37. Two Red Hooks, false teeth and birth control

There are two places bearing the name Red Hook in New York state.  One is a small rural community in Dutchess County in the Hudson River valley, about 100 miles north of New York City.  The other is a district in Brooklyn, one of New York’s five boroughs.

In June 1951 Jigg and his family moved to a house on Pitcher Lane in Red Hook in Dutchess County. Cyril (who had now resumed his original name of Frederick Creighton Wellman) had been living in a retirement colony in Red Hook for some time, and it is possible that the family moved to be near him. Jigg was now working for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and commuting, a long and expensive journey. A month after moving to Red Hook Jigg and Paula’s fourth child, Julia, was born in the neighbouring town of Rhinebeck.

As in previous chapters, most of these letters, which demonstrate the increasingly illogical nature of Evelyn’s thought processes, are carbon copies and therefore not signed.  

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

26 Belsize Crescent
[July, 1951]

My dear Glad

I appreciate your longer letter which arrived this morning, though I wish its length were more informative as to facts and more cheerful as to yourselves and ourselves.  I just know you gave time to it and that time is precious, and the impulse good, although I go on disagreeing as unshakably as ever with what you say about people who have congenialities among you as we have among some old.  I don’t consider generations have anything to do with obstacles to rapprochements.  They are imposed mostly by conditions in which age is made to seem to figure, and doesn’t.

Yes, you have written me Jig is “recovering”.  You weren’t specific however.  And though you said he was back to normal weight and I hope he is and stays there I think 168 is normal for him and I would like to know if he is near that, and whether or not—and this is most important—he has lost football effect in front.  I decided he had some temporary swelling and this also showed in his hands and I have been very anxious ever since.  You see he had a slight murmur—not just during war but almost all his life—and that is what he was forbidden rough games.  And during the war his heart got jumpy partly by nervous anxiety having over-stimulated his pulse.  And he was told to drink beer to induce lethargy.  Well, I think beer is as bad as a too high blood count or as a quick pulse.   I consider it is a quack racket.

So do whenever you can let me know that he has lost football and lost puffy hands.  He was I think you will agree outwardly very nearly the perfect physical specimen when the war began.  He did not play games, but he fenced and even boxed.  He has still very healthy skin and always has had.

However, again, I don’t agree that I should just take it Jig and Pavla stopped writing because they didn’t want to write.  They were placed in such an unfair position that it seemed, for the moment, useless.  It is wicked the persistence with which dirty libellers  insist that we are merely disliked by our family of which they know nothing since before the war, and never knew much anyhow.  Again I say, why did Jig come to London?—because he cares for us.  Was Jig a hypocrite in being affectionate and good here?—NO!  And I’d like to smash whoever implies such a falsehood.

Yes, there may be congenial people here, but when you cannot leave the house because of lack of first dress, then stockings, and now teeth—to be fixed—you don’t meet anybody.  Beside the British are cold in some regards and you have to know them well, and Jack and I have been libelled here as well as there.

This country is church-run religious dilemma and the author of Escapade has not been published here since 1934.

DON’T DON’T DON’T please PLEASE send ham!  What good is damn belly-stuffing to us when we are deprived of every human reason for being.  Our appetites are good, but it is worse than wicked that so many Americans are incited to think Britain needs nothing but groceries, and culture going to put doesn’t matter.  It is a criminal misapprehension deliberately disseminated in the States.  At least six or seven friends appealed to for books and typewriter paper, have ignored appeal and sent grub.  NO.

Love  to yourself and Edgerton

  • * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Pitcher Lane
Red Hook, New York
July 7, 1951

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

Yesterday—July 6—a daughter was born to us, named Julia Swinburne Scott.  Vital statistics:  weight 7 lbs 12 oz, 19 inches long and perfectly formed.

We are all well though weary after a hectic time getting moved before the baby came.

Please stop worrying about mail—it all reaches us and registry is unnecessary and only harasses me with trips to the PO to sign, when I have plenty to do as is.  I’m just a lousy correspondent and that’s all.

