again in court, and confound you, and I have no faith whatever in court-appointed psychiatrists.

Anyway, here’s old-time affection for you, whatever that may mean.
As ever,
Lewis Gannet

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

Carmel, California
January 9, 1961

Dear Margaret

Your answer to my letter, which was written in desperation after being out of touch with everyone for more than a year, came as a relief. I have never known where I stood with my mother’s friends, and for about twenty-five years I have wondered how you or anyone else could put up with her. It is a consolation to know that you don’t have much more patience with her than I do. I still don’t understand why you did so much for her, unless it was regard for Jack; but that is your business. Jack is a decent fellow, but as far as I can see his life has been absolutely ruined by my mother, and how he stands the present state of things I don’t know.

It’s all very wll to say that my mother is mad, but her present outlook is merely a caricature of the point of view she has had ever since I first remember, which is simply the mystical conviction that her preferences and opinions are of cosmic importance, and what the rest of mankind thinks is too trivial to consider. Somewhere along the line, when she was about twenty, the Lord God Jehovah Himself bestowed upon her the right to superintend the lives of others, especially myself and my late father.

My mother is not only ruthless about wanting her way, but loathsomely unfastidious. What she has been doing for more than fifteen years, is writing to men whose names she didn’t even know but who she thought could put some kind of economic squeeze on me, and playing the forsaken mother act with numerous allusions to the sinister influences—sometimes “alien influences”—that are supposed to have me in thrall. If she had gone on and added a few words about the brainwashing machine, it wouldn’t have been too bad. But in her letters to strangers she omits that part. I have a splendid collection of her letters, with details of this device, but it isn’t often that I get to use them. While Helen Prior was chief of personnel in ICA I got a fair shake and all the letters—except the ones that filtered down from big-shots like Dulles—were quietly destroyed.

It’s a relief to get this off my chest. So far you are the only person I have known who didn’t seem to consider my mother’s literary accomplishments made her sacred.

For most of my life I have tried to keep the eccentricities of my parents decently hushed up, but it’s no good. It never paid off, and the result has been absolute disaster. My mother seems to have estranged me from everyone I knew, including my father, who was no mean egotist himself; and lately she has shown every sign of being possessive about, and wanting to get her hooks into, my children; if we don’t all starve to death first.

If you really think Lewis could help, please, please pitch it strong to him on my behalf. I can also send a complete curriculum vitae at any time. I have no literary or artistic ambitions, and am just a working stiff—at present with no work. Thanks and please let me hear from someone soon, if you can arrange it. I’m at my wit’s end.

C Scott

* * * * *

To Lewis Gannett

January 13, 1961

Dear Lewis

It was nice to hear from you. I have never known exactly where I stood vis-a-vis friends of E Scott, and it is consoling to know that one as old as you shares my opinion that she is not responsible. Her early books, as you say, may have been full of promise. I am no judge because I could never bring myself to read any of them.

You mention Bou-Saada, and apropos that particular and somewhat Godforsaken spot, I can remember an unholy tantrum she had because it snowed one winter and she had not foreseen that it might snow in Africa. There was ranting, and there were tears and great gobs of self-pity because of the discomforts not only she but all the rest of us had to endure. If there is anything I hold against her more than the rest it’s the way she has been sitting around lamenting how ill-used she has been by the world, every time something happened that did not suit her taste or convenience. Her whole attitude, from the start, has been summed up by the phrase, “Oh, isn’t if awful that this should happen to me!”

As for the exasperation, you can only imagine how complete it is in my case. For as long as I can remember she has assumed, without any doubts or hesitations, that my thoughts and opinions would be cast in a mould identical with her own. I not only never had any education to speak of, I was never intended to have any. I was dragged out of school twice that I remember because I liked it there. I have the best reasons for thinking that about four-fifths of the letters she has been writing to strangers for the last fifteen years contain lengthy explanations of what I feel and what I think or wish to do. She has never considered it necessary to consult me about such things. One letter I have, in which she announces her decision that I must leave Indo-China at once, has a date corresponding very closely with the time I was summoned by the US Ambassador to Vietnam, who told me she had asked for my immediate transfer, because I was embarrassed to do so myself. He wanted to know why I hadn’t gone to my ordinary superiors and why I felt I had to be so devious about the whole thing. He also read me a lecture on my patriotic obligations, which suggested that she had included the usual drivel about sinister alien influences.

I very much appreciate your good will, Lewis, but I was disappointed that you could suggest no line of enquiry I could follow that might lead to a job. Isn’t there someone to whom I could write, who might give me a line on something: I realize you don’t know much about what I have done in the last twenty years, but my record is a good one, and I would undertake to try and do my own persuading. All I need is a foot inside the door, not a sweeping endorsement.

Anyway, if there is any angle you can think of I will be grateful indeed. There are seven of us, including the children, and we are more nearly desperate than I would have thought possible. I am estranged from nearly everyone I ever knew, and it gets worse all the time. Thanks for the reassurances though. It’s nice to know that my mother’s aberrations aren’t considered sacrosanct. Good luck to you,

C Scott

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

January 13, 1961

Dear Margaret,

I got a very nice letter from Lewis Gannet today, from which I gather that some of his correspondence with my mother rivals the specimen letters I keep in case I ever need desperately to prove she isn’t rational. Anyway, it cheered me up to know there is one more person besides myself (and now you) who has doubts about how responsible E Scott is, and Lewis’ feelings are very generous. Like Dr Mayers he also advised against trying to get my mother committed, citing a very illuminating case he knew of, on which the courts didn’t back up the psychiatrist who studied the case. At least he didn’t, like Mayers, suggest that the best course would be to keep the old, filial tie intact, and what he says makes more sense than what the doctor said. With Jack opposing the move, I suppose it would be hopeless.

As I told you, I wrote to my mother and Jack telling them I was through, and that since I had no boss there was nobody my mother could get me in trouble with. Jack’s reply sounds to me as though he is slipping, too. Just why she should write letters to John Foster Dulles because, as he says, she didn’t get answers from my father is beyond me.  Except for short periods when I was in transit she always had an address, but she never approved of it; and in fact she raised hell with the postmaster here, and then complained about him to the postmaster general of the US, because I have a rural route address. Jack knows these things as well as I, and although he is a nice guy, I think her influence has destroyed his sense of proportion.

We haven’t heard directly from her so far–my letter didn’t leave her much to say–but you can bet she’ll start writing to somebody again, God only knows who. Maybe Kennedy.

Lewis’ reply was very kind, but I was awfully disappointed he had no suggestions, because we are at the stage where we are grasping at straws–ineligible for any kind of relief, which we need, and absolutely at the end of our resources. The brunt falls mainly on my wife and kids, and I have ransacked the state of California as thoroughly as my finances allow, for anything and everything–even a milk route, or example, without any luck for more than a year.  One of the things that has been brought up, for example, is that since she was such a staunch anti-Communist, then I must be on the other side if I don’t get along with her. But I haven’t gotten along with her since I was a kid and she used to drive me wild with her fits of tragic despair whenever something happened in the world that didn’t fit with her ideals.

The only thing I ask is an introduction to someone who will listen to the story of my plight without dismissing it as pure invention, intending to cover up something sinister, and then pass me on to whoever has a job I might fill.  I’m not asking for a blanket endorsement, but a foot in the door. My own record will stand on its own merits, I think; and I can be investigated until the cows come home.

C Scott

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

70 East 10th Street, NYC
January 17, 1961

Dear Jigg,

I’m returning herewith [missing] your mother’s and Jack’s letters. Your mother’s letter is pretty smooth, + Jack’s rather pathetic. Of course he now has to stand by Evelyn, having made that commitment many years ago—not without considerable struggle in his soul, I imagine! PLEASE, JIGG, do not mention to either Jack or Evelyn anything I have said or suggested, or even that you have been in touch with me, ever, in any way. I have a hard enough time as it is being berated by Evelyn for not writing the Herald Tribune, the Attny Genl, + goodness knows who all.

It would be disastrous if Jack ever found out that I let on that he was worried about Evelyn’s sanity, because Jack is an OK guy, + trusted my discretion.

Yours,
Margaret

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

May R Mayers, MD
214 East 18th Street
New York 3, NY

January 19, 1961

Dear Jig:

I waited until I could see your mother before answering your last letter. Despite your recent letters to her, she seemed to me exactly the same as at any other of my visits. My relations with her, however, are on a very superficial basis. I call on her once in several months; take her out to a long chatty lunch, and sometimes get a few minutes with Jack when he returns from work carrying the food he has picked up on the way home, from which Evelyn will prepare dinner in the communal kitchen of their hotel. Evelyn does not tell me—not really—what she is doing or thinking, and I ask no questions. Our conversation is on current events and other impersonal matters, but I do get to give her morale a lift, and to help her medically. So, if there was no apparent difference in her general status, when I saw her, it does not necessarily mean that your letters have had no effect. I doubt very much that she has any serious intention of going to California. I doubt that Jack would supply the funds for such an expedition.

So, we come back to the children. I still think it should be possible for you to completely conceal their whereabouts, when they begin leaving home. I am glad you, yourself, are now free from injury.

If I have gone beyond proper bounds in writing the above, please forgive me. I do not ordinarily give advice, unasked. But your frank and friendly letters have made me feel that I would not be intruding. In any event, I want you to know that if I can be of assistance to your or Paula at any time, please do not hesitate to call on me. On the other hand, I do not wish to be reporting on Evelyn to you, behind her back; and I certainly do not wish to have her learn of any correspondence between us purely by accident. So, I shall consider this my last letter unless you write to me again. I was glad to learn, when I saw her that she had no inkling of our correspondence. For her to learn of it—however accidentally would eliminate my usefulness to her, which would be too bad.

Best of good luck to you both.
Sincerely
May

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

January 21, 1961

Dear Margaret

I have just finished reassuring Dr Mayers (again) to the effect that I will not mention her advising me to my mother, and once again I promise you that I will endeavor to surpass myself in discretion where you are concerned. I don’t intend ever to write E Scott gain.

I don’t feel any special rancour against either my mother or Jack, I just want to be out from under. Jack is, as you say, a decent fellow, and deserves every consideration for making Job seem half-hearted.

The very best
Jigg

* * * * *

To Robert Welker1

August 25, 1961

Dear Bob,

Just a hurried line to tell you that Evelyn had a cerebral attack (slight but alarming) a few days ago. She has partially lost the power of speech and can say only short sentences. I feared she wd have to be hospitalized but her doctor has decided she wd be better just to stay where she is. The condition will, we hope, improve slowly with time, as the clot is absorbed. Meanwhile she has to have complete rest, and not try to force the pace by trying to talk, read or write. “Be a vegetable” is the doctor’s order.

I write this to let you know why she will not be able to write to you for an indefinite time.

Naturally I was, and am, v worried, but, as the doctor says, it might have been v much worse, – and there is hope of eventual recovery.

Forgive more just now. Hope all is well with you, – and that Mrs Gower is better.

Love from us both,
Yrs ever,
Jack

PS If you write, don’t refer to the specific character of the attack, – of which she is only partially aware.

1 Robert Welker was an academic who had written his PhD on the subject of Evelyn’s novels. He was an admirer Evelyn and became a fast friend of both Evelyn and Jack.

 

* * * * *

The Scott family left Carmel in August 1961 for a rented farmhouse in the tiny historic (founded 1776) village of Peacham in Vermont. It had always been a dream of Jigg’s one day to settle down on a farm in Vermont, and it is likely that this dream influenced the decision to move to Vermont.  Denise had started university and the other children settled into their new life and Jigg was desperately trying to find work in spite of  the effects his mother’s letter writing had had on his  life.  And, true to form, Evelyn continued to try and trace them to their new address and new life, in spite of her poor health.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

11 March 1962:  Wrote (i.e. finished writing) letter to Jigg, to which  E added some more.
12 March 1962:  Went Grand Central PO and sent letter, registered, return-receipt, to Jigg.
17 March 1962:  Our wedding anniversary–bless us.
19 March 1962:  Came home and found that my letter to Jigg had been returned, marked “Moved–left no address” . . . Composed draft of letter from E to Principal of High School Carmel.
28 March 1962:  Came home.  Letter from Principal of Carmel  High School giving Jigg’s address as “General Delivery, St Johnsbury, Vermont”.  E wrote letter to him (Jigg).

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 28th, 1962

Darling Jig and Paula,

We both hope for better things already! You will see that Jack wrote to you on 11th Mch for me but the letter was returned here. But Mr W W Edwards, the high School principal, has kindly informed to me to your present address and the five children. He mentioned three of the kids, but I had named the five.

We love you, seven of you, grown and young! How is Paula able to us? Jig (I like Jig as I wrote it) I will be well only if we know of you all. To whom, shall I, too, wrote to you?

Lovingly to you both! So much affection to you, Paul, and to Jig before my life always of you!
Mother

[This letter was returned with the envelope stamped “Unclaimed” by post office.]

  • * * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

29 March 1962:  Mailed letter to Jigg (St Johnsbury Vt) Registered, return receipt, on way to school. . .  Came home.  Marketed and mailed letter from E, thanking Principal of Carmel High School. . .  Letter to Jigg included previous letter + envelope as well as fresh note from E.
13 April 1962:  Came home + found E had had our letter to Jigg returned “Unclaimed”.

* * * * *

To Love Lyle1

April 13, 1962

Dear Love,

Your letter has, again, revived my memories, with the spring flowers and the Cumberland, the flood having been a dramatic phase.

I wish Jig and Paula and our five young could have been with Jack and I in Clarksville for a holiday. Soon, after I wrote you, I received a mail receipt from Carmel with the return of a letter just sent by me to Jig and Paula. I did not know to do, but decided to write again to Carmel’s High School to ask where my grandchildren were, as Paula wrote of the school about two years of them. The school’s authority replied to me (I rewritten, too, having been answered the Scott grandmother) that three Scotts were originally in the school, but that Mr and Mrs Creighton Scott could be their now address in St Johnsbury3, Vermont, General Delivery. The fact that my grandchildrens are five instead of just three, I found uneasy.

However, Jack mailed both my unreceived letters (one within of Jack for me), and I awaited replied!—to St Johnsbury.

A horrid interval, a week ago in the hotel, I discover that, when I was in a bathroom, a spy snook into my room, where my letters of Carmel’s school and a telegram of years ago that I had preserved of Scotts’ address for Rt Road and 410 Box. These two things had been there open, as I consulted of the school letter for the number of the street. Well, anyhow, I wanted to hear about St Johnsbury’s PO. And now today, April 13, I received the returned registered Jack mailed to Jig and Paula—my own letter and Jack’s own scratched against Jig’s and Paula’s address.

I dont know what to do—again! I didn’t think St Johnsbury, Vermont was adequately the Scotts’ residence!

I wish I knew more about US Army views of mails! Does Renee’s major knows about mails? We never strange makes in NY before the war or none! Now strange ordinary letters didn’t interfere in London.

Will you write Renee’s husband’s name, who has no responsibility [illeg] is, but I might someday answer of any of them of him about mails of California. love, Evelyn.

Rt 2 Road, 410 Box, I remember of Carmel—though Rt 2 Road may be error. Do any of Clarksville friends know Carmel? And please the Major’s name, he too knew London.

Gratefully, Evelyn.

1 Love Lyle, a Clarksville cousin

Peacham is a tiny village; St Johnsbury was the nearest large town.

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

18 April 1962:  School.  On there posted E’s letter to Department of State.  On my return Gladys was having tea with E.
10 May 1962:  School.  Letter from Dept of State to Evelyn.
17 May 1962:  E wrote to Principal Carmel High School some 8 or 9 days ago.
18 May 1962:  Came home and found letter from Mr Edwards, Principal of Carmel High School giving Frerick’s address as Peacham Academy, Peacham, Vermont.
31 May 1962:  Letter to E from Dept of State saying they will write later after looking up file.
2 June 1962:  Letter from Dept of State.  Quite unsatisfactory. . . Telegram came announcing Maggie (DeSilver’s] death and giving time + place of memorial service on Monday.

 

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

[June 30, 1962]

Dear Mother and jack,

This is to let you know we are all right. I haven’t found a job yet and we are hard up, but our health is pretty good; there have been no serious illnesses, and I don’t want you to worry about it.

We manage to get along and hope you do, too. The job problem is serious. A man of my age, with not even a grade school diploma and a record he can’t refer to has a hard time, but by pulling together we manage. We hope you are better, mother, and that you are okay, too, jack. Take care of yourselves.

There is no point in trying to answer this. We are constantly on the move, and mother’s habit of writing to anybody she might know of who might know me is too dangerous to encourage. Registered letters with receipts I have to sign to show you where I am won’t work, and neither will writing to postmasters. For the moment we have no address.

However, we don’t want you to wear yourselves out fretting about us. We wonder about you, but as there is nothing we can do, we don’t ask how you are. But we hope for the best.

Affectionately,
Jigg

I was in Montreal for a while last winter and looked at Dorchester Street West. It hasn’t changed much. It was very cold. We are now back on the West Coast.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

2 July 1962:  Heard from Jigg,–envelope post-marked “San Jose” California
1 August 1962: Cataract removed.
10 August 1962:  Gladys ‘phoned at about 1.45 and said she would be here in about an hour.  Which did.
16 August 1962:  E’s foot bad.
17 August 1962.  E’s foot still bad.  E’s foot was too painful for her to go out, so I did marketing alone, bying new Pyrex dish to serve as ash-tray . . .Evelyn kept awake with retching cough.
18 August 1962:  E’s chest pains etc bad, + I marketed (2 trips. . .  Mr Seavy carried in supper for E, who couldn’t manage it.
19 August 1962:  E still poorly.
31 August 1962:  Eye still troublesome. . .Gladys rang up, – and came here about 3.30.  She and E had tea while I had “lunch”.  G left about 5.30.
2 December 1962:  Breakfast about ten.  E poorly still.
25 December 1962.  Worked as normal.  Lunch.  Nap.  Gave $10 tip to Sam.  Work.  Supper of beek, onions and plum-putting.  Bed.

* * * * *

To Louise Morgan1

January 19, 1963

Dear Louise,

Thank you for your sweet letter which warmed my heart. Yes, if the worst happened I suppose I should still come to England, and the first people I should see there would be you and Otto.

But, at least momentarily, the news of Evelyn seems better. They took a needle biopsy of the mass, and it proves to consist of a type of cell amenable to radiotherapy. Dr Cohen (her own “family” doctor) even anticipates that after a course of treatment (a month or so) at the hospital, she may be able to return here, – and then just go on having less frequent treatment as an out-patient.

That would be wonderful, and I pray for it. We should then continue to plan for England in early 1964.

I visited E early this morning, – she looking so terribly ethereal, and in pain. I signed the sanction for the radio treatment. The previous evening, yesterday. Bernice was there too, with me.

Love,
John

We should hope to carry our US pension with us, and buy some little place just out of London. Lew Mayers (an ex professor-of-law, and husband of an old friend Dr May Mayers) looked up everything for me, and assures me we could do this. Anyhow, of course, I have, in my English bank the proceeds of the sale of No 26 Belsize Crescent.

Louise Morgan was the wife of Otto Theis,; both good friends of Evelyns during the period before she met and married Jack.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

27 January 1963:  Went out to chemists to buy E cough lozenges and roll of cotton.
26 February 1963.  Evelyn poorly.  Mrs Seavy recommended her Doctor Cohen.  I ‘phoned him and he will come tomorrow afternoon.
27 Februrary 1963:  Obtained permission to leave school at 11.50.  Came home.  Dr Cohen arrived soon after 2 o’clock, examined E, +prescribed Diuril [diuretetic  to treat hypertension].
7 March 1963:  Came home and ‘phoned Dr Cohen.  E to take only one diuril tablet a day, – and I to phone Dr Cohen next Monday.
13 March 1963.  Last day at school for a while . . . got home after three to find Dr Cohen already with Evelyn. He had given her an injection + said I should not go to school for several days.

* * * * *

To John Gawsworth1

March 18, 1963

Dear John,

For God’s sake write. If ever I needed a friend it is now, to save me from final despair. Write, for pete’s sake, but do not refer to this letter. I have bad medical news of Evelyn, and am near to a breakdown myself. It is a dreadful situation. My heart is breaking,–yet how can I tell her, fully, the reason, though she must guess it. I am seeing a psychiatrist Wednesday, + may he be a miracle-worker, since miracles are needed. I cannot sleep or anything. I have had to give up my teaching job “temporarily” as don’t know if I could ever hold it again. But my only ray of hope is tht we should lay our bones in England,—and you are my only real understanding friend there If, somehow, I can pluck courage out of a hat, I could stay over here perhaps another year, saving money (if I can hold job again) + then come over, with her She agreed to this this morning. It is the one hope I cling to. To know that you are there, would be there whenever we came, wd be a comfort.

If the psychiatrist recommends a spell in a sanatorium,–what can I do? There’s no money, + anyhow what would poor E do? She can’t look after herself + now when I should help her I am collapsing.

My only hope is to come with her I hope to England.

No more now. I am writing this on the sly in a “pub”. I must hear from you. Forgive selfishness, but I’m v unwell trying for the last 15 days, to bear an insupportable strain.

Do write, just an ordinary letter,–(I may find, later, an accommodation-address to which you could write me without restraint).

Love, Jack.

1 John Gawsworth was a friend of Jack’s from university days, and one of the few friends he kept up with.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

19 March 1963:  Dr Cohen came.
27 March 1963:  Dr Cohen had not arrived as arranged at 3, soran him also.  Will come this evening at 8.30. . . Dr Cohen arrived at 8.30 and prescribed sleeping-tablets for E.  Paid him $7.  I went out + got prescription filled.
8 April 1963:  Letter from Gladys with $50, which I  deposited in bnk at about 2.30.  Light lunch + nap. . .  Rang Gladys to thank her.

* * * * *

In the autumn of 1962, after 15 months in Vermont, the decision was made to leave the United States for Canada:  as the possibility of conflict in Vietnam loomed and Frederick and Matthew were of an age to be drafted, it was thought they would be safe in Canada. And perhaps more significantly, Jigg hoped that by becoming, with Jack’s help, a Canadian citizen he would have more opportunities for employment than during the previous three yours.  The aging Volkswagen bus that had brought the family from California broke down shortly after crossing the Canadian border and the family found themselves in the sleepy town of Chester, Nova Scotia, about 40 miles from Halifax, where they spent the first winter in a caravan on the grounds of the drive-in theatre before they were able to move more permanent accommodation in the town.

The three Scott sons still live in the Halifax area.  Jigg died of a heart attack in the summer of 1965 and Paula died of a stroke in 2016.  Both are buried in Chester cemetery.

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

May 3, 1963

Dear Jack,

This is for you personally, with regards to Mother. I am settling in Canada and have mentioned that you were the first to bring me here. If you hear from the Canadian Immigration I hope you will answer them for us.

Life in the States got to be just too much and I ended up with a coronary that almost did for me last July in Vermont. Here the pressures are relived. We’ve been here all winter, and a rugged one it was.

I’ll write from time to time hereafter, but for Pete’s sake please stem the flow and don’t let anyone start writing to postmasters and officials, except you, if they ask.

Affectionately,
Jigg

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary: 

8 May 1963: I returned from [eye] hospital and was astonished to find letter from Jigg awaiting me.  The family are now in Nova Scotia!  Upper denture finally broke and I went to Dr Foster.
14 May 1963:  I ‘phoned Dr Cohen but could get no reply.  Phoned an hour later, still to no avail.  But a third attempt was fruitful, – + he is to be here tomorrow at 2 o’clock.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

May 19, 1963

My Dear Jigg,

I found your welcome letter awaiting me on my recent return from hospital, and this is to wish all of you the greatest possible success and happiness in the new country. We were distressed to hear of your coronary trouble. May it speedily be relieved and health be completely restored!

Yes, I well remember our sojourn in Montreal,–the Hollywood Apartments, and Mr Britten’s school,–and snow, snow, snow. . . I imagine that the Nova Scotian winter must be at least as severe, though reassured by you saying pressures are relieved. If the Canadian Immigration write about you I will answer any questions they may ask.

Our own healths have been nothing to boast of latterly. I, as I say, have been in hospital and Evelyn’s cardiac condition been very worrying. I am at present convalescing at “home” but expect to be back at my school job shortly.

We do hope that Paula and the rest of the family are thriving and the children doing well at school and college. Their careers are a matter of deep concern to us.

Evelyn sends her love.
Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

21 May 1963:  Rang Dr Cohen who will come this afternoon at 3. . . Dr Cohen came aat three.  I went out to chemists again for Taractan [an antipsychotic] and Buta Perinide [betaperimide, for chronic diarrhea] capsules.  The latter will not be ready till tomorrow.

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

May 24, 1963

Dear Jack,

I’m very distressed to hear that you’ve been ill. I hope it wasn’t anything very serious. Your courage and steadfastness where others wouldn’t hold out has always awed me a little. I hope Mother is all right. Perhaps it will help a little bit if you give her my love, good wishes, and tell her that we are all well though somewhat ragged after almost three and a half years without a job, plus my coronary. That’s healed by now and if I take care of myself it will be OK from now on.

I certainly wish you the best, as we all do. I hope you will both forgive my past evil tempber. I’ll write from time to time and tell you how we are.

Affectionately,
Jigg

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

25 May 1963:  E sick all night and through the day in consequence of too much diruil.
27 May 1963:  Returned to school.  Came home to find letter from Jigg.  Marketed.  Rang Dr Cohen, – who will visit E at 3 tomorrow.
28 May 1963:  Dr Cohen had visited 3 at 3 and prescribed Coroas Tymcaps, twice daily.
30 May 1963:  E had pain in right side.
1 June 1963:  Rang Dr Cohen at 8.40 and made appointment for 3 today. . . Dr Cohen came at 2.50 and left new prescription.
3 June 1963:  ‘Phoned Dr Cohen.  E’s side painful + we had a very disturbed night.
4 June 1963:  Dr Cohen visited E + then E + I went to DR Schechtz for E’s X-raying.  Home again about 5.
5 June 1963.  DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL.  ‘Phoned Cohen at 12.30 and got worrying report.  He visited E at 3 and said we shouldn’t worry too much.  He will contact specialist and I am to ring him tomorrow at 6.
6 June 1963:  DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL.  Dr Cohen rang at 5 and asked me to  come to his office, which I did.  He gave me the X-ray plates.  E to be at Francis Delafield Hospital at 9 am tomorrow.  Came home.  Went out again and bought nightgowns for E.  Also marketed.
7 June 1963:  DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL.  E + I arrived much too early at the hospital + waited what seemed like an interminable time.  The business of her registering + of my being interviewed by the “investigator” re finance took till after twelve.  I then said goodbye to her.  Floor 2.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 9, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thanks for your last letter, and Evelyn greatly appreciated your message to her. I grieve to say that she is now in hospital with a tumor on the lung. The doctors hold out hope that it may respond to radiation. The hospital is “Frances Delafield Hospital 99 Fort Washington Avenue, New York 32”. I am trying perforce to hold on to my job, but of course it is very difficult. I shall know more of the prospects in a week or so’s time when further tests have been made.

We do hope you are all fairly well, and that circumstances are improving.

Evelyn sends love to all.
Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

To John Gawsworth

June 9, 1963

Dear John,

Evelyn is in hospital with a tumour of the lung. Surgery is to avoided if possible because of her cardiac condition, so radiation will be tried.

And we had, actually, been planning to resettle in England next spring!

If the worst happens I do not see myself surviving her, because, with all its ups and downs, this has been such a deep + permeating affection.

At the moment, from minute to minute, I hardly know what to do do, or how to go through the ordinary motions of living.

Love from both to both
Jack

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 15, 1963

Dear Jigg,

I am grateful for your letter, and it should buck Evelyn up, when I visit her today and give her its messages.

I have just spoken to her “old” doctor—Cohen—that is, the one who has just been visiting her here for the last few months, and who got her into the hospital where she is. He tells me that he has been in contact with the doctors at the Delafield who have Evelyn in their care, – that they are top-specialists in this line and that, anyhow, she could not be in better hands. They are going, Cohen says, to try radiation, which, they hope, will arrest and localise the tumor and, perhaps, render an ultimate extirpation feasible.

I myself am of course most unhappy and the carrying-on, so far, with my job is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I have that hellish endowment of imagination and pessimistic anticipation that squeezes each ounce of misery from any situation. I can only trust that, if the worst should happen, this will prove, in some degree, a sort of pre-digestion of agony.

But Cohen was not too pessimistic himself, – and, as you say, we’ll all hope, and pull for her.

I could not contemplate being without her.

I am so happy (and so will she be) to hear your own health has improved.

I wish to God you were all here because, like you, I have no friends. This hotel room at night is hell.

All the few friends we have are out of town or on the point of leaving. May Mayers, whom I have never needed so much, has gone, – and there’s no one.

Love to Paula and children, – and Evelyn of course sends love to all.

Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack  Metcalfe’s diary: 

21 June 1963:  Gave E letter to her from Jigg.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

 June 22, 1963

My Dear Jigg,

This is no more than a hurried line to thank you very much for your last letter,–enclose the letter to Evelyn,–which I handed to her yesterday when I visited her, and with which she was rejoiced.

She has started the early radiation treatments, and, since the biopsy was encouraging, the doctors are hopeful.

Evelyn sends much love to all,–and same from me.
Affectionately
Jack

Best of good luck to you all. So glad your health is improving.  Chins up!  Am keeping, of course, your whereabouts most strictly to myself.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 23,1963

Darling Jigg,

I am glad to know you have written to me. Your letter is helped top me, but we most wish that you will be against coronaries. You need friends who will prove your health again. I think of you, Paula, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and your strength shall be now.

Friends, I hope! We should have seen many friends long ago about your health.

I can’t yet express natural intentions. Bless you. Jack will give your letter when I am better, too I will write myself and to friends.

Mother

I am accepted to Radio Therapy and it does help. Our Jewish doctor helps

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

June 23, 1963

Dear Paula

Thank you very much indeed for your sympathetic letter. I did not show it to E, but, of course, passed on to her, when I visited her yesterday, the letters to her from you and from Frederick, both of which delighted her. And I should like you now, from me, particularly to thank Frederick for having written to her. I was a gesture that I very greatly appreciate.

When I reached her bedside she had already written the note to Jigg which I herewith enclose in answer to his recent letter to her. Please pass it on to him,–and do not fear a deluge of such missives. And I again assure you that your whereabouts will be kept strictly to myself.

The radio-therapy was begun three days ago. As I think I told Jigg, the biopsy was fairly encouraging showing the mass to consist of a type of a cell responsive to radiation. So we hope for good results.

Love,
Jack

Love also to the children and my affectionate wishes of course to Jigg. I do pray that your own problems will be solved, and matters mend for you!

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 1, 1963

Dear Jigg and Paula,

A very brief bulletin, – and thanks for your letter.

Evelyn is responding very slowly to the X-ray. I spoke this evening to Dr Cohen, the very best of eggs, who had been on the wire to here physicians, up there at 14 Delafield, and they said, despite her complaints of constant pain, that they thought it was beginning to ease-up just a little. It is going slowly, – and she may have to stay there several weeks yet before becoming an out-patient.

Don’t worry, Jigg and Paula, about any disclosure of your whereabouts. Whatever the necessity, I agree to it, – and you can tell me the story whenever you care, if we’re alone.

From now on, if she comes back and writes silly letters (actually, I don’t think she will) I shan’t mail them. Very, very sorrowfully, at this point I have to relinquish her as an equal. I have tried, these years, to consider her, humanly, and equal, but things have got past it now.

I still love her, – she is still the marrow of all my being,–but that’s the only way to treat her now.

Much love,
Jack

I am all right up a point with TERACTAN anti-depressant, but Cohen is worried about my loss of weight. Now only 131 lbs – a loss of nearly 20 lbs in 1 month or of 30 lbs in 2 months.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

6 July 1063:  Visited E around 3 and was astonished to hear from her that she had had her last X-raying + would be home next week.  Could get no explanation on this.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 9, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thank you + Paula so much for letters,–and most especially for the letters from Matthew + from Julia, which Evelyn was delighted to have.

She has completed her first “curse” of radiation now, having taken as much as she can stand for the moment (there comes a point where it has to be intermitted or do actual harm),–and I expect her home here in a few days now.

I am looking forward to that, as you may imagine. I think the treatments, so far, have done her good. She will renew them later in the summer or in the fall, they say.

No more now, as I am past tired out.
Love to all,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary: 

11 July 1963: Taxi’d to hospital where found E with right side of her back painted red + strapped + plastered.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 14, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Just a hasty bulletin.  The pain has now ceased, and apparently her first “course” of X-ray has done good.

She will be returning here in about a week or 10 days from now,–so you cannot write quite as freely to me as you have been doing. I appreciate your concern for her,–while I do indeed understand your side of the matter. All list to later if you + I ever get together. At the moment, she is just coming home + you can’t write freely.

She will go up to the hospital about every 3 weeks for check up, and then, probably undergo a further “course” of radio-therapy in later summer or fall.

Alas, Dr Cohen is away on vacation, but will be back before too long, I hope.

She will just come back here in 10 days or less,–and I suppose one shall try to mimic “life as usual”. She does not fully appreciate what is the matter with her, which is all to the good.

If the X-ray doesn’t work she will have to face an operation,–but of course I do hoe the X-ray does work. The operation chances are 4 to 1 against.

Love to you all, and I wish I knew you better, because I may be a very lonely man.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 16, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thanks for letters, – which Evelyn was cheered to have. I do hope you’re better now.

I myself am none too well, – Evelyn is better, and comes home again in about a week, – and that is the main, great thing, but the continued strain has pretty well worn me out, and I sort of fainted at school, – and had to be put in a cab. I got home OK, – and say nothing of it to E.

Her pain, thank heaven, has almost gone, so don’t worry about that. She is greatly looking forward to returning here to the hotel. She will then visit the hospital’s clinic periodically (about once every month or 3 weeks) till treatment is renewed in late summer or fall.

Forgive more now,
Love to you all,
Jack

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 20, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Yours just received, – and I will write anything you want in support of your application. Let me know in greater detail as the occasion arises, – and good luck in to Frederick in the Canadian Black Watch!

The great news is that the hospital is sending Evelyn home here again.

She will be here the day-after-tomorrow, – Monday the 22nd, – so bear this in mind in anything you write.

It need not at all interfere with your going on speaking w/ wishing to become Canadian citizens.—She would welcome that.

As to the “desperate odds”, – I may have made myself insufficiently plain. The 5-1 against odds referred to an operation, – if X-raying failed. We hope that mayn’t be necessary.

There is a possibility, according to the last thing Cohen said, that X-raying may cure this thing entirely. At least, he said, it could prolong her life 5-6 years. Then, if the worst came to the worst, I suppose she wd have to be operated on, – but I, naturally, cling to the hope that X-rays will do the trick. They can do things now, with malignancies, that they couldn’t do even only 10 yrs ago.

Today, I have been getting in groceries etc in anticipation. I myself, since she’s been away, have eaten little, – no breakfast or lunch and only a bite for supper.

Dear Jigg and Paula, I do so appreciate your concern, – and the concern of you all. Let us all hope and pray that there will be light, somehow, at the end of this dark tunnel.

Love
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

27 July 1963:  E Returned Home ‘Phoned Gladys  after much difficulty + exasperation + loss of money.  Bought tobacco, coffee and liquor. . .  Visited E. Was leaving + then decided to return, – + Dr Bell rang up the ward + said E might leave right away!  Waited while her clothers wre procured, – + then went home with her in cab.  Reached hotel about 8.45.
29 July 1963:  E + I taxied to + from hospital & got her property back.  Home by about10.30.
31 July 1963:  E collapses + fell to floor at breakfast. . . Confirmed that Dr  Cohen was still on vacation, and filled May’s second prescription.  E depressed.
3 August 1963.  Evelyn died.  Gladys + May here.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

August 4, 1963

Dear Jigg,

This carries the saddest news for us all. Evelyn passed away yesterday, Saturday, in her sleep. it was in the morning, some time, I can’t be sure, – any time between 8 and 12, – because I thought she was just still sleeping. Then at 12 I became apprehensive and found her cold. She will be buried, probably on Tuesday.

I cannot write more now.

Love to all,
Jack

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Nov 4, 1961

Dear Mother and Jack,

I finally got Jack’s last letter after many delays, and I am glad to hear you will be able to get along without too much grief, because I am in no position to be of help. I keep looking, but the prospects grow slimmer all the time, and I don’t seem to have any friends in the world. However, we have managed to survive so far, and we will continue to make out in one way or another.

I hope mother feels better—heave knows I’m sorry to hear of all these disasters. I can appreciate the burden is on you, Jack, to keep going; and I am more than a little surprised both of you don’t head back for England.

This country doesn’t seem to have any fortitude in the face of uncertainty, and all I see everywhere is the decay of civil order. It’s hard to find anyone with even the most rudimentary principles, and the very mediocre standard of conduct one used to take for granted is now something rare and unexpected. I shouldn’t think things would have gone quite that far in England yet—anyway, if I had my choice I’d rather take my chances abroad than here, unless the whole nation pulls up its socks in a hurry.

It seems preposterously unlikely that there should ever be an atomic war and we’ll all live to be a hundred unless we starve to death or something of the sort. Paula sends her best and the kids are all well. Don’t worry about us—things are difficult but we’ll make out somehow.

If it’s any use, I mention you both in my prayers, which is about all I can do. It’s been a funny existence, and the funniest part is the waste of all our energies. All the sturm and drang and the frenzies and exertions of the last fifty years have accomplished exactly nothing, and all our time would have been better spent planting cabbages. I’d like nothing better than to be a competent plumber, or something of the sort.

Anyway, best wishes, and I’ll write again now and then. let me know how you are faring.

Affectionately,

Jigg

 

 

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48. Carmel and desperation

Paula and Jigg and the five children remained in Carmel for about 2 years, from their return to the US in July 1959 until August 1961 when they moved to Vermont.  Throughout this period Evelyn bombarded them with weekly letters on a recurrent theme:  why did neither Paula nor Jigg reply to her letters; why did they not acknowledge gifts of books for the children; and why did they not keep her updated with the children’s health, schooling and academic successes? Paula responded every few weeks, citing her busy family life as a reason for not writing more often and assuring Evelyn that everyone was healthy and well:  the following exchange is typical of the hundreds of letters during this period.  The image below is typical of letters during this period, with the limitations of the typewriter keyboard augmented with red ink.

