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. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

38. Paranoia?

In October 1951, while Evelyn was still wrestling with letters to Red Hook, Jigg found employment with the Free Europe Committee to establish a newsroom and be editor-in-chief of news at their new station in Munich, Radio Free Europe. In the immediate post-war climate, anti-communist propaganda was seen as extremely important and much of Radio Free Europe’s output was supported by the CIA and was aimed at countries behind the Iron Curtain. The family followed him to Munich, staying in the Hotel Regina Palast in Munich for some weeks before accommodation was found for them in late November in the little town of Grünwald in southern Bavaria, about 10 miles from Munich.

* * * * *

Charles Day1 to Evelyn Scott

Hickman, Williams & Company
Pig Iron, Ferro-Alloys, Coal, Coke
Arcade Building
St Louis 1

September 18, 1951

My dear Evelyn:

I was extremely sorry to get the news of the various troubles that you have been running into, particularly where you have not been able to satisfactorily contact Jig.  I get to New York about once a year, generally at the time of the Iron & Steel Institute Meeting which is as a rule the latter part of May in each year.  I have, therefore, taken the liberty of writing to the head of our New York Office, Norman Craig, and have asked him to look in the telephone book and see if Creighton Scott is listed in any of the several Red Hooks and particularly the one which seems to have connection with Rhinebeck, and to, if possible to find, give me the complete address.  This was done last week and I should be hearing something from him, providing he was in town at the time I wrote, before the end of this week. [remainder of letter missing]

1Charles Day was a childhood friend of Evelyn’s from Clarksville and had met Jigg some years earlier in New York City.

* * * * *


To Creighton Scott

Hickman, Williams & Company
Pig Iron, Ferro-Alloys, Coal, Coke

September 18, 1951

Mr Creighton Scott
Pitcher Lane
Red Hook, Duchess County, New York

My dear Creighton:

I suppose I should say “Jig”, as that is the only name by which I have ever known you.  You probably do not remember me, but I met you one evening, I believe in 1938, when you were living on Commerce Street in New York City with your mother.  I am an old friend of your mother’s, having known her many years ago when she spent considerable time in Clarksville, Tennessee, with her Gracey relatives..  I had completely lost track of her whereabouts, but did know that she was writing.  Finally in 1938 I was able to secure her address, and [on a trip to New York] we had dinner together.  It was after dinner that you came in and that is the first and only time that I have ever met you.

I wish to apologize for this letter, as you might think that it is presumptuous, but I do not know how else to handle it.  The facts are as follows:  A few days ago I received a letter from your mother, which was the first time that I had had any communication with her since the above mentioned trip to New York.  In this letter she stated that she had not been able to contact you or get any real word from you for quite a long period of time.  She felt that the reason for her not receiving answers to her numerous letters was a combination of your not receiving the letters or she not receiving your answers.  Knowing that I occasionally went to New York, the main purpose in writing me was that I try to get in touch with you when next in New York and to please give her some word as to how you, your wife and children are getting along.  As I do not anticipate being in New York for almost another year, I am writing you this so that you will know that your mother is desperately anxious to hear from you.

In case you see fit to acknowledge receipt of this letter, I would appreciate it very much.  At the time your mother wrote me her address was 26 Belsize Crescent, Hampstead, London NW3, England.

I have many times recalled the very pleasant evening that we had in New York, and have regretted that conditions have been such that I was unable to get to know you better.

With very best regards to you and your family, which I understand now is quite sizable, I am,

Sincerely

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Hickman, Williams & Company
Pig Iron, Ferro-Alloys, Coal, Coke

[September 19, 1951]

Dear Evelyn:

I wrote you yesterday, telling you that I had asked our New York Manager, Norman Craig, to endeavor to get Creighton’s address. I, this morning received a letter from Norman, advising me that he had located a Creighton Scott at Pitcher Lane, Red Hook, Duchess County, New York, and that the ‘phone number was 5391.  Norman put in a call to that number, but the line was busy.  He then later on got a report that the number did not answer.  He did not go beyond this, as he understood from me that what I wanted was the positive address.

I have, this morning, written Creighton a letter, copy of which I am enclosing.  Should I hear anything from him direct, I will certainly pass on the word immediately, but the main thing is that I sincerely trust that this letter will enable him to get in touch with you.  I sincerely hope the way I have handled this meets with your approval.  I can fully understand the strain this inability to get word has put on you.

My sincere regards.
Charles

* * * * *
To Charles Day

[Red Hook, New York]
September 25, 1951

Dear Mr Day–

Creighton is in Europe now, so I’ve taken the liberty of opening your letter to him.  It is too bad that you should have been troubled by Evelyn’s insatiable lust for news of us, in spite of our more or less regular letters to her.