Excuse horrid ink color and the scrawl—it’s hard to write in bed.

Love, Paula.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

July 12, 1951: Heard from Pavla that she and Jig have another, – Julia. Born July 6th.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 25, 1951

Darlings

I go on being so grateful to Pavla for her letter telling me of Julia’s birth. She is, however, now nineteen days old and I will again be happier when somebody we know in the States has seen her mother and her father and herself and Denise Fredrick and Mathew and writes to me specific details as to them and their health and fortunes.

I consulted the map we have and located both Red Hook in Greater New York and Rhinebeck, which was the postmark on Pavla’s letter, and I do hope I am correct in supposing the Red Hook on the map is where Pavla is–though I couldn’t find Pitcher Lane, and just take it for granted she didn’t mean a hospital but the present family residence.

I think it was splendid to Pavla to write so soon, but I am naturally imaginatively sensitive to everything connected with Julia and her and Jig and the children, and I am also just hoping that Denise or perhaps Denise Fredrick and Mathew are visiting at Rhinebeck or somewhere in the country until Pavla can recuperate and Julia and her mother and father are settled comfortably in whatever home will be the family’s for the present.

I know New York summers and I hope the proximity of Red Hook to the water1 means at least some whiffs of sea air and some space outdoors for the children. I also do so hope my correspondence with you both will soon cease to be so one-sided. I’m not really a droning gran’mar, who goes over and over the same questions a million times! It is just that it is difficult to write natural letters until I am assured of natural and explicit replies that arrive here and are delivered to ourselves. If I had a letter once a month that really kept me aware of important happenings and was sometimes specific like this one of Pavla’s I would be much improved myself as a letter-writer. So I hope and hope you will see some mutual friends beside Gladys, who, as she invariably does, didn’t mention Julia, but bloody damn “advised” me not to inquire into the lives of the bloody damn “younger generation”.

Whenever our letter welcoming Julia is commented on, we will be very grateful to have the comment specific enough to leave no doubt that it went to the right address and that the address is not temporary.

Love again–I never want to pester with too many letters but I don’t really know what anybody there thinks about anything and I must assure myself that the non-Scotish Scotts–Jig’s Dad always included–know we are not indifferent but go toward them in spirit with whatever we have continually.

1This letter and several of those following is based on Evelyn’s assumption that Red Hook is somewhere in the greater New York area. Her 1920 edition of the Baedeker guide to New York showed a Red Hook in Brooklyn but not on the Hudson River.

Red Hook map

Modern map showing location of Red Hook [snazzzymaps.com]

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[August 1951]

It would be best to know where Jig’s job and other normal information and stop fools gossip—please tell me

Darling Jig and Paula

The letters sent to Pitcher Lane may have reached you but I had been able to find on our old maps just one Red Hook, near Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn, and thought you must be there, and Margaret De Silver wrote to Greater New York hoping to locate you and relieve your anxiety, and had no reply.  So I send this to Red Hook just discovered on another map as up near Rhinebeck and on the Rhinebeck, Philadelphia and Reading RR of 1910.  There is Red Hook and Upper Red Hook on this map, which is marked

I thought some friend going north in a car had mailed Pavla’s letter about Julia, and Gladys must be prompted by diabolists, because after I had carefully explained to her that Pitcher Lane was I thought in Brooklyn, she writes me “I have talked to Pavla on the phone and she has invited me to be Julia’s godmother”.  And not a word does Gladys say about my possibly erroneous conjecture, it was the most normal supposition to make as the map marked Catskills was not even noticed by me, so far from jobs did that locality seem.

It was so completely natural for Pavla writing in bed and not yet recovered from her confinement to have not thought of such a confusion as possible.  I love her and I love my son and I love her letter.  She may not have known—neither she nor Jig—that there were two goddam places—really three is the hell of it—Upper Red Hook, Red Hook, Dutchess County, and Red Hook Long Island.

But we are all sane so please do something at your end.