590926

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
February 25th, 1960

Darling Paula,

Please darling give us an inkling of what is the matter that we have as yet no news of you and Jigg and the children for such a time!

We worry about the health of all concerned. Every sort of silence has that effect.

We know Jigg must have a better BETTER JOB where he can have you and the children with him and ENOUGH REAL SALARY FOR ALL YOU SEVEN.

California must abolish a medical stipulation, as it is a form of quackery to insist on it, and is almost sure to prove a cover for ailments caused by war weapons. I don’t say this without having thought it over for a long time. In the present unfortunate condition of the country, no doctor is ever able to do much for a patient unless both doctor and patient have a similar political view, and commercial medicine is more risk than aid.

I don’t know why I have the urge to say this now, but I have and as a general proposal I am sure I am right. SO DON’T ALLOW ANYONE TO BE PESTERED IN THIS WAY, LEAST OF ALL DARLING JIGG WHOM THE US SERVICE DOCTOR CURED ON THE BASIS OF A DIAGNOSIS OF AILMENTS AS DUE TO quackery at home.

May it be that this warning is SUPERFLUOUS, but it is a reminder for you and Jigg that cannot be amiss in the general picture of things.

I wrote you as I had asked the Carmel Postmaster whether you were receiving you mail, and I now have his reply–just arrived. He says to the best of his knowledge you are as mail goes on being delivered to the same address and he hasn’t been advised as to any change. His name his Mr Strong and he has really been quite nice to me, as a stranger. But don’t fail to let me know specifically as soon as you can of any letters or parcels that have not come yet–beginning with Siegel’s poetry and the two books for you and Jigg at Xmas, as soon as you can, darling Paula. The letters about the archives are, also, very important. The Postmaster naturally can’t keep tab on what is sent at my end unless advised, so we must depend on you to help clear that part of it up.

We speak of you and Jigg and the need of the job with better pay where all can be together whenever we can, and meanwhile just hope others are helping too, somehow.

Lovingly to the Scotts

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

March 1, 1960

Dear Evelyn—

You really mustn’t worry when I don’t write—I never was and never will be a good correspondent and a silence only means that I’ve been busy, and nothing more.

The poems arrived, long ago, and the Proust and it seems to be many more books besides which I can’t think of at the moment. I’m in a hurry now, to catch the mailman. I’ll be more detailed next time.

We’re all well and the sea and the hills continue beautiful. It’s spring here and flowers are everywhere. The hills normally black-green with sere slopes are now emerald and black-green.

Love to Jack, and to you.
Paula

 * * * * *


During these months Evelyn, unable to comprehend that someone might choose not to reply to any letter from her, continued to press the Post Office for reassurances that her letters were being delivered.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Post Office Department
San Francisco Regional Office
79 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco 5, Calif

March 30, 1960

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

This refers to our letter of March 14, 1960, and your communications of March 16 and March 19 regarding the delivery of mail to Mr and Mrs Creighton S Scott at Route 2, Box 412, Carmel, California.

The Postmaster at Carmel has again contacted Mrs Scott, who stated that she believes that all mail you have sent her has been received. The postmaster is of the opinion that apparently they have not had time to answer their mail.

In the future, if you believe that a particular piece of mail has not been received, it is suggested that you file a tracer Form 1510 at your local post office.

Sincerely yours,
Spiro B Rafalovich
Postal Installations Manager

* * * * *

Evelyn had another reason to berate others when Cyril died in September 1960, and the New York Herald Tribune published an obituary which referred only to his original name and made no reference to his relationship with Evelyn or his change of name to Cyril Kay Scott.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the obituary prompted an outburst from Evelyn over perceived inaccuracies and, perhaps deliberately, involved Jigg.

* * * * *

Dr F C Wellman Is Dead; Distinguished in 3 Fields

Chapel Hill, NC, Sept (AP):  Dr Frederick Creighton Wellman, ninety, father of two authors and himself distinguished in medicine, literature and art, will be buried here after an Episcopal funeral service tomorrow.  Dr Wellman died yesterday in Memorial Hospital after an illness of several weeks.

Born near Independence, Mo, he received his medical degree at Kansas City Medical Hospital and went to Portuguese West Africa as a medical missionary with his wife and infant son Paul.

Years later, Paul Wellman wrote a number of best-selling novels.  The other author-son is Manly Wade Wellman, of Chapel Hill.

Studied, Explored

In his thirteen years in Africa, Dr Wellman established two hospitals, explored then little-known parts of the African interior and made extensive studies of tropical diseases, flowers and insects.

Returning to this country, he held the chair of tropical medicine at Tulane University, New Orleans, and then went to Brazil for further exploration and research.

Returning to the States, he wrote numerous short stories and four novels.  Later he became distinguished in art, particularly as a water colorist.  He won several prizes in French exhibitions.

He established schools of art in El Paso, Tex; Santa Fe, NM; and Denver, Colo, and became dean of the College of Fine Arts at Denver University.

Discovered Insect Species

As a medical man he announced two new clinical entities in tropical diseases and discovered numerous new species of insects and other causative agents of diseases.  He contributed more than 150 brochures and articles to medical literature.

His autobiography, Life is Too Short, published in 1941, told much of his diverse and adventurous life.

Surviving, besides Paul I and Manly Wade Wellman, are two other sons, Dr Frederick J Wellman and Creighton Wellman, a daughter, Mrs Alice Wellman Harris, eight grand-children and eight great-grand-children.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

September 14, 1960

Darling Creighton Seeley Scott, my good son,

I wrote to the Herald-Tribune a letter I ask to have published, correcting the reference to you in Cyril’s obituary as “Creighton Wellman” and explaining that Fredrick Creighton Wellman’s change of name to Cyril Kay Scott which began his art careers of novelist and painter was legal and permanent, having been effected by recorded documented usage. Both your father’s major interests represent, as you know, achievement, and that was conceded in the obituary. But we cant have any more misconstructions about the legality of the name Scott. There are many examples of such changes accepted under American Law Constitutional, and the two examples we all know are James Marshall’s celebrated ancestor and Charles Madison, the author, who was once and for years Holt’s textbook editor. Dad’s completed years and years ago.

Our love all the time, darling son Jigg,
Mother

Cyril had achieved more in science as Fredrick Creighton Wellman than the paper gave him credit for. His degrees, as you may remember, were several medical and scientific and he was a member of the Linnaean Society.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

New York Herald Tribune
230 West 41st Street, New York 36

October 5, 1960

Dear Mr Scott:

In the Associated Press account of the death of your father, Dr Frederick C Wellman, printed in the Herald Tribune and other newspapers on September 6, your name was listed among other surviving members of the family as Creighton Wellman.

Your mother, Mrs Evelyn Scott, has written to say that your legal name is Creighton Seeley Scott, and that it should have been listed so. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, all newspapers use Associated Press copy as received, in good faith.

If the name as printed actually was erroneous and its appearance in the obituary in that form was embarrassing to you, we would consider setting the record straight. I would like to point out, however, that the story appeared a month ago.

Sincerely yours
RICHARD G WEST,
City Editor

* * * * *

To Richard West

Mr Richard West
City Editor, The HERALD-TRIBUNE
New York City

October 9, 1960

Dear Mr West,

This is in answer to your letter of October 5.

I have no idea what Evelyn Scott wrote you, but she did not do so with my knowledge. She has been of unsound mind for years, and the fact is notorious.

I read the Associated Press obituary about my father, Dr F C Wellman, carefully It seemed clear and well-written as obituaries go, and the errors it contained were too trivial to mention and probably not the fault of AP.

If I had found it objectionable, I would have objected, which I have not done and don’t intend to do. I make no complaints, require no retractions or corrections from the Herald-Tribune or anybody else, or that the record be put straight, as you offer to do, in any way. I am content with things as they are.

It’s a pity you were inconvenienced, for you must be a busy man, but you should know that I decline absolutely all responsibility for what Evelyn Scott does or says, or attributes to me.

If she continues to write to you, as seems likely, the best person to get in touch with is her husband, Mr John Metcalfe, who may or may not be able to make her stop. There is nothing I can do.

Very truly yours,
Creighton Scott

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

New York Herald Tribune
230 West 41st Street, New York 36

October 12, 1960

Dear Mr Scott:

Thank you for your courteous letter. I was sorry to trouble you, for I had supposed that you had seen the obituary and would have been the first to object if an error had been committed. But Evelyn Scott was becoming rather importunate, and it seemed best to have the matter settled by the person most concerned.

We shall take your advice if any more letters are received.

Sincerely yours
RICHARD G WEST,
City Editor

* * * * *

To Fred Strong

Mr Fred Strong,
Postmaster,
Carmel, California

December 8, 1960

Dear Mr Strong,

This letter is intended to save you embarrassment and annoyance if possible, and to make it easier for you to explain matters to your superiors should my mother, Evelyn Scott, harass you as she did once before and carry her complaints to the Postmaster General again.

Unhappily she has been of unsound mind for the past twenty years or so, and her mania consists of believing that I should abandon my wife and my children, of which there are five—one in college, one of military age and a third in high school, the other two in grade school.

She has suggested at various times how they could be disposed of and my step-father, the responsible person in her case, will not or cannot keep her quiet. While I was in Indo-China with the State Department she wrote about a letter a week to my various chiefs, to the Ambassador to Vietnam, and finally to John Foster Duller, Eisenhower, and various others.

You will certainly hear from her and, when you cannot do what she asks, from whichever higher authority she decides to appeal to. In answering their inquiries or criticism you may feel free to use this letter in any way you think fit.

I apologise for the embarrassment you were caused once before, which I could not prevent, and I hope you will be spared any more. However, this letter should make it easy to explain.

Sincerely yours,
Creighton Scott

* * * * *

During the months after their return from Saigon Jigg was taking stock of the damage to his life inflicted by his mother, and considering ways of silencing her letter-writing and restoring some self-respect by once again finding gainful employment.  His years of achievement in radio news should have stood him in good stead but, as the following letters describe, Evelyn had maligned his character and politics to such an extent that anyone who enquired into his background felt he was too risky a prospect.

Jigg’s campaign to resstore his  reputation involved two long-standing and loyal friends of his mother’s:  May Mayers, her physician and Margaret DeSilver, who had, in spite of misgivings, organised the Evelyn Scott Fund to bring Evelyn and Jack back to the United States. 

* * * * *

To May Mayers

December 9, 1960

Dear May Mayers

As you still seem to feel a concern for my mother, and as I shall be forced to take steps concerning her, I solicit your suggestions, if you care to make any.

During the war, when she stayed briefly with us in New Jersey, she had a sort of psychic explosion which expressed itself in squeezing open the mouth of my baby son and spitting into it because she had the ‘flu and she wanted him to have it too; smashing various things around the house; waking me up every half hour so I would be too tired to go to work, in the hope, she said, that I would lose my job and my present marriage would founder economically. This was just the preliminary, and as I refused to have anything to do with her since then, except for an unwise forty-eight hour visit in London in 1949, she has taken to writing letters for lack of anything better.

The letter writing has been going on since 1944. She wrote when I was working at NBC, high officials of ABC when I was there, to my chiefs at CBS and WOR, and to the powers that be at Radio Free Europe when I was in Munich, to John Foster Dulles, Hollister, and even Eisenhower when I was in Saigon; and latterly she has been carrying on a long correspondence with the Postmaster General and various others to try and discover where I am now working. During the four years I was in Indo-China she wrote letters, all plausible, to various persons she believed to hold some kind of authority over me, including several who owed their position to the late Senator McCarthy, at the rate of about 60 per year.

All these letters, since 1944 have said the same thing: (a) that I am so high strung and effeminate the work I am doing, whatever it is, is too much for me and (b) that I am under the influence of nameless, sinister political forces, which have alienated me from her. Last year abut forty of these were produced as evidence of my unreliability before a sub-committee of the House Foreign Relations Committee, in an effort to offset evidence I had given concerning the failure of a foreign aid project, by attempting to prove that (a) I was mentally deranged and (b) that I probably have un-American tendencies. She also writes to the FBI, and I have been continually under investigation by this agency since 1945.

In addition to stressing my frailty and my thrall to nameless un-American influences, she plays on the Forsaken Mom theme in the most disgusting way I have ever heard of; and of the 128 letters she wrote to the State Department about me between 1955 and 1957, the four I was allowed to see in part all ended with requests that I should not be allowed to read them for fear it might “upset” me.

I discovered that I was fired from Radio Free Europe as a political risk because of her, and from the International Cooperation Administration for a similar reason. She managed to suggest to him by the ambiguity of her words that I had Negro blood which had gotten into the family strain during my father’s residence in Africa. I know this doesn’t make sense, but sense is not necessary to bigots. In letters to one of my chiefs in Saigon she stated as a matter of known fact that my wife (Paula Pearson, whom you must remember) was a former prostitute, which became current throughout the Foreign Aid organization within a matter of weeks, without my being able to discover the source until more than two years later.

Quite apart from that, in this age of organizational fanaticism, when every personnel department maintains a species of Gestapo, in constant liaison with others all over the country, I find it impossible to get a job. I have not worked for more than a year, since I left the ICA in Washington; and although there have been many promising overtures, all prospects fade as soon as my references are checked by a prospective employer. Eighteen years with the four major radio networks and several more in responsible positions overseas are thus made nugatory by my mother’s selfish mania. In 1949, in London, I protested to my mother about what she had already done in the way of writing letters, or tried to, but she replied that I merely did not understand, and that it was all for my own good. She also counselled me to ditch my wife and children as unworthy of me, because they hampered my literary career. I should not have to point out that I have had no literary career.

Where she is sane or not she is ruthless, and I have had enough. The question that bothers me is this: she is supposed to have some kind of heart disease (so do I, with cholesterol deposits around my eyes and electrocardiograms that I have to hush up to keep my jobs) and she says she will drop dead from the shock if my wife discontinues writing or withholds various information I don’t think she should be trusted with.

Is this true? I personally doubt it. What I propose to do is not merely cut off all communication, but apply through the courts eventually, when I can afford it, to have her locked up.

As you are a doctor, and very wise besides, I would be grateful for any light you can cast on the subject. I apologise for bothering you.

Sincerely,
Jigg Scott

I’d prefer for the time being that Jack be kept out of this.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

May R Mayers MD
214 East 18th Street
New York 3, NY

December 12, 1960

Dear Jig:

Your letter arrived this morning together with a great blizzard here in NY and that was a proper setting for it. Yours is the most distressing news I have heard in I don’t know how long. So I am answering at once.

I have been in close touch with your mother ever since she and Jack arrived in New York. She has lost most of her friends, as I understand, and succeeds in antagonizing everyone. Because of my intimate knowledge of her medical state, and for old times sake, I have refused to be offended with anything she says, and I have been able to keep her heart more or less stabilized with appropriate medication. As far as her heart is concerned, I advise you not to worry about it. Her attacks of hypertension and angina come on as a response to emotional stress, primarily–tho she cannot, of course, go in for any amount of physical exertion either.

I have given a lot of serious thought to your letter since it arrived, and to the highly complex problems which you raise. I have only one possible suggestion as to how I might possibly be of any assistance to you in the matter–and, in all probability, this suggestion may be quite futile. If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to tell me. If there is anything whatever that I can do, I would want to do it.

My thought is to write you a letter on my medical stationery, telling of my long years of friendship with your mother; of the fact that I have been taking care of her medical problems since she has been in New York, and that I understand her mental condition very well indeed; that no one should be influenced by anything she writes–something along those lines.  A medical letter along those general lines might be of no use to you. On the other hand, it might be worth a try.

My best to you and your family.
As ever May

PS: I want to add that I remember Paula very well indeed, and that I was so impressed with her, I have often held her up as an example of an unusually charming, and capable, person.

* * * * *

To May Mayers

December 15, 1960

Dear May Mayers,

I realize I must have distressed you unnecessarily by being abrupt, for which I apologize, all the more so because I have been reading about the blizzard, one of the few things that has reconciled me to California, a mad place as you may have heard.

I gratefully accept your offer to write a letter that would make it easier to explain my predicament, but I prefer to leave its composition to you, for I would not know how to begin it. If you will just state the medical facts as you see them, and address it to me, I can have it photostated if necessary.

I don’t think, however, that such a document can do much to retrieve my affairs after the seventeen or eighteen years of my mother’s letter writing now past and all the confusion, suspicion and misunderstanding she has brought about; and what I am trying to think of, is some way of preventing her from doing any more. One difficulty is that I don’t know how many she has written, or to whom. I have given the local postmaster a letter of my own, explaining the case, because he has to be able to defend himself and she complained very strongly about his dilatoriness in answering her to the Postmaster General of the United States. It almost got the poor man fired, when all he said was that the letters she had written probably had reached their destination. She was sure that he, too, was the subject of malign influences, because he wouldn’t do anything to make me write, or move from California.

I only get occasional clues, like the ones I mentioned. One was a letter from George West, the City Editor of the New York “Herald Tribune”, to whom she had written saying that the Associated Press obituary of my father wrongly gave my name as Wellman instead of Scott, and that I complained. West was very civil and offered to publish a correction, and I had to write him and say that in my opinion she was out of her head and that I did not require any correction. The relevant fact here is that she said nothing about her own objections, it was I on whose behalf she was writing.

Another clue I have is a letter I never saw, written to the Hon Elbridge Durbrow, the US Ambassador to Vietnam, in which she appears to have said that I was very unhappy in Saigon but did not dare to say so, and that she was therefore interceding to have me transferred to a suitable climate. Apart from the fact that I was anything but unhappy and had not written her for years, we all enjoyed being there and my wife told her so repeatedly. As I say, I never saw the letter, but Durbrow asked me why I felt I had to be so devious when I wanted a transfer, and obviously didn’t believe me which I said I didn’t. He also read me a little lecture on (a) my filial duty and (b) my patriotic obligations, from which I infer that the letter cast doubts on my sincerity in both.

I know that the material in the ones read by my Washington superior to the congressional sub-committee I mentioned had such an effect the chairman ordered them eliminated from the printed record, which notes this fact. However, I still don’t know what the letters contain.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t know where I stand–it’s like one of those bomb scares they have in New York, you never know where or when the next one will go off.

The few friends I have mentioned my problems to all say she obviously doesn’t know how much harm she is doing, but I wonder. The letters must be very plausible, or they would not make such a bad impression. She started writing them long ago, when she was obviously much more herself than she is now. And though I used to protest, she has always taken the position that my opinions in the matter need not be considered. At first this was because I didn’t really mean what I said–it wasn’t the “real me” speaking–and later it was because of these intangible malevolent influences she thinks are abroad.

What it boils down to is that she will not concede anybody’s right to live his own life, and never has. Psychiatrists must have a word for it. If somebody were to tell me they wanted no more to do with me, that would be the end of that, and it has happened. But apparently nobody can keep my mother from meddling. I don’t know just why or how God bestowed on her this special authority over fellow humans, or some of them, but it seems to amount to a sort of divine right and always has.

One of the puzzles to me is Jack, whose predicament must have been a nightmare for years, and who has been compelled, one after the other, to give up his friends, his ambitions, his hopes and his peace of mind. When I last saw him in London he was hopelessly dejected and more pessimistic that I had ever expected to find him, and I can only guess what he feels like now.

I don’t suppose all this is relevant to anything, but it’s a relief to get it off my chest. As far as practical matters go, my mother has overplayed her hand. Up to the present she has been able to blackmail me–or rather, Paula–into keeping up some kind of correspondence, by the implied threat of even more fluent letter writing than usual, with more fascinating innuendo in each letter, for all that I know. Now that I am subsisting more or less from day to day, thanks to the charity of a few and the beneficence of a paternal government, there is absolutely nothing she can do she hasn’t done already, and so I planned to end the correspondence once and for all. If it drives her over the edge, it will be regrettable, but better than driving one of my children over the edge. She already has the name of my daughter’s college, and I suppose she could find out who my son’s commanding officer was if she tried hard enough, but maybe it won’t go that far.

I apologize very humbly for burdening you with all this, May; and I must say we admire your forbearance and good sense more than we can say. I hope I shall have friends as faithful and disinterested as you have been to my mother, without many thanks that I remember hearing about. If it’s any consolation we think you are a trump and Paula thinks so too.

If the costs and complications are not huge, I might be able to borrow the money sooner than I could earn it–it would be worth going into debt to breathe more easily. I may sound heartless, but I feel desperate.

Please accept my thanks and Paula’s, which are sincere. The kids would be grateful too, if they knew what was at stake; but we try to keep them from being troubled by such matters.

Sincerely,
C Scott

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

December 26, 1960

Dear Jig and Paula:

I will try to answer both your letters together. I agree that the matter which is most urgent, at the moment, is to protect your children. You certainly must be proud of the wonderful record being made by Denise. Actually, Evelyn has told me with great pride about Denise, her scholarship etc. She is–at least outwardly–as far as I can see, most anxious to keep the flimsy thread of communication open between you. I believe that it would be a strategic error to discontinue writing to her. That would in all probability, in my opinion, upset her so much more than at present, that one would merely increase the unpleasant things she might do. I do not think anyone can stop her letter writing, not even I. But I believe that it should be possible to write her without disclosing in any way where the children are of what they are doing. It is too bad that she knows where Denise is at college. She had better not learn anything more.

As to your proposal to try to commit Evelyn, I can assure you that she is far too lucid in conversation to make such a thing possible–quite regardless of expense. I have seen people try to commit persons many times, and I can assure you that it would never work in Evelyn’s case. It takes two psychiatrists to form an opinion in such a matter, and I have seen persons far less lucid than Evelyn, and actually incoherent, fail to meet with psychiatrists’ concepts of grounds for commitment. As you must realize, every precaution surrounds a matter such as this. Otherwise all kinds of people would find themselves committed, with lack of personal liberty, just because someone with money or influence wants to get rid of them. There is no use your borrowing money or using your own to this end. You will not succeed.

I have tried to formulate a letter, such as I suggested, which you can show, indicating that one must not believe everything Evelyn writes. But beyond saying this to you her, there is nothing I can write on my medical stationery which would not be disclosing what is regarded as confidential medical information between doctor and patient. And, anyway, as you say such a letter would not be of much use to you. So I have decided to do nothing more on that score.

I believe that the best of many unsatisfactory alternatives, is for Paula to continue writing–providing no information whatever about the whereabouts of any of the children–and perhaps, threatening to discontinue writing if any more letters are written by Evelyn that come to your attention. I know she does not want Paula to discontinue her letters. So this is something of a handle. I wish there was something further that I could suggest.

My best to you both
May

Incidentally, Jack and Evelyn seem to be getting on very well these days. He has a tutoring job which keeps him very busy, and they have social security.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 30, 1960

Dear Margaret

The accompanying carbon of my letter to Dr Mayers will explain itself and help clarify what I write below, but before I go on, I request most urgently that you refuse any request from my mother for money to travel out here. If she were to turn up in California, I would have no choice but to petition the State Lunacy Commission to lock her up, which Dr Mayers says is not legally feasible. I would have to try, anyway, using as evidence letters I have in which my mother tells of a powerful electronic device that is being used to brainwash me; and the mess would be calamitous.

As will see from the carbon, I was in bad company in Saigon, which was crammed with the kind of men the State Department preferred after Dulles and McCarthy put their stamp on it. Nobody who has not lived in the atmosphere these men created can imagine what it was like, and the fact is that the Americans in Indo-China were so busy suspecting each other of something nameless they had no time for their work.

Ever since I left the foreign aid organization Winfield (the man my mother wrote to in Washington—see carbon) has had all requests from my prospective employers for information on my background referred to him; and the result has been that my name has become mud. Time and again I have been on the verge of going to work only to have the job fall through at the last moment, and in several cases I know it to be because of a bad reference from Winfield.

Believe me, my testimony to the congressmen had nothing to do with my being fired. All I complained abut was four years of delay that put us in the ill graces of the Vietnamese, but the other witnesses—and the damned newspapers—put so much stress on the waste of money you would have thought that was the only consideration. I was fired before I came home, and my mother’s letters were the reason, plus the fact that my opinions are on the liberal side. I was not even allowed to stay in Saigon an extra week to help my family pack, and they came home after me.

The result is that my wife, my children and I are as close to starvation as we are ever likely to be, and getting closer daily, despite the affluence of the society we live in. Since I have no boss my mother can write to, I am taking advantage of my temporary immunity from her attentions to cut the tie with her for once and for all. In her answer to my letter, Dr Mayer said that my mother’s heart ailment is not serious; and this has so far been the only thing holding me back from a final break.

Although I do not have a college degree or even a high school diploma, I am literate and published one (bad) novel. I am bilingual in French and English, and have a smattering of Spanish and Portuguese.

You must know someone who could give me a hand., All the jobs I have had in the past I got without any influence or intercession of anyone, on the basis of my own record—not an easy matter for a man with no education. I am as near to being desperate as I will ever be, and even the rather meagre bounty of the social workers will be running out one of these days.

I can come to New York by ‘bus if necessary; which will mean selling my typewriter and a few other things. But the job need be neither lavish nor important. Just so long as it keeps us all alive.

Please, if you know of anyone who might help me, give me an introduction. Above all, don’t mention this to my mother or give her the money to come out here.

Sincerely

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

December 31, 1960

Dear Mother,

I have your last letter, suggesting I send you my working address, so that you can write to me there.

I have no such address, I have no job, and if I did I would not tell you anything about it, because the experience of the past fifteen years has taught me that sooner or later you would write to my employer with the object of having me fired, as you have done hundreds of times in the past.

I remember vividly the promise you made to me in Tappan, during the war, that you would do everything you could to make sure my marriage and my family would founder economically, so that I could come back to you, like a pet poodle dangling on the end of an umbilical cord instead of a leash. A good many of those to whom you wrote believed, as you presumably intended, that they had been warned by a patriotic mother about the treasonable tendencies of a wayward son; and this sort of innuendo has cost me job after job, year after year. Thanks mainly to you, I find myself in middle age without work, without prospects, and an object of suspicion to everyone who might hire me.

Because of your perseverance in blackening my name, we are poor. The education I might have given my children is beyond my reach, and I have no doubt whatever that you would do whatever you could to revenge yourself on them as the opportunity arose. But then I remember very well how–during that same wartime visit to Tappan–you spat into my baby son Frederick’s mouth because, you said, you had the ‘flu and you hoped he would get it and die.

The one bright spot in the situation, as I see it, is that you have overplayed your hand. Hitherto we have been at the mercy of whatever slander about us you thought fit to spread, and Paula has kept up with a correspondence she finds nauseating solely in the hope of preventing you from writing worse things about us to even greater numbers of strangers. It never worked; and now that you have done your worst, there is nobody left to whom you can malign me, no method of coercion you can use, nothing whatever you can do to force either one of us to write or do anything you ask.

The only namely sinister influence in our lives has been you, and you know it. I have gone to the bestially unfilial extreme of refusing to abandon a wife and five children, not because I am being brainwashed by some mysterious electronic device, as you insist, but simply because I see no reason to make six people wretched merely to please your diseased vanity. There is no such device, as you know perfectly well, and my troubles arise mainly from your refusal to admit that I have a right to live my own life without placing your engorged ego before all other considerations.

This is the last time any of us will write, except to notify you of a death in the family.

Good-bye.
Your son

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

December 31, 1960

Dear Jack

I have written to my mother terminating the correspondence once and for all. I appreciate that this makes things difficult for you, and that the brunt of whatever hysterics I bring about will fall on you. I am sorry, but I have had enough.

What you probably do not realize, although she undoubtedly does, is that the letters she has been writing to my superiors and employers for the last 15 years or so inevitably have cost me my jobs, and that the cumulative effect is now such that nobody will hire me. I know there have been hundreds of such letters, and the ones I have been permitted to see all said I was the helpless tool of nameless, sinister influences–a sort of zombie who could not be trusted with any responsible job.

The result at present is that I am without a job, on the brink of starvation, and that my family must undergo severe hardships–all because of my mother’s letter writing. Nobody will hire me because her letters are still in the personnel files of every company I have ever worked for.

I used to think she was merely irresponsible, but having thought it over I have decided this is not correct. I believe her motives are nothing more than vengeful jealousy toward my wife and my children, which she took no trouble to conceal when she visited us in Tappan, during the war, and demanded that I abandon them altogether and at once as unworthy of me.

I have now fallen so low there is absolutely nothing whatever she can do to me, and so I am taking full advantage of my (at least temporary) invulnerability to coercion to break things off once and for all.

I have written her the most brutally forthright letter I was able to compose, in the hope that it will penetrate the thick layers of complacency, and absolute contempt for the opinions and welfare of everybody else in the world, that protect her from her own conscience and my reproaches.

As far as I can see her present frame of mind is the result of a life-long belief that nothing whatever matters excepting the means of gratifying her own ego. Her attitude toward my wife and my family is absolutely ruthless and what she has done would not be tolerated at the hands of any stranger. Not only will Paula not write again, but neither will I; and these two letters, one to you and one to her, are the last communications to be expected from any of us.

If she will not listen to any explanations, you might point out to her that things might not have gone this far if she had been willing to abstain from slandering me to my employers, in the hope of depriving me and mine of our bread and butter–as she obviously intended. However, the thing has gone too far, a point of no return has been reached; and there is no appeal.

If she were to have the bad taste to come here, to expostulate with me in person, I would have her locked up in the State Insane Asylum at Napa; I would have no other choice, and some of her letters (saved with the possible need in mind) would, I think, convince even the most sceptical she is dangerous. Paula and I would be prepared to testify that she showed herself to be violent and malevolent toward the children.

Sorry. Good luck to you.
Your stepson,

* * * * *

To May Mayers

December 31, 1960

Dear May Mayers,

I have your letter of the 26th December, and we see the force of your arguments up to a point. What you advise, however, means submitting indefinitely to the same kind of misery, as long as my mother feels inclined to hound us.

Your letter did one thing to clear up my own ideas, however; and after reading it carefully I realize that any woman who is not sick enough to be restrained must also be in good enough health to stop meddling in other people’s lives. If she can write such plausible letters and converse—as you point out—so coherently, then she is obviously of sufficiently sound mind to face the facts of the case. I realize that this is not what you said, but it is what I infer from the facts as a whole: please don’t think I am trying to give your words an interpretation you did not mean.

As I interpret your statement of the case, there is no help to be expected from any quarter, and the sole prospect of obtaining any peace lies in precipitating the worst crisis I can devise. I most certainly decline to go on this way for the rest of her life, and my children should not be asked to sacrifice their own interests to please the vanity of an egomaniac—as she is certain to require of them, sooner or later.

Accordingly I have written her the most brutally candid letter I could phrase, in the hope that it will penetrate the veneer that protects her from her own conscience and any other consideration except having things her own way. Now that I know that her heart condition is not serious, she can threaten to drop dead as much as she likes without my being disturbed., Apart from being unwilling to be the cause of heart failure I have no feelings about her except dislike; and I am convinced that vengeful jealousy toward Paula and my children underlies all she does, in spite of what she says in her letters to Paula.

I am sorry I got you into this, May, even to this slight extent. I realize that your position as an old friend of my mother’s must tie your hands in many ways, and Paula and I are grateful for your good will. My mother’s most recent letter, in reply to one from Paula saying the correspondence was over, mentions that she may write to my daughter’s college and wants my business address. As I told you, I am out of work and in straits; and I propose to take advantage of the fact that no more harm can be done to me, to start the crisis straight away. I have taken precautions to warn the college.

Many thanks for your interest in the matter, and good luck to you.
Sincerely

 

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

January 6, 1961

Dear Paula,

You will see the letter1 I have written Jigg. Do know that whenever you both feel like writing again we would be delighted.

We hope you will all think better of the situation. With us, you two and the children mean much. I have never seen you, or them, and hoped to do so some time.

The idea of Evelyn as an intentional destroyer of what does mean so much to her is ludicrous. What nightmare has afflicted you?

My interest in you-all is natural and unborrowed. I would quite spit on any profession of amiability that didn’t spring of itself.

So here’s hoping
Jack

1 This letter has not survived.

* * * * *

Sadly for Jigg, the story does not end here. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47. Onslaught

The family returned to Saigon in November 1957 after 3 months’ home leave and resumed their domestic routine.  The children’s schooling was provided under the auspices of the United States Army for the children of the many Americans working in Saigon at the time.  Jigg made a number of Vietnamese friends as well as friends from the American and British ex-pat communities and the family’s life assumed a sort of normality.

During this time Evelyn and Jack continued their life of desperate poverty in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.  Jack had secured poorly paid employment as a tutor in a small private “crammer” while Evelyn’s time was largely occupied with her correspondence.  During 1958 and 1959 Evelyn, by her own account, wrote weekly letters to  Paula, often including another to be forwarded to Jigg: a few examples are quoted below.   The themes were always the same:  Evelyn’s distress at not hearing from her family; her certainty that malign political forces were preventing her son from writing to her; her certainty that the same malign forces were keeping the family apart; the effect this was having on her (admittedly) poor health; and requests for suggestions for the chilren’s various birthday presents which she hoped would prompt letters from Paula.  She also wrote to the children (these letters were not passed on) asking them to request either Paula or Jigg to write to her.

 * * * * *

To Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
March 30, 1958

Darling Paula

I think we shall soon be obliged to write to Washington, again, unless it has already become possible for Creighton to write to his parents. The more I think of the four years since any of Jigg’s family have had a line, the more deeply indignant I become at the sort of monstrous conditions imposed on a US citizen, who is himself an author and painter of the first water.

The hotel had a nice new entrance in harmony with its architecture–now replaced by imitation “marble” [illeg] called it “public house” “marble” by Jack–the concealed new lighting giving an effect of sunlight in the dark end of the lobby is good, however

Evasion in these matters is in its final phase. We cannot be governed by other countries with ideas and laws not ours, and WE WONT BE ANY LONGER. There is a farcical aspect to everything that has been going on in recent years. United Nations should have been a “clearing house” for objection to international interference, or national interference now announced by a declaration of war, and all we have is patter about entirely minor matters, while a good many of the best and finest Americans and British STILL are contending at home and abroad against some of the worst aspects of dictations NONE OF US WILL EVER ACCEPT AS AFFECTING OURSELVES. We just can’t stand evasion and equivocation any more. We are all culturally persecuted, there are no two ways about that.

I suppose, in the weather you depicted, their clothing is still sketchy. I asked about the type of building description as well as name for they do lessons in. Don’t forget I asked about a book for Bobby1. We are already thinking of Jigg’s next birthday, too. What would he like? When Jack is free in the summer maybe we can go downtown to have a look about for them, and for whatever Mathew would like for January 1923 [sic]. I don’t go distances alone after all the “peruna” ailments I have had. Better in the main, however. [remainder of letter missing]

1 Robert, the fifth child, was then 6 years old.

* * * * *

There are significant gaps in the correspondence:  it is unlikely that these were caused by Evelyn’s silence; but far more likely to be the result of Jack’s destruction of many of her papers after she died.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

November 15, 1958

DARLING SON JIGG,

We are still eagerly awaiting the snapshots of you and the family, with the glimpses of your surroundings that are of such interest, and which will we think not cease to interest when you are near enough for us to see you all.

Jack and I are now indebted to Maggie again, for a loan that will help to see us through until Jack has a better job. But the various crises we have been through since we came home, will all be worthwhile if we have personal contact, again, with the sweetest family in the world, and can rescue all our arts and re-appear in published form as we all did before the war.

I hope you have read over what I said about retirement pensions. They are not of the use they should be in their present form, which allows such minute “free earnings” to people in the sixties, that, if they are professional people like Jack, there is no form of earning that pays little enough not to result in forfeiting the pension with any free earnings at all. Teachers are not employable by the day, as a manual labourer might be. The further I go in examining every Law passed in the USA by the democrats—the others haven’t started it yet, that I can see—the more mistakenly we discernat other common denominator alone is considered.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

November 15, 1958

DARLING PAULA,

So you now have a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD SON1 and a big boy who is good and studious and is SIX YEARS OLD, as well as a nearly EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, a nearly THIRTEEN YEAR OLD SON, and a DAUGHTER OF SEVEN WHO PAINTS PICTURES. WE ALL GOOD—YOU BET!

I am worrying about the return of damnable summer. You should all be here at home to be REFRESHED BY CHANGED SEASONS AN PROBABLY ESPECIALLY JIGG WHO HAS NOT BEEN HOME AWAY FROM HEAT SINCE YOU WENT OUT THERE, and WAS NOT IN GOOD HEALTH WHEN HE WENT THERE. But I am worrying most about JIGG’S HEALTH as the SNAPSHOTS WERE TO BE PROOF OF HIS IMPROVEMENT AND THEY HAVE NOT YET COME.

Your own letter is overdue, too, darling, and I hope it will arrive soon and shatter this ritual of worry—a round-and-round sort of lousiness.

1 This paragraph refers to Frederick, Robert, Denise, Matthew and Julia, in that order.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 18, 1959

DARLING SON JIGG,

Here we are, again, still waiting to know HOW YOU AND PAULA AND THE CHILDREN ARE–BLESS YOU!

PAULA’S NOTE OF MARCH 5th IS STILL BEING TREASURED AND REREAD WITH THE HOPE THAT THE LONGER LETTER AND THE SNAPSHOTS THEN ALREADY DEVELOPED WILL SOON BE HERE, WITH NEWS OF HOW YOU ARE AND COMMENTS ON THE VARIOUS CONTENTS OF LETTERS NOT YET SPECIFICALLY ACKNOWLEDGED.

When the space between letters is too great it gives one a rather flat and empty feeling in writing one’s self. One’s small items of personal news begin to seem too unimportant to be worthy of conveyance in a letter, especially when we NEED TO RE ASSURED AGAIN YOU HAVE ALL CONTINUED WELL since the upset of Christmas.

If you come home, later, to a job, we will be very grateful if we are kept conversant with your moves–YOURS MIND YOU, AS WELL AS DARLING PAULA’S AND THE CHILDREN’S. THIS TIME YOU MUST BE PERMITTED TO RETURN HOME TOGETHER TO JOB.