You certainly needn’t apologise, however, for your letter, which is a much appreciated effort to be helpful.

If you wish, you may tell her that we are all about to go abroad to join Creighton, and that we are all well.

Sincerely,
Paula Scott

PS.  Not to England!  But she will soon know all about it from us direct.  And thanks again for your nice letter.

* * * * *
To Paula and Creighton Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
October 1, 1951

Darlings

Pavla’s letter, postmarked September 17th, was a joy to receive and the more so that she SIGNED IT PAVLA

Well, perhaps that was a “repeat”; and in a different category, as eager to help with the dismissal of confusion as to our precise identities on specific occasions, is Charles Day whose letter I hope Jig has received for I consider Charles really the “good egg” Jig first designated him in 1938.  Charles too has been doing his best to assure me that the Red Hook containing the Creighton Scotts and Pitcher Lane is where it is, and has written me that his personal friend Mr Norman Craig telephoned to Red Hook recently—the right Red Hook as you were in the phone book—and was sure it must be the Red Hook I was writing to, although the phone, busy a minute before, did not reply!—but we sometimes have such experiences because for one reason or another, we can’t answer when the phone begins.

I myself despise Rutherford after the way William Carlos Williams1 behaved—or appears to have—in not acknowledging letters as far as I know, and the reason I make a distinction between Pavla and him so marked as I do in not giving him the benefit of the doubt to the same extent is that we know the affections of Pavla and Jig are pure and they are loyal, and I would have supposed that Williams would try to see Jig whether or not I seemed to have received letters, since he knew us all when Jig was a child of six.

The asters are very much like the michaelmas daisies in our front yard, which are on a rampage of profusion this year, and almost conceal the flag-stones on the front terrace; but golden-rod I think has never been tried here, and though I think I have seen Queen Anne’s lace here by some other name, we have none.  A few white roses—little ones—bloomed, but not another rose—first time since I arrived that none here.  Is little Fredrick still among the family’s botanists  It will be further cause for rejoicing when any of them write to us of their own interests

I myself continue to be the world’s indefatigable correspondent, but this is partly circumstances and that awful handicap of distance.  I am now compiling for Margaret De Silver Alan Tate and “The National Institute of Arts and Letters” a precis of happenings since 19392, which have made it impossible, as yet for Evelyn Scott and John Metcalfe to return to the States, to which the had proposed to return with the end of the war.  And I think I do not require Jig’s permission to say of him and his wife that both are talented and I am proud of them and that they are artists and I hope they will be enabled to retrieve their appropriate milieu as we ours.  I mention Jig’s paintings and The Muscovites very especially and as my precis includes the precise documentation of my citizen status and covers Brazil in brief summary as relevant,

Duchess County is said to have lovely landscape.  How I hope we will soon all see yourselves and the surroundings and see you both and the four children surrounded again by real friends.

Give Dad your love  We love the six of you very much  We do not change toward him

Evelyn=Mother

Williams was a resident of Rutherford, a former lover of Evelyn’s and the paediatrician who cared for Jigg as a young child.  Evelyn had written to ask him to visit the Scotts and report on their welfare:  he did not even acknowledge her request.

This 74-page single-spaced typescript, is a detailed account of events as Evelyn saw them from 1939 until the date of its writing in late 1951. It was prompted by a suggestion from Margaret DeSilver that she might start a fund to enable Evelyn and Jack to return to the United States.

* * * * *


From John Metcalfe’s diary:

October 2, 1951: E got letters from Charles Day enclosing one to her from Paula saying Jig was in Europe.

* * * * *

 

In the autumn of 1951, Evelyn began the writing of what became a 74-page single-spaced typed document, setting out iin some detail the forces she felt were preventing her and Jack from seeing their family and from getting their books published.  Each page was headed by a short paragraph:  the first reads

“To those with Pride in the Preservation of the Ingegrity of American and British Artists and Art”

with each succeeding heading longer than the preceeding one until the heading on the final page reads

“Precis indicative of libel, to be read AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BY CREIGHTON AND PAVLA SCOTT BY THE PERSONAL FRIENDS OF JOHN METCALFE AND EVELYN SCOTT AND, if possible, BY CYRIL KAY SCOTT whom Evelyn Scott is convinced has been victimized with Life Is Too Short, either in mss or when rushed to the printers during Mr Kay Scott’s illness which was preceeded by illness among the Wellmans, this tampering or tinkering probably illegal because unauthorized and done without consulting Mr Kay Scott himself respecting certain facts involving Evelyn Scott with him and their son, these facts so controverted by interpolations in the text of Mr Kay Scott recognizably not his, that the result has been as damaging to him as to any concerned, though most of all to Mr Creighton Scott and his wife, who, inference, in a list of “acknowledgements”, might easily have been misconstrued as having somehow sanctioned a villification of Evelyn Scott which also cannot be Mr Kay Scott’s and is a controversion of the truth as to the life-long affection of son for Mother and of Mother for son–all these things intollerable and compelling and necessitation protest here.  This precis is the condensation of a longer precist to be completed in consistence with this one, and its aim is the restoration of the integrity of American and British Artists——“