I won’t call Pavla “Paula” until there are no further complications about names changed.  I don’t see any real reason for it—none was ever given me—and endless torments must be ended and Pavla is the best name for writing.  Paula is a nothing name—female Paul I—nothing doing!  I’m sure Pavla can see this is the truth.

* * * * *

To May Mayers

[August 1951]

[Initial page[s] missing] And as I conclude those aspects of things which are not pleasant, I really must defend Jig and Pavla regarding birth-control, of which they know practically nothing.  It isn’t exactly a crime to have four children, as one set of extremists appear to suppose.  But on the other hand Pavla’s health and Jig’s are both strained at times by their responsibilities and their very love of the children for whom they would like to do their best.  They have immolated themselves for their children financially and have lived like monks and nuns at times—it is no exaggeration.  We know what they have endured.  They do not say this but I say it as spectator they have no guile.  And though you yourself—please not my dear May—say “I can’t believe Jig and Pavla do not know all there is to know about birth-control”, I wish to add that I very much doubt they do, little though it is.

When I was as young and younger than they “birth-control” was being advocated as you yourself know by conscientious and really “advanced thinkers”—though we don’t like the cliche label.  And as I had been ill in Brazil during most of five years and had a very painful childbirth and an operation afterward which was not entirely successful, I felt on returning to the States that I had a right to forestall any possibility of having further children who would be bound to suffer from my deteriorated health and the fact that we were again in the arts and poor.  But I never got any information that really could be called “birth-control”.  It should be medically backed as civilized sense public and legal and whatever doctors don’t know they should be allowed to learn.  As you know I had further sewings-up in the States and these may have resulted in what was tantamount to “birth-control”.  But I never got any candid advice anywhere, except once here in England when I was ill and discussed these things with Mr Norman Haire1 who believes as I do but had not any really guaranteed dependable “birth-control” knowledge, just conjecture based on experiments in Holland.   I asked every doctor I know—and though I did not know you when I first came to New York—I doubt you could or would have been any more informative as New York did regard birth-control information as illegal and its dissemination punishable—and this to me proved that New York was as barbaric as the Brazilian sertac.  I said so in 1921 and I say so again in 1951 in defence of mothers and fathers.

To me, the sort of pious vermin who sit about deploring normal sex lives and condemning families to starvation unless both parents are either monks or nuns or profligate, ought to be shot.  That is the essence of anti-birth control and it is crime.  I would not send people to jail for distributing birth-control but jail any doctor who withheld birth-control information were I the legal arbiter of my country.

Jack’s best and mine to the Mayers and especially May—especially all of you is how I feel.

1Evelyn’s gynaecologist

* * * * *

To May Mayers

August 6, 1951

Dear May

I think we have just had an orgy of rotten cross-purpose mail.

I was obliged to allow my teeth to get in bad condition because I lacked clothes shoes stockings—one summer it was one thing, on another,—and because it is humiliating in an atmosphere of rah-bottom-ing all the time admit to the lack of such necessities as Jack and I have had to, every so often.  The teeth were loose and I often shifted most of them with my finger.  But when it came to pulling, there was more difficulty.  They were hard to pull, and at moments no amount of whatever they use in the gums effected the normal deadening.  And when finally this was really achieved—and May will remember the codeine that wouldn’t work, though it was many years since I sometimes had to take syrup of codeine in Brazil when I was ill–when the essential deadening of pain was accomplished, I was given a temporary plate that as a fit is the cat’s pyjamas.

It was cast from the teeth that were all loose and out of their natural position.  I originally had regular teeth.  The plate first made in Santa Fe for two front that abscessed fell and broke and always dangled a little.  The second plate made because it broke didn’t fit and I never wore it if I could help it.  But the effect was approximately that of my originally nice teeth which were often remarked as I grew up as like those of my father the late Seely Dunn, whose teeth were really noted as perfection—as anybody who knew him thirty years ago and they will confirm this.

This bloody plate makes me nearly vomit—not aesthetically but literally—it is such a bad fit.  But is it probably a job-lot “type” of plate and I am now determined that the dentist make the permanent plate disregarding the teeth he pulled—of which he showed me the marks on the misfit, as if that proved anything.  It certainly explains the misfit.