DARLING, TO SENSE YOU SEVEN DRAWING NEARER GIVES US MORE SPIRIT AND STRENGTH FOR WINNING OUT!

Lovingly, LOVINGLY,
Mother

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 7th, 1959

JACK LOOKS FORWARD TO YOUR LETTER, LONG OR SHORT. IT WILL BE SO NICE TO FEEL OURSELVES IN NATURAL COMMUNICATION EVEN FOR THE SPACE OF A LETTER. AND WE WILL THINK OF THE END OF SO MUCH GHASTLY INTERFERENCE, WITH ALL OUR GOOD AFFECTIONATE LIFES–THE BEST OF ALL ENDS WHEN YOU AND PAULA BRING YOURSELVES AND THE CHILDREN HOME TO YOUR JOB HERE.

WE, ARE, AGAIN, NOT FULL OF NEWS, YET ARE CONTINUALLY BUSY, JUST I SUPPOSE AS YOU AND PAULA ARE. Last week, or is it already two weeks!–we went to the country, and had I been permitted to feel up to snuff all the time, we would have had a very nice afternoon. And even as it was it was refreshing to see the country once more after two years in town. They are at that school Gladys had a friend at for a while–maybe there yet–and are beyond Stamford [Connecticut]. And it was lovely to have a glimpse of water and boats farther out beyond their inlet of the sound.

WE ARE RATHER WORRIED ABOUT THE INDEFINITE PROSPECTS. OUR DECISIONS CONTINUE CONTINGENT ON YOURS AND DAD’S ARE SURE TO BE AFFECTED BY THEM. AND YOUR FOUR YEARS THERE WILL SOON BE UP. PLEASE DARLING WRITE AND TELL US HOW YOU, PAULA, AND THE CHILDREN ARE IN HEALTH AND GIVE US SOME INKLING AS TO PLANS. YOU SHOULD NONE OF YOU STAY THERE. THIS SHOULD BE YOUR YEAR TO COME HOME TOGETHER. YOU CAN’T SEND DENISE HERE ALONE YOU SHOULD PUT HER IN COLLEGE. BLESS, BLESS, BLESS–WE LOVE YOU SO, and REALLY ADORE YOU ALL. PAULA IS VERY NEAR TO US IN OUTLOOK WE TRUST.

Mother

[Jigg, well aware of his mother’s obsessive writing of letters which were both excessively long and full of details which were not strictly accurate, had started sending these to Margaret DeSilver for safekeeping. This pencilled note was in the margin of the front page of the above letter]1

Dear Margaret– Just a specimen from among many–I have some that are a lot worse, which I keep, just in case. Jigg

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

June 7, 1959

DARLING PAULA,

PLEASE DON’T DON’T SIGN UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR IN SAIGON, FOR GOD’S SAKE. WE WILL BE RE-EMBITTERED ABOUT EVERYTHING WRONG ALREADY DONE TO OUR FAMILIES IF THERE IS ANY SUCH MOVE AS THAT FORCED ON POOR JIGG—with ten years of separation already, the grandchildren never seen, and Dad and ourselves now pretty old, Dad’s health and mine poorish, and poor good Jack holding all his own plans in abeyance in the hope of AT LAST SEEING OUR SCOTTS USA.

I feel alternately frantic and almost warlike against such friends who have devised such practises and have kept them up. SEVENTEEN YEARS OF HELL–WE DO NOT KNOW OF ANY OTHER FAMILY EITHER AMERICAN OR BRITISH THAT HAS EVER BEEN PUT THROUGH WHAT WE HAVE IN SEPARATIONS THAT ARE AGAINST OUR INCLINATIONS, OBSTRUCTIVE OF MUTUAL HELP.

DARLING, THIS IS NOT A HATE LETTER, BUT A LOVE LOVE LETTER. We just cannot endure these false situations and false judgements any more.

WE SHALL CONSIDER IT THE SIGN OF GENUINE PATRIOTISM IN THOSE WHO ARRANGE PROGRAMS IF YOU AND JIGG AND THE CHILDREN ARE ALLOWED HOME NOW TO JOB FOR HIM AND NORMAL HUMAN CONTACTS.

TELL US WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP JIGG HOME TO JOB. WE ARE ALL BITTERLY OPPOSED TO TOTAL SYSTEMS OF RULE AND THOSE WHO ARE MERIT EVERY PREFERENTIAL TREATMEJNT. THEY ARE NEEDED HERE AT HOME AS GOOD AMERICAN NATIVES.

LOVE,Evelyn

* * * * *

To Deputy Personnel Officer, ICA

July 19, 1959

Personal
Deputy Personnel Officer for the Far East
International Cooperation Agency
811 Vermont Avenue
Washington, DC

Dear Sir,

I shall be indeed grateful if you have been able to give your attention to my letter of June 27th, 1959, substantiating an earlier petition1 from my daughter-in-law, Paula P Scott, USOM, PROGRAM SUPPORT, SAIGON, for advice and any assistance you care to offer to expedite the return of her husband (my son, Creighton Seeley Scott, USOM, PROGRAM SUPPORT), with her and their family of five children, to the US and permanent employment here at home.

The letter referred to above and forwarded to you as a kind favourto me by Mr Robert D Johnson, Acting Director, US Passport Office, Washington, arrived in his hands with my request for information as to whom to address my plea on behalf of my son; who has this month completed, with his family, four years in Saigon. I wrote in the spring to Miss Jean Hermann, who was the Personnel Officer (Employee Relations), whose signature was appended to a letter I had when they first went to Saigon, in which I was notified that their first address, APO, had been changed to Navy 150, FPO. However, Miss Hermann2 has not replied as yet to my request to her, also, to be given at least an inkling as to when the Scotts are likely to be back at home.

I add, in conclusion, that my daughter-in-law has, since, advised me in a brief note that the Navy address is not longer theirs and I am write to them, USOM, Box 32, Program Support, APO 143. Her notification to that effect is dated June 23rd, 1959.

In my letter now in your hands, I allude to the various difficulties both myself and my son and his wife have had about mail, both foreign and domestic; of which a good many letters of recent years have never been acknowledged or traced.

I shall hope to have some advice about my son soon.

Respectfully Yours,

1 This petition was entirely Evelyn’s initiative and nothing to do with Jigg..

2 Jean Hermann had left her post some months previously, and with her departure went Jigg’s protection from his mother’s correspondence.

* * * * *

In the summer of 1959 Jigg was recalled to Washington to appear before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to answer questions about the progress and management of the ICA’s involvement in Vietnam at that time.  He was also required to respond to specific points raised by his mother in her correspondence to the ICA.  It has not been possible to see any of this correspondence in spite of a Freedom of Information request, but it is a good guess that the tone was similar to the tone of her other letters.

 

 * * * * *

 To Evelyn Scott

July 23, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

We just arrived in Carmel1, and Jigg is in Washington. If you wonder “why so sudden” it’s because the whole situation in Saigon is difficult and we were called home, so that Jigg could do his part in helping to get at the facts. There are too many people who try to distort the facts—including even the peers.

I still can’t answer my huge accumulation of your letters—the last few weeks in Saigon were spent in frenetic packing. Now we are home, but I still have very little time—the house is full of kids and their friends.

I’ve said this before, but I will write again soon. Write me: c/o Martinez-Dean, Route 2-Box 412, Carmel, Cal

Love to Jack
Love
Paula

With no home base in the US, Paula had no choice but once again to call upon help from her maternal relatives, whose small house and outbuilding just about accommodated Paula and the 5 children.

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann, ICA

July 26, 1959

Dear Madam,

I have addressed several letters to you since the spring, in which I have requested any information you were able to give me respecting the time of the return of my son, Mr Creighton Seely Scott, his wife, Paula P Scott, and their children, Denise, Fredrick, Matthew, Julia and Robert Scott, to the USA, their home, from Saigon.

As none of my letters—three or four—were acknowledged, I thought it possible that I had made my request in some unaccustomed quarters and with that in mind I wrote, again, for information, and with reminders of my own poor health and the ten years that elapsed since I or any of my son’s relatives have seen him, and sent this letter to the USA State Department; expressing, to them, my hope that, if it were necessary, they could set me right as to the quarter in which to appeal in such circumstances, for a USOM employee.

Mr Robert D Johnson, Deputy Director of the Passport Office, was given my letter to read, and forwarded it to the Deputy Personnel Officer for the Far East, International Cooperation Agency, 811 Vermont Avenue, Washington, DC; writing me, at the same time, that he had done so.

As I have not heard from that office, either, I think it best to let you know of the further letter there.

Of course, the truth remains that I do not know whether this letter or any other to the ICAwill ever reachits destination. And I cannot forebear saying, again, as I did three years ago when writing to your office, that the apparent contempt of our Military Government for the mothers and the fathers of the older generation of Americans, strikes me as worthy of the very worst dictations. Mail still figures domestically, also, in the long record I have of experiences relative to communication and personal contact with family and friends since 1945, that are genuinely disgraceful.

Very Truly Yours,
(Mrs W J) Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

August 5, 1959

Darling Paula

We have, all along, just as during our eight and a half years in England, looked forward to the decent end of this imposed policy from somewhere that is keeping us apart even in correspondence; our first reasonable expectation having been that it would end when we reached New York from London; and our expectation during the four years you have been in the Far East, having been that Creighton would write to us himself as soon as he got home so that we could welcome him with you and the children with all the deep affection we feel.

Naturally we do not know what has been done and is being done, to convey an impression to the best of good sons and husbands that he dare not communicate with his American mother, his American father, and his British stepfather. But that something has or is continuing an illegal interference we do not doubt.

Unless Jigg soon writes to us naturally at least to the extent of a note, I shall consult any lawyers who are willing to help me as to the step essential in pinning down those in the Government or outside it who are criminally responsible for a situation that has changed me from a woman in moderate health to a nervous wreck with every indication of being fifteen years older than I am.

Does the FBI abstract my mail to the Personnel Office, I wonder. I have written four letters since spring that would certainly have received notice from anyone less than a monster of brutality, and no notice is taken. And I had my unforgettable experience of slipshod inquiry in 1940, when I reported an intimidator of communist views.

Of course we saw in the papers about the inquiry into the value of the American base in Saigon, and we take it for granted that all the people who are home from the East are in Washington offering their views when asked. But hushiness that interferes with normal family relations is NOT American Defence but Enemy Action.

WE ARE THE ONLY FAMILY OF AMERICANS WHO HAS EVER, AS FAR AS WE CAN ASCERTAIN, BEEN SUBJECTED TO CONDITIONS THAT HAVE MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR FIFTEEN YEARS TO SEE AN ONLY AND MUCH LOVED SON OR, IN FACT, ANY MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY OR OTHER RELATION. The book suppressions and painting suppressions connect. And hostile accts toward me as an author had their genesis, with certainty, in my first PUBLIC COMPLAINTS ABOUT COMMUNISM’S EFFECT ON AMERICAN LITERATURE.

Economic warfare is warfare just as bomb warfare is. When are we to have LEADERS TO DEFEND LOYAL AMERICANS AND LOYAL FREE COLLABORATORS BRITISH IN OUR CASE, AGAINST A TOTAL RACKET that is degrading and debasing not us alone but the country!

DARLING YOU CAN’T ANSWER, BUT THOSE RESPONSIBLE CAN AND MUST, THE CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEMAND STRAIGHT NATIONAL DEFENCE AND COMPLETE REDRESS FOR THE MANY WRONGS DONE EACH IN PERSON.

WE LOVE YOU AND JIGG AND THE KIDS!! SAY SOMETHING TO US.
Evelyn

* * * * *

To Ronald Pearson

August 5, 1959

Mr Ronald Hays Pearson
Metal Design Workshop
Victory (near Rochester), NY

Dear Ronald

Paula has written us of her arrival with the children care Martinez-Dean, Route 2—Box 412, Carmel California; where she was two years ago, in general locality.

I have written to his Personnel Officer—or rather Employee Relations Officer, Personnel Office, ICA, Washington 25, several times—four in all—since the spring, mentioning the fact that I know his agreement to remain in Saigon would end in July, and that I would appreciate, as his mother, help in re-establishing our correspondence and contacts, which have been next to none in Saigon, bar the goodness of Paula who has literally saved my life, and almost none since Jigg was in London to see us in November 1949.

I never had any acknowledgment of these letters, nor any indication that they were ever received. And more recently I wrote the same letter in gist and sent it to the US State Department, saying that it might be I had not addressed the correct official and that I would, therefore, be grateful if the State Department would forward my letter to whoever could most fittingly read it.

Mr Robert D Johnson, Deputy Director of the US Passport Office (I forget to say I addressed it to the Passport Dept as they are bound to know Jigg’s whereabouts abroad)—Mr Johnson wrote me a nice note in reply and said he had forwarded my letter to THE DEPUTY Personnel Officer for the Far East, ICA, 811 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC. The forwarded letter, written June 27th, 1959, has, also, never been acknowledged as yet.

Can you enlighten me about Jigg’s address? If you can, my dear Ronald, you should, for I personally think he is being forced to keep silent by some means he has not divulged, which may have to do with the hocus pocus of “war” hush, or may not.

Personally I have a hunch that communists put rackets up to calling people communists when they were haters of communists. I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN PAULA’S NOTE ABOUT SOME MAN IN A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING WHO WAS SMEARED IN A PROBE, NOR THAT MY LETTERS TO SPRING VALLEY WHICH ARRIVED AFTER SHE SAILED WERE HELD NINETEEN MONTHS BEFORE THEY WERE RETURNED TO THE ADDRESSEE, and two registered parcels for the children were returned opened, with no explanation.

We know you read with comprehension of the human and I am so grateful. May your metal design be always better known and sell more and more at the prices appropriate for fine work.

Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 9, 1959

Darling Jigg and Paula,

I have already written a good many letters to Paula at Carmel and to Jigg two care Paula, but I do not yet know whether my letters are received.

Other and undoubtedly unfriendly people seem to tie so many strings on our normal procedures and both your own, that I am getting where I no longer know what to write to you about and how to begin.

But you see how I am talking in the third person–the result of a reversion to no specific comments of any sort from anybody in several months. When will we be allowed to join hands against damnable conditions? There is a great wave of justifiable dissatisfaction sweeping the USA and we share it. We ARE SURE YOU AGREE IN FUNDAMENTAL WAYS AND A PROOF OF CONSTANT MISHANDLING OF SUPERIOR AMERICANS AND SUPERIOR BRITISH IS THE REPEATED DIFFICULTY WE HAVE IN PICKING EACH OTHER UP AND STRENGTHENING ONE ANOTHER AND THE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS OF THE COUNTRY.

Somewhere in the back of a persecution about this that began soon after my father’s death in 1944 are guilty men, there is every proof. And the fact that that they have the temerity to libel and obstruct normal and decent procedures and human signs of affection, shows the need for GENUINE AMERICAN DEFENSE, which CANNOT BE CONTINGENT ON UNO AND OTHER NATIONS,

TO WHOM DOES ONE APPEAL FOR HELP IN WASHINGTON? WE SHOULD WIN AIDED AGAINST TOTALITARIAN METHODS. WHERE THE ARMY IS LOYAL IT IS BOUND TO AGREE.

LOVINGLY,
Evelyn–to Jigg Mother

We DO LOVE YOU, OUR SWEETS. IT IS POLITICS WE JUSTLY QUESTION.

WILL PAULA WRITE MORE ABOUT JIGG IF HE ISN’T PERMITTED UNTIL THE IMPASSE ABOUT ANTI-COMMUNIST VIETNAM IS SETTLED?

I SHOULD LIKE A COURT EXAMINATION OF THOSE CRIMINALS–YES CRIMINALS–WHO FORBID PARENTS TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THEIR SON. FOREIGNERS RESIDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S COUNTRY ARE ALSO IGNORANT OF IDENTITIES AND RECORDS OF BOTH NATIVES AND THE BEST OF THE FREE COUNTRIES.

* * * * *

To Virigina Hale1

August 27th, 1959

Dear Virginia Hale

Will you please, as a very needed human kindness, let me know how Paula and the children are today, and, if you possibly can, how my son Creighton is, and whether or not he still in Washington, DC?

We know you are a good and sweet aunt to Paula and the Children, and the best of friends to Jigg, as well, but Paula has been sweet and loyal to us, too, and the disturbing thing now is that we don’t hear from her after she volunteers long letters to follow notes. We had a few lines when she landed, and she told us Jigg was in Washington, but we have had no real letters from her or anyone since February, 1959, when she promised to write again, and did not.

We are very sure Paula and Jigg have suffered interference with mail and communications many times since 1944; for not alone have they testified to this fact when they could to us, but there is much evidence on my side: all here at home. But as we came back from England not only to publish, but expressly to see Jigg and Paula and the children, the fact that they have yet to be assisted to meet us in person, after we have spent six years back home, makes us both very concerned to see that home contacts in this instance really include Jigg’s family as well as darling Paula’s.

Can you advise me in any way? Everyone knows that my health has suffered greatly since we came home, and to ignore the elder generation of parents completely is something of which neither Jigg nor Paula are capable—all the elder generation I am sure is behind them in friendship.

In one of the letters Paula has not acknowledged, which went to Carmel three weeks ago, I asked her if you would be willing to give me your address. It is our opinion that every related family context should be revived and preserved. I felt the same way when writing to Margué, who did not reply but once in a note of a few lines. However, please believe me there is no ill will. I have heard of her poor health, and just regret that misunderstandings are always definitely fostered by whoever and whatever keeps naturally friendly persons from ever having a chance to see one another in person.

Hopefully, but with very real anxiety,
Sincerely,
Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

Virginia, or “Aunt Naya” was a sister of Paula’s mother, Margué. There is no information about how Evelyn learned of her existence.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

August 29, 1959

DARLING PAULA,

IF WE COULD ONLY PUT OUR ARMS AROUND YOU AND JIGG’S AND THE FIVE DARLING CHILDREN!

WE ARE BOTH PERPLEXED AS TO WHAT TO DO TO RESUME EVEN THE FAIRLY SATISFACTORY CONTACT BY MAIL WE HAD WITH YOU IN SAIGON, AND EVEN WITH DARLING JIGG who AT LEAST GOT TWO BRIEF NOTES TO US FROM THERE.

WE ARE SENDING THIS REGISTERED AS YOU SEE BECAUSE AT PRESENT WE HAVE REASON TO DOUBT THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE MAIL WE HAVE SENT YOU AND JIGG TO CARMEL since we HAD YOUR GOOD SWEET NOTE OF JULY “3rd” (SO STAMPED).

I PERSONALLY THINK THE CRIMINALS WHO HAVE SO ARRANGED OUR EXISTENCES AND YOURS AND JIGG’S, DURING ALL THE YEARS SINCE 1944, SHOULD BE JAILED. NOT A STEP IN ANY OF OUR LIVES EXCEPT MARRIAGES AND YOUR CHILDREN HAS BEEN CHOSEN AS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE COURSE OF AMERICAN AND OLD BRITISH INDEPENDENCE. THE STATUS QUO IS GRADUALLY MURDERING ME, AND THE FACT OF NOTHING DONE TO BRING ALL INTO NORMAL CONTACT AFTER YOURS AND JIGG’S FOUR YEARS ABSENCE IN SAIGON, IS TO MY MIND INDICATIVE OF WAR AGGRESSION WHICH REQUIRED DEFENCE RETALIATION ON MONSTERS.

I HAVE WRITTEN TO “NADJA1” IN THE CARE OF YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT AND YOU WILL KNOW WHETHER SHE HAS IT OR NOT. I ASKED FOR HER ADDRESS IN A LETTER TO YOU WHICH HAS NOT BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED.

WE HAVE A BIG DAMAGE CLAIM AGAINST WHATEVER ENEMIES HAVE DIRECTED ALL OUR LIVES AMISS. WE THINK IT WOULD BE SENSIBLE IF YOU AND JIGG COMPLAINED AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE OVER AND OVER STOPPED OUR CORRESPONDENCE AND PREVENTED OUR PERSONAL MEETING.

THE PERONNEL OFFICE OF THE ICA IS EITHER INHUMAN ALTIGETHERM [sic] OR CRIMINALS TAKE LETTERS FROM THEIR MAIL. THE VILENESS OF AN ATTITUDE THAT IGNORES WELL-FOUNDED PROTESTS BASED ON HUMAN DISTRESS THAT IS OFTEN AGONY AND HAS BEEN IMPOSED ON US BEFORE AND SINCE JIGG CAME TO LONDON TO SEE US FOR FIVE DAYS IN 1949, AND IS DESTROYING HEALTH AND LIVELIHOOD, MUST SOMEHOW BE EXPOSED, IT IS TO THE SHAME OF THE USA THAT I HAVE NOT BEEN ALLOWED TO KNOW ANYTHING OF WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SON, since that newspaper write-up of Aug 12th, which gave no personal information, naturally.

WERE I A MAN IN THE AMERICAN SERVICE I WOULD LONG AGO HAVE SPOTTED ENEMIES WHO MOLEST AND INTERFERE WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF AMERICANS AND THE CONSTITUTION WHICH IS STILL RESPECTED DESPITE UNO. I WOULD NOT TOLERATE AN AMERICAN OR BRITISH SERVICE UNABLE TO ACT IN DEFENCE OF INDIVIDUAL VICTIMS OF TOTALITARIANS.

ALL LOVE TO YOU AND JIGG AND THE FIVE KIDS,

“Naya”, or Virginia Hale. There is no information regarding how Evelyn came to know of this family nickname.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

September 6, 1959

Dear Maggie,

You may wonder I never take up the phone and call you, but the reasons continue to be given, and today, when I actually thought I would do so, I am shut up in our room and would have to dress to go downstairs.

Did you read in The World Telegram of August 12th, that Creighton is back? I am still trying to find Americans with the human approach and imagination required to remove whoever and whatever it is that has prevented him from communicating directly with his mother and father and Jack. When you have the details in black and white you can see very plainly that it has never been of choice that he left Paula to be the correspondent. Both are still determined to see us normally we are sure, but Paula is at Carmel and the usual things have happened about mail not received.

I began writing about once a month or several times to the ICA Personnel Office, in the spring, asking to be put into direct person to person contact with Jigg as soon as he got home, as I knew he was due in July, 1959. None of my letters has ever been acknowledged.

Some day do ask George Richards if he has any ideas on ways of moving the ICA to humane action on behalf of grandparents and children who have been cruelly kept apart when the mid-generation is as distressed as we are that it should be so.

Damn total rule! As a health elixir I still repeat my refrain of 1943,
DOWN AND OUT WITH THE TOTALITARIANS.
BE WELL, OUR LOVE
Evelyn

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Charles R Soll
Counsellor at Law
86 Main Street
Nyack NY

September 11, 1959

Dear Mrs Scott:

I am in receipt of a letter from Mrs William J Metcalfe c/o Benjamin Franklin, 222 West 77th Street, New York City dated September 6, 1959.

She expresses anxiety because she has not received any communication from her son Creighton or yourself and has asked that I communicate with you and forward her personal request that you write to her.

Very truly yours,
Charles R Soll

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United States Post Office
Carmel, California
September 19, 1959

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

All mail addressed to Mrs Scott at Rt 2, Box 412, Carmel, California is being delivered to her at that address.

Sincerely,
Fred G Strong
Postmaster

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

September 25, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

We’re all OK and very busy. I’ll write soon but this will let you know we’re still here in Carmel and probably will be for quite a while. The schools here are excellent and the kids are all enjoying it.

Love to both,
P

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

September 26, 1959

Darling Paula,

I wonder very often who got hold of my several letters addressed to the Employee Relations Officer, ICA, and whether or not Jigg had those I addressed in their care to him. They have not dealt fairly or respectfully with a mother, father and affectionate step-father who have endured conditions NEITHER YOU NOR JIGG WISH FOR FIFTEEN YEARS BAR FIVE DAYS.

I have thought of drawing up a petition for the White House in respect to Jigg’s first need to be with you and the children, and his also very normal essential human and practical need to sometimes SEE AND TALK TO HIS PARENTS AND STEPFATHER.

Can you tell me what you would think of my doing this? WE HAVE EVERY LEGAL RIGHT TO PUNISH BY LAW ANY WHO INTERFERE WITH NORMAL AMERICAN AND BRITISH LIVES AND RELATIONS.

YOU HAVE A NICE POSTMASTER. HE WROTE ME AT ONCE THAT MRS SCOTT’S LETTERS ARE BEING DELIVERED at HER CARMEL ADDRESS. I SHALL THANK HIM.

LOVINGLY LOVINGLY DARLING—JIGG AND YOU EAST[sic]
Evelyn

* * * * *

To US Passport Office

[October, 1959]1

Old Fashioned STRAIGHT CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT

NB Mr Robert D Johnson
Acting Director US Passport Office
Washington DC

In the letter I sent you I asked that my son be helped if possible to place near his mother and step-father with his wife and children, and so be near enough to hope to see his father. Mother, father, step-father have not seen him or his family for ten years.

At once this letter was mailed, my son CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT was posted to San Francisco, THREE HUNDRED MILES FROM HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN SO THAT HE CANNOT COMMUTE. THEY ARE A DEVOTED COUPLE AND BOTH LOVE THEIR KIDS.

In the letter I mailed to Mr Robert D Johnson asking him again how I could help my son to settle nearer the elders, I said CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT IS NEITHER COMMUNIST NOR FASCIST, HE IS AN AMERICAN IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE.

At once this letter was mailed he was posted to San Francisco, which according to news is a LABOUR CITY—he has and still does avoid labour disputes and unions. IT WAS CRUEL TO IGNORE THAT LETTER—maybe our visitors looked over my shoulder?

In the letter above I pled to have the eldest daughter home in time to enter the college2 she had selected. She HAS NOT DONE SO, as the SCOTT FAMILY IS IN AN UNSETTLED STATE, AS THEY CERTAINLY DID NOT EXPECT MR and MRS SCOTT TO BE APART.

CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT HAD TO GO TO WASHINGTON TO TESTIFY ABOUT CONDITIONS ABROAD WHERE HE WAS. HE COULD NOT TAKE HIS WIFE THER WITH FIVE CHILDREN AS HE IS NOT WEALTHY.

SHE HAS TO STAY IN CARMEL FOR THE PRESENT, RENT SETTLED. THEY DO NOT WISH TO SETTLE IN CALIFORNIA.

NOW I SUGGEST THAT CONTINUED SPITE-PURVEYORS BE KICKED OUT OF THE REGULAR AMERICAN ARMY FOR GOOD. PLEASE HELP STRAIGHT NATIONAL DEFENCE

REMEMBER FIVE DAYS IN FIFTEEN YEARS ONLY HAVE I SEEN MY SON. THE REASONS ALL RELATE TO TOTAL ENEMY ACTIONS

THREE OF OUR FIVE GRANDCHILDREN I HAVE NEVER SEEN IN THE FLESH

WHERE IS THE ICA—IT SEEMS TO DESPISE HUMAN LOVE BOTH YOUNG AND OLD OURS LOVE

1 This letter was not dated: date deduced from contents.

2 Denise did go to her chosen college as planned. This statement is another of many examples of Evelyn putting her words into the mouths of others who would probably not agree with the sentiments.

* * * * *

From Howard Ross

International Cooperation Administration
Washington 25, DC
October 8, 1959

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Your two letters addressed to your son Creighton Scott c/o Personnel Division, ICA Washington have been forwarded to him in California. The address Mr Scott left with us was Route 2, Box 412, Carmel, California.

Since your son is no longer working with the Agency, may we suggest that you direct your letters to him in Carmel.

Sincerely,
Howard F Ross, Chief
Employee Relations Office

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

October 10th, 1959

Darling Paula,

What are we to do to obtain your letter, sweet girl? Is Jigg able to come home to you often enough to help you both and to keep up with the children?

My heart has begun to act up just in the last few days. In some strange manner a nerve under my left breast has begun to hurt and the heart is just under it. I tell you because May1 still insists it is all “psychosomatic”, hence if I could see you and Jigg I would cease to be troubled. And I don’t know but what I would gain immensely in general strength if I did–it is to be expected.

On the other hand, however, all these nerve exacerbations are so localized in symptoms that I sense them more as bodily hurts than the results of my distress.

My theory is that money and health have been the exploited bludgeons used by our enemies to keep us all apart; and that if we actually re-established our personal contacts WE WOULD ALL BECOME STRONGER TOGETHER AND IN COMPLETE HEALTH.

We live among those whose interests are almost unrelated to our, and moral and physical strengthening would result if we supplied one another with friendly DEFENCE CONTACTS.

Our Love,
Evelyn

1 May Mayers, physician and a long-time friend of Evelyn’s.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

October 13, 1959

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

After promising to write in detail, I’ve been putting it off simply for lack of time. It will take me hours to go through the accumulated letters from you, and I simply don’t have that much time. Anyway, the main thing is that we are all well and there is nothing for you to worry about. When I don’t write it is only because I don’t have time. Remember that I have a large family to take care of—it means a lot of sweeping cooking dinners, washing, ironing, dishes, beds, sewing, mending, etc, etc. The day is only so long. For instance, every single day I have to do a big washing and ironing to keep all five kids clean and neat for school. So please don’t get frantic when you don’t hear for a while, especially as time slips by and I sometimes don’t realize how long it’s been since I wrote last.

The kids are all doing well in school and most of them like it. The exceptions are Fred and Matthew who, being boys, would much rather spend all their time on the beach or the rocks or in the hills. They consider school an inexcusable imposition. Suzy is still a straight A student and is carrying a heavy load of extra-curricular activities. July and Bobby can walk to school and they both love it. It’s a nice little school, only through fourth grade, and they both like their teachers.

This is all I have time for now—there is work to do. I’ll try to write sooner next time. But remember not to worry.

Love to you both,
Paula

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

October 19, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

We heard from Gladys that you are very ill—please take care of yourself and do what your Doctor says. If you could possibly get back to England you would get better medical care and hospitalization if you need it. We’re too far away to see you or help you and there is nothing we can do about it. Jigg’s testimony is finished and he won’t be back in Washington again. When he was there it was impossible to get to New York. There was neither the time nor the money.

You would be better off with good medical care. New York is a dismal place to be sick in. I wish we could help! Will you—if you can—and Jack, please, keep us posted on how you are—Jack too—and what you are doing to take care of you?

And Jack—are you all right? Can you drop a few words about Evelyn and yourself?

Love,
Paula

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

October 24, 1959

Darling Paula

I wrote you of my health last week and hope you now have my letter. I have coronary heart disease, and has been going on some time, probably, as when May suspended her treatment of patients in order to write, I had a dose of “psychosomatic” converts who actually refused to diagnose, and one alone offered any treatment. Naturally when they gave no advice I tried to go on per usual, and that was a mistake. However, it is perfectly true that when patients of this sort guard themselves with a great deal of complete rest, they may live a long time.

As to Gladys, when we were coming to New York, she wrote me to London “don’t come back”. And we had scarcely got here before she began in a youth movement jargon to tell me I must “relinquish” Jigg and leave him to his “own generation”.

When we went to The Huntington Hartford Foundation, she again wrote me “don’t come back to New York”. And when I got here and saw her twice she said she “would not talk about Jigg”. I was angry that anyone should forbid me to mention my own son and his family.

I could not comprehend her. She had no explanation of her “advice” to offer.

She then wrote me that she “could not see me unless I promised not to refer to my family”. I wrote her that we would not meet again until she agreed that I could be as natural in speech about my family as anyone in the world.

That was four-and-one-half years ago, and she has not communicated with me since.

May saw her recently must be how she knew I was ill. I suppose you wrote to her, is how she had your address.

I have tried to write without emotion. Need we say what all this signifies to Jack and me: I have often been made to feel, since our return, that enemies were trying to boot me out of my native native country where most of them were before Bunker Hill and the Southern lot before Virginia was a state. Jack is frankly bitter about what has happened but especially about what has been done to me. He is loyal to you and Jigg and Cyril, but he, too, thinks we would all be happier for explanation–and of course meetings. Wish Jigg and you weren’t on the West Coast. But I suppose as to war it seems all the same to you. LOVE, Evelyn

 * * * * *

During this period Jack had been in correspondence with Match and Co, the managing agents for 26 Belsize Crescent.  These letters contained considerable detail about the finances of the property and Jack reluctantly decided that he had no option but to sell the house.  After taking advice, he accepted an offer of £2500 (approximately £56,000 in today’s money) nowhere near enough to buy the hoped-for cottage in the country.

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

November 12, 1959

Dear Jack—

Thank you so much for the detailed and candid account of your circumstances. I see the point, now, and agree that you would do best to stay in the States. It’s a shame that you are unlikely to realize the true value of the Hampstead house. Your account of socialized medicine is chilling. I had no idea it was so bad. I hate to think of what would—or could—happen to a person in a sudden medical emergency if they were not already in hospital. Here one can get quick help.

I haven’t time for much this morning if I’m to catch the mail. Will you please tell Evelyn that I’ll write to her next and soon, and that all the books arrived on Fred’s birthday. He is particularly pleased with his Darwin and Julia loves hers with Kay Boyle’s personal inscription. Please thank her for us all. All the books were happy choices.

Love
P

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

December 1959

I hope this reaches you in time for Christmas—with our love and blessings. We are deep in preparations, of course—we put up the tree this afternoon because the kids pestered so much that I gave in. It does look pretty.

We’re not sending any cards this year, so this note is to take its place. We’re all well and of course the kids are in a heaven of anticipation. I hope you both have a good Christmas—even if simple.

Love,
Paula

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46. The search moves to Saigon

The Scott family remained in the Hotel Chelsea for a year, during which time Jigg found a new job, this time in the newsroom of the Mutual Broadcasting Corporation.  In the summer of 1953 the family moved to Spring Valley, New York, whence Jigg commuted to New York City.  After some three years iin this position, he secured a politically important post with the United States State Department: he was to go to Vietnam (this was not long after the French colonial administration was ousted in 1953) and support the new Vietnamese authorities in establishing the newsroom for the newly-created Radio Vietnam. The family left to join Jigg, who had been in Saigon for a few months, in October 1955.

There is absolutely no evidence that Evelyn ceased her prolific letter-writing after 1953, in spite of the fact that only nine letters written in 1954 have survived and none at all from 1955 have been found.  The likeliest explanation is that Jack, severely grief-stricken after her death in 1963, destroyed many of her papers as he could not bear to see anything she had written, and that letters from these years were among his first targets.

* * * * *

The correspondence from 1956 opens with a fat manila envelope, inscribed as follows:

For William John Metcalfe and Creighton Seely Scott letters and a family record To be opened by either or by my daughter-in-law Paula Scott or any of my grandchildren who are of age at the time of my death. To be opened only after my death. The envelope contained the following letter.

To Creighton Scott

Benjamin Franklin Hotel
April 2, 1956

Letter to Creighton Seely Scott, to be preserved with the Will of his mother, Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe, author Evelyn Scott and handed to him on her death or before, but not to be opened in her lifetime. Love to Cyril 4 living appreciation to F C Wellman and trust in his fundamental kindness [signed] Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe Evelyn Scott Mother Grandmother there are 15 pages herein all but one typed on both sides all single space.

Darling Son Creighton, to us always Jigg, or Jigeroo, it is a call on one’s imagination to be read when one lives, after one is dead. I hope, long before that time, for the human opportunity to speak the love that Jack and myself, like your Dad, I am sure, feel for you for Paula, for Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert1, and to know explicitly, instead of so largely as a matter of conjecture and hints, what is at the bottom of the silence we abhor as between you, Paula and ourselves, and us and good and fine Cyril. I hope to know in particular why you were sent to Indo-China, to Saigon, at the very moment when, at last, we had located you as attached to your U S Army anti-soviet peace mission. But, meanwhile, I can only reiterate that you have been a joy to me from the very day you were born, and that as an adult you still represent to me and to Jack—and to your Dad equally of course—the splendid comprehending friend with the utmost sincere continued appreciation of your talents as author and painter, your acute intellect, your human insights, and all those unique capacities of mind and sensitive feeling Jack and I value, not merely because of a “maternal bias”, but despite it; for do believe, darling Jigg that, though my heart is with you, I have never failed and never ceased to see you with the detached eyes of one accustomed for a lifetime to criticise individuals and societies and appraise genius such as you have innately. And there I am very grateful to darling Paula—may I say Pavli in affection?—for perceptivity, her loyalty to you, her marvellous sustained fight with you, shoulder to shoulder, for you both and your children whose futures are in our thoughts every day.

There is no reproach in this, there never will be, never can be—none to yourselves, but much to a bad world. Those five days in London when you were with us in the flat, stand now with the most important of our lives, as the reassurance that you are in the flesh, and I implore you never to give up, even as I know you never will, merely in carrying over to you and to Paula and the five children, our own constant concern.

[The second page and all subsequent pages are signed] Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalf Evelyn Scott Mother Grandmother

This fact will emerge publicly with time, even though we have been helpless to bring suits for libel, or to counteract wrong impressions. But I am sure the wrong impressions will be counteracted whether liars wish it to be or not; and how tired of the entire theme you both must be. That is why Escapade should be re-published as the barest justice to us all. It was written and published in a far more human world than that of today; and should long since, after three re-issues already, have been taken for granted as an autobiographical classic; on of the several possible antidotes to the prevalence of mob dictation. Life Is Too Short should be revised by Cyril, and re-issued with other serious books by him.

I may seem to be taking “too much” on myself, but I know full well, having a good memory, that I am articulating your own inner longings. What your present views on religion [are], I do not know, but I do know that people—individuals—with unusual real minds can never be satisfied with what goes for “religious” in a world politicized as this one is. Religion as a herd movement merits merely contempt, and surely the time will come when sincere and thoughtful humans like yourselves can say so and offend no one whose opinion is worthy of respect.

Mother

[The envelope also contained a 15-page, single-spaced, account of Evelyn’s life from her childhood to her “elopement” with Cyril to Brazil and through the war to the (then) present day.]

1Robert, Jigg and Paula’s fifth child, was born in 1953.