Inserted in the front of this document is a short note in Paula’s handwriting:  “This MS contains an enormous amount of inaccuracy and I can only caution any reader to check almost any statement in it.  [signed] Paula Scott”

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

October 7, 1951

Darling Jigeroo

Please you yourself acknowledge this letter as received so there will again be more than ever an occasion here as well for celebrating on that intangible basis which is all we can yet afford though we hope and hope you and Pavla Denise Fredrick Mathew Julia and perhaps your Dad can be with you then.

We love you both–Jig and Pavla–and we love the children all four and Cyril as our friend.  And we do so wish there would be a public end made of “war spites” and hypocrisies connected therewith, which probably have in some way interfered with normal communication or acted on it dissuasively there, very unjustly

Charles Day sent me the letter Pavla wrote for you about your being “in Europe”.  If it was so, it could have been no more than very temporary, and of course I realize that, ever since 1943-44, Jig has dodged our friends–love you just same Jig darling and in some measure grasp why, I think.

Pavla, in writing to Charles, said I would soon “hear all about it”–so here’s hoping we both do soon, whatever the explanation is.  Jiggie you are good sensitive and brilliant and Pavla is as fine and rare a human as even her mother thinks her–which is rating her high as she deserves.  I know you must be just as you were intrinsically.

And as Pavla has written twice since July 6th to us both and has written to Charles, it is now time we think for Jig himself to write to us of himself and permit us to love him more expressively and adequately

We love Pavla the more because we love Jiggeroo, and is the truth as to the children and Jig’s Dad.

Very very very very AFFECTIONATELY in every good sense of the word
Mother
Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe nee Elsie Dunn
to complete Jig’s own record

 * * * * *

To Frederick Scott1

November 4, 1951

Dear Freddy Scott

You’ll soon be nine.  Your mind already is so fine Denise should rightly say–“Like mine!”  Your Grandmother as poor as ever, still insisting now or never, again sends word from London town that ought to turn this paper brown, she’s so disgusted every year that she and Jack continue here when, by this time, they should be near enough to bring you birthday cake!.  Publish our books for good sense sake, is our demand each night and day!  Publish our books and see they sell, and we’ll help keep four children well, and lovingly observe them grow in cozy warmth without much snow.  We’ll call sometimes in Pitcher Lane, to make sure Daddy writes again and Mother writes like him and Mathew learns to really spell and little Julia doesn’t yell.  We’re glad that Mathew, too, ‘s at school to prove no Kay-Scott is a fool.

On days when Daddy has a rest we hope he’ll really paint with zest, draw you, Denise and Mathew’s hair, just as he did when you weren’t there.  When Mother wrote the queen anne’s lace, asters and golden-rod were all over the place.  Now leaves I guess are underfoot, the chimney’s cleaned and there’s not soot, and fires are lit in a few grates.  This winter you will NOT need skates, they say.  It won’t be cold before next may.  I hope this isn’t just a joke–if so, the jokers ought to choke!

The leaves are lying on the ground. You walk on them, they make a paper sound.  But the hydrangeas are green yet, so where you have them don’t forget we have them too, and think of you.  The rose-tree, oddly, didn’t bloom till now!  The shell-pink roses were a year ago, and this year there’s just one, bloomed in October and completely white!  How do plants alter in a night?

Last summer, I lost twenty teeth!  The dentist’s still a cause for grief!  False teeth don’t fit, so I feel bit!  I can’t buy any more just yet, so indoors I’m a prisoner yet!  It isn’t fair!  I look bizarre!  So don’t forget to brush your teeth.  They’re yours, at least–that’s some relief!

Of course you’re still collecting things, though Mother writes of healthy baseball flings.  Have you as yet tried to find shells of snails, near springs or even by old water pails?

When I think very much of someone now and then I see them anyway, and I saw Julia just as plain as plain, the other day.  At least, I thought so because Pavla too was there, combing a nice baby’s just-new hair.  Do you think it was she?  I wish you’d ever write to me!

Well, anyhow, Jack and myself both hope you have the birthday cake, and you yourself won’t have to wait on us to celebrate.  You’re nine, Denise will soon be eleven and Mathew six, and the years since I was with you all are seven and Jack has not so much as seen you yet–remember we don’t change, we love you all and don’t forget.