So now I am as shut up as ever, because, damn it, I have no teeth except a few underpinnings below.

I tell you because of your public health position and your real interest in some means of improving public services without kow-towing to damn job-lotters.

The other issue I have in mind is birth-control which just must be made legally available and guaranteed as authentic in the States.  You know the love one has for one’s family insists on it, and not that maligning reverse dirty opponents try to put forward as argument—decent normal humans should not be asked to “choose” between trappist sanctums1, like Tom Merton’s, and normal sex life conjugal or not.  Has anybody recently resumed agitation for voluntary birth-control—voluntary birth-control to save the parents.  Parents have some rights in the world, or would if criminals didn’t butt in.  Jig and Pavla love Julia and so do we.  We don’t butt in, like crooks.  We would like to see them all more than just surviving.  It may sound nice to be a bloody “family tree” but individuals mean most and adult individuals must be first in decisions.  After all I love Jig and Pavla as well as Denise Fredrick Mathew and Julia and Jig is in the situation of one who must perform Herculean labours—he is not a “Hercules” and doesn’t wish to appear one.  This is for the doctor to do something about we think and there were some disinterested enough to really care at one time.  Here’s hoping.  Accidental sterilization I know of, and no harm results for women.  Voluntary however and not tote imposed.

Pavla is not a cow her health is the first consideration and her decision but the public issue is for everyone.  [Remainder of letter missing]

This must be a reference to the fact that Thomas Merton had entered a Trappist monastery

 

* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice

This is just a note to ask you to please try again to contact Creighton and Pavla and the four children.  You do not know whether Pavla received your letter or not, and we are almost certain she did not.

She and Jig were in a flat too small for three children and they moved soon before the birth of their second daughter and fourth child, Julia Swinburne Scott.

They are now in Pitcher Lane Red Hook New York which I think as I have consulted an old map we have, is in Brooklyn near Buttermilk Channel as there is a locality there so named and I can find no other in New York or in New York State.  I am almost sure I am correct and to have you see them and tell me precisely everything as to how they are and what the baby and the three older children are like and how all are as to health and this very especially—Jig normal weight and Pavla strong we hope—would be the most blessed gift you could bring—even more blessed than typewriter paper which we need and I would have asked you to bring but for baggage space.

Do do see them once for me please as an act of genuine friendship.

The best of good voyages on the best of good ships

Affectionately

* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice,

To say it is upsetting you sailed for Britain just at this time and made no further effort to contact Pavla and Jig when you knew you were to see me is disturbing even though you have written me you think libel at the bottom of rotten interferences with my communications.

Well, I hope you realize the family is, also, victimized financially, to some extent, by the fact that legal full information on birth-control guaranteed to be safe and certain is not yet available in the States as it should be, so that our bloody government leaves normal humans no choice between trappist sanctuaries and families beyond their means, I regard it as criminal that birth-control has yet to be legally accepted—it MUST BE.

I have no teeth whatever at present.  They were all pulled out but a few “pins” last month and the temporary plate is just partly ready and doesn’t fit at that, and I just hope you will not have a toothless hostess added to the shock of a white-haired transformation I mind less when you arrive here.

Would you like to stay in the “spare” room?  We would be pleased and the two pounds ten a week we have to charge for it not to get in a worse jam financially is probably about what rooms cost here.  The “festival”1 has not pursued us, but may you when looking for a hospice and you can be moderately comfortable here until you sail if you like and perhaps write some—can have the use of the kitchen and sometimes “chip” in for dinner which Jack likes to cook in recent years.

I am having precisely the same difficulties in getting anybody to show any human interest in my family at Pitcher Lane Red Hook New York, as in Rutherford, from which they moved because the flat was too small.  But it is possible when you yourself return to the States you can do something to SMASH SILENCE which imposes false aspects on natural human situations.  I hate people who are silent.  And I assure you Pavla and Jig are as opposed to silence as I am.  “Religion”—so-called—c’est de la merde!  Ca PU!  It is probably, in part, a consequence of my misguided attempt to become a Catholic, that this whole bloody mystery about nothing was started.  It reeks.  It is rotten.