* * * * *

To Employee Relations Officer, ICA

[June, 1956]

Personal
Miss Betty L Roth,
Employee Relations Officer
Office of Personnel
International Cooperation Administration
Washington, 25, To DC

Dear Miss Roth,

Can you, perhaps, give me any present information on the health and well-being of my son, Creighton Seely Scott?, his wife, and their five children, in Saigon?

Of course I am always hoping to have letters, but on March 15th I received a second cable from my daughter-in-law, Paula Pearson Scott, fro Saigon, in which she said “illness prevented letter”; and, although the cable gave me some measure of reassurance in that somebody in the family was able to send it, no letter has come since, either, and, naturally I am anxious.

On January 18th, 1956, I mailed you a letter respecting my need to know the permanent address of my son and his wife and their children, in the USA. You did not send it to me; and having, therefore, gathered that you did not know it, I—because I really require it for placing in the safety-deposit with the Will I have recently made that more formally affirms the content of a letter I gave my son in 1944 before I went to England to be near my second husband John Metcalfe Metcalfe with an E—a double has appeared without a reviewer!, during his service in the RAF, and which appoints him and his stepfather as my literary executors—I had already asked Mr Francis Knight, the Director of the Passport Office of the Department of State, whether my daughter-in-law, on departing for travel abroad, had filed her permanent address with him.

I don’t know what else I could have done in the total absence of anyone from whom I could obtain the address here at home. But I especially would like to have you aware of this, for Mr Knight replied to my letter in a manner indicating that he must have gone to some trouble for me, belated though his answer seemed to me after several months. It came to me a few days ago, and he says he himself wrote to Foreign Operations I did not mention to Mr Knight what service my son was in, not having been told whether I should or notevidently on the mistaken assumption that I did not even know where Creighton Seely Scott was abroad; a natural error I suppose, as I complained of the apparent impossibility of receiving answers to my letters.

I am sorry I feel obliged to bring this up, again; and am as obliged as ever both to you and to Mr Knight for having done as much as you have toward relieving my mind.

I don’t know what to do, and have been rather ill lately, again, in consequence, perhaps, of my distress; and though I have now sent 31 letters to my son—for his wife and the five children, too—to Saigon, illness, here, too, has “prevented” the writing of some things. The quotation marks are corroboration let me add. There has been not a word said of my five grandchildren since before my daughter-in-law sailed—long before—as in the two letters I received just before her departure, after a lengthy gap between, she did not mention them. Nor does Mr Knight—though I judge they were included with their mother on her Passport.

In a few years it will be seven years since that five day glimpse of my son in London, of which I have written you already. We have always been—I cannot say it too often—an affectionate congenially-minded family, yet, since 1945, over and over, whenever we attempt either renewed contact or improved communication, “something happens”.

Are any of my family ill I? Perhaps only you can answer that. I am not blind to my long letters as not in the official scheme of life. But, again, what am I do do? Not even my legal friend and advisor has been able to suggest anything to re-establish normal interchanges between us all.

Three months is a long time to a mother who has been anxious for fourteen years at frequent intervals—the London visit the only respite.

I hope I have not troubled you too much, but do please know that I am not being prolix, merely.

Sincerely, with reiterated thanks for your every kindness. Should Creighton Seely Scott and his family leave Saigon, I do indeed trust your goodness to let me be advised.

Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Personnel Officer, Radio Free Europe

January 7, 1957

Personal
Miss Betty Allen
care Personnel Department
Free Europe
110 West 57th Street
NY, NY

Dear Miss Allen,

Again, Creighton Seely Scott’s mother, is turning up “like the bad penny”, though the same grateful sentiments that have persisted since I first talked to you on the telephone about my son’s address and his family’s in March 1953. May I, also, again, be forgiven for asking your advice?

I am writing, today, to Mr Thomas E Myers, who was the Director of Free Europe Personnel in 1955, August, hoping he is still with you, for he was then kind indeed in letting me know my son had been posted to Saigon, Viet-nam; and though Creighton, actually, was posted there in July, 1955, it was due to Mr Myers that I learned which Department in Washington to write to to obtain his mailing address, and that of my daughter-in-law, Paula Scott, who accompanied him there shortly, with the grandchildren of myself and Mr Cyril Kay Scott, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert Scott.

I have just written to Mr Myers asking whether it is possible to obtain, also, now any idea as to how lengthy such postings are, and what the probabilities as to guarantees of jobs at home with salaries adequate for the support of a wife and five children; and have reminded him, in making my request, that Creighton Scott is now forty-two; that conditions here, as we see them, make it essential that he continue with Paula Scott and the children, but that the three older children will soon be of an age to choose occupations that may serve as their future means of livelihood and should be orientated to their futures in their own country in the practical sense pertinent to the completion of their educations, good though the schools for American children abroad are said to be.

Mr Myers, quite naturally, cannot be expected to know all about the job question; but I have asked him whether there is anyone in the US Government to whom I might write about this, as the ICA Personnel Officers—I wrote First to Miss Roth, and recently to Miss Hermann—are very genuinely kind, but are non-committal. And it is just in case that Mr Myers has been promoted that I am taking the further liberty of advising you of my letter to him.

I wrote to you and him of the factor of probable libel of myself and my present husband, although I have written letters to both Creighton Scott and Paula Scott, at the rate of two a week, one each, during the entire year and a half since I obtained their addresses, not one letter to Creighton has ever been acknowledged by him, and Paula’s several sweet letters throw no light on whether he has ever had any of mine.

Were she and Creighton, with the children, enabled to return to the USA under normal conditions in which we could all meet, we might assist one another in the predicament of the arts by which we are confronted.  [remainder of letter missing]

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

 

Two Park Avenue
New York 16, New York

January 14, 1957

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Your recent letter to Mr Myers has been referred to me. I regret that I can give you no advice as to the possibility of Creighton Scott’s return home. I can only suggest that you continue to contact the heads of ICA in Washington.

If you think we may be of any other help to you, please contact us again.

Sincerely yours,
Keith E Kenyon
Assistant to Personnel Director

570719
Entry in Jack’s diary dated July 19, 1957. Note Jack’s neat handwriting on upper left corner.

* * * * *

To Employee Relations Officer, ICA

July 20, 1957

Employee Relations Officer
(in charge of Employee Relations for USOM1, Program Support, Saigon
Office of Personnel
International Cooperation Administration
Washington, 25, DC

PS: Please note that the letters held at Spring Valley PO for over a year and a half had on them return to Evelyn Scott, my name as author, in which much mail still reaches me.

Dear Madame,

In connection with a letter I addressed to Miss Betty Roth over a year ago, which was, in part, about the difficulty I have had ever since the war began, in maintaining correspondence with my son, Mr Creighton Seeley Scott, his wife, Paula Pearson Scott, and his five children and hers (Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert Scott), who have been with USOM, Program Support in Saigon, Viet-nam for the past two years: I have come upon a bit of information which I wish to give you here with, as Miss Jean Hermann, when replying for Miss Roth, kindly supplied me with an address for my son which has, so far, proved useful only for letters written us by my very sweet daughter-in-law.

I received yesterday, July 19th, the 19th 1957, from Spring Valley, NY, four letters which, apparently, have not been tampered with in any overt way, which I had addressed to Mrs Creighton Seeley Scott, at 46 Hampstead Road, Spring Valley, Rockland County, NY, in November and December 1955!!!!

The address is the same to which, prior to Mrs Scott’s departure for Saigon, I had sent letters which she acknowledged in hasty notes, by her herself. The return address above was on the back of each of the four envelopes, which one must suppose have not been much handled, as they are all clean and in good condition. The NY Post Office stamps at the time of mailing are clearly legible, dates etc, but the date of return was legible in its entirety on one letter only, which, however, revealed it as probably the same on all as the time of day of the Spring Valley stamping could be read on the others.

The dates of the original mailings as stamped on the four envelopes—of which I have opened one to be sure the content is intact, and it is—are, respectively, Nov 4th 1955, Nov 25th, 1955, Dec 5th, 1955, Dec 9th, 1955. The NY stamping contains the numeral one or seven by the Post Office station—not blurred but printed with a tail on the one that makes it like a seven or the reverse.

I think this may be significant, not because I did not realize, on obtaining the address of my family in Saigon and receiving a cable from my daughter-in-law, but it may have been the natural thing to notify me of their Saigon address only after they were there, but because of a combination of the one year seven and a half months time period between the mailing of the letters and their return, and the fact that I have not had any letter written or signed by my son himself since Dec 1955, the very month that I fell ill for the first time in my life of a very painful ailment2 first attributed to “heart disease” but later otherwise diagnosed, though not yet cured,

I still write both to him and to my daughter-in-law, sometimes as one and sometimes in a letter each, once a week, USOM, Navy 150, to which my daughter-in-law has added, Program Support, Box 32.

I now realize positively that a Christmas 1955 parcel of a largish illustrated book of Christmas carols and songs must have arrived at Spring Valley NY long after Mrs Scott had left for Viet-nam is unlikely ever to have been sent on, and it was not returned with the letters.

On July 12th, 1957, I addressed, to the “Commander, USOM”—after having written to several people in vain to know whom I should address in connection with possible postings or help toward home jobs—to ask whether there seemed any likelihood of the return of my son and his family to some location where it would be possible for us to see him and them all in person sometimes, as—with the exception of my son’s five days with us in London, 1949—we have not seen any of them since 1944. This was a fairly recent letter, and could have been I conjecture turned over to you. But I am advising you that I wrote because it would seem we are literally pursued by interferers with our mail; something that began when I leaned of the death of my father, the late Seely Dunn of Lynchburg, Va, and at one time of Washington, DC: his death in 1944, and my advice as to this of 1947.

I have never obtained a reply, since we came to NY, 1954, from California, to any letter written to my daughter-in-law’s mother Mrs Joseph Foster at Ranchos de Taos.

Faithfully Yours,

USOM was the acronym for United States Operations Mission, the umbrella for the various aid programs operating in Vietnam.

This may well have been a combination of a heart condtition and the early stages of the lung cancer from which she died in 1963.

3 Although many letters to her older grandchildren have survived, they were never seen by the children: Paula did not pass them on.

* * * * *

570723
Entry in Jack’s diary page for July 23, 1957

To Evelyn Scott

Department of State
Washington
Aug 13, 1957

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Your letter of July 30, 1957 addressed to Miss Knight and marked for her personal attention has been referred to me for reply.

In the application upon which a passport was issued to your son, Creighton Seeley Scott, on July 19, 1955 he gave as his permanent address in the United States, 46 Hempstead Road, Spring Valley, New York and stated that his wife was residing at that address. This office has no more recent information concerning your son and therefore is not in a position to inform you whether he still considers this address to be his permanent address in the United States.

Sincerely,
Willis H Young
Deputy Director, Passport Office

* * * * *

To Willis  Young

August 14, 1957

Mr Willis H Young
Deputy Director, Passport Office
Department of State, Washington, 25, DC

Dear Mr Young:

Thank you for your letter of July 30th, 1957. I would, of course, have first asked my son’s opinion of the incident of mail held in Spring Valley from 1955 to 1957, as per my letter of July 30th, 1957, but I must remind you that I have not had any letter written and signed by my son, Mr Creighton Seeley Scott since Dec 53, when myself and my husband were Fellows at The Huntington Hartford Foundation, 2000 Rustic Canyon Road, California, and I had just fallen very ill. When my husband and I passed through New York on returning from our eight and a half years in England, I did not have the addresses of my son and my daughter-in-law; and my letters to them announcing our arrival had been returned to us in London, by Free Europe, and on the day before we sailed were received by us there.

A parallel thing happened soon after my sailing for England in 1944; when my son, painter-author for all his adult life, but then a radio news-editor and announcer, also, was conscripted for infantry training, form which he should have been exempted as he had a heart-murmur repeatedly diagnosed since he was ten. My daughter-in-law had to move from Tappan, whence I had proceeded on my own journey; her letters to me about their move were not delivered to me, and not one of my own letters care the Post Office for forwarding were received, bar one; and my own inquiry about this of the Postmaster was never acknowledged by him or her—a Postmistress when I was in Tappan.

On July 20th, i157, I wrote of the mail retained in Spring Valley to the Personnel Officer, ICA Washington. I have had no acknowledgement of my letter. And meanwhile having examined my own personal files very carefully guarded here, I have found there has been taken from them the letters my daughter-in-law wrote me from Spring Valley just before she left there to join her husband in which she enclosed a clipping of an account of a “probe” of some sort—of this more on the back of this page—and said I had been libelled to them as a person who could be summoned to testify about “subversive” activities, and as this was brought up with her husband already 15,000 miles away she was seriously distressed. She was about to travel with 5 children, these my grandchildren, none seen since 1944

The records of every member of the Scott-Metcalfe family are and always were available at the New York Public Library at 42nd St. My son reported an act of intimidation in Radio City when he went there, as radio news editor, to have his news censored during the war; and this report, corroborated by his employers, was written up in the New York Sun by the columnist, and my son’s, name given publicity. [Letter appears to end]

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

August 18, 1957

Darling Son Jigg,

Paula’s sweet note about the continued good health of the family was very good for our health. We hope sometimes my letters are reciprocal in effect, though I have just so much “cheer” to dispense until we have direct contact with you as well as darling Paula, and have some positive hope of seeing all of you once more in the flesh.

I won’t go on repeating about the mail except as something further may come up. We tried both the Long Island Postmaster and the more explicit Spring Valley Postmaster about the mail retained for nineteen months—some may have been yours as well as Paula’s—and no one has yet been willing to write us the name of the man who held it for a time actually illegal, unless Paula had specified he was to keep it for that time, which I think she never did. I consider the withholding of his name the opposite of good faith. Paula was very very upset just before she left on her long journey with the five children, and her letters received by us—all notes but one—showed she was upset and to some extent why. Who took advantage of her to pour libels about us into her ear? Any woman under such conditions would be harried.

I am persistent in trying to get the full and correct explanation because Paula as good as said not to put Evelyn Scott on my letters because of libels of me.

As we are NOT “under a cloud” and have more to say for ourselves as victims of post-war conditions than in any other way, I began then AT ONCE ADDRESSING MY LETTERS on the BACKS TO EVELYN SCOTT, as my name is both yours in part in every legal sense and EVELYN SCOTT is the name I have always signed book contracts and copyrights with during twenty-five years as a published author. My copyrights remember are Jack’s yours and hers for the minor children, in that order with yours and Jack’s first.

I mistakenly supposed I was correcting a misunderstanding as to Hempsted being Hamstead when a casual stranger here, just when I should not have asked lest I be misinformed, told me there was a Hampstead Road in Spring Valley and not a Hempstead. I thereafter wrote to Hampstead, but Paula replied twice to such letters without mentioning my mistake, so I went on in 1955 during Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, when I ceased to write to Spring Valley, as I guessed Paula and the children were already in Saigon—Saigon verified by latter letters.

But the return addresses were clear all along, Evelyn Scott on the letters and Mr and Mrs John Metcalfe and Mrs W J Metcalfe on the parcels. It is fine Paula is now dating her letters. I gather Mirabelle to be the name of the man who kept her mail but the Post Office hasn’t yet admitted it. I wish to find out what because of letters sent without returns on back. This business of threatening people about their jobs is what I suspect. I think it can be proved criminal. That is why I wished specific acknowledgment of meeting Kay Boyle who was unjustly queried about politics of which she knows little, and was exonerated.

Is that what “Mirabell” had a finger in? It shall not go on. My appeal against these [illeg] is for American Defence holding mail is like a threat. Cold British will [illeg] game against all criminal [illeg]

* * * * *

To Willis Young

September 8, 1957

Dear Mr Young,

Would the Department of State be willing to file for me a copy of my birth certificate? I offered one to the very nice Vice-Consul at the American Consulate in London, during my sojourn of 1944-1953 in London, and she thought it would be superfluous to file it there, as my baptismal name was Elsie Dunn, and the Elsie was dropped by me as inappropriate for an author before I was twenty-one and was never used by me on any Passport or other document since I reached my majority, so that Evelyn long ago became my legal name.

I shall hope this can be done without inconvenience to the Department of State. On September 3rd, 1957, I wrote to Miss Knight that my son, Creighton Seeley Scott, was still abroad, and that my daughter-in-law, Paula Pearson Scott, and their children, Denise, Fredrick Wheeler, Mathew, Julia Swinburne and Robert Scott, were shortly due in Carmel, California; and that their address there, route 2, Box 70, was the only American address they could give, as 46 Hempstead Road, Spring Valley, NY, has been dropped as unsatisfactory by all of them. My son is still with USOM, Program Support, USA, and I have written to him and to my daughter-in-law that they are many times welcome to use our address on the heading of this letter as their own, until they are back here when they may prefer another. Mine is theirs in spirit and practically for as long as I live, and my husband shares my sentiments, though he is British. I have, today, received my first news of the arrival of my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren at Carmel, and I shall write to her at once that I hope she can consult my son at long range and that he will agree that my address is more pertinent to Passport Files than Carmel. Whether we can see them in person, again, for the first time since 1944, and my son, in due course, for the first time since 1949, 1949, will depend on financing and other matters in respect to which none of us has been allowed any choice since these separations began, with the war.

I trust you will hear from my family about the address, or that it will be passed on to your office.

Very Sincerely Yours

* * * * *

In September 1957, after Jigg had completed a two-year contract, Paula and the children returned to the United States on the “home leave” afforded to families of those contracted to overseas postings.  As they had no base in the US, Paula called, again, on relatives on her mother’s side and the family were invited to stay with two maiden aunts in Carmel, California, where they remained until returning to Saigon that November. In one of her occasional short notes to Evelyn, Paula must have mentioned this arrangement, although  no correspondence remains.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

September 8, 1957

Creighton Seeley Scott
care Paula Pearson Scott
Route 2, Box 70
Carmel, California

Darling Son Jigg,

Every day and nearly all day I am now thinking of you and Paula, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia, Robert, and of where and how you and they are.

Until we know you and they are well that your job has been secured here, and that Paula and the children are SAFE and, at last, at the above address, in good health and spirits, letters about other things must wait.

Bless you darling darling Jigg. Never was anyone more loved by his family and this includes myself and Jack, as well as Dad and some others.

You will know our longing to see you increases, and that the fullest human pleasure we can envisage will be to see you with our lovely courageous Paula and the children that are so inextricably a part of our lives, too and look in their pictures so good, bright, lovable—Denise, Fredrick, and Mathew already companionable to their parents in being more mature, and the two youngest a delight as little children of their personality are.

So our book and painting news waits—but we do hope Julia has her little book, as a sign of importances to you, their mother, and us all

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

September 8, 1957

 Darling darling Paula,

Seven letters last week, two and the book parcel the week before, and now three two addressed to you for Jigg for you to read and one for the three eldest children addressed to Denise in your care.

All this matters only because we so need to know yourselves that you are all SAFELY AGAIN IN THE USA, and that yu and blessed Jigg and every one of you are well well WELL, and Jigg soon to be within real reach with job secure.

Everything that matters in other ways matters as much as ever, but we need to sense the presence on homely terra firma of the finest daughter-in-law anyone ever had—one daughter-in-law who is always considered by Jack and me and Jigg’s Dad exactly the wife for the finest of sons.

We often feel as though both of you with the children and Cyril were here in the room, and that we are “visited” in friendly-wise by Manly and Paul I, and by Fredrick, and Alice.

May our envisagements materialize in restored normal living for us all.

Here is admiration with live—but don’t forget knowing you are all safe will relieve a good day of maybe superfluous anxiety. Bless, bless, bless,

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Department of State
Washington
September 17, 1957

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

After a review of your letter of September 5, 1957 and your previous correspondence addressed to this Department, it is apparent that the problem confronting you, namely your difficulty in receiving your mail, is one properly within the province of the Post Office Department rather than the Department of State which is concerned mainly with the foreign affairs of our country.

It is suggested that you communicate with the Postmaster General, Post Office Department, Washington, DC and present your problem. We feel sure that they can be of service to you in this matter.

Sincerely,
Robert D Johnson
Chief, Legal Division
Passport Office

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

October 3, 1957

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written—we’ve been so busy with the beautiful sea, the beautiful hills, and marsh and lovely fresh sunny weather etc, etc, that I have simply let day after day slide by. I’ll answer your accumulation by mail in my next—for now we’re all fine and enjoying our vacation. There is so much to do here that all the kids and I are always busy. Only the girls are going to school—Denise in 11th grade and Julia in first grade (they both love it)—the boys are excused. They have to catch up in Saigon, but now they are revelling in their freedom and making the most of it.

This is all now—love to you both,
Paula

I’ll make a point of writing again, soon. Don’t worry—we are just happy and busy.

* * * * *

At some point the constant stream of  letters to the personnel department in Washington was recognised for what it was, and a sympathetic personnel officer, Jean Hermann, took it upon herself to deal with this correspondence and, more importantly, not to forward queries up to senior officials in the State Department.  As it turned out, this was crucial in protecting Jigg from the repercussions of his mother’s letters.

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann

October 6, 1957

Miss Jean Hermann
Employee Relations Officer
Office of Personnel
International Cooperation Administration
Washington 25, DC

Dear Miss Hermann,

Are the contacts of ICA, USOM employees with their parents a matter of entire indifference to the ICA?

My letter mailed to you the last week in July, 1957, has yet to be acknowledged. You have had several letters from me about the difficulties we have experienced in maintaining any contact whatsoever, even by mail, with your USOM employee in Saigon, Mr Creighton Seeley Scott, my son, his wife, Paula Scott, and their five children, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert Scott. Only once, in the summer of 1956, have any of my complaints on this score been given practical attention.

My daughter-in-law and the children are now, I suppose, at route 2, Box 70, Carmel, California, but bar one postcard saying they had arrived in Carmel early in September, I have been able to obtain no news or replies to letters. As for the very serious–both serious–matter of having no address for my son at present, it seems to me atrocious that nothing has yet been done to relieve this situation. I do not know his location today.

I wrote you in July that the return to me of mail held nineteen-months in Spring Valley, where it was sent after my daughter-in-law wrote me from Saigon that the 46 Hempstead Rd. Spring Valley, NY, address, left on file when they left (because the movements of their American families were uncertain and some older addresses had proved unreliable, too) was discarded by them; thus leaving them only route 2, Box 70, Carmel, California, as an American address, and it temporary.

Now, having written to Carmel, I begin to see intimations of a repeated pattern of mail unanswered or answers undelivered such as I referred to as having pursued ourselves and them since 1944, when I went to England and American and returned and American 1952 after eight-and-a-half years, spent there with my British husband for reasons you know, of which I wrote to Miss Roth long ago. NB American I am and always will be

Are the families who appeal to you to be ignored? Strains and anxieties that could be avoided are still ours, year after year. Remember I have had no letter written and signed by my very fine son since December 1953, when my husband and I were just returned from England and were at The Huntington Hartford Foundation (for artists of all the fine arts) in California.

Spring Valley Post Office ignored my query about the insured parcels returned to me unopened, without any stamping except when sent in 1955. That was the last week in July. Now we wish to send birthday gifts of books to my eldest grandson and my son and find ourselves in 1955’s predicament; not knowing for certain whether Paula Scott and the children are still in Carmel, or how long they will e there. The parcels held nineteen-months–outside the Post Office, the Post Master said, and Mrs Scott agreed it could be and named the man who a Mr Mirabell might have done it–were birthday gifts to the same eldest grandson and to the youngest son.

I think I am being very reasonable in asking you to look into the matter of unimpeded correspondence with my son and his family. The apparent circumstances, on each occasion, are almost of a sort to intimidate. It might justly be called a crime to leave it so. Health strains, economic strains often result–all unnecessary!

Very Truly
(Mrs John) Evelyn DS Metcalfe
Evelyn DS Metcalfe

Signed twice because the writer unwittingly used poor ink the first time. Blots are regrettable but conditions for writing today are very poor

[This letter was forwarded to Jigg from the USOM head office in Saigon with the following typed note attached:]

October 8, 1957

The enclosed letter was received today, and while I promise not to bother you with this again, you may be interested. Incidentally, all the other letters were destroyed yesterday.

Jean Hermann

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

American Embassy
Unites States Operations Mission to Vietnam
Saigon, Vietnam
October 14, 1957

Dear Mr Scott

We have received a letter from your Mother dated September 28 and addressed to the American Consul, Saigon.

She has stated in the letter she has not heard from you for sometime and is concerned.

We pass this information on to you and feel you will probably be getting in touch with her very soon.

Happy Holiday,
Sincerely,
Gladys Schwendker
Acting Personnel Officer

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann

October 26, 1957

Dear Madam

This is my fourth attempt, since July, 1957, to obtain information as to where now to address my son, Mr Creighton Seely Scott, who has been with the USOM in Saigon for the last two years.

In July, my daughter-in-law, Paula Scott, wrote me that he was temporarily assigned elsewhere and that she was coming to Carmel, California, for some weeks, and would return in Saigon in all probability.

It may be that the ICA thinks this is enough for me to know, but, if so, it must be because my various letters concerning my difficulties in preserving contact with my son and his family since the beginning of the war, have not been read.

My daughter-in-law did arrive in Carmel in September, when I received a postcard from her.  She speaks of leaving in “November”, but is entirely indefinite. She has not acknowledged three books sent for the birthdays of three of the five children, one—first intended for Saigon—two months ago, and two three weeks ago.

We are convinced that she is not encouraged to be explicit or write oftener. Had their surroundings been conducive to this, she would have done so, we feel certain. We are very sure this must be the fact as to my son, who last wrote to us a letter we received in December 1953, when we were in California, and I was seriously ill.

My daughter-in-law is not so placed at Carmel as to be able to see any member of her or our family. We have naturally long hoped that some position could be given my son in the USA where we could sometimes see them. It will be eight years in November, 1957, since we saw him for a few years in London, England. As I have written to you before, I have not seen my daughter-in-law since 1944, and have never seen but two of my five-grandchildren, who, also, are evidently not encouraged to write letters, for they have

I have repeatedly requested some attention to this cruel, infamously unjust situation. I now do not know whether my letters to you are received, or whether, they are turned over to someone who is actually hostile to us, good native Americans though I and the Scotts are.

Very Truly Yours
Evelyn D S Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

November 10, 1957

The children will all profit by solidarity for culture even with Jack’s English family connection in pure science. Love from Jack

When you read this, you can still only do your best as circumstances permit. But you can think it over again, and pass it on to Jigg. We especially hope he can re-contact Fredrick Wellman1 for their father’s sake

We have your letter of Nov 7th, and, as always, appreciate clarifications. May your re-uniting with Jigg in Saigon be no longer delayed. Perhaps you have already left, and in that case, we ill also appreciate the promised advice as to when, and where to write when you get there. This forwarded safely if you have

The two very satisfying points explained are why Carmel, and the amplified view of the boys. You apparently do not acknowledge postcards. No mention was ever made of various cards in envelopes addressed to the children in your care when in Saigon, and I should like to know whether these trifles are worth sending at all–sometimes rather cute.

Very glad you continue to contact Margué

May I, on my part, clarify a few things on which, it appears, we don’t see quite alike.

I think it is a criminal factor in all our lives that Jigg has no contact with his father or any of his Wellman half-brothers. I am completely certain in myself and so is Jack that Jigg cannot wish it to be as it is with no response, as yet, in Washington to the need of any man for his own family contacts where they are loyal and loving. To prolong all our lives, his, yours, in we think we ourselves should know where Jigg is

It was not as the “whim” of a doddering old lady that I have protested this, with Jack’s complete agreement over and over. My suggestion that Jigg file our address with the US Consul was apart from the fact that the “foreign service” knows where he is. It was intended to stress his American antecedents, which, because of the many foreigners here who know nothing of any of us, have often been under threat, though naturally at present just as rumour. Jack, myself, Cyril, Fredrick and Paul and Manly are all in favour of pressing for restitution for victims of cultural suppressings and ignorings. Then there is my Will filed in NY with my lawyer as a personal favour, and there is my father’s estate, still unaccounted for. Linking our names with Jigg’s in the record may count in the future.

The status quo always implies that we are to be left to grow older–if we can–and die, and never see Jigg or any of you . Robert D Clay’s article was pertinent to straight science His father showed interest in the yellow [illeg]

I will never give up my citizenship USA, but if we are ever forced back to England to a paltry pension; that will be the end of everything unless positive action on our behalf here comes a good deal. I hope you know we are are glad you contact Margué

I don’t discuss Jigg often, but a first hocus-pocus of pseudo “psycho-analysis” has been several times produced by white-washers of abuses of justice in our own country, to pretend to “explain” the frequent helplessness of every old American and old Britisher–old in preference for the type of rule–as, in the instance of Jigg, a “wilful desertion” of his parents. We know this cannot be true

It is very very upsetting. This hotel is full of Germans, mostly Jews, with Irish, Swedes, etc, thrown in. Sometimes, with intervals of months or a year between, I have explained bouts of poor health and low spirits by saying we never see my son and don’t hear enough. The hand of an enemy is at once evident, in exactly the line Marion took in some, though I have never said anything specific about any of you, except once, in an overwhelming by sentiment, show a few Bobby’s cute picture kissing the peacock. “My grandson” with pride

NB We do hope the outdoors is restoring peace in nature. We are sure Denise and Julia will leave good records in school, when “voters’ noses” are counted less often and pedagogic theorizing is dropped and replaced by real teaching there will be a good system I just ask help in doing everything to preserve contacts and records of achievement to include us with Cyril and Jig as the Wellmans Cyril should still be remembered for his medical research too as Fredrick Creighton Wellman

We both think the American Government should show enough good faith to reply to some of the letters of Creighton Seeley Scott’s mother and his father and stepfather by conceding we, too, have a right to some direct contact with Jigg himself. I have written several times asking when Jigg can be seen You should realize, and Jigg does I hope, that Jack and I have now spent four years at home, added to eight-and-a-half in London, protesting our human claim on some attention, as well as our right to careers that were demolished deliberately. It is vile and really treacherous reaction that pretends that people of “our age” have no right to anything except penury and “relief” if we can get it. America does not do one thing for its minds, and England has retrogressed unbearably. We have lost some contacts there, but still have enough to know that bottom-up sheep are a road to dictation. Cyril, Jack and I are parents, and stepparent, too. We and your family should be speaking for one another, with [remainder of letter missing]

1One of Jigg’s half-brothers; the others were Paul and Manly. Jigg had no contact with the Wellman family, nor did he wish it.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Honolulu
November 28, 1957

 

Dear E—Bobby’s book came in time—we’re on our way back. Sorry I had no time for a letter before going but was awfully busy. I’ll write from Saigon. Jigg will be there waiting for us.

Love,
Paula

* * * * *

Next week, an onslaught of letters from Evelyn . . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45. Ships that pass. . . .

Having two narrative streams running concurrently is perhaps an inevitable recipe for confusion, but a necessary one.  Last week we caught up on events in Jigg’s life while Evelyn and Jack were concentrating on their return to the United States, believing (largely because Jigg had told them as little as possible about events in his life) that they would be reunited with him and his family on their return.  This selection of letters highlights Evelyn’s disappointment at discovering Jigg was not in New York, and her continuing attempts to get news of him.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
November 28, 1952

Darling Jig and Pavla-Paula:

In Pavla’s letter of April she spoke somewhat sardonically of her “bi-annual” letter, and alluded to your finances as preclusive of that visit to Jack and myself here for which we had hopedbefore we go home.  However, as I myself continued to write frequently, and to inquire as to the receipt of the parcels sent to you both and the children and—like those sent to you at Grünwald, unacknowledged until I pressed to have news of them—I did not suppose even the “bi-annual” letter would fail me.

Nonetheless, it apparently did, and either was never written or was not delivered here; and my natural anxiety on behalf of you both and of the four children was so increased by this apparent silence that, a little over a week ago, I wrote to the American Consul in Munich, explaining that I am Mr Creighton Scott’s mother and that I have reason to wonder whether or not you have changed your address and informed me of it in some letter that has not yet got to me.

I asked the Consul to assist me as the American citizen I am to reach my son and daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.  And I think it would be inhuman to refuse my request in view of the actual conditions against which we are all struggling and especially would it be inhuman because Jack and myself will probably have landed in New York within six weeks or a little over.  I hope, therefore, that should the American Consul put me with Jack again in touch with my family, that you will not have been embarrassed by any misconstruction of what has happened about mail, for I also explained to the Consul that one of the three parcels sent since April was the carton of slightly worn clothing often mentioned by me in letters and mailed to you both August 1952 from Hamstead London NW3.

We hope to learn soon that you are all to return to the USA, and when.  The clothes are of enough value to make a stink about if anything was done amiss respecting to the parcel, but Jig’s own personal communication with Pavla’s is the one thing that will relieve both Jack and myself of the feeling of downright oppression in having thus had communication either discouraged or deliberately interfered with there.

Please darlings do whatever you can on your side to assist us to be in touch with each other and in one country—the USA.  Margaret De Silver has been the finest of real friends to us and, as she herself said, still wishes Jig and Harry De Silver could see more of each other.  And a few others, as well, have helped Margaret to help by contributing to my “fund”.  We will have to go on to the Huntington Hertford1 a few weeks after landing, but honestly I myself will be incapable of making full use of their generous and sustained offer of six months of free board and lodging at their California Colony unless our minds can be relieved in some measure by news of Jigl.  Down and out with every bloody tote and dictator in the world.  There we stood in the war and there we will always stand.

From Armies or any Government Department daring to direct individual human lives.  It is a crime to attempt such things.  And among the tools of totes is “economy”.  So I herewith implore you both to be as candid as I am especially where money figured.  [Remainder of letter missing]

After some effort, Jack had been offered 6 months’ visiting fellowship at the Huntington Hertford Foundation, founded by the eponymous heir to a major supermarket hortune.

* * * * *

The following letter was one of a number, discovered after Paula died, that had never been opened.

To Creighton Scott

February 4, 1953

Mr Creighton Scott
care Mrs Gladys Grant

For forwarding if necessary. 

Darlings please answer. The American Consul in Munich gave your forwarding address to relieve my distress when the parcels then there were unacknowledged. He wrote me a very good letter. We think of you six and Dad and Louise all the time so anxiously. My mss is still where it was there, unread—why doesn’t Gladys write, we wonder, too. We will let you know when we know precisely when we will arrive. Love Mother

Darling Jig:

Two letters to you and Paula-Pavla and one letter to your Dad have been sent to Gladys’ address since you all six returned home, with the request to her that if you were not stopping at her house, these be forwarded. The letters before this one went early in January, and when sending them I, also, wrote to her at some length. But there has been no reply so far, and I am very naturally somewhat distressed as I would like to know your precise whereabouts, how you and your Dad are when we arrive home again.

I said in the other letters that we were to sail on February 15th in the boat that would take about a week. This was the Ryndam, old Holland-Dutch Line. But we were counting on the letting of this re-furbished flat to complete the financing of our move; and as it is not rented yet and we have no cash for our train-fare to Southampton, for baggage mended and a little bought, for socks, stockings, warm undervests, an overcoat for Jack that will be presentable among social equals—he still has just his re-made service coat, recognizable as such and worn badlyand for baggage transport, porters’ tips, and the alteration of the second coatsuit sent to me, etc, etc—as all these items are lacking yet, we cannot sail until either the flat is rented and paid in advance to supply these needs, or somebody with some money helps again with two to three hundred dollars. Two hundred would do it, but three would allow less skimping.

The reason I write you again without waiting on an answer is that I do not wish you to be alarmed, as you well might be with all these floods and a Dutch boat arriving without us in it. We are still hoping for some cancellation that will permit us to transfer to the Veendam of the same Line, or to some larger boat tourist. But the larger boat will require slightly more fare, hence the hope of the three hundred, which—and I implore it—you and Paula are not to worry about even to the extent of regretting that, as I know, you can do nothing.

Our steamer fares at the lower rate are paid. On December 1st, 1952, Jack secured his quota entrance—or re-entry as his eighteen years prior residence there counted preferentially—and the health certificates required as to his normality in every way. And thinking then we would soon be out of the woods, expected by the school to give notice of his voluntary resignation, when the Christmas holidays came, he resigned his job, as, in any case, also, he would have had to do to see tenants with whom I cannot discuss the business aspects of tentative offers.

The renovation of the flat has been achieved in a very niggling way, as he had to pay in most of the help we have had, in the Fund Margaret set up for me, to clear up tax arrears and maintenance bulls; and the entire situation has been atrocious in that every delay has meant a re-accumulation of heating bills, small or large repairs, and, of course, taxes, also, mounting; and the sums at Jack’s disposal have been, as far as renovation went, too small to do everything at once, as we would have thought best. In December he secured the permission—maybe it was before December—of the Bank of England to reckon anything accruing on this house once the flat is rented as a transferable asset. He in this way satisfied the American Consular stipulations as to his finances; though had he been justly dealt with as the great author he actually is, he could have referred to his publishers there and here in proof of his comparative solvency.

But Jack MUST be in New York before April 9th, when his visa expires. Otherwise everything would have to be done again; there would be as much to clear up as before; and—beside—we are now without any source of income, and to take up a school jobherewould be a complete defeat.

I am, therefore, writing again to the few people I can think of who might know someone able to supply two to three hundred dollars more, so that we can GO HOME NOW without waiting on the rental of the flat. Jack has applied to the Admiralty about the Coronation, but they advertise only short period rentals for the Coronation proper. He has applied to the American Embassy’s Consulate and find they do not advertise flats except for Army Officers, and it is against regulations for these to pay more than a month in advance, though in Britain people often pay a quarter’s rent or six months when they have the funds and it is mutually convenient. A few people have looked at the flat, but left undecided and did not return; and yet there is a big demand for flats and this is comfortable with the central heat, plenty of hot water, three bedrooms, one large, one moderate and one small, a now largish hall dining-room, a large living room, a pretty bath and re-done lavatory, and a garden that—though not much cultivated now—can be made very nice. The furnishing is complete except for the dining room chairs to be bought with the rent. Once we have all travel expenses we can leave renting to the real estate agent. The rent is not in excess of other flats, and we have dropped a guinea a week off because a Frigidaire will have to be installed and rented, too, by those who feel they cannot do without one. It is our need for rent in advance at once that handicaps us. So we do implore “the gods” to supply what is lacking for travel independent of the flat as it will undoubtedly be taken with time. [Remainder of letter missing]

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

March 27, 1953

Dear Jigg:–

Your mother presumably left for California at 3PM on Wed Mar 25—in all that downpour! I saw her several times + she does talk more reasonably than she writes, altho rather buttonholing type of talk like the Ancient Mariner, + after 2 hrs the conversation gets more paranoid. However, she seemed pretty well + calm—but will it last!? She told me Miss Allin [?] had told you you were at the Chelsea [Hotel], + she went there + they were very vague as to when you had left + where you had gone. . . I began to feel pretty low + horrible when she talked lovingly about “my son” + about “The Muscovites” + how she was using your agent Russell. However, I’m sure I did right. She saw Charlotte Wilder + May Mayers—who seems to be a good egg– + Dawn was hospitable + helpful. Jack got an agent, too, + registered at several teachers agencies, so here’s hoping!