November could be dark as night and bright for us because you’re bright–and so are Mathew and Denise

So here’s a gift no one save you can see–it’s love the love of Jack and me

Your Grandmother Evelyn

This letter is best appreciated read aloud.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

 

November 25, 1951

Dear Darling Good Children

You will realize I am anxiously awaiting your opinion of my intention to protest on behalf of myself yourselves and with myself and yourselves and Jack’s on behalf of Cyril Kay Scott as the author, the unauthorized tinkering that must have gone on with Life Is Too Short1 when he was ill, Paul had just been ill, and the book was scheduled to go to press.

I think Jig’s Dad had written most of it in rough draft, but had omitted the Cercadinho section because of Escapade2 and that whoever got hold of it and went through it inserted some sleazy “pulp” writing which consisted in misinterpreting Cyril and myself by just reversing the truthful account of his own and my relations then and thereafter, and that this same interloper on the fine arts, being imperfectly informed as to the reason why Ambassador Morgan at the American Embassy in Rio first issued to Cyril for him and me and Jig the Emergency Passport accepting Cyril’s change of name, just concocted a stupid pulp thriller pseudo-“explanation”, which was an occasion for rumour, has steadily raised more and more unnecessary hell for all concerned every year.

The reason, as I said in the letter sent recently, for the issuance of this Passport was humane, as I had been seriously ill most of the time since Jig’s birth and had been operated on twice within a few weeks at the Presbyterian Mission Hospital in the interior of Pernambuco, where the operator was Dr Butler, a Mayo-trained surgeon who was associated with Clare Sifton’s Father, Mr Ginsburg, as I recall it—anyhow a Jewish name that is of that type, as Claire Sifton is the daughter of a converted Jew and a gentile mother.

Please also try to find some means of reading the precis of happenings since 1939 which has been sent to Margaret De Silver, who has generously tried to bestir someone to attempting the financing of our return to the States and the end of this impossible, ambiguous living in limbo, which has resulted from our penuriousness here, and which CANNOT be any further endured.

When you have read the precis please return it to Margaret who will not offer it for general circulate [sic], but will allow it to be read by a few friends who may be helpful in deciding what is to be done to counteract on our behalf an effect of the libel which has continued during eight damn bloody years.

I think the time has come to call a halt on desecrating art.  Jig’s Dad is certainly not the man who would inscribe “antic hay” on a tomb, and still more impossible would it have been to him to despoil the lives of the living he loves as he does all his children.  He could NOT have written the cheap passages in that book, and he could NOT have knowingly allowed them because of the degrading inferences that might be drawn and harm us all.  Please speak out  Mother

This is a recurring theme. Evelyn was convinced that the manuscript of Cyril’s autobiography had been tampered with at the publishers’.

Escapade also described the time in Cercadinho: her description was much different to Cyril’s.

* * * * *


To Creighton and Paula Scott

December 9, 1951

Darlings—

Margaret De Silver writes me she has sent you the precis I compiled as my own reference for use whenever I write my own realistic and completely authentic account of the life of an author.  I hope soon to have JIG’S OWN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that both of you have received it.  As soon as Jig can write to my letters respecting important matters and run no risk of any interference or “economic” discouragement—due sometimes probably to communicating with a mother in England—ONE of our anxieties will considerably diminish.

Can Jig’s Dad be persuaded to give us his address and his wife’s.  I should so appreciate their advice on the matter of counteracting libel, and Cyril with his accustomed insight could probably advise me wisely on some procedure to take to stop this damn mystification about my Father’s estate, also.

Please give me both of you as soon as you can your opinion on the libel which has apparently resulted from the sort of interpolated writing in Life Is Too Short.  I KNOW CYRIL COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT HIMSELF—he is too intellectual and fastidious a man.

I hope Fredrick had a nice little birthday.  He is eight now and I like to think of the nice things one can do when eight years old—the age I was in Evansville.  Mathew is going to school earlier than I did.  We hope all our behaving and as bright as good as always, including Julia who is still competing with me on teeth.

Can Pavla write sometimes a little when just she and Julia are at home and can Jig paint or write seriously at any time whatever?

We hope the house is warm and that warm clothes are enough to more than “just get by on”.  I hope soon to go to the dentist again—thanks to Margaret and Charles Day, both having helped to eeke out.  I always wish for ten times as much for your six.  How wonderful to be again able to earn money with books.

Denise Fredrick Mathew and Julia I know love you both as we love you we love you we love you we love you PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE and see whether we can overcome impasses about mail.

Evelyn
to Jig Mother

 * * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

November 5, 1951: Letter from Maggie enclosing $25.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 11, 1951

Maggie darling—

I would not have supposed when Jack mailed you my letter of recent date, thanking you for the check and making for me some assurance that the precis is in the hands of both Jig and Pavla themselves, that I would be compelled, as I think I already am, to add this note.