This is my comment on poor Tom Merton and that ghoul’s hole he must be in.  I think most double entrendre unjustified, but I must say “trappist” sounds to me like short for “trapped”.  Jig probably agrees.  We saw the outskirts of that resort of tourists where they “commune with God”, and I can’t express how sleazy such a habit is.  And yet we are both convinced that Tom himself is good and genuine in consistence with his character when a child.

We like lovingness and goodness that is not contingent on politics and is the natural disposition of the most genuine of the writers and painters known to us—down and out is damn brutes.  We won’t be associated with brutes.

Evelyn

1The 1951 Festival of Britain was drawing large numbers to London, many of whom found accommodation in private rooms.

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 6, 1951

I send the carbon of this to Greater New York so there will be no excuse for anything save straight delivery to the addresses.  Love Mother

Darling Jig and Pavla

We think continually of both of you and of the now four children dear to us, too, and of the lightening of your financial burdens and the best means of attaining this solution of your personal problems.

We would so like to know specifically which of my letters you have received.  One or two had gone to Rutherford shortly before you moved.  And I have already written twice in answer to Pavla’s letter announcing Julia’s birth and well-being and complete normality—which with the non-Scotish Scotts means bright too, young though she still is.

I was obliged to postpone pulling or filling teeth until now because of the need to restore my mangled book, and this past month has been spent in pulling teeth that, though hard to pull, had been so loose I moved them with my finger.  Most are now gone and I have been given a horrible temporary plate which is gummy doesn’t fit and makes me almost vomit whenever I try to wear it.  I can’t see why the dentist took an impression of teeth that were all out of natural place in order to have this cast.  It seems that is State procedure1 and it is rotten.  Every summer, since 1944, has been wasted indoors to some extent because of lack of clothes, lack of shoes etc, and now I have enough of these to appear publically I have no teeth whatever for the time—just a few under-pinnings in the lower jaw.  The casting should be made again and disregard these displaced pulled teeth—what temporary is based on.  It is inanity.  I had the teeth of Seely Dunn my late father and these were noted as even and pretty.  So I hope this evidence of London’s myopia in dentistry will soon be controverted by some good sense respecting dentures.

Now I know August is the month2 Pavla has her birthday—the birthday I have hoped with Jack to celebrate ever since 1944—preferably there with you both and the four children.  But as we aren’t there yet—damn it!—I am going to ask Pavla to celebrate with us here bye in the most unique sense by doing her best to supply us personally with copies of Jig’s best poems and with any poetry of her own she has been writing.

We love you and so hope the move is from conformity to small towns, and that there will soon be an end of anxieties.

It appears Evelyn’s dentistry was done under the auspices of the newly-created National Health Service.
Paula’s birthday was in September.

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

August 28, 1951

Dear Gladys:

I cannot  see what makes everybody who writes to us behave if there were a “skeleton” in our family when the one “skeleton” I know of is that until the war we were all recognized and established in the arts.

Are you bitten by this dead-eye-dick misinterpretation of every ordinary thing?—that’s the effect you give and that’s why we so often seem to disagree my dear Glad.

In the letter you were answering when you wrote on August the 8th, I mentioned Pitcher Lane Red Hook as the address of Jig and Pavla and said that I conjectured it to be on Long Island, as the one Red Hook I had then discovered on the maps of our old Atlas—it’s a Baedeker but we so use it and it is of 1910—the only one I had then discovered is on Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn.  As I took this to be the case, I also construed the postmark Rhinebeck, on Pavla’s letter about Julia as indicative of the fact that she must have given it to a friend with a car who lived up state where it was mailed.  And that she was not more explicit was normal of course, as she and Jig had just moved before her confinement and she was still in bed, and Jig had his job and three children as well as Julia to look after.