Anyway, cheerio
MDeS

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

The Huntington Hartford Foundation
2000 Rustic Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, California
April 6, 1953

Mr Ralph Pearson
Lecturer on Art
The University of New Mexico Arizona or New Mexico Phoenix or Albuquerque–we don’t know which

Dear Ralph:

Jack and I have been assisted by some generous friends, of whom Margaret De Silver, is the chief, to return home. We sailed from Southampton, on March 1st, on the Holland-American Liner “Veendam”, and were in New York just under two weeks, at the Hotel Earl off Washington Square, in Waverley Place.

Can you, if this reaches us, send Jig’s address to his mother? If so Jack and I both will take it to be a human and kindly act.

After that period in which I sent letters to Jig in your care, at 288 Piermont Avenue, Nyack, our contact was re-established; and both in Rutherford–at both their addresses, Hawthorne and Ridge Streets [sic]–and in Red Hook, at their Pitcher Lane address, we corresponded at intervals. And we continued to correspond when Jig and Pavla went to Munich, while they were both at Grunwald and at Grafelfing; Pavla writing most of the letters but Jig signing some with her

I had, as their forwarding address, the address of Mrs Gladys Edgerton Grant, RFD1, Scotch Plains; and sent a letter to her in which I mentioned what was then a hope–that we might be in New York by early January. We were unable to leave when we had thought we woud, and the very letter in which I first told the date of our sailing–that it would be March 1st, and our passages were certain–was the first letter returned unopened of course  to Mrs Grant by Free Europe New York office; to which she had been asked to forward Jig’s mail and Pavla’s.

I telephoned the Free Europe Radio Service in NY twice; and realize now I should have gone there. But their pleasant promise to do everything possible to locate him again in the USA put me off, so to speak. I know Jig’s job was not “hushy” and was ordinary civilian radio. Free Europe assures me he is in the USA, was seen on his return, had been “in the office” but is not there now. They also said he had stayed at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street with his family on landing last autumn–September probably1. I don’t know what you think of the fact that we communicated when I was in London with Jack and Jig and Pavla were in Germany, yet are cut out of context with them the moment we set foot on the soil of the country of which I am native, but we regard such a contretemps as sheer barbarity–and not on Jig’s part or Pavla’s.

If you can help me, and care to take a human view, we shall be more than obliged.

We have Fellowships here, but no money whatever; and will return to New York in the late summer, as our fares back are guaranteed and Jack must have a school-job and is the one of us best qualified by experience and degree.

I have no reason to suppose you feel any longer any interest whatever in us; but–again–I appeal to you on the basis of human feeling. I think the fact that we have four grandchildren–all American born–in common, should be enough to suggest loyalty to us as Jig’s near family as the most normal attitude. But goodness knows what anybody thinks of anything, since a disastrous metamorphosis has been wrought in so many of the country’s views. I am just hoping.

Sincerely yours,
Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe (Mrs John or Mrs WJ)

Jigg and his family returned to the US in August 1952

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 20, 1953

Dear Jigg

I enclose a letter from your mother [missing]which I hope you’ll read. I’d like to suggest that if + when you get yourself a far distant post office address, you write her a small non-committal letter telling her you’re alive + well. It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to keep my up-to-now successful dead-pan front when they come back in the Fall. Her address is:–

Huntington-Hartford Foundation
2000 Rustic Canyon Road
Pacific Palisades, Calif

Best wishes to you!
Faithfully
Margaret DeS

How is Paula? I regret that it is impractical for us to meet.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

[Chelsea Hotel]
April 24 [?1953]

Dear Margaret

Sorry my letter threw you, as it appears to have done, and which I didn’t intend. Your letters have never bored me, although I admit they have scared me at times. I don’t think it’s correct to say that you have been stupid about bringing E Scott and Jack to the ‘States. What I do contend is that you, and the others involved, have failed to take into consideration that she is, in the strictly clinical sense, insane.

As you say, my mother was a bit of a witch hunter in her time. I can remember when she approached the (then) Dies Committee1 with considerable zest. Everybody who knew her at the time realises that she went quite overboard on the idea that there was a terrible conspiracy afoot to repress True Art, and that the super patriots, as represented by the Hearst Press, the un-American Activities Committee, etc. were natural allies against such a conspiracy. The logic of this did then, and still does, escape me altogether.

As I say, everyone knew, or suspected, that she was doing a bit of witch hunting. What nobody knew, and what the people I told have steadfastly refused to believe up this moment, is that she was nuts.

At the time in question, for example, I spent many hours trying to convince her that she was wrong in supposing that there was in existence a machine (a kind of telepathic radio) which enabled malignant influences(at that time communist, but today God knows what) to tune in on one’s thoughts. A little later, I tried to talk her out of the notion that this same device had been improved to the point where it could not only be tuned in on one’s thoughts, but used to twist, pervert and direct them as well. In 1943, at a time when she was considered to be quite sane, and when my own rationality was called into question for suggesting that she was not, she was urging me to get rid of my wife (Paula), by poison if necessary, because, she claimed, Paula was a robot under the influence of this contraption. It was later perfected, as she took pains to inform me, to the point where it could make people ill (How’s your arthritis?). Not only that, but it soon transpired, as she made clear, that there was no such thing as a germ or a virus, or what have you. All diseases, mechanical fractures of the bone possibly excepted, were induced by this super-gadget. There was, however, a counteragent. If you thought “right” thoughts, and repeated the word “Peruna” frequently enough, you could outwit the gadget.

This is merely by way of illustrating the point things had reached ten years ago: they were plenty bad before that. I recall suggesting to various people that she might not be all there, and all I got was a sweet, sceptical smile—the smile one accords to someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As a result, I tend to laugh a little bit sardonically, which I think I am entitled to do, because I have lived in a sweat for a good many years, with nobody to give me any advice.

Here is something else which will give him some intimation of what may—or may not—happen. One day I was called up on the mat by the President of the National Broadcasting Company, of which I was a rather humble employee. He had received a letter which was not easy for him to understand, from my mother. The gist of the intelligible parts was that NBC must be exerting some malignant influence over me, otherwise I would write more often (in those days I still wrote occasionally). I apologized to him and shortly thereafter found it convenient to find a job elsewhere, with ABC.

At ABC two things happened. Firstly, I found that my mother had a reputation among persons of more or less liberal complexion as their sworn enemy, and that it was assumed that I was her staunch supporter in this. My rather timid intimations that this was not so got me nowhere. The second thing that happened was that my boss at ABC goat the inevitable letter from my mother, asking, indirectly, that some kind of beat be put on me to make me a better correspondent, and suggesting that ABC was preventing me from writing. You can imagine what a difficult thing it was to explain to the foresaid boss. He is a pretty decent guy in many ways, but not subtle.

From ABC I moved to CBS. Ed Murrow is probably still puzzled by the letter he got from my mother trying to enlist his help in making me a more dutiful son. My mail was opened in Germany by the CIA, and I have often tried to imagine what General Walter Bedell Smith, or whoever my mother’s letters (forwarded from the ‘States) finally reached thought about their contents.

As far as I know she is still a confirmed letter writer.

Now I realize that the foregoing may sound completely incredible to you, or anyone else. Nevertheless it is true. However, about the only thing I have ever asked anybody to do about it is (1) kindly not hold me responsible for what my parents did—the sins of the fathers may be visited upon the sons in the bible, but this is supposed to be a non-biblical age; and (2) that someone look into the matter, with the aid of competent and qualified medical men, without automatically assuming that it couldn’t be true because it was I who said so. If I am wrong, I shall be happy to abide by the decision of an unbiased judge, but I’m afraid I’m right. I have been for fifteen years, and the fact that I spent 25 of my 38 years dancing attendance on my mother and father gives my opinion some weight.

So much for that. You now have the main facts in fairly comprehensible form. Sorry to bother you with it all, but it seems easier to state the whole case in one lump that to try to explain it piecemeal.

I’m very grateful to you for what you are trying to do for my mother, and I’ll do anything I can to help. Frankly, however, it presents certain problems. But don’t let it get you down. Best of luck from Paula and myself.

Jigg

Incidentally, you are the second person who asked me to write my mother in a week. Gladys Grant was the other. The letter is in the works.

1A predecessor of the House Un-American Activities Committee

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 24, 1953

Dear Jigg;-

Your letter just received so horrifies and fascinates me that I hasten to answer it, even tho a letter from me must always scare and bore you! What fascinates me is the revelation of my own stupidity, and what horrifies me are the implications involved in E’s remarks to which I scarcely paid any attention!

First let me hasten to say that my arthritis—the present—was only mentioned to Evelyn because I was bored with hearing of her complaints and thought I’d just stick in one of my own. But I see that that is dangerous as, like other mentally ill people I know, Evelyn never forgets a damn thing. I have always assumed it was Evelyn’s enormous vanity that made her unable to admit that you of your own free will wish NOT to communicate with her, but had not the heart to come right out and say so—she would not have accepted it anyway. BUT I did NOT know she was so thoroughly au courant as to your ideas and intentions.

Plenty of people DID warn me against trying to bring Evelyn here are plenty are hiding out in fear and trembling, all of which makes me feel an utter ass, softy, simpleminded “Do-Gooder”—such always mess things up for all concerned. But I did somehow think that if E got out of that hideous environment she might be able to do some creative work again.

It was very sweet of Paula to write me a few lines. I did not know Margaret1 was so ill, and feel rather guilty because I did not answer a letter she wrote me about Foster’s book. Evelyn had also assailed Margaret as to your whereabouts and she had answered she did not know where you were. Knowing how Margaret has always felt about Evelyn, I was surprised that Evelyn would communicate with her. Dr Mayers, by the way, seems to have remained discretely loyal to you. She also told me that Paula is a beauty.

Yes, Cyril and E both sure have outsized egos but I sort of assumed that was a disease of artists—that they had to have egos to buck all sorts of things. But I must say when they get top-heavy, one certainly ceases to function and instead does only endless damage.

Well, that’s enough. Good luck to you both. And thank you for writing Evelyn.

Margaret DeSilver

1 Margué Foster, Paula’s mother.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
May 24, 1953

Dear Evelyn:

As I wired you, it is absolutely impossible for me to see you at any time. This I explained in my wire. Joe also feels as I do that there is no use in post mortems.

So please do not come to see us at any time. I hope all goes well with you.

I have had no word from Pavli for months.

Yours sincerely,
Margué

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Ranchos
September 6, 1953

Dearest Paula:

This is not an answer to your and [Denise’s] wonderful letters. That will come later.

This is on a subject I have held off writing you about since last March. Evelyn has written Frieda LawrenceD H 1 Ravagli a six-page letter like all her others to me trying to get her to get your address from me. It gives her father’s date of death and name and all his jobs, her mother’s etc. The exact words of her wire to me and may answer that I didn’t have your address.

So I am sending you her address and perhaps you can just write her you and Jigg are well and the children. You need not send your address but you could get her off our backs.

Frieda sent me the letter and said she could not make head or tail of it and what should she do. I’m sorry she has been bothered.

So no more of this. I’ll write soon.

Love to you, all of you,

Margué

1 D H Lawrence and his wife Frieda lived in Taos during the 1930s and in this small community would have known Margué and her husband.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
222 West 77th Street
NYC 24, NY

March 31, 1954

Creighton and Paula Scott
care Mrs Gladys E Grant

Darlings:

We have arrived in New York again and will be here at shortest a week, at longest a month to six or seven weeks1, all depending on what is done for our financing, beginning today with Jack’s trying to connect with teaching posts, some for tutoring higher mat here as well as permanent for next autumn.

I have applied to other Foundations and am hopeful, as the responses have been kind cordial and remembering of everything we have done and will do soon with enough to complete our books own—nominally to me but actually saving two authors at once.

Ever since the letter each—one Jig’s and one Paula’s—in December and January we have been awaiting your address so we can stop this damnable nonsense of having to ask Gladys to forward all our letters to you. She is good about it but it makes no sense to us, and when we have every so often to admit to others this is the case, it makes no sense to them either. Give Jig’s Dad our love—on this we insist and will always insist as it DOES MAKE SENSE TO DO SO.

If there is any way at all that we can see you or you us as soon as we have any money to go anywyere for a day with you all and to see the five grands we will save for this really GREAT EVENT. Think how nice it will be for us all and for JACK TO MEET HIS STEP-GRANDCHILDREN.

I have not yet seen Mathew, Julia or Robert—please darlings let’s end a situation that is senseless and is bound to be equivocally interpreted by poison-minds—it just makes no sense and never will. We are all so lovingly well disposed—you, us and your Dad I am sure.

We are concerned as to your health, prospects and as to the mutual preservation of the dearest of our human contacts—one of the chief reasons we were so distressed that it took so long to finance our return from England.

I am naturally going to go on telling every body until we actually have your addresses—but we don’t want candour exploited either.

Jack may get a job near Chicago for next fall, though whether this is the best place or not we dont know until we know where you are—NOW NOW NOW tout de suite.

Remember your health and your prospects are one with ours to us because affection does just that—human attachments are at least half the value of every life.

We hope to see Gladys but she is Mrs Sherlock Holmes where any of you are concerned. I suppose that to her is loyalty. I don’t agree with it, because it implies you have “chosen” where I know damn well you cannot have “chosen” as you have far too much real sense to have done anything so stupid about addresses.

We left The Huntington Hertford Foundation in good standing and on an amiable footing with the Director Dr John Vincent;, his wife, his son and daughter—children—the Assistant Director Mr Proctor Stafford, and all the present Fellows. We have really liked a number, and most of the incomprehensions we first encountered were due to foreignness and poor English. Dr Vincent is tops as a classical composer.

We have been told several people were “dead” who have turned out to be still among the living. Once you hear that, you are in a spot as to saying the wrong thing. It is a lousy rumour unless well verified.

WE AIN’T LICKED YOU AIN’T LICKED CYRIL AIN’T LICKED.

Love love love love love love love
to Paula Evelyn—to Jigg Mother
Love from Jack

1 Despite this hopeful statement, they remained in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel until late 1963.

* * * * *

[The first pages of the following letter were torn up by Gladys, but the parts that remain are worth recording as they express her feelings, perhaps more forcibly than the undamaged letter would have done.]

To Evelyn Scott

June 28, 1954

I am answering at last after tearing …
us answers because I love you and …
of everything, hard as you may find …
Can’t you realize how much easier …
me to give you the old and probably …
that I have instead of keeping …
You have a right to feel that …
not to accuse me of injustice …
matter. I have forwarded you …

…itten appeals of my own to Jig and
… se were either never received or
… s for your other accusations and
… s ironic that you accuse me of
… ing a letter when I did so almost

The letter arrived late Monday …
was out and did not get home until …
but I answered first thing on …
Your postcard arrived here on

.. ng. Neither I nor the PO could
… answer to you in that short time.
…uch impossible demands on your other .
.. en scold them, no wonder you get no
…You are quite right that I avoid
… about Jig and Paula.

It is not that I don’t want to, but because you ask impossibly intimate questions that I have no way of answering and then accuse me of lying or concealing. For instance I have no possible way of knowing about Jig’s health. Even on the few past occasions when I visited them, I could only tell you what I saw or they volunteered. Evidently Jig told you much more when he saw you in London and this was only natural.I can’t possibly remember how many times I saw Jig or the family since 1941. Not many and we did not discuss you or Jack or any of them. And all you wrote abut 22 years ago was completely new to me. I was either selfishly absorbed in my own first love affair and did not know what was going on or was away in Darien. Both probably.

Please forgive the tone of this letter. I am no longer angry, but still deeply hurt. I do realize that you and Jack have been and are still going through terrible times and wish I could help. Yet you have your work and you have each other which is so much much much more than many of the rest of us. It is tragic that your work is not appreciated, but isn’t that always the fate of true artists? Not that that makes it any easier! But you have Jack’s love and I still and have always known that love is the greatest thing in the world!

Love to you both—
Always
Gladys

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Brooklyn Hospital
July 5, 1954

Dearest Pavli—

No news is good news I trust, in this case, on your part.

Perhaps you already know the following—that Evelyn Scott has placed a notice in the NY Times asking anybody informed of it—to let her have the address of her son—someone sent the clipping to Gertrude—who I think mislaid it—Does Creighton know her address?

I am still here, you see—but improving—beginning practicing walking. I still have to push a chair before me—and have a nurse beside me—but the time is near when I shall be able to go home.

I save clippings for the children without being sure that they care for them.

Love to you all
Aunt Kitty

* * * * *

[The following two letters are linked:  Margué included the handwritten postcard from Evelyn in her letter to Paula.]

To Margaret Foster

August 1, 1954

Dear Margué:

I am still hoping, as Jack does, that you may, by now, have the address of Paula and Jig, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and will send it on to use for the sake of our love for themall. We havent been able to locate Ralph and family either. Evelyn.

To Paula Scott

August 19, 1954

Dearest P,

I’m so sorry for the delay in sending this card. I was up to my ears in work and forgot it!  I’m so glad you are better. But sorry you had pneumonia! Even mildly.  I’m feeling a little better since the cooler weather. And since all this work gets me more active.  But, alas, I must stop and get this off.

Best love to you all,
Margué

* * * * *

[It is not clear who the Herman Rappaport of this letter is, although it appears from the letter that another of a similar name helped Evelyn during the 1940s. This letter and the following give an insight into life at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.[

To Herman Rappaport

November 14, 1954

Mr Herman Rappaport
125 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn 17, NY

Dear Mr Rappaport:

I trust the misleadingly “businesslike” look of this typewritten letter, will still allow me to say convincingly that my husband and myself both continue to be touched by your kindness, and that we are already thinking of you as someone we hope to meet in person in the spirit that can develop long-range acquaintance into friendliness on the firmer foundation of mutual personal knowledge.

I write on the typewriter because I always allow my personal mail to accumulate to be answered on Sunday, as the one way to get on with a novel that has suffered an infinitude of set-backs. But I ask you to believe, as it is the fact, that your gift to me of my first novel, The Narrow House, has been in my mind ever since it was delivered at the hotel on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the cheering effect you, in your generosity, of course, intended.

As it would have been natural to do so, I hope you read the letter that was missent, and for our very good old friends, the Rappoports, with your initials: Mr Harry Rappoport our lawyer of other days and, again, now, as we have recovered the contact. And the reason I especially hope you read it is that it conveyed something of our difficulties after 1945; which have been very little ameliorated since we came home.

So you see the real extent of your kindness! Here at the hotel we are still in one room, and as it is of moderate size and has just one table fit to type on, you can, I am sure, imaging the problem for two writers. That I have had the advantage of the table during much of the time is, by no means, a cause for congratulation on all scores, as John Metcalfe’s teaching job takes all his time from between 7.30 am, when he leaves here, and after six when he returns—this including those “descents into the maelstrom” that describe subway travel today, in New York. And on Saturdays and Sundays, he is usually too tired to do much more than correct pupil exercise books.

This is a state of affairs for which we are trying to find some solution in publication and revivals—our new books the main issue at stake at present—and in saving pennies so as to be sure of enough to live on next summer. That this particular aspect of artist-predicament is not peculiar to ourselves we well realize. I am an American citizen and have been continuously so all my life, and after Mr Metcalfe’s long familiarity with the country of eighteen years pre-war residence he was as shocked as I am to see how much the cultural scene had deteriorated since “planned living” became the rule. But we just don’t “give up the ship”.

We take this to be so of you, also, as of our other Rappoport friends; who, like you, staunchly support cultural values—or so I trust we rightly gather in view of your specific kindnesses to us. And knowing, because of your mention of it, that your interest in serious writing has weathered the illness to which you referred, we will, indeed, look forward to the long-deferred breathing-spell for us that will include an opportunity for us to come together in person at tea or over drinks. I trust this is not taking too much for granted. We, on our part, should like to know more of you.

I thought I would write, this time, one of my periodic long letters that really is intended for Mr Herman A Rappoport, to whom we are now both sincerely indebted for copies of our books.

With every appreciation and good wish, in which John Metcalfe joins me,

Evelyn Scott

* * * * *

To Herman Rappaport

December 4, 1954

Dear Mr Rappaport:

We have read with interest, as my postcard, I hope, indicated, your sympathetic account of our own difficulties of so many years in finding satisfactory quarters in which to make a home. It was just a usual run of “bad luck” that put me to bed temporarily just when we might have been meeting you and Mrs Rappaport. You are both generous again to proffer your hospitality in that full measure which includes cooking a dinner; especially when all we could—and it really is could—offer was eventual drinks in our room or near. This one of those ambiguous hotels that have the part privilege of an apartment-house, in that those who have no kitchenette in their rooms are at liberty to use the “community” kitchens on each floor. But we were in such a spot for a means to live during the summer, before my husband’s job began, that we have not yet invested in anything but some crude Woolworth cups and exactly two plates, and knives and forks; and haven’t even a saucepan other than one very small one.

This is a state of affairs we had vaguely assumed would be ended with the autumn, but there have been—as I suppose every one finds—drains on salary that have caused us to postpone the purchase of our kitchen equipment while we make sure—if we can—that next summer’s school vacation does not land us just where we were when we came back from the year at The Huntington Hartford Foundation that began our experiences since we came home.

This is all very elaborate explanation; but having been touched by the books, I feel niggardly and almost “mean”, in being unable—both of us—to respond with the hospitality that would be as “symbolic” as your gifts of our books.

However, indeed we do accept, as perhaps I have already made clear. But still we cannot set dates as John Metcalfe has about a week to do everything he should in respect to seeing people about the publication of new novels by him and the revival of old; and as a matter of diplomacy we have to leave it to others to decide first on convenient meetings.

Can you descent [sic] to my use of postcards, and sometime drop us a line indicating how many days notice you and Mrs Rappaport should have beforehand not to conflict with your own engagements, which may be complicated by Christmas, when everybody asks everybody somewhere, it still seems.

I don’t say telephone me because the public telephone is outside my door and has no box around it, and I am developing an anti-telephone phobia, the constant chatter of voluble ladies is so obstructing to my writing. I can hear everything they say, try NOT to though I do. This is nothing to sit on–they stand an hour at a time, like cows.

Your library, as you describe it, has a sound or look of healing. I used to be like Mrs Rappaport and say once I had absorbed the content of a book ownership mattered little. But I have become now, as John Metcalfe always was, like you; and as the good books published become fewer, have returned to that prizing view of my adolescence when my own—very own—carefully chosen small library was the most precious of my personal possessions. The horrible atrocious paper books with horrible atrocious bindings have tended to encourage the discarding of all books, after readings as cursory as the make-up. Even libraries can’t stock—public libraries—paper books until they are re-bound, hence often just don’t.

You write in the civilized way with a pen, and I don’t—so please don’t again feel you have ever to tax your strength—which I gather is not much—by replying in kind, unless you deeply wish to.

I write letters on Sundays, but this, too, is my substitute, a good part of the time, for conversation.

With sincerity, and many thanks to Mrs Rappaport too—from us both.

Evelyn Scott

Of course telephoning is not tabooed—just we don’t prefer it. The number is Endicott 2-1100, and by all means use it if it would save you inconvenience, but phoning is best around five pm.

* * * * *

 

 

44. Jigg goes to Germany

While Evelyn and Jack were pre-occupied with their financial problems and their desire to return to the United States where Evelyn was sure she would be reunited with Jigg and his family, Jigg was concentrating on finding new employment after his mother had written to his employers at CBS, a letter which eventually resulted in Jigg being dismissed from his post.

However, Jigg had built a solid reputation in radio news and in October 1951 he secured a post with Radio Free Europe, an anti-Communist radio network based in Munich and supported by the National Committee for a Free Europe, a CIA front organisation. His role was to create and develop the newsroom which would broadcast to countries behind the Iron Curtain.

The family spent the first weeks of their stay in Germany at the Hotel Regina Palast, in the very centre of Munich, then severely bomb-damaged. In spite of the war, the hotel retained much of its former luxury, and the family were housed there until accommodation could be found for them in a modest house in the suburb of Grünwald some 10 miles to the south of Munich.

Back in England, Evelyn had been busy compiling her “Précis of events leading to libel” which she intended should be widely distributed in support of the Evelyn Scott Fund. Although Margaret DeSilver (wisely) felt this would not help her cause, Evelyn persisted in compiling this document which she saw as the beginning of an autobiography yet to come, and asked Margaret to send a copy to Jigg in Red Hook.

[Many of the following letters from Evelyn are carbon copies, from which the signatures are often missing.]

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

130 West 12th St, New York City
December 12, 1951

Dear Evelyn

The précis which I sent by registered mail by Jig in Red Hook, NY, at your request, was returned to me with a forwarding address “Hotel Regina-Palast, Maximilian Platz, Munich, German, and a typewritten sticker from the PO saying “return to Postmaster—domestic registered mail cannot be forwarded to a foreign country”.  So I have re-registered and mailed it to the address given.  OK?

Love, M

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 1, 1952

Creighton Scott
Herzog Siegmund Str 3
Grünwald bei Munchen
Bavaria, Germany

Darling Jigeroo

I have already invited you here thinking Pavla must be still in Red Hook, in a letter sent to the Hotel Regina-Palast, Maximilian Platz, Munich, and I hope you will have received when you do this both the first letter and the outline of a part of an autobiography I propose writing about my author-experiences, as this outline went to the Regina-Palast when returned to Margaret De Silver by the Red Hook Postmaster with your forwarding address stamped on the parcel.  It is for reading by you and Pavla and by your Dad whose opinion on some portions we should have.

Jack and myself are delighted by the very thought of the nearness of all of you, this revealed by Pavla yesterday in her letter which was to have reached us for Christmas but took a week.  However New Year’s Eve was almost as appropriate, and the day would have been one for celebration for us whatever it was.  We hope you had reason to celebrate.

I am most anxious to see you first without waiting on other things as soon as it is convenient to you because we have been so cut off from communication.  But that is just because I am exhausted by the suspense which has resulted from knowing so little of you yourself specifically.  We are both also actually very eager to see Pavla and the four children, and were we able to provide the beds and fares we would urge having you all here now at once.  However, as soon as the expense can be met you must come please, and Pavla and Denise and the boys in relays—Julia we know going with Pavla at this age as she is too young to be left.

We have enough beds for three with some squeezing, and two we could easily have if camping out arrangements are tolerable to you.  And though we HOPE not to have to wait long in any case do let’s all try to so arrange it that we can all meet here before we all go home to the States, which, though it may still require time, we will all do.

It is a very sweet privilege to be allowed to feel myself really Grandmother again and Jack has touched me very much by saying spontaneously and with genuineness, on looking at the picture Pavla sent, “Well I am glad to have a family of my own again”—his emotional generosity is precisely as I tell you.  He is ready to reciprocate love and he is especially interested in meeting Denise as he has always been fond of little girls as I am of little boys—we will of course love both, regardless of sex, once there is a rapprochement that proves the responses to our interest are natural and are not forced.  Tell Denise I fell in love with her ten years ago—soon eleven and I will never fall out  I fell in love with Fredrick in 1943 I fell in love with Fredrick in 1943—it will be Mathew and Julia too soon I Know

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

January 1, 1952

Pavla Hale Pearson Scott—Mrs Creighton Scott

The picture of the family is already kissed every night.  It is yourselves and whenever we look at it love burgeons and we are very lucky in having you all “ours” too.  You are a lovely daughter-in-law.

You are the best of daughter-in-laws and I like your responsiveness and hope for the children’s and know Jig is with us as well as his Dad.  We think the same things and Cyril agrees as does his wife no doubt.  Divorces are a small matter in the arts.

Darling Pavla

I added the postscript to the letter to Mathew which I had already written—December 30th—your own Christmas letter arrived and this is to expand our reply and as the further sign of our delight in your nearness and our hope soon to see Jig and yourself and all four here with us, the sooner the better, and as many as we can provide beds for—three at once is the present limit.  Julia of course goes with you as she is too small to be left but perhaps there could be two visits with Denise and the boys divided between the two adults.

We would be somewhat crowded and that we wish were not the case but just to see you at all would be such refreshment to us we hope it will be to you and Jig.  I am sending Jig the letter explaining this to him because I am eager to break whatever jinx has been between my son and myself in respect to correspondence.  Your letters darling Pavla have just kept me from tearing my hair with anxiety but it is not right that I should have to depend on you for any news whatever and to have Jig himself write to us will be the restoration of common sense in our human stand.

Jack says you are his own family, too, far more than any of his uncles and cousins here—you and Jig and the children—and I wish Cyril would come over and we could have here the re-union we have been thinking of and hoping to have ever since distance intervened between us.  Do tell Jig’s Dad of this and please see that the outline of the mss of the future autobiography’s section regarding the war, which was mailed to Jig at Red Hook and returned for forwarding to the Hotel Regina-Palast Maximilian Platz Munich and forwarded there by Margaret De Silver is collected by Jig or someone who will give it to you both for your reading and to be sent to Cyril himself.

I have practical views as the explicit sign of idealism just as you and Jig and Jack have, and I am eager to see the boys built up in physical stamina without sacrifice of the sensibility evident in their faces even in the passport picture which is not just to any of you as a portrait.  You are recognizable and so is Freddy and I can just see the traces of the Denise of three-years-old but what no picture can disguise is that you all need an easier life with an end of strains, with good food and with those normal interest congenial to yourselves as individuals and very specific individuals none of you commonplace of “average”.

Jack will cook for you when you come.  He continues the chef de lux of the household.  I recommend to you the desert of semolina he is now preparing for supper.  It is very cheap and takes a comparatively small amount of sugar and he puts powdered coconut in it as he takes it from the stove and flavours it also when possible with brown-sugar.  For the author of so many fine books he has unsuspected accomplishments.  Tell Cyril Jack is almost as versatile in some ways as he is himself.

You should be in France I think because of the visual arts but Germany has a few fine painters and I hope Jig sometimes can paint again even there—and here’s to all our new books.  We must gradually become again the sort of creative people we are.  The things we have been compelled to do since the war are just a travesty of our real selves.  We will all go home to the States before too much time but some good will come of your being there.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

January 13 1952

Darling Jig and Pavla:

Please send some more news of yourselves and, also, tell us whether you have received and read the section of outline of possible autobiography which was forwarded to the Hotel Regina Palast, Maximilian Platz, Munich.

This is not one of my long letters—I will write more extensively when I have one of Jig’s and Pavla’s both—but this is to remind you we love you and we are eager for news and sight of you more than ever now you are almost near.

With our love
Mother for step-grandfather Jack too

I am so disgusted with “respectable” “pious” “religious” bloody “commerce” in people’s letters I could cheerfully see every purveyor of “popular” and “average” “tastes” shot—I hope you have something less inane than some letters from those of our friends who fall into the clutches of damnable putrid fallacious trade “psychology”—arrant rats propound it.  This is the result of a spatter of mail—since this was written—mail about nothing normal to the writer of these hocus-pocus suggested letters.

I hope for yours in different vein.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

February 11 1952

Darlings—

I refuse to be hurt, though there is not yet any acknowledgment yet received by me of the outline of the portion of the future autobiographical volume’s data—sent to Jig forwarded by Margaret De Silver to the Hotel Regina Palast, Maximilian Platz, Munich, and intended to be sent on to Jig’s Dad in the States for his opinion on how to combat imposed tinkerings with books with fine material, such as his Life Is Too Short must originally have been before some half-wit tried to re-write it for low-level consumption.

I have twice written to you that the Regina Palast has the outline—the parcel containing it—so I hope you have had those letters and, in any case, will receive this.  It is a very detailed compilation of personal data and there was very good sense in the effort to get across to you both and to Cyril himself my view of a distressing factor both in our personal “economic” plight and in a general total ruthlessness in handling literature as literature which deserves punishment legally if it cannot otherwise be stopped.

Well we hope the precis or outline has arrived and is read and has been sent on to Cyril himself and that we will both soon have his home address again.

We treasure the enlargement of the Passport photo of Pavla Denise Fredrick and Mathew and I now have one of the snapshots of Jig out with it so we can dote on all those we love most.  We do hope there are some compensations for being in Munich, but we insist it will be best when all of you are at home with us for we continue determined to go home and to do everything we can there toward the good job for Jig he should have as the son of Americans, the husband of an American, the father of four Americans and the grandson and great-grandson of Americans and—MOST IMPORTANT—AN AMERICAN HIMSELF ALL HIS LIFE.

Couldn’t Jig write us just a few lines please?  We would feel so much better if he wrote them himself.  He can’t be ill and we hope as well as very living he is very well indeed and you all are, but the very sight of his handwriting would be cheering.

I think it is a criminal racket that has produced such conditions, in which we are not allowed so much as a line from MY SON AND CRYIL KAY SCOTT’S.  I am tired of brutes and threats such as imposed silences imply, and those who impose them MUST BE PUNISHED.  It is not human.  Do we have to go home to the States to learn what is happening in Munich?

We are as militantly opposed to totalitarians as if we were the heads of the allied armies—or considerably more so, I may say ironically in view of the results of the war in landing us among the labour tyrants.  But we do not think any military or civil bureaucracy has any right to interfere at any state in civil human relations and civil careers and the communications essential to carrying these on.  And we protest the mail status quo as dense, stupid, brutal, wrong.  And if there is censoring between here and Munich—officially none has been allowed as far as I know—then I hope these guy-dan, god damn brutes will get a dirty, muddy eyeful, because I say as an American mother they should be shot.

How’s that for international diplomacy?  I will say precisely everything I think just until I die, and I really think my family will be better off eventually because I have.

NB Important We would love hearing of explicit happenings of your lives during these few months since you arrived there, but Pavla has the household, and Jig his job so notes help and are acceptable—more than.  And still taking the photograph to stand for the affection ours in common I would like to tell you of happenings here, if these as yet included anything whatever except stress and strain about how to keep just barely afloat, as we still await action on books for any money whatever.

We had an attack of fungus here that obliged us to take up three carpets in part to save them from rot.  There was no moisture on the good floor boards, so figure that out¬!

We have been using driers however and I find some make good furniture stains, which brings me back to Pavla who stained and oiled some furniture in Tappan like a professional cabinet-maker.

Do you have ready-cooked food in Munich?  There are a few  places here that sell it, frozen like birds’-eye vegetables such as we had in Canada, and not half-bad.  Some really rather good, and some dear and some not.  It might make a change sometimes should you discover any place where you can buy these things there and Jig bring home dinner in his pocket ready-cooked.

I still have no teeth as the money saved for them went to stave off a tax-summons, but although I refused to go to the Guild Hall and look up data for my French historical novel with such a denuded mouth I am entirely reconciled to being seen toothless by my family, so whenever any visit to London is possible we will be glad no matter how toothless.

Jiggie darling Mother to you please
Jack’s love to all

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 2 1952

Darling Jig and Pavla:

Have you yet received any notification respecting the parcel containing the segment of an outline of the future autobiographical volume I propose to add eventually to my published volumes?   This was nearly three months ago—two and a half approximately may be more exact, as I do not know precisely the date on which she mailed it—and as there has been ample time for its receipt by you and its arrival has not been acknowledged in any letter as yet received by me, I have written to the Manager of the hotel requesting him as a very great favour to do me the kindness to ascertain if he can whether or not it is yet at the hotel yet or has already been delivered to you at your Herzog Siegmund address.  There hasn’t really been time to have his reply—or that of some member of the hotel staff—but I send this on to you, too, hoping you will check up on the parcel in any case and if you have it, whether or not you have already written saying so, write and tell me again.

Should the hotel Manager or any of his staff assist to locate the parcel of mss please offer him my thanks as Jig’s American mother—we will all be thankful to have no further trouble of this sort, in London and in the States I am sure.

How is everything with you both now?  We are eager for news specific enough to bring you nearer.  Don’t forget the invitation Jack extends again with me to allow us to “put you up” as well as we can with limited space and a blanket situation to solve.  In warmer weather the paucity of blankets will matter less and if there is any way to wangle expenses—also we wish we could pay them for you but our circumstances have yet to improve—please please know we love you and would like it next best to being at home in the States with you both and having everybody normally painting and writing again and publishing and exhibiting, including Cyril and his present wife.

We are so glad the school the children attend is good, but it still seems too far away, regarded selfishly.  Tell us more of it and as we are thankful it is an American school, what sort of Americans are there.  There is one little German boy at the school  where Jack teaches and Jack says he seems to him very nice and sensitive and a sympathetic child.

What is the garden there developing into?  Ours is useless until we can completely exclude the public and throw every window in the basement open without concern for intrusion or theft.  I think if we could build a wall completely enclosing the rear garden and cutting it off from the front so it is reserved for this flat, we could probably rent the flat to some advantage as an aid to going to the States refurbishing and demolition of inside shelter included, of course.

Please tell us more please please.

Jig’s affectionate and loving mother and Pavla’s affectionate friend for Jack and myself both—he sends love to all six

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 12 1952

Darlings:

Please please please help me to expose the truth as to the difficulties we continue to have with mail as between myself and yourselves and every one of our American relatives including Jig’s Dad.

I have written to you both three times about this and the outline or “precis” of a segment of data compiled for the third of my autobiographical volumes, which has yet to be written but which I wish to have read as data yet in which we all figure, both by you and Cyril and his wife.  This compilation an outline isn’t a book but it is valuable as author record for my family and myself, and a record merely, not a book for publication as data, is the parcel sent to Margaret De Silver for conveyance to Jig at Pitcher Lane, Red Hook, Duchess County, NY, where you both were in the summer and early fall.   And this is the gist of the request I made of the hotel over two weeks ago; explaining when I did so that this parcel was actually sent by Jack for me from London in early November and was forwarded to Munich either the end of November or the first of December.  I think it is like “psychological warfare” to impose on us all the sort of anxiety this represents, which, in any one instance, would be “minor”, but as an accumulation of years and in connection with important matters like writing books and knowing how one’s nearest and dearest really are and whether or not they do receive their mail, it is serious as augmenting strains that are already enough.