I should think it would have become completely obvious to the veriest moron by now that Jig and Pavla do not of themselves invent situations which embarrass and distress them just as much as us, and yet this is what has happened, and is to me—my opinion—continued proof that their lives are being “directed” in some fashion or manner which just makes them serve as crook cover for whoever began libelling the Scott-Metcalfes when tampering was imposed on Cyril’s autobiography during the war, and misstatements were made so damningly disadvantageous to the author himself that it is NOT possible that he was consulted as to detail.

Something like a month ago Charles Day,whom I knew as a child and whom Jig and myself met in New York in 1938, Charles Day wrote to Jig at my request, recalling this meeting and asking for news of him and Pavla and the children to pass on to me.  I had actually asked Charles to go to Red Hook, Duchess County, to Pitcher Lane to see them both in person, because I had hoped then Charles might be going to New York and could do so without inconvenience.  But he was not able to go there as he has not been East, and as a makeshift he thought better than neglect, he asked some man who is his own friends, and an employee of the same firm, and who lives in New York, to telephone them—Jig and Pavla—at Red Hook and ask how they all were.

This friend—I have his name somewhere in letter files—ascertained they have a telephone—Creighton Scott Pitcher Lane, Red Hook, and he tried to phone and found the line busy, this, of course, suggesting someone was at home.  He repeated his phone call, but the line did not answer, and he finally gave it up, and reported this to Charles; who, also, had already written to Jig as I say.  And Charles, at about the same time he received news of his friend’s failure to connect satisfactorily with Red Hook, had a letter from Pavla in which she apologized for replying in Jig’s stead and said “Jig is abroad”.

This letter sent by Pavla to Charles Day in Saint Louis, was forwarded by Charles to me, and I had it, air mail, within a week of having already received a note from Pavla for me myself, which was the second note I have had from her since little Julia’s birth.  In fact there is every indication that she was writing to me of Red Hook and the health of the children and Jig’s commuting just when she was writing to Charles that Jig was elsewhere.

What are we to do?  It is as bad as dictator countries, to be cut of repeatedly this way from those human ties most essential to our normal lives even as are our books.

The object of the precis is to clear up every serious misunderstanding.  It is personal but its success in achieving the end we ourselves have in view would be a sign of peace here and with our own.  I don’t want to depend on Gladys, however good she has been comparatively in this respect, for an occasional very meager comment on my family even to know they still exist!

My own common sense and reason tells me they could NOT have chosen to be continually embroiled and involved in utter nonsense.  But I naturally am not cheered or assisted by allusions to Germany—the country I have never liked much—as if we were all a damn pack of “refugees” and had to go into “hiding” whenever an acquaintance phoned for an old friend.

I don’t Margaret darling know any more than you do how to be really certain Jig and Pavla themselves and not some bloody damn fake “censor” or “detective” “intelligence” holds mail up—but there we are!  Not a hand lifted yet to put a stop to pseudo “war” poppycock in the form of civil lives wrecked, and it began in 1939.

The Cyril Kay Scotts including Evelyn and John Metcalfe are NOT bloody damn criminals who must go skulking about the States, but the utter rottenness of these provocations to confusion and distress would make you think so if you did not know them.  I do NOT believe Jig is in Germany, or ever was,  And I do believe both are truthful—and that seeming inconsistencies is merely apparent.

Love—I hope you read this.  I don’t apologise, because I don’t think apologizing means a bloody thing.  But I know you must long for sense somewhere just as Jack and I do.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

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, Germany, 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
Margaret

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 27, 1951

Dear Maggie:

Thank you for sending on the temporary address.  I suppose Jig must have been “economically” compelled to go to Munich in connection with jobs.  It has been so invariable as yet that, whenever I have had anything important to tell Jig and Pavla there has been some sort of fool mix-up or shenanigan about mail that I cannot say I am surprised.  It was in what has become positive anticipation of such occurrences that I asked you whether you could find anyone to hand the precis to Jig in person, and as you mailed it instead, I suppose you could not.  I would not have troubled you with it at all, however, except that I hoped to forestall precisely what has happened.

I think it is probable that Pavla is still at Red Hook with the four children, and the whole situation is sickening, as Jig should be saved NOW from being just a damn stud-horse, and Pavla is NOT a brood-mare.  To hell with the way our lives have been made to fall out—it is senseless wreckage.

I will be for Jig FIRST as long as I live, but I am naturally affectionate in my feeling for our original Pavla and I don’t know what sort of tosh and bosh has been fed her that makes her do the sort of thing she did this time, write me mentioning Jig for the first time in literal years as “commuting” when he was writing Charles Day he was in Germany, as probably he either was already or was about to be.  I think she has been senselessly alarmed by some idea that mother is an obstacle of some sort, and this is NOT so.  I just think the shibboleths that go with too much progeny must be put an end to and something allowed both that is normal to their character and innate capacities as individuals—Jig first because of his proven talent having exceeded hers in proof, but taking her individual capacities as well into consideration as this bloody blasted damn breed thing has not allowed for her development OR his since 1943

I am somewhat bitter over Jig’s being forced “economically” to take German jobs just because Germany is NOT his milieu or that of any of us and Cyril our opinions—Jig Pavla Jack self—are diametrically the opposite of everything damn hoch-de-kaiser stood for.