But I do wonder my dear Glad that you didn’t correct me if I am wrong, as I may be, because I have not found, on a map labelled “Catskills”—at which I had not glanced because I had already found Rhinebeck on the other map and it is not in the Catskills, which are far from jobs,—I have now found both a Red Hook and an Upper Red Hook on a railway that was once the Rhinebeck Reading Philadelphia and New England.  I have written six letters to Red Hook under the impression that it was in Brooklyn and one and maybe two were sent to “Greater New York”, and now I don’t know which were received, if any.  And I would not have looked through the maps again, had not Charlotte written me a terse postcard—her single acknowledgement of several letters sent to Sullivan Street NY which were about Julia and the family—just these words:  “Red Hook (Duchess County) congratulations”.

Is Red Hook in Duchess County?—second Red Hook, I mean.  Do you know anything in detail about them or their surroundings now?  Has Jig a job—we hope so.  We and most of all I here, have been in a hell of anxiety about Jig and Pavla their health and money for the four.

Why can’t people with common sense see that by falling for rot of which rumours that isolate us and my family are a part, they virtually hand us all over to criminal “police protection” which should be shot.  I know Jig is “nominally” free to write to me and so is Pavla, but actually every detail that has happened in their move to Red Hook is a repetition of the happenings of 1946 when Mathew was born, and they were broke and had no house.  And among the many things I don’t forget, is the fact that kuklux terrorists were active in North Carolina when they were there with Cyril.  And that even in the north Jig has had two experiences of intimidation and been rescued by his boss.

Churchiness has become antipathies to me so I am rather sorry to hear you will be a “godmother” but if Julia and her parents get any comfort out of it—tant millieur, though I doubt it.

Love to them and yourself.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Darling Darlings

Please for humanity’s sake and ours relieve my anxiety about you as much as you can NOW.

I have sent six letters to Red Hook Greater NY—Buttermilk Channel Brooklyn—told several people I thought you had moved there—Margaret De Silver among them—and now have a letter from Charlotte—or rather just a postcard—in which she says merely

Red Hook Duchess County NY

I think this is wrong and my distress is acute.  I think bilgey and wicked rackets in America spread false rumours and attempt to divide families in this criminal way.

Please reply and explain please we love you so I think there are factions there to indite and impeach.

This post office thing has got too much to endure.

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Pavla and Jig

Are you at Red Hook Brooklyn or Red Hook Duchess County.  I have already mailed six letters to Red Hook NY one of them with the addition of “Greater” to New York and two relative to Pavla’s birthday and all to Jig’s health and Julia.

Please please please please elucidate the address.  That Pavla’s letter was postmarked Rhinebeck1 has added to confusion, because we cannot find any Red Hook near there on the maps we have—and if there are two in New York we should know which and how to distinguish them.

Charlotte Wilder sent Duchess County and I am now worried more than ever as she doesn’t explain why she thinks so—just your address with Duchess County added.

Lovingly, oh we do love you

1Rhinebeck is about 7 miles from Red Hook.  Julia was born in Rhinebeck and the letter Evelyn is referring to was posted from there.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

September 9, 1951

Darling darlings

Please do something about assuring me there is no more confusion of addresses.  Is your Red Hook in Duchess County?  You say you receive my mail and I don’t receive all yours, but how the hell do you know whether you receive all mine or not—I don’t know because your replies are not yet SPECIFIC ENOUGH.

I am worrying every minute about the health of all six, and though it may be said I don’t help by worrying, there is a limit to the applicableness of that comment.

You know the history of thefts that began with than damn medical article and pictures and paintings by Jig and by Cyril and Merton and others, and the theft of the mss of my French Revolution novel in Canada.  I think hanging and electrocution and guillotining would serve them right.

I don’t yet know specifically where to lay the blame, but you also know if you have all my letters about the extent to which clothes, stockings, shoes etc have kept me housebound year after year; and though Diana Winslow’s gift of a suit and coat this years coincided with shoes and enough stockings to go out in, the tooth-pulling and the plates that don’t fit have had the same effect as last-year’s lack of apparel.  So there is no time when anything could have been stolen except during those seven weeks of tooth-pulling and plate-fitting.  I had to go out then, and Jack had an extra lock put on the front door.  But one day I forgot the extra one and left just one on, so perhaps that is when it was.  The other was secure, however, and it is atrocious.  I wish the Governments would fall wherever thieving is tolerated, as it undoubtedly was in New York and in Canada during the war.