I have complained so continually about the situation at home in this respect that there may have been some action taken there to improve it, as I am now having many more letters actually acknowledged which I receive.  But this still does not include my letters to my family and relatives.  It would seem to me that with the numbers of Americans there are in Germany, this stupidity about mail should not be allowed and that there should be steps taken there to make an end of conditions anything but conducive to peace in the world.

Pavla and Jig my dears you should both acknowledged letters which are to both—even if it is just in the matter of signatures.  And it would probably be helpful not to sign initials as Pavla sometimes does as we would like to hit any censors who meddleif they meddle, we are just guessing—hit them in the eyes as meddlars by making as public as we can your and my American identity, so that mail when lost can always be traced.

We all despise commercial “art”, just as we despise “token” publication and the ratty commercialism that imposed it on us.  To hell with commercial “levellers”, “tokens”, etc.  Communication has been so interfered with it has created an entirely false impression—that and that dirty commercial tinkering with Cyril’s autobiography:  something for which someone deserves shooting.

Our love Jack’s and mine to yourselves and the four children—please do write and tell me just where we are in respect to this utterly poppycock situation about mail and that parcel the handkerchief and the children’s book sent Mathew.  I have a book for Freddy and don’t yet dare send it.  Tell me when—love—Mother to Jig to Pavla Evelyn

I always think of Margue when I sign Mother to you—Jack’s love sent with this to both.

* * * * *

Regina Palast hotel
Regina Palast Hotel [www.zveb.com]

To Evelyn Scott

 Regina-Palast-Hotel München 2
Maximiliansplatz 5
Munich, March 16 1952

Dear Madame,

In reply to your letter of 25th February I beg to inform you that the two parcels in question has received your son.  I got the information by your daughter in law.

Thrusting that you will receive the parcel safely, we beg to remain

faithfully yours
Regina-Palast Hotel

* * * * *

To Regina Palast Hotel

March 31, 1952

Dear Sir:

Your reply to my inquiry of February 25th, 1952, arrived here on March 23rd, and I am greatly obliged to you for attempting to ascertain for me whether or not the parcel containing data to be used by me in a book I propose to write, had been forwarded by the hotel to my son Mr Creighton Scott.

I gather you have communicated with my daughter-in-law, Mrs Creighton Scott at the family’s present address of this winter, Herzog Siegmund Str, 3, and as you quote her as saying two parcels have been received there, I trust one is the manuscript of data I compiled for my own reference.

As I have no German whatever at my command, I hope my attempt to be explicit in English is comprehended, because actually, in the final line of your note of March 16th, you say you hope I “will receive the parcel safely”.  It was not intended that the parcel I sent to my son and daughter-in-law in the States, and which was forwarded from there, on postal instructions, to Mr Creighton Scott at the Hotel Regina Palast—the temporary address he gave when he sailed from home—should be returned to me!  On the contrary, I sent it to my son to forward as soon as he and my daughter-in-law had read it, to Mr Creighton Scott’s father, Mr Cyril Kay Scott, the American painter and author who was my first husband and from whom I am divorced.

I tell you this because the acknowledgment of this manuscript by my son himself as well as his daughter-in-law should, of course, be made to me; the reason I wish to have them and my first husband see the data being that I will write to them in this book, which will be my third volume of autobiography.  And I will again appreciate the preservation of this record, if it is possible, until I am completely certain that the parcels sent from London directly to Munich since Christmas and containing trivial and unsolicited gifts for my grandchildren have not been confused with the parcel already twice forwarded after I sent it to the States last autumn before I had been informed when my son had gone to Germany.

I do indeed thank you for your kindness in attempting to assist me to locate the parcels.  But the parcel I as an author value most is naturally the book synopsis, and it is in connection with this that I shall be indebted to you whenever I have reassurance in full.

Whenever I do I will send you a line to that effect, and meanwhile I continue greatly obliged,

Faithfully yours,

* * * * *

In the spring of 1952 the family moved from their small house in Grünwald to a much larger property in Gräfelfing, a suburb of Munich.  They were now living in a substantial house with a large garden which backed on to extensive woodland.  The house had been, Jigg was led to understand, commandeered by the Americans from a local high-ranking Nazi.  Whether this was true or not, it was spacious and comfortable in the traditional Bavarian style, complete with bierstubl and weinkeller.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

April 14,1952

Otilostrasse 22
Grafelfing-bei-Muchen, Bavaria, Germany

Darling Jig and Pavla:

When are we again to experience that pleasure of surprise ours when we had Pavla’s Christmas note signed for both and telling us that you were comparatively near?

We have not had a word since.  And as I wrote to the Regina Palast respecting the segment of an outline for an autobiographical volume by me in which you both and Cyril are to be included and the hotel assures me Pavla—or “my daughter-in-law”—assured them it was received, I am distressed again that I have not yet obtained your personal affirmation of this.

I don’t think I should have had to ask the hotel, if this is the case, and to find that there are mail problems there  as there have been every so often when mailing letters and parcels to the States, is upsetting.  should know you have received and sent it to him without a doubt.

I don’t like to write of nothing but mail problems, parcels etc, and I know you don’t either, but just sensibly prompt replies to specific issues would relieve us both of burdens.  Have you received any of my detailed letters about this?  I have sent several, some addressed to Pavla some to Creighton some to both and some to the children.    Please please PLEASE do anything you can at your end to conclude this interminable business about mail and whether it is actually received or not by the personal addressees.

There has never been any comment on our hope that you will visit us and that your visit will be the first chapter in the journey home.  We are still fighting for your art as well as ours whenever we can.  It is utterly rotten wrong that both of you should have been removed as you were from your real milieu in art, and wrong we think as well that you should have been moving to Europe just as we were given our first positive hope of the financing of our return to the States to write near you there, and to clear up every ambiguity distance has imposed during these years since the war.

We should actually all be peacefully in one country, the country normally preferable the USA—but as artists and as we originally were except that we are older, have learned more, and have something of a common feeling of response and responsibility in respect to Denise, Fredrick, Mathew and Julia.

We implore and don t know whom to implore, we so need details of yourselves and your lives in Munich as well as at home.  Whatever has been at the bottom of a lack of free communication is criminal.  We would so like to be precise as to this in order to combat it.

Are you both and the children well?  What sort of job is Jig doing?  Is it something Army or hushy, or something he can speak of freely? We are all fed to the gills with war and everything to do with it.  And I think it high time that, among the things one has to re-learn, we learned again to be just ourselves, without any directing or manipulating, be it called “patriotic” or not.

The trees in front are just ready to bloom.  We have hoped every year you would all see them.  There have been nine daffodils out, and a few bluebells, but the garden is still a wilderness of weeds and needs a wall to shut it in so the flat can be private.  It is warm here at present.  How is it there?  Do you see mountains afar?  We haven’t yet any map of Germany.  Are you both writing at least a little, and is Jig—fine artist that he actually is—painting some?  We so hope so.  Did the school continue satisfactory?  When are we all to go home to live near and love each other and our various arts.

Creighton Scott with Mother and Jack USA—temporary address on envelope otilostrasse 22 Graefelfing bei Munchen  This make sending Jig to Germany a catastrophe!  Rat [illeg] don’t.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe 

19 April 1952

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

I’m scribbling my twice yearly note and sending along these snaps of the kids.  We’re all pretty well, but have no hope whatever of making any visits.  It’s hard for us to get away on a Sunday afternoon, although last Sunday we managed to take the whole day off for a drive to Innsbruck—very nice.  I am tired of this duty scribble—What the hell is Innsbruck to us?  A char employed where I boarded in 1901.

The baby [Julia] stands up and has 2 teeth, now

Love,
Paula—Pavla Scott I despise her senseless use of Paula

PS  Your MSS arrived, but I can’t sent it on to Cyril as I haven’t the remotest idea where he is now.  Haven’t heard from him for 6 months when he was about to move.

1952-November This letter of my daughter-in-law is all any news of her with my son and grandchildren—four since April  The art of EVELYN SCOTT with Cyril Kay Scott is with Scott the art with JOHN METCALFE WITH CREIGHTON Scott with Pavla This arrived on a brutal day an intolerable criminal day May 24th

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

April 20 1952

Do you give Gladys address now as your address at home or Jigs Dad’s.  I gave Jigs of Ridge Street Rutherford at the US Consulate here and I suppose I will have to go back to Gladys again for us

Darlings—

Where are the answers to my letters?  Where is your personal acknowledgment of the outline of the autobiography I sent for you to read and send on to Cyril?  Do you reply and are the letters stopped somewhere, or what?  I can’t help it.  So would you were you in my place.

The plum tree in the front garden is beautiful just now.  We so hoped some of you could manage a visit in time to see it.  The spring bloom here is a very fine sight.  We have nothing comparable in any city, though of course we do in the country.  This tree is flawless, every cluster of white perfect, and the tree—there are two or three in front—has echoes up the street—in fact up both the streets at the crossing the house faces.  They are airy gardens with that unreality of American autumns—so extravagantly lovely one is wordless, as one can’t relate them to anything in the experience of every day.

Also ce soir we had a treat in a honey-dew melon for supper which we bought as a celebration as we have had no green stuff for months—just tinned things.  And as this may be the truth about you, too, I wished as we ate it that you all had some.  Really first rate garden produce, I don’t know from where, as the season is so early.  It was not expensive either, about sixty cents American—that is not for a treat and for April.  Well, here’s hoping—

The teeth will soon have their first try-out.  I have been to the dentist’s and he tried to make the old set fit but it could not be did.  It will have been nearly nine months or more like ten months if you count the first extractions, since I had any to speak of.

I have written Margué again, now some months, but had no reply as yet.  Hope to soon.  Feel better when we all correspond normally.

How are Denise Fredrick and Mathew and the school? How are our Jiggie and Pavli—

Please we love you—do reply again
To Jig mother
To Paula Evelyn
To all six my love and with Jacks.

* * * * *

Some time in the late summer of 1952 Jigg’s employment with Radio Free Europe came to an end.  There is no clue in the correspondence why this might have happened–perhaps Evelyn wrote to his employers, as she had so often done before?  In any case, the family left Munich for New York in September 1952 and found themselves without an income in the Hotel Chelsea in lower Manhattan, where they rented a cheap 2-room (including a small bath and a basic kitchen) serviced apartment. 

Hotel Chelsea
Hotel Chelsea [www.ny-architecture.com]

[The following letter was never opened, but was kept by Paula in the family archives, where it was discovered after her death.]

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

October 26, 1952

Darling Jig:

Here’s to your fine paintings and your novels.  I have sent on the letter I hope arrived with you for your birthday, but I will reiterate on every birthday our unshaken belief in the high and fine creative talents Creighton Scott has proven both in the field of water-colour and oil and as an author of serious books.  There would have been many more paintings by Creighton Scott and, at least, two or three more serious novels by now, had the genuinely discriminating been better aware of the extent of senseless sacrifice that has been involved in the attempts  of the Creighton Scotts, Cyril Kay Scotts and the Evelyn Scott-John Metcalfe’s merely to survive.

Unless, by the time Jack and myself arrive in New York, I have full information as to the family’s present whereabouts, whether still in Munich or elsewhere, and am given accurate and full knowledge of their present and future prospects, and assurances as to the health—in every respect—of every one of them, I propose to raise hell.  I will do so very publically if need be, and in no uncertain terms.  I love my son and I consider what we have all been put through as to communication, as well as in regard to “planned” lives and a virtual dictation regarding what is published—in part circumstantial but a reasonable assertion on the basis of my own experiences and Jack’s, as well as yours—so blatantly inexcusable that it would merit a public crisis.  Are we to be driven to insisting on one, or not?  If we eventually are do know that everything we attempt is done for our own and most of all for you, darling Jig, whom Jack myself and Cyril love as we know Pavla does.

We continue to await public sanity, we ourselves being on every hand eminently sane individuals just as you and Pavla are.

Our love

–call it finite or infinite, it matters not at all—it IS OUR LOVE and we insist on personal and public truth for the reason that love for you demands this insistence.

Mother with our love to Pavla too and to four good bright children

* * * * *

Paula’s family on her mother’s side were not wealthy but were fairly prosperous, and Paula had to turn to them more than once.  Her latest plea was to her great-aunt Gertrude Brownell, who lived in late-Victorian splendour on Central Park West.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

50 Central Park West
New York City

22 November 1952, Saturday evening

Dearest Pavli,

I am terribly distressed by your news—your suffering—and your difficulties.

You are creating difficulties for me too—who am taken for little less than half my income and need the other half for inevitable expenses (rent service living)

It seems unkind to mention this when you are so afflicted—but mentioning it makes me hope that Creighton will think better of going abroad—leaving a large family for others to provide for.  My hope is that he will look for a job in New York or at least in this country and so be able, to some extent at least, to look after the family for which he is responsible.

You evidently think that I can give you 500 dollars by sending a cheque by reply mail—I have to go to a savings bank to draw out the 500.00 additional—and will do this in Monday—(send you some part of it at least)

With much love to you all
Aunt Kitty

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

43. The Benjamin Franklin Hotel

222 West 77th Street, New York 24, New York.  Literally hundreds of letters bearing that return address were put through Jigg and Paula’s various letterboxes from the time Jack and Evelyn moved into the Benjamin Franklin Hotel on 30th March 1954 until Evelyn died there in the summer of 1963.

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel offered accommodation in serviced two- or three-room suites, each with its own bathroom facilities but a shared kitchen down the hall (this kitchen the source of much frustration for Evelyn).  It must have been chosen for its low rates, as Evelyn was earning very little in royalties and Jack was dependent on a low-paid post as a tutor at a local “crammer”, preparing students for examinations.

Ben Franklin Hotel.GIF
Benjamin Franklin Hotel, c 1960

To Creighton and Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
March 31, 1954

Darlings:

We have arrived in New York again and will be here at shortest a week, at longest a month to six or seven weeks, all depending on what is done for our financing, beginning today with Jack’s trying to connect with teaching posts, some for tutoring higher math here as well as permanent for next autumn.

I have applied to other Foundations and am hopeful, as the responses have been kind cordial and remembering of everything we have done and will do soon with enough to complete our books our- own—nominally to me but actually saving two authors at once.

Ever since the letter each—one Jig’s and one Paula’s—in December and January we have been awaiting your address so we can stop this damnable nonsense of having to ask Gladys to forward all our letters to you.  She is good about it but it makes no sense to us, and when we have every so often to admit to others this is the case, it makes no sense to them either.  Give Jig’s Dad our love—on this we insist and will always insist as it DOES MAKE SENSE TO DO SO.

If there is any way at all that we can see you or you us as soon as we have any money to go anywhere for a day with you all and to see the five grands we will save for this really GREAT EVENT.  Think how nice it will be for us all and for JACK TO MEET HIS STEP-GRANDCHILDREN.

I have not yet seen Mathew, Julia or Robert—please darlings let’s end a situation that is senseless and is bound to be equivocally interpreted by poison-minds—it just makes no sense and never will.  We are all so lovingly well disposed—you, us and your Dad I am sure.

Here we have been home a year and not had your address or as yet been able to see you—the factor of economy shall not be played on by any who may be interested in trying to keep people from meeting who corroborate each other as to this sort of thing.  THERE I STAND—as it is not impossible in a muddled stupid world.

We are concerned as to your health, prospects and as to the mutual preservation of the dearest of our human contacts—one of the chief reasons we were so distressed that it took so long to finance our return from England.

I am naturally going to go on telling every body until we actually have your addresses—but we dont want candour exploited either.

I asked Paula for more snapshots of the children and yourselves—Robert have had none yet—and hope for these with the address.

Remember your health and your prospects are one with ours to us because affection does just that—human attachments are at least half the value of every life.

We hope to see Gladys but she is Mrs Sherlock Holmes where any of you are concerned.  I suppose that to her is loyalty.  I dont agree with it, because it implies you have “chosen” where I know damn well you cannot have “chosen” as you have far too much real sense to have done anything so stupid about addresses.

Jack has been telephoning all morning.  Hope to connect by tomorrow—as usual, several out of town.

WE AINT LICKED YOU AINT LICKED CYRIL AINT LICKED.

Love love love love love love love
to Paula Evelyn—to Jigg Mother
Love from Jack

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

April 1, 1954: E and I passed v disturbed night with diarrhoea.  I went out and got coffee in containers, and buns, for our breakfast. Beatrice (cleaner) did our room at 10.45 while we had more coffee out. Lunch at Rudley’s. Nap. I went out and bought brown hat, and then on to Village with idea of seeing Fanny,- but did not do so.  Looked in vain for place to get hat blocked and cleaned. Back to hotel by 6.30. E and I had dinner at Waldorf. Later went out and bought brioches and croissants from DuBarry’s at corner.

April 2, 1954: Interview with Mr Westgate at St Bernards School in morning, – satisfactory save for rather low salary. Lunch. Nap. Remembered must have funds over week-end so cashed withdrew further $20 traveller’s cheque. Resumed nap,- but then Mr Fles rang up.  Again resumed nap. At 5.30 telephoned Craven (had already done so after lunch and found Mr French left), – saying would ring again Monday.

April 3, 1954: Breakfast at Rudley’s.  On return found letters from McDowell, Derleth and Guggenheim,- the last being a durn-damn. Derleth set me my jacket for The Feasting Dead.  I rang Davison, and then rang Mr Westgate in definite acceptance of post at St Bernards.  Wrote and posted letters to Gannett and Derleth.  Bought percolator and crockery, and later coffee and condensed milk and brioches. Had lunch “at home”, using community kitchen for boiling water.  Before this had opened a trunk in store-room and extracted letter-files.  Nap from 3 to 4.  Went out and bought coffee pot etc.  Dinner at 7 at Waldorf.

April 4, 1954: Breakfast “at home” of coffee and brioches etc.

April 5, 1954: Shopped in morning,- tobacco, cooking utensils etc.  Strained heart while buying lemon meringue pie.  Lunch at “home” of bacon and pie.  Had rung Mrs Aronson in morning.  Nap.  More shopping etc.  E and I had dinner at Waldorf.  Bed. Posted letters to Maggie, Walter, French, Inglis, Pleasantville and Putney.

April 9, 1954: Gladys came unexpectedly. Went bank etc. Lunched at Waldorf, with Gladys.

April 12, 1954: Went out again and collected E’s MS from Guggenheim Foundation office.

April 15, 1954: Went to Searing Tutorial School and left testimonials etc. Pay only $2 per hr.

April 18, 1954: Easter, and very dull. E thought valuables lost at 10 am. Found again at 4 pm. No dinner.

May 14, 1954: Back at hotel and found Maggie had sent us whisky, brandy, tea and coffee. Sampled the whiskey before supper.

May 25, 1954: Gladys and Edgerton visited us in evening and took us to supper at Waldorf Cafeteria.

June 2, 1954: Back at hotel about 6.15 and found Maggie there. She left about 7.30, – giving us present of cheese and a book.

June 5, 1954: This morning E and I had stroll to yacht basin by Riverside Dr while maid was cleaning our room.

* * * * *

To Margaret Foster

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
August 1, 1954

Dear Margué:

I am still hoping, as Jack does, that you may, by now, have the address of Paula and Jig, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and will send it on to us for the sake of our love for them all.  We haven’t been able to locate Ralph and family either.  Evelyn.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary

November 4, 1954: E applied for a library ticket.

November 17, 1954: E got her library ticket.

December 25, 1954: Quiet and uneventful. Taste still skew-wiff.

January 2, 1955: Latish breakfast.  Rainy, but cleared up. Went out and bought air-mail stationery and two alligator pears. Wrote to Alec Waugh, Lunch. Nap.  Punch and bound some pages of E’s MS. Read E’s MS to p 349. Went out to post letters. Drinks. Supper of hash etc. Wrote to Preston and Fisher. Bed,- and a little nightmare!

January 3, 1955: Back to St Bernard’s, First day of the new term.  After prayers took AA in Arithmetic owing to Phelan’s bereavement.  Then Algebra with IX as usual.  French with 1A and then with 1B.  Lunch.  Took prep I 1A room 3.30-4.30. Returning via Bloomingdales where mailed letter (registered) to Savile1 Club with £4.4.0.  Also got Aliens Record Card.  Back to 77th Street.  Marketed, and bought Vodka and collected laundry. Found E sickish, so she lay down.  Shis-doff has duly returned my cuttings from The Listener. Drinks. Supper. Bed.

March 9, 1955: St Bernard’s, and took Corbelt’s etc. forms in middle school for first 3 periods, then Algebra IX in fourth period.  Lunch. Mr W said I might go ‘home’,- which I did, calling at bank on way and getting a haircut, tobacco, etc.  Also marketed. Back at hotel about 3.40.  Nap. Drinks. Supper. Bed.

March 10, 1955: St Bernard’s.  Took Corbelt’s class first 3 periods, then Algebra iX.  Lunch.  Westgate kindly agreed to correct Latin papers of 1Bx and 1A∂.  Took detention 2.20 – 3.10, then prep 3.30 – 4.30, – or just before, when Westgate released me. Returned slowly to hotel where E had ‘company’, – Mrs Keppelmann ( B Lockking didn’t come).  By time I knocked at our room door Mrs K had gone, – and E and I had drinks. Letter for me from June. Still no table, for which I had asked the hotel management some days ago.  It seems they are still searching for one. Supper of hash etc. Bed. Very warm for time of year,- 66°

March 17, 1955: Our wedding anniversary, – and may we have many more of them! Weather turned cold and windy. St Bernards. Middle School recitations. Latin 1A∂ and (after a gap) 1Bx. Did some Stanford. Maths 1x. Lunch. Sat with 2A from 2 to 2.20, then detention till 3.10. Westgate said I might pack up, which I did. Saw something of the St Patrick’s Day parade along 96th Street. ‘Home’ by subway, and found E not feeling so good. Went out and marketed. Drinks and did accounts. Supper. Bed. Sprained thumb in reproving a 2A boy.  Nuisance.

March 18, 1955: Snow again. END OF TERM. St Bernard’s upper school recitations in gym. Took Gillespie (D) and Ullman for remainder of their Stanford A Tests in Algebra room. School broke up at 12. Faculty lunch, – soup, sandwiches, beer and coffee. Talk with Westgate re my possible staying-on. Went bank and bought tobacco. “Home” about 3.30. Nap. Marketed. Drinks. Supper. Bed.

1One of many so-called “gentleman’s clubs” in London. It may be that Jack entertained ideas of returning to London, if only on a visit.

* * * * *

In October 1955, Jigg went to Saigon, Vietnam, where he was employed by the International Cooperation Administration, an agency of the US State Department, to advise Vietnam’s new radio network, Radio Vietnam, on the setting up and running of their newsroom. Paula and the children followed a month later, and the family lived in Saigon until August 1959.

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

In the following months Evelyn often took over entire pages of Jack’s diary.

January 16, 1956: E washed ice-box—and how!  Miss K has been 3 times asked not to “help” or be instinctive—she was and I blew up, exclaiming “Jesus wept!”—damn this kitchen! Jesus Christ—I cant stand it!  I left, and when I came back she had gone, thank pete! Before the blow up about “instructiveness” she had, as usual, dinned at her seldom varied theme, that “no one” but she and I “ever” washed the frigidaire.  This time she was wrong.  I was about to wash it myself 8 days after she had done so, and found it already washed and clean.  I put this at length as a future reminder of “community kitchens”.  She began, when she brought in her breakfast to get—I had hoped she had had it, 9.30—and I asked whether I was in her way, by saying, with the air of a tragic muse, “Nobody ever gets in my way.  We are lucky here.  We used to have 3 or 4 people in here at once but it never bothered me.  I’m not that kind of person.” I said, “Well I am”.  This unpleasant conversation on same lines almost verbatim.

560116

January 17, 1956:  Evelyn’s birthday. I, in having bath, discovered large discolouration, like bruise, on right upper arm. Went St Bernards. Taxi to bank and deposited Haithcock check of $258.75 in bank. Haithcock School,- including noon-hour duty.  Left 3.30. Home, after marketing, about 4.10. Drinks, did accounts etc. Supper. Bed

February 6, 1956: Washed frigidaire—Evelyn

February 14, 1956:  today went to the library for:  Manly Wade Wellman’s A Giant in Grey, 4 volumes Thiers History of the French Revolution, The French Revolution by Gaetano Salvemini.

March 5, 1956: [in red ink] Evelyn did ice-box!

March 15, 1956: [in red ink] E got cable from Paula.

March 30, 1956: Bernice 5.30.  Margaret De Silver George Burnham De Silver came to witness my signature to my will confirming formally letter in safety deposit for Jigg. Will dated March 23, 1956 to go to Lewis Mayers 214 East 18th St, NYC C, NY Prof of Law City College Write Margaret and Bernice how Jigg at present reached Everything for equal division between Jigg—son Creighton Seely Scott and his Stepfather William John Metcalfe who are appointed my literary executors not to allow changes in posthumous publications. After Maggie and Burnham had gone, E, Bernice and I went to Waldorf Cafeteria for supper, and I broke my upper denture.

March 31, 1956: Phoned Bernice E’s Dentist, Dr Foster, and fixed appointment for 10 on Monday. Collected laundry etc. E’s cold bad.  I had supper at Rudley’s and brought her back sandwich and ice-cream.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

[Contained in a manila envelope, inscribed as follows: For William John Metcalfe and Creighton Seely Scott letters and a family record  To be opened by either or by my daughter-in-law Paula Scott or any of my grandchildren who are of age at the time of my death. To be opened only after my death.]

Letter to Creighton Seely Scott, to be preserved with the Will of his mother, Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe, author Evelyn Scottand handed to him on her death or before, but not to be opened in her lifetime. Love to Cyril 4 living appreciation to F C Wellman and trust in his fundamental kindness

[signed] Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe  Evelyn Scott Mother Grandmother there are 15 pages herein all but one typed on both sides all single space.

New York City, NY,
April 2, 1956

Darling Son Creighton, to us always Jigg, or Jigeroo, it is a call on one’s imagination to be read when one lives, after one is dead.

I hope, long before that time, for the human opportunity to speak the love that Jack and myself, like your Dad, I am sure, feel for you for Paula, for Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and to know explicitly, instead of so largely as a matter of conjecture and hints, what is at the bottom of the silence we abhor as between you, Paula and ourselves, and us and good and fine Cyril.  I hope to know in particular why you were sent to Indo-China, to Saigon, at the very moment when, at last, we had located you as attached to your U S Army anti-soviet peace mission.  But, meanwhile, I can only reiterate that you have been a joy to me from the very day you were born, and that as an adult you still represent to me and to Jack—and to your Dad equally of course—the splendid comprehending friend to whom I dedicated Bread And A Sword with the utmost sincere continued appreciation of your talents as author and painter, your acute intellect, your human insights, and all those unique capacities of mind and sensitive feeling Jack and I value, not merely because of a “maternal bias”, but despite it; for do believe, darling Jigg that, though my heart is with you, I have never failed and never ceased to see you with the detached eyes of one accustomed for a lifetime to criticise individuals and societies and appraise genius such as you have innately.  I have never been able to love anyone unless my mind concurred in large measure; and though this might be called a “defect”, I think it is not that, and helps to give my love its staying power.  I respect you deeply morally, as a man of superior courage and will who has carried on under the circumstances of a more than usually difficult life.  And there I am very grateful to darling Paula—may I say Pavli in affection?—for perceptivity, her loyalty to you, her marvellous sustained fight with you, shoulder to shoulder, for you both and your children whose futures are in our thoughts every day, and have been, all during those years since 1944, in which circumstances not of your making, or hers, or ours, or Cyril’s, have kept us from any knowledge of them beyond mine in 1943-44, when Denise and Fredrick were met in the flesh.

There is no reproach in this, there never will be, never can be—none to yourselves, but much to a bad world.  Those five days in London when you were with us in the flat, stand now with the most important of our lives, as the reassurance that you are in the flesh, and I implore you never to give up, even as I know you never will, merely in carrying over to you and to Paula and the five children, our own constant concern.

Nothing can ever change us and nothing can ever change you, nor will Paula ever change I am certain, or Cyril; and please remember your children have the benefit of fine parents, not merely as influences—though this counts heavily—but in the matter of heredity.  We believe in them, too, completely.

* * * * *

Some years ago, on one of my trips to the US to collect these letters, I spent some time in New York City and took the opportunity to try to locate the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.  I had no difficulty finding the address or a building which looked as though it had been there for well over 50 years, but there was no evidence of the name by which Jack and Evelyn had known it.  The sign on the door proclaimed it as the “Hotel on the Avenue” and the lobby area was stylish and sleek in black and silver.  I asked several of the staff, including a (perhaps junior) manager if they knew what the hotel had been known as before their company took it over:  no one did.  And the name “Benjamin Franklin Hotel” drew not a flicker of recognition.

It was almost as though those 10 years had never happened.

 

 

 

 

42. Isolation (2)

Very little correspondence has been found for the period after their return to the US and their 6-month stay at the Hartington Hertford Foundation has been found, possibly because after her death in 1963 a grief-stricken Jack destroyed many of her papers as he could not, he explained, bear to see her handwriting.  From the letters that remain it appears they left California in 1954 and found what was probably the only accommodation they could afford, a two-room serviced apartment in a rather run-down residential hotel, the Benjamin Franklin Hotel on Manhattan’s upper West Side.  There they lived until Evelyn died in 1963.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Bonnie Burn Road, Scotch Plains, NJ
March 24, 1953

Dear Paula:

Hope this may help a little.  Wish it could be more!  But it brings with it all my love.

In case you don’t know Evelyn is leaving tomorrow morning for Calif.  I talked to her on the telephone and she said they could not possibly stay longer.  However tomorrow afternoon or Thursday morning I’ll call the hotel to be absolutely positive.  Unless you hear from me you’ll know the coast is clear.  Hope to see you soon.

Love to all
Glads
God bless you!

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

130 West 12th Street, New York City
March 27, 1953

Dear Jigg:–

Your mother presumably left for California at 3PM on Wed Mar 25—in all that downpour!  I saw her several times and she does talk more reasonably than she writes, altho rather buttonholing type of talk like the Ancient Mariner, and after 2 hrs the conversation gets more paranoid.  However, she seemed pretty well and calm—but will it last!?  She told me Miss Allen had told her you were at the Chelsea, and she went there and they were very vague as to when you had left and where you had gone. . .[1]  I began to feel pretty low and horrible when she talked lovingly about “my son” and about The Muscovites and how she was using your agent Russell.  However, I’m sure I did right.  She saw Charlotte Wilder and May Mayers—who seems to be a good egg– and Dawn was hospitable and helpful.  Jack got an agent, too, and registered at several teachers agencies, so here’s hoping!

Anyway, cheerio
MDeS

[1]Jig and his family were still at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, then a cheap residential hotel, where they had been for over a year since their return from Germany.  He had presumably asked the desk not to give out any details to anyone who enquired.

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

The Huntington Hartford Foundation,
Pacific Palisades, California
April 6, 1953

Mr Ralph Pearson
Lecturer on Art
The University of New Mexico Arizona or New Mexico
Phoenix or Albuquerque–we don’t know which

Dear Ralph:

Jack and I have been assisted by some generous friends, of whom Margaret De Silver, is the chief, to return home.  We sailed from Southampton, on March 1st, on the Holland-American Liner Veendam, and were in New York just under two weeks, at the Hotel Earl off Washington Square, in Waverley Place.

Can you, if this reaches us [sic], send Jig’s address to his mother?  If so Jack and I both will take it to be a human and kindly act.

 After that period in which I sent letters to Jig in your care, at 288 Piermont Avenue, Nyack, our contact was re-established; and both in Rutherford–at both their addresses, Hawthorne and Ridge Streets–and in Red Hook, at their Pitcher Lane address, we corresponded at intervals.  And we continued to correspond when Jig and Pavla went to Munich, while they were both at Grunwald and at Grafelfing; Pavla writing most of the letters but Jig signing some with her.

It was after Jig returned home with his family that the American Consulate in Munich informed me, in replying to a letter I sent them about a letter of some value that, apparently, when mailed to them from London, was lost, that Jig’s job in Munich had been with the Free Europe Radio Service and that it had then–some while before last Christmas–been concluded, and he and Pavla, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew and Julia had sailed already for their home in the USA.

I telephoned the Free Europe Radio Service in NY twice; and realize now I should have gone there.  But their pleasant promise to do everything possible to locate him again in the USA put me off, so to speak.  I know Jig’s job was not “hushy” and was ordinary civilian radio.  Free Europe assures me he is in the USA, was seen on his return, had been “in the office” but is not there now.  They also said he had stayed at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street with his family on landing last autumn–September probably.  I don’t know what you think of the fact that we communicated when I was in London with Jack and Jig and Pavla were in Germany, yet are cut out of context with them the moment we set foot on the soil of the country of which I am native, but we regard such a contretemps as sheer barbarity–and not on Jig’s part or Pavla’s.

If you can help me, and care to take a human view, we shall be more than obliged.

I phoned Nyack information to ask whether you were still listed in the Nyack phone book, and she told you were not; so perhaps the Design Workshop has been permanently transported to Albuquerque Arizona.

We have Fellowships here, but no money whatever; and will return to New York in the late summer, as our fares back are guaranteed and Jack must have a school-job and is the one of us best qualified by experience and degree.

I have no reason to suppose you feel any longer any interest whatever in us; but–again–I appeal to you on the basis of human feeling.  I think the fact that we have four grandchildren–all American born–in common, should be enough to suggest loyalty to us as Jig’s near family as the most normal attitude.  But goodness knows what anybody thinks of anything, since a disastrous metamorphosis has been wrought in so many of the country’s views.  I am just hoping.

Sincerely yours,
Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe (Mrs John or Mrs WJ)

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 20, 1953

Dear Jigg

I enclose a letter [missing] from your mother  which I hope you’ll read.  I’d like to suggest that if and when you get yourself a far distant post office address, you write her a small non-committal letter telling her you’re alive and well.  It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to keep my up-to-now successful dead-pan front when they come back in the Fall.  Her address is:– Huntington-Hartford Foundation, 2000 Rustic Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Best wishes to you!
Faithfully
Margaret DeS

How is Paula?  I regret that it is impractical for us to meet.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

Hotel Chelsea
223 West 23rd St, New York City
April 24 [1953]

Dear Margaret

Sorry my letter threw you, as it appears to have done, and which I didn’t intend.  Your letters have never bored me, although I admit they have scared me at times.  I don’t think it’s correct to say that you have been stupid about bringing E Scott and Jack to the ‘States.  What I do contend is that you, and the others involved, have failed to take into consideration that she is, in the strictly clinical sense, insane.

As you say, my mother was a bit of a witch hunter in her time.  Everybody who knew her at the time realises that she went quite overboard on the idea that there was a terrible conspiracy afoot to repress True Art, and that the super patriots, as represented by the Hearst Press, the un-American Activities Committee, etc. were natural allies against such a conspiracy.  The logic of this did then, and still does, escape me altogether.

As I say, everyone knew, or suspected, that she was doing a bit of witch hunting.  What nobody knew, and what the people I told have steadfastly refused to believe up this moment, is that she was nuts.

At the time in question, for example, I spent many hours trying to convince her that she was wrong in supposing that there was in existence a machine (a kind of telepathic radio) which enabled malignant influences (at that time communist, but today God knows what) to tune in on one’s thoughts.  A little later, I tried to talk her out of the notion that this same device had been improved to the point where it could not only be tuned in on one’s thoughts, but used to twist, pervert and direct them as well.  In 1943, at a time when she was considered to be quite sane, and when my own rationality was called into question for suggesting that she was not, she was urging me to get rid of my wife (Paula), by poison if necessary, because, she claimed, Paula was a robot under the influence of this contraption.  It was later perfected, as she took pains to inform me, to the point where it could make people ill (How’s your arthritis?).  Not only that, but it soon transpired, as she made clear, that there was no such thing as a germ or a virus, or what have you.  All diseases, mechanical fractures of the bone possibly excepted, were induced by this super-gadget.  There was, however, a counteragent.  If you thought “right” thoughts, and repeated the word “Peruna” frequently enough, you could outwit the gadget.  To prove the point (she was living with me at the time) she deliberately infected my son Frederick (then a baby) with the flu, from which he nearly died.

This is merely by way of illustrating the point things had reached ten years ago:  they were plenty bad before that.  I recall suggesting to various people that she might not be all there, and all I got was a sweet, sceptical smile—the smile one accords to someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

At ABC two things happened.  Firstly, I found that my mother had a reputation among persons of more or less liberal complexion as their sworn enemy, and that it was assumed that I was her staunch supporter in this.  My rather timid intimations that this was not so got me nowhere.  The last person with whom I had an argument on this score happens to have been Whittaker Chambers (he wasn’t famous yet) who offered me a job at Time.  After that I just shut up and played my cards close to my chest.  The second thing that happened was that my boss at ABC got the inevitable letter from my mother, asking, indirectly, that some kind of heat be put on me to make me a better correspondent, and suggesting that ABC was preventing me from writing.  You can imagine what a difficult thing it was to explain to the foresaid boss when I mention that he is now in the publicity department of the NAM, where he longed to be.  He is a pretty decent guy in many ways, but not subtle.

From ABC I moved to CBS.  Ed Murrow is probably still puzzled by the letter he got from my mother trying to enlist his help in making me a more dutiful son.  My mail was opened in Germany by the CIA, and I have often tried to imagine what General Walter Bedell Smith, or whoever my mother’s letters (forwarded from the ‘States) finally reached thought about their contents.

As far as I know she is still a confirmed letter writer.