Jig should NOT be in Munich, ever were it the old and far more interesting Munich known to many people fifty years ago.  Jig and Pavla are both visual artists primarily and although it is JIG WHO HAS THE INTELLECT there have also been proofs of Pavla’s sensitive quality.  It should have been FRANCE where they would be welcomed, and it strikes me as muddled folly that when Jig was there in 1949 he was reduced to nincompoop level by the sort of damn fools who now govern the French; probably the very ones who, in 1926, struck us all as too damn much like “ants” to be tolerable.

This is just opinion.  Remember I cannot see anyone, having no teeth and no money and having still to be reassured about last summer and its hefts, cannot yet leave the house.  And I do think it is a criminal commentary on the entire Scott-Metcalfe situation that an American artist and creative author of Jig’s proven ability, who has, also, proven ability in those practical ways that have to matter, though things should not have come to this, has to go to a German city to pick up bloody damn crumbs in order to support a family that would never have been of its present dimensions but for just the sort of bloody alternate sex starvation and over propagation bloody religious dictation imposes.  [ . . . ]

[Typed carbon copy, not signed.  Handwritten insertions.  UTK: 511217]

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

December 28, 1951

Mr Creighton Scott
Hotel Regina-Palast
Maximilian Platz
Munich, Germany

Darling Jigeroo

I hope this can be forwarded to you as I suppose this address is merely temporary and Jack and myself would so much like to see you at least for a week or so before you go home to the USA.

I also suppose I might have known should I send any mail of real importance to yourself and Pavla something would happen, if not what has, an obstacle of some sort to your receiving it.  I have this address because the precis was sent to you at Pitcher Lane for Pavla and yourself to read and send to your Dad.  I had first sent it to Margaret De Silver with the request that, since she almost never sees you and Pavla any more, she try to find someone to give it to you in person. She mailed it instead, probably having had too much to do to look for anyone and having, apparently, more faith in circumstances than I have; and the Postmaster at Red Hook returned it to her with the above address on it as the forwarding address for you.  And she at once sent it on to that address as she never should have since it represents about two months of work for me, off and on, of course, and hotel addresses are seldom more than temporary.

I can’t be annoyed with her because she has really saved the day with the help she has given respecting many of our problems in being still stranded here “economically”, damn it, but I wish she had thought twice, and the awful anxieties I have had ever since we have been here as a result of the lack of communication with you darling Jig, has been hell.

However, I will just hope that the hotel forwards it if necessary and you will receive it and write to tell me and say something of why you are in Germany and whether or not you can visit us here briefly as we hope and have a steamer rug please bring it as blankets are our present greatest need when anyone is here.

The precis was sent especially because of my opinion, which cannot be shaken, that somebody tampered with Cyril’s autobiography at those points involving ourselves before and since our divorce, and that this tampering, just before the book was completed, when first your stepbrother had been ill and Cyril had been to his bedside, then Cyril himself had been ill, was done without consultation with him and that he has never since been in a position to publically protest the incontestable great damage done him us and yourselves because he and his wife also are under “economic” duress.

This is far more than a “merely” personal issue and as long as I live I will do everything I can to smash “silencers”. It is my conjecture that I aroused enmity by reporting an intimidating janitor, in the early stages of the war, in New York, and that some very low minion of the police department made this a pretext for meddling with the lives of moral and intellectual superiors and somehow somebody on some other pretext which, since, has been carefully “white-washed” by utter scum, tried to “get even” that way.

* * * * *

Evelyn’s continuing obsession with sending her précis to Jigg and with the “tampering” of Cyril’s book continue into the following months, Not even a plan to bring her and Jack back to the United States would temper these concerns,

 

 

32. Is life too short?

Cyril’s autobiography, Life Is Too Short, was published by Lippincott in 1943.  It detailed what he described as his six careers to date and was greeted with moderate critical approval. It included an account of his “elopement” to Brazil with Elsie Dunn, the adoption of their new names, the birth of their son Creighton (who was known by his infant nickname “Jigg” throughout his life), the years of poverty in Brazil and their return to the United States in 1919.

Evelyn did not see  this book until 1945, although she knew it had been published.  When she did finally see a copy she was angered to read what she considered to be distortions.  She could not believe that Cyril would have written some of the descriptions of her and their relationship which she considered to be libelous, and the only possible explanation she could imagine was that some one, unnamed, had altered the text between the proofing and printing stages.  That person had somehow got into the print works and  had altered the passages she objected to with libelous intent.  This suspicion, which developed in her mind into a certainty, was a central theme in her letters from then on.