 

Have you any garden in the new place?  I have written Paula of the really lovely spring bloom in front of this house, prettier this year than ever before; and now one of the trees which never bore anything before—the small trees are cherry—has suddenly changed its sex and begun to bear plums profusely.  It was without any fruit last year, whereas last year the roses and hydrangeas and privet were really beautify, and this year not any flowers worthy of mention on anything.

Love and hope to six adult and young non-Scotish Scotts.

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

September 11, 1951

Dear Glad,

Your gift of paper arrived and we are very pleased and grateful, and that I do not use it here is really a compliment as the quality of it and the parcel Charlotte sent at the same time are so nice I would like to have Jack complete his book on them should it be possible.

Won’t you please tell me whether Jig and Pavla are near Rhinebeck or not?  Is it the Red Hook with the Pitcher Lane, and is there an Upper Red Hook and a Red Hook such as shows on my map of the Catskills?

If people are “mysterious” about mail or about their location, it is just the proof of everything I say about Jig and Pavla’s victimization by those who have libelled me and Cyril and Jack and probably Joe and Margué.  I should think anybody would see this was the case.  It is the sort of senseless hushiness which accompanied intimidation in my own experience of it in Grove Street in 1939.  I was definitely intimidated, and when I complained was at once inundated by “mystification”.  I thought it was the war, but after all, the war can’t go on forever and should never have done so in that guise.

Jig and Pavla and Cyril are the most candid people I know and Manly Wellman in that respect is like them.  I have never met anybody less given to dissembling unless it be Jack and myself and I must have normal straight-forward information for their good.

Dont say I “blame” you when I reiterate these protests.  I don’t, I just think if there is any more suggested hushiness it must must MUST be defied.

* * * * *

To Julia Scott

September 11, 1951

Dear Julia1

When Denise was just born I went to New York to see her and thought she was the nicest baby I’d held in my arms since Jig was her age and size.  And though I wasn’t in Nyack or the States, but in Canada, when Fredrick and Mathew were born–and I don’t remember for certain whether Fredrick was born in Nyack like Mathew or in New York–I soon went from Canada to see Fredrick and though he was the nicest little boy I’d ever carried in my arms since Jig, also, was one year and ten months old–about.  When Mathew was born, although myself and step-Gran’pa Jack were already stuck here in England and couldn’t go home to see him as Grandfather Scott probably did, Mrs Grant wrote me that Mathew was the nicest baby she had seen for a long time and that he looks very like Jig when his age, and this, you may be sure, pleased me greatly.  And now you are born, and the last of the four non-Scotish Scotts, I can’t think of little nicer than to be able to pick you up and kiss you on the brow and then kiss your sister and both your brothers on the brow as well.

Perhaps Mother and Father will preserve this until you are old enough to write the letter we have always hoped Denise and Fredrick and Mathew would send us.  And that they will send it, we continue to hope.  But when I think of you and the long lives and happy lives we trust all four will have, I feel I am gazing into the furthest future we personally can envisage, because you, being the youngest, though you won’t have a longer life than the rest, will probably outlive everyone and outlive all the silliness most people regard, today, as “very new”.  So your letter, when it comes, should be the wisest letter I ever had.

Ask Mother to tell me the sort of eyes and nose you have, the sort of hair and chin, and how fast you grow.  And don’t forget, as you begin to acquire teeth, that your Grandmother Evelyn and yourself were toothless at precisely the same time.

Your teeth will be the prettiest of us two, but all the family’s teeth are pretty I hear, and even mine will do very nicely for telling you again “we love you”.

Julia was 2 months old

* * * * *

It was clear that there was no way Jack and Evelyn would be able to find the money to return to the United States.  Next week we learn about the financial burden that was the house at No 26 and the effect it had on their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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