Now I realize that the foregoing may sound completely incredible to you, or anyone else.  Nevertheless it is true.  However, about the only thing I have ever asked anybody to do about it is (1) kindly not hold me responsible for what my parents did—the sins of the fathers may be visited upon the sons in the bible, but this is supposed to be a non-biblical age; and (2) that someone look into the matter, with the aid of competent and qualified medical men, without automatically assuming that it couldn’t be true because it was I who said so.  If I am wrong, I shall be happy to abide by the decision of an unbiased judge, but I’m afraid I’m right.  I have been for fifteen years, and the fact that I spent 25 of my 38 years dancing attendance on my mother and father gives my opinion some weight.

So much for that.  You now have the main facts in fairly comprehensible form.  Sorry to bother you with it all, but it seems easier to state the whole case in one lump that to try to explain it piecemeal.

I’m very grateful to you for what you are trying to do for my mother, and I’ll do anything I can to help.  Frankly, however, it presents certain problems.  But don’t let it get you down.  Best of luck from Paula and myself.

Jigg

Incidentally, you are the second person who asked me to write my mother in a week.  Gladys Grant was the other.  The letter is in the works.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 24, 1953

Dear Jigg;-

Your letter just received so horrifies and fascinates me that I hasten to answer it, even tho a letter from me must always scare and bore you!  What fascinates me is the revelation of my own stupidity, and what horrifies me are the implications involved in E’s remarks to which I scarcely paid any attention!

First let me hasten to say that my arthritis—the present—was only mentioned to Evelyn because I was bored with hearing of her complaints and thought I’d just stick in one of my own.  But I see that that is dangerous as, like other mentally ill people I know, Evelyn never forgets a damn thing.  I have always assumed it was Evelyn’s enormous vanity that made her unable to admit that you of your own free will wish NOT to communicate with her, but had not the heart to come right out and say so—she would not have accepted it anyway.  BUT I did NOT know she was so thoroughly au courant as to your ideas and intentions.

Plenty of people DID warn me against trying to bring Evelyn here and plenty are hiding out in fear and trembling, all of which makes me feel an utter ass, softy, simpleminded “Do-Gooder”—such always mess things up for all concerned.  But I did somehow think that if E got out of that hideous environment she might be able to do

It was very sweet of Paula to write me a few lines.  I did not know Margaret was so ill, and feel rather guilty because I did not answer a letter she wrote me about Foster’s book.  Evelyn had also assailed Margaret as to your whereabouts and she had answered she did not know where you were.  Knowing how Margaret has always felt about Evelyn, I was surprised that Evelyn would communicate with her.  Dr Mayers, by the way, seems to have remained discretely loyal to you.  She also told me that Paula is a beauty.

Yes, Cyril and E both sure have outsized egos but I sort of assumed that was a disease of artists—that they had to have egos to buck all sorts of things.  But I must say when they get top-heavy, one certainly ceases to function and instead does only endless damage.

Well, that’s enough.  Good luck to you both.  And thank you for writing Evelyn.

Margaret DeSilver

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
May 24, 1953

Dear Evelyn:

As I wired you, it is absolutely impossible for me to see you at any time.  This I explained in my wire.  Joe1 also feels as I do that there is no use in post mortems.

So please do not come to see us at any time.

I hope all goes well with you.

I have had no word from Pavli for months.

Yours sincerely,
Margué

1Joe Foster was Margué’s second husband and Paula’s step-father

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
September 6, 1953

Dearest Paula:

This is not an answer to your and Bumpy’s wonderful letters.  That will come later.

This is on a subject I have held off writing you about since last March.  Evelyn has written Frieda Lawrence Ravagli1 a six-page letter like all her others to me trying to get her to get your address from me.  It gives her father’s date of death and name and all his jobs, her mother’s etc.  The exact words of her wire to me and may answer that I didn’t have your address.  All about Cyril and her divorce.  The names of Paul and Frederick Wellman and their occupations.  Etc.  Etc.

So I am sending you her address and perhaps you can just write her you and Jigg are well and the children.  You need not send your address but you could get her off our backs.

Frieda sent me the letter and said she could not make head or tail of it and what should she do.  I’m sorry she has been bothered.

So no more of this.  I’ll write soon.

Love to you, all of you,
Margué

1One-time wife of D H Lawrence. The Lawrences were living in Taos at that time.

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

December 25, 1953: Went over to Community House for Christmas celebrations 5.30. Drinks. Dinner.  Distribution of presents,–John Vincent being Santa Claus.  I got tie, Evelyn stockings.  We also had gifts of chocolate, nuts, etc. Before going over to dinner, I opened packet of railroad post-cards from R Wylie, and found it also contained $10! January 7, 1954: In evening got $125 from Derlett, also unpleasant letter from Maggie.  January 9, 1954: Letter from Pavla to E.
January 21, 1954: Matthew’s birthday, – today or tomorrow!
February 12, 1954: E and I had interview with Dr V1 after breakfast
March 8, 1954: In evening E had letter from Charles Day enclosing $50.
March 24, 1954: Day spent in preparations for departure.
March 25, 1954: Did odd jobs connected with our departure.  In afternoon, after nap, made some notes from encyclopedia. Dinner in “our honour”.  Usual awful business afterwards of packing and locking bulging trunks.
March 26, 1954: In morning went in to Los Angeles with John and Sal and heavy luggage, which I checked through to NYC.
March 27, 1954: Left Huntington Hartford Foundation at 11.15,- being driven in to LA by Sal.  Left LA at 1.30.  Dinner at about six or six-thirty.  Poorish night, as expected.
March 28, 1954: All day on train.
March 29, 1954: Reached Chicago 7.15 am.  Snowing.  Taxi from Dearborn to  LaSalle.  Martin Sheffield turned up at 9.15 and took us to Bismark Hotel, where we engaged a room and chatted.  Lunch at the hotel, – oyster stew for E and self.  Martin presented us with $30.  Left hotel at 2.15 by taxi to LaSalle depot and got aboard train “The Pacemaker” at 2.35.  Left at 3.  Dinner rather early, – about 5.30.
March 30, 1954: Reached New York at 8.45, and, after much telephoning etc, fixed up at the Benjamin Franklin hotel.  Had lunch out.  I made two journeys, for heavy and then for lighter luggage, to Grand Central.  Nap.  We had dinner out, at Rudley’s. Had hair cut today.
March 31, 1954: Breakfasted at Rudley’s at 9. Rang St Bernards,- Mr Westgate away.  Went PO on 83rd ST,- fill in and posted card to Immigration notifying new address.  Cashed a traveller’s cheque at bank.  Returned to hotel and rang St Bernards again, – success, – finally arranging to ring Mr Fry between 6.30 and 7.30 tonight. Did so. E and I had dinner. Bed.

1Dr Vincent, then director of the Huntington Hartford Foundation.

* * * * *

have met several people this year

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

April 1, 1954: E and I passed v disturbed night with diarrhoea.  I went out and got coffee in containers, and buns, for our breakfast. Beatrice (cleaner) did our room at 10.45 while we had more coffee out. Lunch at Rudley’s. Nap. I went out and bought brown hat, and then on to Village with idea of seeing Fanny,- but did not do so.  Looked in vain for place to get hat blocked and cleaned. Back to hotel by 6.30. E and I had dinner at Waldorf. Later went out and bought brioches and croissants from DuBarry’s at corner.

April 2, 1954: Interview with Mr Westgate at St Bernards School in morning, – satisfactory save for rather low salary. Lunch. Nap. Remembered must have funds over week-end so cashed withdrew further $20 traveller’s cheque. Resumed nap,- but then Mr Fles rang up.  Again resumed nap. At 5.30 telephoned Craven (had already done so after lunch and found Mr French left), – saying would ring again Monday.

April 3, 1954: Breakfast at Rudley’s.  On return found letters from McDowell, Derleth and Guggenheim,- the last being a durn-damn. Derleth set me my jacket for The Feasting Dead.  I rang Davison, and then rang Mr Westgate in definite acceptance of post at St Bernards.  Wrote and posted letters to Gannett and Derleth.  Bought percolator and crockery, and later coffee and condensed milk and brioches. Had lunch “at home”, using community kitchen for boiling water.  Before this had opened a trunk in store-room and extracted letter-files.  Nap from 3 to 4.  Went out and bought coffee pot etc.  Dinner at 7 at Waldorf.

April 4, 1954: Breakfast “at home” of coffee and brioches etc.

April 5, 1954: Shopped in morning,- tobacco, cooking utensils etc.  Strained heart while buying lemon meringue pie.  Lunch at “home” of bacon and pie.  Had rung Mrs Aronson in morning.  Nap.  More shopping etc.  E and I had dinner at Waldorf.  Bed. Posted letters to Maggie, Walter, French, Inglis, Pleasantville and Putney.

April 9, 1954: Gladys came unexpectedly. Went bank etc. Lunched at Waldorf, with Gladys.

April 15, 1954: Went to Searing Tutorial School and left testimonials etc. Pay only $2 per hr.

April 18, 1954: Easter, and very dull. E thought valuables lost at 10 am. Found again at 4 pm. No dinner.

May 14, 1954: Back at hotel and found Maggie had sent us whisky, brandy, tea and coffee. Sampled the whiskey before supper.

May 25, 1954: Gladys and Edgerton visited us in evening and took us to supper at Waldorf Cafeteria.

June 2, 1954: Back at hotel about 6.15 and found Maggie there. She left about 7.30, – giving us present of cheese and a book.

June 5, 1954: This morning E and I had stroll to yacht basin by Riverside Dr while maid was cleaning our room.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Scotch Plains, NJ
June 28, 1954

[First page missing]

You are quite right that I avoid writing about Jig and Paula. It is not that I don’t want to, but because you ask impossibly intimate questions that I have no way of answering and then accuse me of lying or concealing. For instance I have no possible way of knowing about Jig’s health. Even on the few past occasions when I visited them, I could only tell you what I saw or they volunteered. Evidently Jig told you much more when he saw you in London and this was only natural.

I can’t possibly remember how many times I saw Jig or the family since 1941. Not many and we did not discuss you or Jack or any of them. And all you wrote abut 22 years ago was completely new to me. I was either selfishly absorbed in my own first love affair and did not know what was going on or was away in Darien. Both probably.

Please forgive the tone of this letter. I am no longer angry, but still deeply hurt. I do realize that you and Jack have been and are still going through terrible times and wish I could help. Yet you have your work and you have each other which is so much much much more than many of the rest of us. It is tragic that your work is not appreciated, but isn’t that always the fate of true artists? Not that that makes it any easier!

But you have Jack’s love and I still know and have always known that love is the greatest thing in the world!

Love to you both–Always

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Brooklyn Hospital
July 5, 1954

Dearest Pavli—

No news is good news I trust, in this case, on your part.

Perhaps you already know the following—that Evelyn Scott has placed a notice in the NY Times asking anybody informed of it—to let her have the address of her son—someone sent the clipping to Gertrude—who I think mislaid it—Does Creighton know her address?

I am still here, you see—but improving—beginning practicing walking.  I still have to push a chair before me—and have a nurse beside me—but the time is near when I shall be able to go home.

I save clippings for the children without being sure that they care for them.

Love to you all
Aunt Kitty¹

1 “Aunt Kitty” (Gertrude Brownell) was Paula’s great-aunt on her mother’s side.

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

41. Farewell to all that

On 12th March 1953 Jack and Evelyn boarded the TSS Veendam of the Holland-America line en route to New York.  In the absence of correspondence from this period (the reason for this is explained in the next instalment), Jack’s detailed diary entries give a flavour of their first fortnight back in the United States.

TSS Veendam
TSS Veendam (Holland-America Line)

* * * * *

Excerpts from Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

12 March 1953:  LANDED IN USA 7.30 breakfast,- then a flurry of packing, assisted by steward.  Long waits for immigration.  Over at last and landed Hoboken about 12.  Maggie met us, left dollars etc + then went off.  We got our baggage into a couple of cabs + and got it  + ourselves to Hotel Earle for some thirty dollars!  A nice suite, but expensive, + I got the rate reduced from $8 to $7 a day.  Phoned Maggie, who will call us on Sat morning.  ‘Phoned May [Mayers], Review, Davison.  Supper at “Southern Inn”.  Back to hotel.  Bed about 10.30.  Very rainy.

13 March:  Still raining in morning.  E + I breakfasted off coffee + doughnuts at Waldorf Cafeteria.  Wrote letter to Lt Cdr St Pierre + Mr Gaszinki [sp], + air-mailed them.  Went Dept of Naturalizati0n + Immigration, 70 Columbus Avenue, then to Grand Central,-where enquired re fares etc to Los Angeles.  Then walked to Cooks  + got remaining English + Dutch money changed.  Back by subway to 14th St + found E in Waldorf Cafeteria, where we had lunch. Back to hotel where had nap.  Set out for May’s at 3.30 + reached there at 4.  Cocktails, in which Lan later joined us.  E, May + I then dined out,-v. good steak.   Returned to May’s, + finally left at 9.30 and walked back to hotel.  Bed.

14 March:  Breakfast.  Called in vain on Charlotte [Wilder], who is still in hospital,-then called in vain on Hazel + on Fanny.  Back to hotel.  Maggie called and gave me cheque for remainder of Fund money.  After she had left E + I took laundry to “Joe’s” at Bleecker St.  Lunch at Cafeteria.  Back to hotel.  Doze.  Went Davison’s, then on to Bernice Elliott’s, where we had dinner.   Back at hotel by about 11.  Bed.

15 March:  Wrote letter in morning.  Nap after lunch at cafeteria.  Typed out copies of testimonials + of house-statement.  Dinner at Hazel’s.  Walked back to hotel through pouring rain.  Bed.

16 March:  7.30 breakfast at cafeteria.  Arrived late at dentist’s (Dr C I Stoloff).  Paid him $35.  Came back to hotel.  Out again and air-mailed letters to Uncle Jim and Mr Coleman (3s/9d cheque enclosed).  Cashed Margaret’s Fund cheque at Amalgamated Bank, Union Sq, + then put most of it into new a/c at Corn Exchange Bank, 7th Ave + 14th St.  Went 25 Broad St, + had lunch with Walter who will send $75.  Back at hotel by about 3.45. Nap.  Supper at Cafeteria.  Bed.

17 March:  Paid hotel $40.70. Breakfast at cafeteria.  Posted letter to Maggie.  Went to No 1 Wall St.  Left testimonials for photostating.  Dr Stoloff 1.30 to get dentures OK.  Back to hotel.  E + I to 5th Ave Hotel for cocktails with Elmer Rice.  Called on Fanny Sammes [sp?] at 27 Greenwich Ave.  Then had supper at Southern Inn.  E unwell.  Back to hotel.  Bed.

18 March: Air-mailed cheque for £2 to Hobson.  Went downtown and saw Mr Beamand’s secretary, + then made enquiries at Hanover Bank, 70 Broadway, 7th floor re sending money to England by “letter of delegation”.  Collected Photostats + came back to hotel. Lunch at Waldorf cafeteria.  Walter’s cheque (for $70) had arrived and I paid this in to my a/c at the Corn Exchange Bank.  Collected laundry and returned to hotel.  (Our luggage has been brought up from “cellar” for repacking). Had nap till about 5.30.  E wrote letters while I smoked.  Supper.  Bed.

19 March:  Took train tickets to Grand Central for changing to later date.  Lunch at Cafeteria.  Nap.  Dawn and Cully came at 5, with whisky.  Supper.  Continued re-sorting and –packing of baggage.  Lan came to hotel with car at 9 and took luggage (+ us) to May’s,  Left 7 pieces there.  Cocktails.  E + I walked back to hotel.  Bed.

20 March:  Cheque $25 from Hal Bynner via Margaret. Have nasty cold.  Got haircut after breakfast.  Went Grand Central,-but tickets not ready yet.  Visited three teacher agencies:-Stein (no good), American + Foreign, and Albert.  Lunch at a Horn + Hardarts.  Went one more agency (Miss Watson).  Then back to hotel.  Nap.  Supper at cafeteria.  Bed.

21 March:  Breakfast.  Bought small trunk on 3rd Avenue.  Walked back to hotel with it.  Went Grand Central and changed tickets OK at last.  Posted letters from E to Miss Sillcox + to Hal Bynner.  Bought Dutch tobacco.  Back by subway + bought little parcels [?] for dentures.  “Home” to hotel.  Nap.  Supper at Dawn Parnell’s.  Joe Gallacher came in later.  Back to hotel,- bed.

23 March:  Went Grand Central + arranged for luggage (6 pieces) to be called for tomorrow.  Paid $12. Back to hotel,-then called on literary agent, Margaret Chrintra [?] at 37 Madison Ave (Madison Square hotel, Apt 1220).  Left MSS with her.  Back to hotel, + found E had already lunched.  I went out + had lunch at cafeteria.  Back to hotel.  E set off with her MSS to Mr Russell, literary agent, + returned about 4.30.  After supper we took two more pieces of baggage (purple-lined & Hazel’s) to Lan + May.  Walked back to hotel.  Bed.

24 March:  Drew money from Corn Exchange bank.  Saw Mr Beamand at 10.30 + sent $40 to my Hampstead bank via Hanover Bank, 70 Broadway.  Very rainy.  E had had her lunch when I returned, so I lunched alone.  Van came for our 6 pieces of baggage at about 2.10.  Maggie called at 2.30.  I let at 4 + got receipt from Hanover Bank.  Returned to Hotel.  E + I had supper at cafeterial.  Went to May’s.  Left 2 packages.

25 March:  Wrote + posted letter to Westminster Bank, (air-mail), + to PO Station O, 217 W 18 ST re re-direction + letter from E to Paul, c/o Doubleday’s.  Registered at British Consulate.  Confirmed spelling of ‘Christie’.  Called on Mrs Walcott at St Luke’s School re teaching post notified by Albert Agency.  Finished packing + topping.  Lunch of stuffed pappers.  Taxi to Grand Central.  Left on ‘Pacemaker’ at 3 pm. ‘Dinner’ of a sandwich each + coffee cost us $2.50 plus 40c tip. Very little sleep.

26 March: Arrived Chicago 7.30 am.  Checked some baggage at Dearborn Station + breakfasted off bacon + eggs at ‘The Streamliner’.  Returned to Dearborn Station.  Wired Dr. Vincent.  Posted letter from E to Hal Smith.  Smoked in waiting-room. Left Chicago on ‘El Capitan’, 5.45.  Drunken man a nuisance.

27  March: On train all day.  Drunken man got off at Albuquerque.

28 March:  Breakfast at 6.  Got off train at Los Angeles at 7.15.  Contacted Huntington Hartford driver.  Got 5 of our 6 pieces of luggage from station, + were driven to the Foundation.  Had coffee.  Unpacked.  Lunch brought to our cottages at 12.30. Rang up station + found we have to pay $41 excess to get wardrobe trunk. Nap till 5. Supper at 6.  Got 2 blankets,-but heat not functioning.  E wrote ‘Min Tom’, + I put the letter in mail-box. Bed

JM diary 12 Mar 53
Jack Metcalfe’s diary entry for March 12, 1953

* * * * *

Jack’s financial problems were not resolved with the final payments from the Evelyn Scott Fund, and before they could leave London for New York, it was necessary to Jack to clear the debts arising from his ownership of No 26, a process that continued well into the 1950s as the attached correspondence shows. Inflation since the late 1950s has increased the value of these amounts:  £100 pounds in 1958 would be worth roughly £2200 in today’s money.

Warning to readers in the US:  At the time of this correspondence  British currency was “old money”:  pounds, shillings and pence.  There were 20 shillings to the pound, and 12 pence to the shilling, and these were written in the form £pp.ss.pp, the components separated by full stops.  In order to make sense of the figures it is probably easiest to ignore all figures after the first full stop.
In July 1952, Jack enclosed the following statement of his financial liabilities in a letter to Margaret DeSilver.  This includes a reference to the “Carnegie Fund”:  the charitable payment made to Jack and intended to cover the expenses associated with their residency at the Hartford Harrington Foundation in California.

* * * * *

Statement of debts which must be cleared before leaving England

Sheet enumerating specific debts which must be cleared before we can extricate ourselves from stay in England:

Gas owed at the moment—further quarter’s bill will  not be due until Sept 18th

129.18. 9

Repair of wall:  still owe Hobson

55.17. 6

Repair of roof:  still owe Taylor

10. 0. 0

Repair of floors removal of shelter—this is the work now under way, the estimate is approximate but can’t be more and is being done with proven real concern to cut the costs when possible Colman

45. 0. 0

Income Tax, approximate—have asked chartered accountant for statement—Preston

130. 0. 0

370.16. 3

or approximately $1033

Apart from Income Tax, could probably just manage to “get away” with the payment of half of debts now deferring remainders for instalments sent when we are free of the house.  Income-tax, however, as you probably realize must be paid in full and is in arrears.  Remember this house is taxed on its rentals and the frozen rents began this situation.

The Carnegie fund $500 was disbursed on house-debts and instalments on rugs and a few other things for renting as soon as it arrived, recently.  We haven’t bought any clothes or personal articles of apparel etc yet.  I am still wearing the shoes too worn-out to re-soled.  This is typical of conditions during these eight years since 1945.

Half the payments on non-income or tax debts plus full income tax as above would be about 250 pounds or $700.

* * * * *

After their return to New York Jack engaged in an effort to finally clear his debts and to sell the property that had proved to be such a millstone. The following correspondence between Jack and Mr Brimblecombe of Match & Co, the managing agents whom Jack had retained for years to manage the house and its lettings, set the finances out in great detail.  This correspondence highlights the consequences of Jack’s rash decision to install, unmetered, gas central heating and hot water in all the flats:  As Mr Brimblecombe points out several times, the cost of the gas represents the greatest part of Jack’s indebtedness.  The correspondence refers to the “furnished flat” (the flat occupied by Jack and Evelyn and rented, furnished, to tenants on their departure for the US) and the “unfurnished flats” or the three flats which were let out to tenants.

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

Match & Co, Ltd
14 & 15 College Crescent
South Hampstead, NW 3
October 22, 1959

W J Metcalfe, Esq
The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
222 West 77th Street
New York 24, NY USA

Dear Mr Metcalfe,

re:  26 Belsize Crescent, NW3

Thank you for your letter of the 21st instant which I showed to Mr Jellis as he has been managing the property for a number of years, and I cannot do better than enclose his comments.

You will see, therefore, that you are under a misapprehension as to the costs involved in running this property and unfortunately the net income is nothing like £697 as stated by you.  As you will see from Mr Jellis’ report, the true net income is approximately £328 per annum.  This is subject to income tax and does not take into account any repairs of a major nature, replacements or repairs of furniture in the furnished flat, or loss of income whilst the furnished flat is vacant, and in considering these figures you must really bear in mind we are now obtaining for all of the flats  to-day’s true market rents and there is little likelihood of the net figure ever being increased.

In working out the figures, we have only allowed £100 a year for repairs which, on a building of this size, is small and if building costs do increase it might mean a further reduction in the net income.

Unfortunately, you are not now in a position to purchase the Freehold.  The Company who did buy the Freeholds from the Church Commissioners have now sold sufficient and are not prepared to consider disposing of any more.  This means that you must treat your investment on an investment basis only and bear in mind that the present term has only 18 years to run.

Taking into account the repairing covenants under your Lease, and here again I must emphasise that it is a full repairing one, this means complete re-decoration at the end of the term.  Depreciation is extremely high.  Taking a figure of only £2500 as the purchase price, this would mean, even ignoring interest, that this capital sum would be reduced each year by £140 and no tax allowance is ever made on a sinking fund.  In other words, if one takes the figures as supplied as being correct, you have a net income of £328 and with income tax at the standard rate, say £110, this leaves you approximately £200 a year and if yo deduct the loss of capital each year of £140 it seems that your true net income is negligible.

I do feel, as I have stated in my previous letters, that it is in your interests to see as if you do keep the property I cannot see any real income for you in the years to come.

Yours sincerely,
L S Brimblecombe

[The following is the attachment referred to in the letter above.]

 re:  26 Belsize Crescent

SECTION I

(a)  The rent of the furnished flat includes rates and water, central heating and constant hot water.

Net Rent   £409.10. 0

Less rates and water

£ 60.14. 5

1 qtr of central heating and hot water

110. 0. 0

£170.14. 5

Net income

£248.15. 7

(b)  The increased rents for the unfurnished flats are exclusive of rates and water, but inclusive of the cost of hot water and central heating.

SECTION II

(a) Electricity  The cost for the past year has been £2.10.0.  This, of course, covers only the landings and staircase.  Electricity in respect of the furnished flat is paid by the tenant.

Ground Rent  £32.2.0.  This is the gross amount before deduction of tax.

Water Rate  Furnished flat only—£4.12.5 per year.  This is the only charge payable by the landlord.

Insurance  £14.10.0.  This includes insurance of the furniture in the furnished flat.

(b) Gas  The new rents for the unfurnished flats include the cost of hot water and central heating, but are exclusive of rates and water.  The net increase, therefore, is not as much as £226  per year, as mentioned by Mr Metcalfe.

(c) Rates  The sum of £28.10.0 is for one half-year’s general rate in respect of the furnished flat.

SECTION III  Income Tax  The amounts shown as having been paid are agreed, but Mr Metcalfe’s accountants have not yet settled all tax liability for periods beyond 1945/55.  However, we have recently paid on the accountant’s instructions £142.1.9 representing the tax they have agreed for the years 1955/56 and 1958/59.  They are still negotiated with the Inspector of Taxes concerning the years 1956/57 and 1957/58.

SCHEDULE OF INCOME AND EXPENSES submitted by Mr Metcalfe

INCOME  The rent of the furnished flat is £409.10.0 (the sum of £419.8.0 includes telephone rent, which is not included in the schedule of outgoings).  The total income is, therefore, £1079.10.0.

OUTGOINGS

General rate of furnished flat

£ 56. 2. 0

Water rate furnished flat

     4.12. 5

Gas

  440. 0. 0

(All borne by landlord.  New unfurnished lettings are inclusive of the charge for gas.  The Housing Repairs and Rent Act 1954 does not apply to these lettings.)
Cleaner

32.10. 0

Cleaning material

4.10. 0

Insurance-building and furniture in furnished flat

14.10. 0

Staircase lighting

2.10. 0

Ground rent and garden rent

32. 2. 0

(Gross figure before tax deducted.)
Commission—Unfurnished flats: 5% of £670.0.0

33.10. 0

Furnished flat 7 ½% of £409.10.0

30.14.03

£751. 0. 0

This leaves a net income subject to tax of £328.0.0.

* * * * *

To L Brimblecombe, Match & Co

September 21, 1959

Dear Mr Brimblecombe,

Re: 26, Belsize Crescent, NW3

I.  I thank you for your letter LSB/JMC dated 8th September 1959, but am somewhat aghast at the figures given, and would need clarification of certain points before reaching a decision.

The position now as compared with the position just before I left England in ’53 has been improved by

(a) Letting of furnished flat at £419.8.0 (Since, previously, I occupied it myself “rent-free”

(b) Increased rents under Rent Act, gaining me £226.

(c) Recent termination of mortgage, relieving me of £210 p.a.

These three improvements total £855.8.0.

From ’39 to ’53 the house remained “solvent”, at least/.

I am getting £419.8.0 for the Garden Flat; and I wasn’t then (i.e. before leaving England).  I am getting an increase in rents of £226; and I wasn’t then.  I am relieved of the £210 mortgage; which I wasn’t then. . .

II.  Notes on certain specific points in attached list

(a) My figures for Electricity, Ground Rent, Water and Insurance are those for ’52.  Electricity and Water may now be higher, but not Insurance or Ground Rent.  Regarding Ground Rent, I used to pay Messrs Willett a quarterly sum of £4.9.3.

(b) GAS (and most importantly)
Under the Housing Repairs and Rent Act, 1954, tenants pay the increase in cost of services over (in my case) the 1939 figure.

III.  Apart from Schedule A and from Repairs etc, there should be, according to my figures, a yearly profit of nearly £700.

IV.  Certainly there will be some considerable expenses, the heaviest of these, for painting, re-pointing etc, having to be met quite soon, say during the next three years.  Putting these really major expenses at, say, £540, this would mean, on average, £180 pa for the next three years, cutting down profit, during those next three years, to £410 (£590 les £180) pa.

In ensuing years the repair expenses should not be so heavy—say £100 pa—leaving a yearly profit of £490.

My profits over the next eighteen years should therefore be:–

3 years at £410 £1230
15 years at £490 £7350
£8580

If these figures are anywhere near correct I should think more than twice before selling the house.

V.  It remains my hope, especially, to accumulate enough to purchase, if possible, the Freehold.  You will recall that it was offered me, shortly before I left England in early ’53, for £1300—and how I wished I had been able, then, to acquire it!  (See my letters of Novr 16 ’52 and Feb 13 ’53, and yours to me of Novr 18th, ’52.)

However we return to England we would not necessarily re-occupy the Garden Flat.  Our idea might well be to find cheaper accommodation in the neighbourhood, leaving the Garden Flat at least for a time still let,—and while also I resumed employment at my old school.  The figures I have given would thus be left undisturbed.

VI.  To sum up:–

The points I stress and on which I want enlightenment are:

(a) Gas has always been the most worrying item of expenditure,—and your quarterly statements, of course, do not show, in detail, how the gross gas-bill was diminished by the Tenants’  Contribution of £165.1.10.

Before the passing of the Act my tenants paid me, under a “gentleman’s agreement”, a voluntary contribution towards the constantly increasing gas expenses,—which contribution was, however, always considerably less than what I might equitably have asked.

Since 1954 the contribution has become mandatory instead of voluntary, and I would like to be assured that my tenants have actually been paying this since ’54, as this is not, of course, apparent in your quarterly statements.

Quoting again from your letter to me of 1st July 1954, in which you told me how the provisions of this Act applied to a particular instance:–

At the present time Mrs Hopper” (one of my then tenants) “is paying £30 per year towards the cost of services, and we therefore propose that the rent should be increased by a further £11.5.6.”

There is, further, the question of possible extravagance on my tenants’ part while I am not there to control, in person, the setting of the gas-clocks.  The price per unit no doubt has gone on rising, but not, I hope, the consumption, in therms.  Your quarterly statements, naturally, do not tell me this.

(b)   The question of acquiring the Freehold (dependent on all of the foregoing)

With all good wishes,
Yours sincerely,
W J Metcalfe

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

October 22, 1959

Dear Mr Metcalfe,

re:  26 Belsize Crescent, NW3

We have been carefully considering whether it would be in your interests to sell the above.  We would like to draw your attention to the following:

1) Even with the increased rents the true net income is extremely small.  From our figures the gross income is about £1080, but the outgoings are over £700 a year and after payment of Schedule ‘A’ Tax, we doubt very much whether you receive more than £150 a year on the property, and this does not take into consideration any sinking fund for loss of capital or for dilapidations at the end of the term.

2)  The present Lease has now only 18 years to run.  It is, therefore, a rapidly decreasing asset and it might be that in a few years time the lease will be so short that you would be unable to see even if you so desired.

3) It must also be borne in mind that we  are dealing with a house now which is about 80 years old and the cost of maintenance is extremely high.  Owing to the very low rents obtained since the war, it has not been possible to repair the house and it will be necessary to spend quite a large sum on it during the next few years to put the house in good condition.  As you know, the Freeholders are already insisting that the exterior be repainted and from a brief inspection made by our Surveyor, there are several other items in need of attention, such as pointing, repair of window frames, doors, re-decoration of the staircase etc.

In other words, apart from ordinary maintenance, there is in our view a figure of something like £500 to be spend on the house during the next two or three years.  This means that the whole of the income is going to be swallowed up for at least three years and then you are left with a house with only a 15-year term.

We gather that your Accountants are sending you a full report as it is their view, as well as our own, that you would be very wise to try and find a purchaser.

With regard to price, it is a little difficult to say but we should imaging that the house in its present condition would be worth something in the region of £2000.  Thus sum could, of course, be invested by you with 5-6% interest and you would have no worries and your capital would remain in tact.

Perhaps you would like to consider the matter and let us have your views.

Yours sincerely,
L S Brimblecombe

 * * * * *

To L Brimblecombe, Match & Co.

October 5, 1959

Dear Mr Brimblecombe,

Re:  26, Belsize Crescent, NW3

Further to my letter of 1st October, which replied to one only (re painting estimates) of your two letters dated 25th September, I now take up again the question of the possible sale of the house, with which your second letter was concerned.

I see, of course, from Mr Jellis’s figures, that I was wrong in my own estimate of income, but before coming to a decision would like to make the following queries.

(a) Gas remains the villain of the piece.  It appears that the Rent Act, in my case, took away with one hand much of what it had given with the other.  The Rent Act increased my rents by £226 but deprived me of the £41.5.6 per unfurnished flat collectable from tenants under the Housing and Repairs Act 1954.  I had had no idea until now that this was so, and it does certainly rather upset the apple-cart.

(b)  Considering the fact that (with a present total gas-bill of £440) no less than £110 per flat, for this one item, must be borne by the landlord, I feel that, from the landlord’s point of view, the present rents are uneconomic.  In the instance of an unfurnished flat let at £225 virtually one half of his goes in gas alone,—and worse, of course, if gas-prices still increase.

My now unfurnished lettings, after the passing of the Rent Act, were for a period of three years, now beginning to draw towards its termination.

What are the prospects of an increase of these rents when the three-years period has elapsed?

Other landlords, besides myself, who provide central heating, will be feeling the pinch of exorbitant fuel-costs and will undoubtedly have to raise their rents; so why not I:  Since I bought the house, the gas-bill has more than quadrupled itself!

(c) None the less, the position now, as compared with the position in early 1953 when I left England, should show the following improvements:

(i) £226 increase in rents under Rent Act
less the £125.16.6 formerly collectable from three flats (at £41.5.6 per flat) under the Housing & Repairs Act 1954

£ 102. 3. 6

(ii) Net income, by Mr Jellis’s figures, from furnished flat .

£248.15. 7

(iii)  Relief from mortgage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

£210. 0. 0

£560.19. 1

I still cannot quite see (without at all contesting Mr Jellis’s figures) how so much of this gross gain of £560 odd has been absorbed an nullified by other, adverse, developments.

(d) Agreeing, however, the figure of £328 as the net income for the whole house, subject to tax, and calling the tax £100 pa, a “net-net” income of £228 pa would remain.  Eighteen years of this would represent £4104.

(e) The approximate figure, mentioned in your letter of September 8th, of £2000 as a selling-price for the house “in its present condition” would be disappointingly low.

If I did sell, my intention would be to leave the capital intact (and gathering utterly safe interest) until I returned to England.  I should then plan to use the money, or most of it, in purchasing some smaller place in, or within easy reach of, London (even as far out, perhaps, as Southend or Brighton, though I hope not).

Please forgive these personal details,—but the feeling of eventually having our own roof-tree is, of all things, most important to me.

For a somewhat higher price than £2000 (when the painting job is done that, anyhow, should increase the value of the house) this might be possible.

I should be deeply obliged to you if you could give me, quite unofficially and as a personal favour, even the roughest kind of idea as to the possibilities of purchasing a small freehold for, say, from £2000 to £2500.

With all good wishes,
Yours sincerely,
W J Metcalfe

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

November 10, 1959

Dear Mr Metcalfe,

Re:  26 Belsize Crescent, NW3

As you know, we act for the Freeholders of the above and they have instructed us to put forward an offer of £2250 for your interest, subject to contract.  They will be paying our fees so this figure would be net to you.  They have also asked us to state that they would be quite prepared to delay completion if this would suit you, say, until next June.  This would, therefore, give you the benefit of the rents for another six months.

I do not know if this is their last work but I would be only too pleased to approach them again to see if I could get a slightly better offer, though I did not think they would exceed £2500.

You will remember that I have written to you fully on several occasions stating that in my view it would be in your own interest to sell, especially having regard to the fact that the income you receive is now very small and you are faced with the fact of having a very short leasehold property which will depreciate rapidly if you retain the premises.

I hope by now you have received a full report from your Accountant and I await your instructions,.

Yours sincerely,
L Brimblecombe

* * * * *

To L Brimblecombe, Match & Co

November 14, 1959

Dear Mr Brimblecombe,

Re: 26 Belsize Crescent, NW3

I.  Many thanks for your letter LSB/JMC dated October 22nd 1959, which I am sure gives a very clear, fair and well-considered picture of the position.

In view of all you say I have now decided to seek a purchaser for the property at a price of £2500 (Two thousand, five hundred pounds).

Supposing the £2500 to be obtained, I should do as you suggest,—invest in 5% gilt-edged.  I could then, as you also point out, realise at any time after we returned to England for the purpose of buying a property.  It was never my idea to re-invest in property now.

II.  Meanwhile, and if the house is still unsold for £2500 near the time when the present unfurnished letting-agreements will expire, I do think we should very seriously consider the question of increasing the rents.

I am most indebted to you for the careful thought that you have given to the matter.

Yours sincerely,
W J Metcalfe

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

Match & Co
November 17, 1959

Dear Mr Metcalfe,

re:  26 Belsize Crescent

Thank you for your letter of the 14th instant which crossed my recent letter.

I am pleased to say that I have spoken to my Clients and they have instructed me to say that they are prepared to pay £2500, subject to contract, and I gather from your letter that at this figure you would like to proceed.

Perhaps, therefore, you would let me know the name of the Solicitor who will be acting for you and also when you would like completion.

With regard to the re-investment of the capital you may be aware that most Local Authorities, including the Hampstead Borough Council, are now offering 5½% and this, of course, is not only gilt-edge but you are in a position to withdraw your money at any time.  As a matter of interest I have asked the Local Authority to send you full details, although naturally it is up to you to invest where you think best.

I await to hear from you.
Yours sincerely,
pp L S  Brimblecombe

* * * * *

It appears that the house was finally sold in late 1959, although there is no information as to the eventual buyer who probably decided, due to its poor condition and the likely cost of maintenance if it were to be kept as a dwelling house, to sell the house to a property developer.  In any case, when I decided in 2005 to visit Belsize Crescent to see the property for myself I was surprised to find not a spacious Edwardian family dwelling on a generous corner plot but a 1960s block of flats bearing the uninspiring name of “Akenfield House”.  A sad end to part of London’s literary history.