[NB:  I have a copy of the original typescript and have been able to compare it to the published version.  The only small differences between the two are typographical or grammatical.]

This is important because it marks the beginning of Evelyn’s continuing and increasing conviction that she was being libeled, and this in turn fed her conviction that she was being kept from her son and grandchildren.  I am introducing it here because 1945 is the point from which Evelyn’s gradually deteriorating mental condition can be most easily dated.

In 1951 Evelyn prepared a lenthy (70 single-spaced pages) document in support of efforts by friends to raise funds for her return to the United States.   The heading on each page reads:

Précis of events indicative of libel, to be read as SOON AS POSSIBLE BY CREIGHTON AND PAVLA SCOTT AND JOHN METCALFE AND, if possible, by CYRIL KAY SCOTT WHOM EVELYN SCOTT IS CONVINCED HAS BEEN VICTIMIZED WITH HER AND THEIR SON AND DAUGHTER-IN-LAW in consequence of a tampering and tinkering with LIFE IS TOO SHORT either when it was in manuscript or was being sent to press which either was unauthorized and completely illegal or was done without consultation with the author respecting facts involving both him and Evelyn Scott and their son when a child which are misrepresented and are sometimes fantastically untrue and as much to the disadvantage of the author as to Evelyn Scott and their son and his wife–the aim of this precis, which is a condensation of a longer precis to be completed in consistence with it, the restoration of the Integrity of American and British Artists and Art.

The entire document is prefaced by the following handwritten note:  “This MS contains an enormous amount of inaccuracy and I can only caution any reader to check almost any statement in it.  Paula Scott”

* * * * *

TO ANY Personal Friends WITH PRIDE AND INTEREST IN THE PRESERVATION OF THE INTEGRITY OF AMERICAN AND BRITISH ARTISTS AND ART

She is NOW, in 1951, convinced that the distortions of the truth respecting her Passport Document Common Law Marriage to Cyril Kay Scott, one of the earliest of the steps taken in Brazil the registration at the American Consulate in Recife, of the birth, on October 26th 1914, of their son, then called “Seely” Scott and afterward Creighton Scott—that this legal marriage was misrepresented to and by the Church, and that this also was the case respect­ing the divorce obtained from her as Mr Kay Scott’s Common Law wife, in 1928, in Chichuaua County Mexico, where divorce and marriage Laws are consistent.

Mr Cyril Kay Scott himself registered for himself and for Evelyn Dunn Scott as his wife on their arrival in Rio de Janeiro from New York, via London, on as he says the Hamburg-American liner Blucher, in the spring of 1914, before Passports were required by the States, Britain or Brazil. And that everything concerning the steps which documented the establishment of the Common Law Marriage which was absolutely concluded in Chichuaua County1 in 1928, were, between 1939 and the present, being libellously distorted and to some extent deliberately and by intention, she has not a doubt since she re-read Mr Cyril Kay Scott’s mangled autobiography, into which have been interjected misstatements in respect to everything appertaining both to her and her son that he himself, with his innate high qualities of character, the fineness of mind proven in his paintings and his novels filled with psychological insights which could NOT have written, and which are completely at odds with many comments on life philosophy and art that are recognizable as his by everyone who ever knew him well, and are scattered throughout the book. The book, Life Is Too Short is completely veracious in regard to facts which concern his scientific career and his careers in the arts and in business, including the war industry of which he was a competent administrator though he trained himself. But there is NO emotional or personal truth in the book; and it cannot be credited that any man of Mr Kay Scott’s wisdom and good sense, who, as well, has been the most understanding Father of his son and Evelyn Scott’s could concoct a cock-and-bull story about “secret agents” and “murders” as a pseudo-explanation.of the issuance of the Emergency Passport given him for himself and Evelyn Dunn Scott and Creighton Seely Scott as the Scott family, by Ambassador Morgan, when the real reason was Evelyn Dunn Scott was in seriously bad health, physically, and NOT mentally, as other libels in this book imply.

I think Mr Cyril Kay Scott incapable of mean falsehood of a petty order such as pervades those portions of Life Is Too Short which concern the life we shared during our Common Law Marriage of Fourteen Years; and as the decree which was granted him for the “desertion of bed and board”, in 1928, in Chichuaua, was consistently sanctioned by the American State Department the decree itself signed by the American Consul then at Juarez who was Mr John Dye, there was no point whatever in such a lie, unless inserted there by those whom the war had made the enemies both of the author and our son and of Evelyn Scott and JohnMetcalfe, Evelyn Scott’s second husband; who is NOT the “Father of her son”, as she has vaguely gathered some have had it.