26 Belsize Crescent - google maps
Site of 26 Belsize Crescent [Google street view–image taken July 2017]

 

 

 

 

 

40. The house at Number 26.

The finances of Jack Metcalfe’s property at 26 Belsize Crescent were the main reason for the poverty experienced by Evelyn and Jack in not only their day-to-day spending but in financing their return to the United States. This brief summary of the relevant aspects of British housing tenure will make these more intelligible to an American audience.

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of property ownership in England: “freehold”, where ownership is of the building and the land upon which it stands; and “leasehold”, where the owner has title to the building, but not the land:  the land is leased from a landowner and on which an annual rent (ground rent) is paid. Leasehold has its origins in feudal land ownership: the 17th century saw reforms to this system, and the wealthy institutions of the time, the Crown, the Church of England and the colleges of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge acquired much of the land. The Church and the University Colleges in particular owned large tracts in London and as this land was developed into housing, the ground rents payable by the eventual owners (“leaseholders”) of these dwellings provided the landowners with significant income.

26 Belsize Crescent was a leasehold property, and the ground rent was payable to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England (the “Church Commissioners”). However, Jack not only owned the building but, as a landlord, had certain statutory responsibilities to his tenants, mainly keeping their flats in good repair. Further, because of the severe housing shortage during and after the war, the Rent Restrictions Act was brought in to protect the rights of tenants, including restrictions on the circumstances under which rents could be increased. Broadly, it was not possible under the Rent Restrictions Act for Jack to increase his tenants’ rents, even with rising costs and the need to pay for repairs to bomb damage.

When Jack bought the property with the intention of converting it into four flats and using the rental income from the flats on the three upper floors to subsidise their living expenses, he made a major error in installing gas central heating and hot water throughout the property. It was normal at that time for there to be individual coin-operated meters (“shilling meters”) in flats, calibrated to not only recover the cost of the gas used but also an element of profit for the landlord. Jack did not install these separate meters. At that time, central heating was an expensive novelty, and inclusive central heating and hot water in a rented flat almost unheard of: the tenants must have enjoyed this luxury at Jack;s expense. Because of the Rent Restrictions Act, he could not recoup the rising cost of this luxury by raising the rents.

Evelyn refers on a number of occasions to the threat of eviction from their home. Jack’s debts could have resulted in his being taken to court. If a court had found that he was liable to pay, and his creditors were not willing make any arrangement for payment over time, it is possible that the court could order the house be sold and the debts paid from the proceeds of the sale. This is not the same as being evicted, and although the Metcalfes could have stayed in their home until such time as a sale went through, the end result, of losing their home, would have been the same.

This story begins as the Evelyn Scott Fund has been opened, and Jack has secured a 6-month residency at the Huntington Hartford Foundation in Pacific Palisades, California.

26 belsize cres
Jack standing in front of 26 Belsize Crescent, London NW3

To Margaret DeSilver

26 Belsize Crescent
June 8, 1952

My Dear Maggie,

Further to my last, I still see no exit from an indefinite impasse (I hope not too prolonged) until we can get just straight enough here, on this side, to flit.  This has always, unfortunately, been an integral and unavoidable part of my attempted return to the States, and the necessitarian order (read backwardly as it were from effect to cause) is as follows:-

(i) To return I must get a fresh visa.

(ii) To get a fresh visa I must satisfy the consul more fully, he says, about “means”.

(iii) To satisfy him I must have the flat in what I should call (to you, not to him) a “minimum lettable” condition; and, also, pay off income tax and all non-postponable debts.1

Some debts I could, by guile, run away from temporarily and settle later, out of rent from the flat etc.  Others I could not.  For instance our move could not be carried out so nocturnally and stealthily that it would not be observed, for instance, by the builder who repaired the wall, and by another who has recently repaired part of the roof; and literal fisticuffs on the doorstep might ensue.  The gas bill of £170, if I had not to wait for, possibly, a further six weeks or so for the crediting to my account of the Carnegie money could just be met by that; but by the time it is credited a further quarter’s gas bill will have come in.  Tenants’ rents are absorbed by Rates (over £200 a year) and mortgage (also over £200) and by water rate, electricity, insurance, etc.

I plan to evade (temporarily) as much as I possibly can (while still presenting some sort of show to the consul) and make a get-away as soon as my visa is granted; and as soon as I can be in a position to give reasonable notice at the school (I can’t just run out on them because I must have a good testimonial; otherwise the chance of teaching jobs in US is killed).  The consul, as preliminary to the further consideration of my application for a fresh visa, will no doubt want to know the amount which Evelyn has in the Fund;—but even if it were a million I should still have to make some sort of minimum and, as I say, guileful settlement here in order to make the first physical steps towards a move.

The minimum boat fare, I have found out, is £57 each for just the passage; but what the fare from New York to Pacific Palisades is I have yet to ascertain.  One stipulation of the Huntingdon Hartford’s granting of the Fellowships was that we should each be medically examined; and this would be done in New York.

At the moment (and thanks entirely to the Rent Restrictions Act) we are completely hamstrung financially.  I have tried for three years to sell the house and had no offer

I hope these difficulties may be surmounted.  I feel that, so to speak, we are, thanks to your really noble help dear Maggie, three quarters of the way there;—but the remaining quarter of the way (actually the first quarter) has these problems, which, indeed, I am not exaggerating.

Very much love, from
Jack

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

June 9, 1952

Please, oh, please read this with Jack’s letter of today, carefully as soon as you have it—there really are reasons!

Maggie darling: 1952 Now November 7 months since sent

Will you please believe that the factual letters like this in which explicitness is requested are not “nagger’s” letters and are implicitly as filled with the signs of gratitude as the letters we went before this which were just the registering of our emotional out-going!

We are not made of dough, putty, or india rubber; and we can’t at one and the same moment be kicked in the arse as author: and congratulated on our distinguished “pasts”.  I couldn’t go west to Pacific Palisades with everything of greatest importance up in the air and accomplish anything whatever.  To suggest it seems to be defeating every generosity to us.

The other thing about California is that I would rather—again—drop dead in my tracks where I am, than put six thousand miles between myself and every human I love most bar Jack himself, except temporarily. 1952 November—return East must be guaranteed or aim lost

Jig and Paula have moved to otilostrasse 22, Graefelfing bei Munich  Jig and Pavla have no money to come here from Munich.  I had hoped on their arrival some means would be found for allowing us to meet again here.  But the few hundred miles between us here, will already—as far as boat fares go—be three thousand when we land in New York.  And in California, unless one is fully guaranteed—job in the East, lectures for Jack, or any comparable method—the return fare to the East, one is likely—very likely my dear Mag and this really is a most serious problem—to repeat, in California, a marooning such as we have endured here, and with Jack’s house and his tenure on it such as it is, six thousand miles further off.

Any lacks in this letter please blame on the fact that the day the good news came I had to go to bed with an attack of combined “grippe” and bladder irritation.  I had the last similar experience soon after I arrived in London in 1932.  The aches and pains were so persistent that Jack’s medical uncle called in a consultant who specialized in such things.  But he was a good doctor in my view as he just said go to bed and stay on a light diet for a while—and that was all.  But that cost five pounds so I am now preferring to utilize the same advice, as that was twenty years ago and I never had any serious recurrence of any such complaint since.

We hope to arrive very well again and present NO problems in health or—with books—no serious problems in money.

Love Evelyn

Marion is trying to help again with second-hand clothes.  Still have not had money to alter coat—sent 3 years ago—so just hope. What to do to make flat habitable is some problem. We also have to buy trunks—mine collapsed completely, and I also have not even a change-purse and need bag for Passports.  And again shoes as these cannot be mended.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

[June 29, 1952]

[First two pages missing] I am bothered to know what to do know what can be done by way of finding us a roof should we arrive in the autumn when people are just returning to town.   I would prefer to be anywhere we were most likely to see Jig and Pavla. But we will have to ask Pacific Palisades for a postponement it now seems, anyhow, and we don’t yet know when Jig and Pavla are likely to return home.  Everything is still up in the air, so that decision at our end is slow, as we know it must be at yours.

Some of the details might be worked out on our arrival in New York were we sure of a roof for some weeks, and—first of all, of course—sure of enough money to cover the situation as it is by then.  We can’t move from here, however, until the most essential things are done and the renting of the flat arranged-for.  We would like American tenants if there are any.  Because we hope to rent the flat vultures all trying to peck, as Jack says

But if you don’t lose interest in us Maggie darling we will keep our dander or pecker of what-you-will up and won’t succumb to discouragements that CAN be overcome.   This business of not allowing us to earn anything by normal methods has to be stopped somehow or we can’t win.  I do think we deserve to win out and with Jig and Pavla, and that the winning will be the victory of Margaret De Silver and her generous real heart and imagination is the truth.

Your really loving and grateful
Evelyn for Jack

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

July 4, 1952

Maggie darling:

I hope you don’t blench at the sight of a letter from me!  But everything has been left so vague and “in the air” as to the fund that we would appreciate any specific clarification. And though Jack calls you “Mrs Atlas” and we both know you can do just so much, I think it is necessary that you and fund contributors have the full complete truth, so that no one need be under any misapprehensions as to why we dont sail as soon as asked.

I mentioned a rotten despoilation of carpets by mould and fungi.  These were good carpets intact, of better quality than can be bought now and in any case would cost a fortune to replace.  But we thought that our troubles were ended when we removed these, and I sandpapered the unpainted boards, covered them with dryer and stained them.  And has it not been that wainscot required mending we would have remained in ignorance of the catastrophic fact that was revealed when the boards—one or two at first, then others—were taken up.  The two rooms attacked were devasted [sic] underneath.  Although the flooring superficially appeared okay, this horrible white paddy stuff—it grew fungi here and there on top—had destroyed the undersides of half the boards in one room and all in the other; half the wainscot in one room and all in the other, and half a window-frame.2

It now eventuates that this same thing has attacked about ninety percent of all the houses in Hamstead, and is most commonly encountered in those with gardens.  Apparently it was unknown before the war: and though I twice before heard the word “dry-rot” mentioned by workmen, no one elucidated it as a serious danger or said that this single type of mould produced it in this serious degree.  The joints under the rotted boards, also, have rotten in part, and two articles of furniture and two pieces of baggage—all saved we hope and think by creosote treatments and dryer—also had slight touches of it.  It really is shameful that the house-owners have not had public information and warnings on this subject.  As there has been so much of it there should be brochures circulating telling people, and informing them of safeguards.  As it spreads rapidly when neglected, had we known the danger-signals a few months ago we might possibly have saved most of the lumber, instead of a smallish part. The floor was wrongly constructed in the small room, as concrete was laid on most of it and the boards over that, and the circulation of air is death to this fungi and mould.  And this has figures, also, in the room in which the lodger was, and where there should have been ventilation bricks underneath on the side where the mould started

This may make dull reading, Maggie my dear, but you will realize its practical import to us.  Four pounds went on dryer and stain wasted by me, in my ignorance, on those rotten boards.   As we had no money to do everything at once we had hoped to have a tenant in or arranged for before we were put to heavy expense.  The common sense of the very excellent builder who is working here and is the most decent one we have met here in Hamstead has suggested the [air raid] shelter brick can be used to concrete the rotten portions of the other floor and so save money by combining the jobs.  He is really scrupulous in this respect and we are grateful to him for actually concerning himself with this aspect of our situation.  But when we will be able to get everything straight enough to leave the house we haven’t so far any idea.  There are the debts Jack has mentioned to clear up and they will be more slowly paid off because of this.

Of course I suppose—considering the retrospects of hardships—we might have known it.  A crisis was due as soon as we had any hope of renting at last and getting out and possibly home.  I still say possibly—!  Jack was almost in despair about it a few nights ago, but feels a little better now there is a very moderate estimate and the small pieces of luggage attacked seem likely to be saved.  But it has been a hard blow.

He also has to go to the dentist’s to “celebrate” the Fourth of July, and this is like an ultra bit of cruelty in view of the number of problems pending.  Of course we wish some of the fund money could be applied to this—but of course there must be enough to cover going home if it is to help us in our objective.  But in any event, I feel you and Waldo and Lewis and Hal Smith or anyone who is helping should know we are stuck and why and won’t be able to leave until Jack has more money from some source.

All we can ever say is that our gratitude is genuine and profound.

Everyone who knows of the fund is full of praise for you.  We will never be able to offer any return except as authors, and so to me the fund itself makes it the more essential that we find publishers and some method of continuing to write here.  This is the sort of happier life we would like to have Jig and Pavla with Cyril and his present wife share—our being there helping them too.

Our love Evelyn for Jack too

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:
July 17, 1952: Letter from Maggie to say $500 being sent.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver


July 18, 1952

Maggie my dear:

I hope you have had some restorative rest from all worries already, because I cannot possibly avoid pressing you for help and even positive information as to the fund for me, and what we are to expect in regard to money and going home.

Tooth-pulling coincided!—Jack’s!—Do you wonder I say life for us is still hell! Waldo should be ashamed not to have acknowledged Jack’s letter about “Island in the Atlantic”!

Perhaps, because you have done so much already, you feel, at moments, the one way you can safeguard your peace of mind is to temporarily ignore everyone’s distress.  But we are—also temporarily I hope—in worse chaos than ever before; income tax arrears are pressing Jack again rather frighteningly; the house down in the flat is still torn to bits by the removal of the floors and shelter and work left half-finished; we have, within a week or two at most, to write to the Huntington Hartford Foundation something definite as to when or whether we are to utilize their invitation and what to say about the request for postponing it; we can’t make any Consular moves about Jack’s re-entry permit and his re-application for it, until we know how much money will be available for me and so of possible use for both when we arrive until you and the contributors to the fund are willing to be candid.  I suppose it isn’t much, but I really meant that we must know positively or it remains like waste as far as I go.

I hope you read my letter before this describing bloody fungi which attacked the floor boards in rooms that had insufficient ventilation in the under bricks, and been made worse by my dread of trespassers which has become such that I often keep windows shut when they would be better open, because I could almost scream at the recurrent sight of any Hamstead’s rotten, ratty, nuisance-making riff-raff.

This fungi causes dry-rot in wood and carpets.  When the two good carpets and underfelts were attacked and thrown away, some wainscot attacked was torn out and the truth discovered.  The removal of two floors necessitated rubble and to save money the builder tore down the shelter.  This has left the reception hall open at last—seventeen by ten added to the house.

This 17 by 10 space, when you saw the place last year, was blocked.  Now the entrance to the flat is airy and spacious and there is room for a dining table—we have an old second-hand bought for a guinea before the war, but no chairs—and one also has perspectives of the rooms and can see their arrangement on entering.

This would greatly assist rentals.  But of course mid-way in work that showers the whole flat with cement dust—it began two weeks ago—something happened about arrangements to get it done rapidly, and it drags on yet.  And we cannot yet pay for re-doing the walls which are damaged by the shelter’s removal, and were already damaged in the smaller room re-floored with cement and have been damaged decidedly by the work in the larger room cemented.

Our idea is to do what we can and see whether any renter would pay some in advance to complete the job and deduct it from the rent—but it would have to be slow as the rent must pay the gas heat.

WE WOULD NOT HAVE BEGUN THE RE-FLOORING BUT THAT fungii spreads quickly—we saw that on the carpets—and it was endangering the house.  It has—as I wrote you—attacked ninety percent of Hamstead’s flats with gardens where ventilation was imperfect.  Trespassers have compelled me to do precisely the opposite of what is normal to me; work with closed windows and artificial light.  Jack likes artificial light but I never in a closed room in my life before.

If we had ever been able to buy sash curtains and replace at least some of the iron bars that were removed from the windows by Hamstead borough when the front gate went, on the basis of “free exits during bomb hits”, many of the dilapidations, including the fungii, might not have occurred: nuisances contributed more to this even than worry.  I have written clearly before in my life when worried, but I cannot write where nuisances persist.

We will clear out the house somehow if we can just pay the most pressing bills and KNOW where we stand in respect to going home. Then—as Jack has said—send small sums here as we can to keep up maintenance until it can be sold and not just taken away at a total loss, as has heretofore been the case.

Poor darling Maggie I don’t want to ask more but WHAT are we to do?

Love and gratitude prevail—Cyril will agree yes, darling Maggie, I don’t want to ask more—but what in hell’s name are we to do?  Our lives and the lives of Jig Pavla Denise Fredrick Mathew Julia are actually economically at stake.  Evelyn

* * * * *
To Margaret DeSilver

July 18, 1952

Darling Maggie-Margretta-Margaret-Maggie:

I have just written the letter that I send with this, and the fund money is now announced.  Your letter respecting it was in the afternoon mail.  But on reflecting on the value of full, clear information on every situation and circumstances whenever it is possible to provide it, I have decided to send on the account of the work on the house which can now be concluded no doubt, and have re-emphasized the matter of the guarantees as to the job for Jack and some guarantees as to publishing us both which will make our livings certain before we sail.  It must be both—it requires both more than ever in these days to make authorship a go practically when people are as serious as we are.

Yes we have to land as authors, even with the teaching job secured in advance.  We can’t go on miscast in limbo.

You are superlatively fine about everything Maggie darling.  If I can find any way to make very public our specific great indebtedness to our courageous, loyal, generous, perspicacious and most, most genuine friend, Margaret De Silver, I will certainly do so.  Jack with me will enjoy doing so when we can.

Yes, positively some small hotel—private hotel—is, as you say, the best we could do for a temporary sojourn in NY to clear up some of the incomprehension as to the publishing situation, the mangling of that 1948 mss, and so on.  The sooner we are able to go the better once the repair work goes far enough to guarantee decent rent, as when we get out the gas bill will be helped by rental and while we are here we are, so to speak, a liability to ourselves.

Marion Sheffield’s box of second-hands arrived today, too, and she, just as you and Anne did, has gone to considerable trouble.  Everything is nicely cleaned and was beautifully packed and very sensibly chosen with a limited selection.  The clothes are not very warm, but one or two may be with a coat the further money will I hope NOW allow me to have the coat suit sent nearly three years—or about three years ago altered.  I think every one of our old friends who know anything whatever of our plight have been good and generous according to the extent of their resources; and we are really much moved by these things.  I begin to wonder again how we can ever make it plain that we are touched and yet not embarrass everybody and ourselves.  As I say, we have our books to offer if we are allowed to.  It is cruel to deny us the one reason for being that we feel justifies us in accepting help—so for publishers we do “pray”.

Jack is feeling some better tonight after his day mostly in bed.  But of course there are many uncertainties yet, and his books have got to be re-stressed somehow to same him and give him heart again to struggle there after his eight years of struggle and hardship and self-immolation here.

Your very loving and positively weepy with sentiment Evelyn for all of us
Evelyn

When the time comes to arrange for our passage we do so hope to avoid what I call dickerings and dockerings and just go—pronto in good spirits and ready to make any return we can to those who are being so good—you first.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

July 27, 1952

Darling Maggie,

You will have got Evelyn’s last letter, – and this is to add my thanks to hers.  I cannot tell you how grateful we are.  I do tell you, – but feel the best way of showing gratitude for your year’s self-denying labour, and for your own personal generosity, is for us to make it all worth while, – to you and to us.  I do intend to do this.

The money ($550, – not $500 as you had said in your letter) is here, and is now in my bank.  Bless you a million times.

It may be difficult, from your end, to realise the causes of delay on ours, – but such delay as there may be is quite unavoidable.  It results from the necessity of paying off a minimum of debts here (which I can now do) and from the necessity of getting the flat in a minimum lettable condition (which I can now also do), – and using the flat as an additional lever with the consul in applying for a fresh visa.

I take it, from your previous letter, that enough money (earmarked for transport) remains in the Fund to cover our boat and rail fares, – and also that it will be possible, once our sailing-date is fixed, for the boat-fares to be paid on our behalf as it were, to the shipping-company, by you at your end? – I suggest this, tentatively, because otherwise it would mean your sending another cheque to me here for the boat-fares.  This would be all right, and of course you would have our promise to spend it on nothing but boat-fares, – but it struck me it would be more agreeable for you vis-à-vis the subscribers to the Fund, to be able to prove to them without question that the earmarked portion had been spent only upon transport.

Once again, dearest Maggie, – I just can’t tell you how we feel about your kindness.  As I say, it’s now up to us to make it worth while.

Blessings be upon you!
Jack

* * * * *

That August, David Lawson, husband of Evelyn’s close friend Lola Ridge, wrote to Evelyn and observed that

I don’t know whether you appreciate the housing shortage that New York (and elsewhere) has been up against but it has been terrific and I have no suggestion at this time. As a land owner living off London tenants, I suppose you have lost the common touch and may have gotten away from the American way of democratic life.  I wish you both success. Regards to both, Davy

The following is Evelyn’s response to these comments.

* * * * *

To David Lawson

August 26, 1952

Please read this—I think you cant have read all my letter even if all were received.  That is why misunderstanding.

Dear Davy:

Who incited the libelling of me contained in your letter just arrived:  I call it libel to say I “own” and “apartment house” in London—what you actually wrote—NOT because it would be anything wrong or wicket if I did, but because it is completely false; and whoever put such an idea into your head must have wished to obstruct Margaret De Silver’s fine generosity in attempting to interest people who remember our books—my own and Jack’s—in contributing to an Evelyn Scott fund to finance our travel back to the USA.

I don’t own a stick or stone in London.  I WISH I did.  London is full of European and some Oriental refugees who do own homes here; and why should not I, who am British by marriage only and an American citizen yet, but as a dual national have a British-born husband.

My dear old Davy, your comment on what you seem to take for granted as affluence, was the last thing I would ever have thought would be said to me by an old friend and to a friend who is still as loyal to Lola’s memory as you are, and who, as well, in not becoming immediately indignant, now, should prove she is personally still loyal to you, pending comprehension on your part when we meet again.

It is JACK’S house nominally.  It is an old residence which he had made into flats with the last of his British Aunt Mary’s smallish bequest.  There are three flats above and this flat in the basement which was very unsatisfactory to us because we both could not repair it, and because the large brick war-shelter shelter just torn down with a presentable flat resulting!

Would you call an old house such as Cyril Jig and myself lived in on Barrow Street in 1920 an “apartment house”?  It is just the same size as to flats, though the ceilings are higher and some of the rooms are larger.  It was converted or remodelled, as we say at home, just as that Barrow Street house and the one next it were after 1914-18.  It is more conspicuous looking because it has a small garden front and back: the land on which it was built before 1914 being Church of England owned, and leased.  It is potentially pleasanter both for this reason and because the land is on a hill near Hamstead Heath and in the top floors, which have always been let as I say, there are views over London in fine days.

When Jack invested the small sum he did in this house, he had to convert it into flats to make it pay; and when the refugee tenants were accepted there was no intimation to anyone that rent would be forced to remain as when rented while costs soared.  It is an unjust ruling.  As I say, I own nothing here or anywhere as yet but I naturally am with Jack whom I love as we both love Jig, in everything that concerns him; and the results of this concern us both.  And the fact is that frozen occupancy in combination with the frozen rents, made it impossible to do the one thing we might have done to help to keep pace with costs:  furnish the fats ourselves on time-payments and then Jack re-rent them for considerably more.

As Jack and myself computed between us an “average” of our earnings on published books at the time this house was being remodelled just before the war, we felt safe in respect to it, as the rentals were to have paid a far larger part of upkeep than was ever possible, after the war began.  We thought if there were any drains on us at intervals these would not be large; and that we would be guaranteed living quarters suitable for writing on periodic visits to London, such as we had already made together.  We expected to rent this flat for several years at a time; and that Jack, after having lost our Walberswick cottage—it was sold at a loss—reinvested here again was due to two factors:  the small sum he first invested was British money and went further here, even before the war, than at home; The sum was too small to yield an income when invested.  We were already thinking prudently of the future and we had been having a terrible time in New York and its environs trying to find any place we could live in and have quiet for our books.  The original investment here was a few thousand and for that amount in New York or near New York we would have had to pay three or four times as much for a house this size.  Jack wished to have a cottage without tenants, but that we had three times hunted for in Santa Fe, and in New York and Connecticut; and we never found anything worth buying that was not exorbitant.

He stumbled on 26 Belsize Crescent by chance.  It was going cheap because largish old-fashioned single houses were then a drug on the market here.  And he was truthfully assured that if he made four flats of the three stories and basement, he could count on tenants the moment the decorator stepped out.  He borrowed to complete the conversion, paid the loan almost at once and took a mortgage out; and this twenty-year mortgage is now paid up for all but six years.  Naturally we don’t want to be left with nothing to show for the worst years of our lives economically.  There have been many occasions when London has been as cruel to myself and Jack and Cercadinho was to myself Cyril and Jig.  We have barely kept afloat.  We have been too poor to see anyone—or rather as soon as rumours of our acute poverty reached the outer world those cads who in large part comprise aforesaid world, began to leave us strictly alone.  We have been almost without clothes, for long periods without teeth, and have had no smallest diversion of any sort—not even walks because clothes were lacking, the war Government confiscated the metal bars on our basement window and thieves entered here more than once.

It is labour extremism that makes the most mischief here.  We believe in private ownership and especially in private property.  And if you will please reflect my dear Davy, you will realize that most of your own and Lola’s friends must have shared this view as a number either owned homes then or since, and abhorred that trespassing of which we are victims, here, with an abhorrence as great as ours.

That we believed in private property should have been evident from our experiences in Brazil, where Cyril tried to acquire our fifteen-hundred acres permanently, though my illness made the hard life impossible for both us and Jig.  Again there was the Scottage in Bermuda, which Swinburne Hale gave Cyril and me outright, but which the Garlands saw fit to take back because Swinburne’s health broke down before he died and Marie appears to have taken a ruthless view of everything and everybody he ever liked.  Then there was Cyril’s house which he owned in Santa Fe and to which Phyllis contributed a little money and I also contributed thirteen-hundred as a future investment for Jig to whom I hoped it would be bequeathed.  Then came Walberswick, and crises which obliged me to return home, and decided Jack he would sell it as we could not endure separation.  And now there is 26 Belsize Crescent.  So that we struggle for a home of our own that, also, may some day mean something to Jig and Pavla and our affection for them and their children, should not surprise anyone, or provoke bitter remarks.  I have FOUR little grandchildren, Davy.  Surely you do not condemn me, as Communists undoubtedly would, for hoping to do something to SAVE THEM from penury and that abominable slaver to State into which “Socialism”, applied in a dictator world, easily develops because of a fallacious implicit assumption that those who control States must be individually “better” than Capitalists!—which they are NOT.  Socialism is absolute political power and we know it living through some isolated socialist measures are good.

You know we value your friendship, Davy, or I wouldn’t give pages to re-explaining about the house.  Don’t insult us, for both our sakes.

* * * * *

To Charles Chaplin

September 23, 1952

Mr Charles Chaplin
Savoy Hotel
London

1952—November.  Jack telegraphed an offer of our flat to the Savoy the day after they landed.  It was delivered within an hour and his secretary phoned at once to say “nuttin’ doin’” as to flats.  Shabby remembering Cyril  Evelyn Scott

Dear Mr Chaplin:

Your secretary, with a promptitude in every sense considerate, has just telephoned that the telegraphed offer of the flat myself and my husband are trying to rent speedily in order to complete arrangements to return home to the USA, was not apropos.  However, I think some explanation as to why the appeal to you and Mrs Chaplin was made, is due; as I, also, requested your secretary to be good enough to say that should you hear of anyone who is an American and in need of a flat of fair dimensions, we will appreciate the mention of this one as availableI think she was probably—your nice secretary—somewhat taken aback when I said to her that the renting of this flat is essential to financing our return; as we have been financially stranded here ever since my husband—John Metcalfe, the British novelist and short story writer—was demobilized from “RAF” service in 1946.  .  I arrived here 1944 and have never relinquished American citizenship.  But we have been doing our best to go home every year, and have encountered so much obstructionism of an “economic” sort, that our return has been cruelly postponed again and again, though I am American native of many generations and have an American son and John Metcalfe was a quota resident for 18 years.

You and Mrs Chaplin do not know me personally, but Mr Chaplin may recall his own impromptu appearance at the studio—the tiny studio on Fourteenth Street—of my first husband Mr Cyril Kay Scott, in the nineteen-twenties.  It was a delightful experience as recounted to me and our son, Creighton by Mr Scott, from whom I am divorced, but who is esteemed by both myself and Mr Metcalfe.  Waldo Frank, who is now, also generously trying to help us to re-establish ourselves again at home as authors—though we have been virtually banned since the war—had just told you of our Scott experiences in Brazil; and it was Mr Frank to whom I alluded to your secretary just now.  [Typed letter ends here]

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

 October 19, 1952

Maggie my dear Maggie:

We don’t know whether we are on the verge of the real end of this damnable exile, or are in some Gethsemane of tragedy.

Jack is writing again the plea that must seem interminable for help from somewhere—anywhere—to provide the three hundred essential to making the flat rentable enough to allow us to go home to face and solve all the vital issues that have accumulated during thirteen years—our two brief sojourns since 1941 having been such as permitted of no solutions.

The crux of our lives, like Jig’s, Pavla’s, and Cyril’s is this matter of our resumed publication.  Waldo should be able to be of genuine help in getting some action about books.  But to read the mss of more than nine-hundred pages takes time, and the one reassurance I would like now is to know he has begun—the money to make the move home possible has to come soon, for all the reasons you are now so well aware of, bless you.

These have been pretty intolerable weeks—these last.  They have added tantalization to our other miseries.  I, today, re-cleaned the woodwork in the room first renovated, when the floors were removed and the shelter; suddenly realizing it has been three months since then, and my first cleaning in preparation for new occupants, had to be repeated.

It has been a question of not even the cash to buy a tin of paint; and of course trying to keep enough for the Consular fee ready.  All the details I enumerated as yet necessary, as a preliminary to renting furnished, still are necessary.  We look to some advance rent to finish everything, even with the three hundred dollars more achieved.  But this should allow for asking what others do for furnished apartments in good condition, and will save the house until eventually it can be sold.  The essentials have to be here to rent for enough to save the house.

I will exhaust you, Maggie darling—you know it all so well.  We are trying not to despair.  We WONT despair.  But to have the solution of the problems of eight years anyhow almost ours, and then just sit waiting, is harrowing.

I feel we owe you something that not even a fortune, were it ours, could ever repay.  But poor Jack is even eager to incur an obligation—in the form of a debt and promise to pay it, rather than just collapse as we are.  I dont want him to incur any debt if there is any other way, however—more than the moral debts to you and our friends—because he works so hard and should have strains eased and not added to, if possible.

You know how we feel in loving Jig and Pavla and the four children and in being unshakable in affectionate friendship for Cyril.  And that no letter further has yet arrived from Munich is anguish, at times.  Do I feel bitter when there is prattle for the “American regard” for the “American mother”?—YES—what about this one, Evelyn Scott.

Love Maggie darling love
Evelyn

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 14, 1952

Darling Maggie,

I have GOT IT (visa), thank goodness!  It is a great relief, as the hold-up on the medical side was worrying in several ways.  But all’s well that. . .etc.  It arrived by registered mail yesterday morning.

I then went at once to enquire re passages and fares, to the US Lines, Cook’s, etc.  It appears that the earliest date on which there might be any accommodation within our financial compass would not be before mid-January and might be as late as early February.  This is later than we wanted, but almost everything at a reasonable price is booked up till about then;—and of course I could not make even the first gesture about it till I had got my visa. rival at the Foundation.  I shall be writing to him, of course, about this.

The tourist fare for a double cabin would be from £68 to £71 each (i.e. from $190.40 to $190.80 each, – a total of from $380.80 to $397.60 for the two of us).  There might be something slightly cheaper obtainable by waiting longer, – but hotel or lodging expenses in England meanwhile would more than negative this gain, and it will pay us to get away as soon as possible after we move out of this flat around Jan 1st.

The rail fares from London to Southampton will add a bit more, say $10 for the two of us, and there will be at least some lodging expenses in England between the time this flat is let and the time we sail.  Also some unavoidable renovation of baggage:—though I do not know how far such expenses could properly [be] regarded as “travel” or “transport” expenses to come out of the Fund.  We should also have to spend a little (as little as possible!) on small tips on the boat, and I am not sure either how far these (say a further 5 to 10 dollars) are includable.

But altogether, if possible, we should like $430 (four hundred and thirty dollars) now from the Fund.  If you could send this please the way you sent the last money so that it is immediately cashable I should be able to instruct Cook’s to clinch the earliest sailing (within the money-limit) that offers.

This $430, from the $1100, would leave $670.  I see that the return fare (valid 6 months) from New York to Los Angeles (fairly near the Foundation) is $202.43.  That is $404.86 for the two of us, apart from meals etc.  So that (subtracted from $670) would leave (again if permissible) some $260 for meals on train, for a brief stay in New York en route (for E to enquire re her novel etc) and for paper, type-ribbon etc while at the Foundation.

Darling Maggie, I cannot tell you how we both feel to you about all this.  As I said before, all we can do is to make it worth while.  I can get a job I’m quite sure, and shall then of course repay the last $250 loan for a start.  All these months the thing has persisted in appearing still too dreamlike (against reason!) but now that at last I really have my visa (my chief anxiety) I am really getting quite excited.  Bless you and bless you!  See you SOON now, I hope!

Much much love from
Jack. Evelyn adds her very much love with mine

* * * * *

Lt Commander and Mrs Saint-Pierre1

March 1, 1953

Dear Mr and Mrs Saint-Pierre:

I do not know where to put the blankets and linen until Mr Paget2 and yourselves have agreed on the inventory.  I gather he will come here when you are moved in or just before, and until we had our nice evening conversation I had not realized it unlikely that you yourselves will need to use the blankets, so I am leaving all of them—two lots, the greater portion in good condition but a few patched—on the bed in the small room.

Should you wish to use any that require dry cleaning, please ask Match and Company if it will be okay with them to deduct the expense incurred from the future rent.  Davis, the cleaner, just to the left of Belsize Circus, cleans very well and for a moderate price.

Three of the pillow tickings also look very dingy and can be cleaned by Davis for six shillings each.  And this we would have had done but that with both of us under the weather we were using all the pillows until today.

Our cash shortage—temporary we hope—obliges me to leave this to you on the same basis, in the belief that it will be alright to charge up these comparatively small sums to rental to be deducted at the appropriate time.  We are both very sorry to have to request anything that may seem a bother.

Three soiled pillowslips, one bath towel and two or three kitchen towels, as well, have not been washed, and perhaps you will be good enough to let Mr Marsh know that I have neither time to wash them nor any way of sending them to be laundered with no one in the flat yet.

These are the most troubling last-minute items.  I really don’t know how it is managed as to linen when moves are in process and one has to use a little for the most make-shift final night.

Should you come in briefly during the next few days, please don’t be unduly perturbed if all the discards of the move—empty paint tins, discarded clothing, etc—have not every one been put in the dust bins.  These are at the foot of the stairs you pass as you walk along the path to the door of this flat, but the trash collection is usually on Tuesdays and I daren’t fill the tins any more today as others as well as ourselves seem to have been throwing things away and some place has to be left until Tuesday, when I trust Mr Coleman, as a real favour, may come by and put the remainder of the debris in the bins.  As a rule the space for trash is adequate, but there is now and again an overflow when anyone is moving in or out.

I don’t know whether “hints” on the housework will sound like those of the Suffolk landlady who awed me with superfluous “directions” years ago, but give you some anyhow to be followed or not as you incline.

Unless you already have experience with painted concrete floors, you will not know that the red-painted floors in two of the rooms and the toilet cannot be washed, but are easily freshened with “Cardinal Polish”, which can be bought at almost any hardware store, some groceries, and at the tobacconists adjacent to Meade’s green grocery to the left of the first turning at the bottom of Belsize Crescent.  These shops can also be reached by going down the “snicket” behind the house and turning right at bottom.

When dust accumulates along the tops of wainscots it is better, I find, to brush it off with a small dry brush, as you then don’t have to be so careful about the tinted walls, or, for that matter, the wall paper.  I use a damp cloth on the painted wainscots just occasionally, and in the first bed-room at the front just on the painted wood.  The one drawback of “Cardinal Polish” is that when it gets on paint or walls it is hard to get off—ditto as to hands and clothes.  But though it can be smeared when fresh, once it hardens—say an hour after it is used—it will not come off further as far as I know.

There is a good brush for cleaning radiators that was not put on the inventory, ad it was bought to re-paint them and by the time Mr Paget and I got to the kitchen cupboards I was too all-in to explain or say whether it should or shouldn’t be listed.  But I now point it out because of the convenient shape and handle.  It cost something but does not need to be replaced if it wears out.  It is in the bottom left kitchen cupboard with the scouring brushes—also not new, and not itemized or mentioned.  It doesn’t matter about these things except as they may help.

If the two oldest frying-pans in front kitchen cupboard are too much in the way and you wish to discard them, you are free to do so with the proviso that Match is informed either now or when you leave.  I think the inventory is probably of mutual benefit but being still ill the day it was made I almost gave up.

There are some floor cloths—two—one unused and one used but still good and when in use these can be dried on the rod on the under-end of the kitchen table nearest the stove.

The furniture and the wooden floors have all been treated with o’cedar and this had been satisfactory to us as it keeps down dust.  This naturally is for you to decide—I just hope to be helpful, for we are much indebted to you in respect to the storing of the pictures on the top shelf of the cupboard (or wherever you like).

There are a number of small photographs framed and unframed with these, and some small hooks.  These did not go on the inventory because we had hoped to pack them and had no room when the baggage was filled.  We do feel apologetic, and I suppose whenever you leave Match should know of the extra photographs and a few books having been put with the other things, though I DON’T MEAN re-do inventory.

The Gas Company’s phone is Hamstead 1133 for most calls, but on Sundays, holidays and other times of emergency the Gas Company can also be reached at Willesden 1272, their emergency phone.

The best of good wishes to you both again.  We think we are fortunate in having found such nice tenants for the flat, and we do implore the gods to permit it to be a satisfactory habitat for yourselves and the dogs, too.  Thank you again for allowing the personal articles to be stored in the cupboard.

1 The Saint Pierres rented the flat that had been occupied by Jack and Evelyn.

2 Mr Paget worked for Match and Company, the agents handling the letting of 26 Belsize Crescent.

* * * * *

This letter documents Jack and Evelyn’s final departure from Number 26.  Not everything went according to plan. . . .