But just before she returned FROM Canada to Tappan, New Jersey, to await her waiver and obtain the British Passport required before she could sail as an “RAF” wife into the War Zone and which she resigned immediately on landing in Britain, Mr Paul I Wellman1 had been at death’s door. And she learned this, and that Mr Kay Scott, too, was then ill, from her son and daughter-in-law in Tappan. And as she did not as was usual after her absences see Mr Kay Scott in person, and Mr Creighton Scott expressed himself in her hearing as “not interested” in reading Life Is Too Short—he and his wife were probably repelled by gossip of its vicious attack on her, Mr Creighton Scott’s Mother, but this, then, she did not know—and she herself had no opportunity to read what had been said of her until Mr Lewis Gannett, in 1947, loaned Mr Metcalfe his copy of this book and it was brought to her to England by him and she, in turn, was so revolted by the passages that libel both that she could scarcely read it,—the full and clear comprehension of the real extent of damage which may already have been done to her and her son and her daughter-in-law, his stepfather, and Mr Kay Scott himself—awaited the re-reading of Life Is Too Short in 1951 which she has just recently completed.

In 1943, she had no money to buy the book without a sacrifice of necessities she would gladly have made, had it not been that Creighton and Pavla’s aversion to it decided her that it might be best to read it at some other time; and now that she no longer doubts that libellers must have set to work on her and her son her daughter-in-law and her present husband during the war, she is too impoverished to bring libel charges against anyone, even should she wish to; and this, she is certain, is the truth regarding all concerned.

Think of having failed to warn Mr Kay Scott, when he acknowledged minor kindly practical aid, that, by listing his own and Evelyn Scott’s son and their son’s wife as among those who had “confirmed facts” in Life Is Too Short, he was allowing for the inference that she had neglected or shown little love for her only child, though there are many, and he above them all—who can attest that her concern for Mr Creighton Scott’s happiness and talents has been unremittingly proven her life long, and that as soon as he so much as contemplated marriage it extended to his present wife as well. Think of these things, and of an mss sent on probably unread after these passages were re-done by a “proxy”—possibly “authorized” but not “specified”—and think of the dismay Mr Kay Scott must have felt on reading them himself, and discerning a baseness towards him which, by seemingly reflecting on his son Creighton Scott and Creighton Scott’s wife, was like a criminal cancellation of his own generosities of a lifetime. Slanders inception is always among congenitally de­praved types, and, doubtless, in America, that system introduced with gangsterism, which allows criminals to batten on their moral betters, and is designated “police protection”, has fostered slan­der as convenient to extortion. And even as Evelyn Scott conjectures that slanderers must have battened obliquely, probably in contexts of the war and immigration, on a defamation of herself by which it hoped to embarrass the British and American consuls of 1943 and 1944, she is as con­vinced that Mr Kay Scott, also, loving very genuinely the children of his first marriage, was as much tricked into their inclusions in “Acknowledgements” as on the score of Mr Creighton Scott and his wife; as wilful insult was, to superficial minds, even more easily attributable to the Wellmans and especially because both Mr Paul I Wellman and Mr Manly Wellman1 have been newspaper men and are inured to some extent to the hardness expected in newspaper work.

Evelyn Scott does NOT believe they would be capable of vengefulness toward her, as she likes all of them, nor that they, any more than their Father, would allow any book by Mr Kay Scott to be cheapened by the atrociousness of those passages in Life Is Too Short which are most at variance with everything else Mr Kay Scott has written. So in her estimate, all concerned are victims!

1Chihuahua, Mexico. This is typical of Evelyn’s repeated misspellings of names.

Next week — back to normal!

 

 

 

31. A son writes not to his mother

Now that she  was in London with Jack, Evelyn became increasingly preoccupied with the lack of news of her son, his wife and their (now three) small children.  Jigg, perhaps as the result of the unhappiness and stress caused during her stay with them in Tappan, did not wish to continue contact with his mother and did what he could to impose distance between them.  At this point Gladys Grant, a long-time friend of Evelyn’s, became the buffer between Jigg and his mother.  She had met Jigg some years earlier and was fond of him, she could see how destructive Evelyn’s possessive behaviour could be, and  she managed a delicate balance between her continuing friendship for Evelyn and her desire to protect Jigg and his family from Evelyn’s desire to control his life.

Evelyn’s preoccupation with finding Jigg increased over the years and in 1951/52 she began to annotate her earlier letters and the replies she had received.  These annotations in her inimitable spidery hand give considerable insight into her mental state at this point, and are italicised and enclosed in square brackets [ ].

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott


Scotch Plains, New Jersey
November 1, 1946

Dear Evelyn:

I am ashamed not to have written before, but kept putting if off in the hope of telling you more.  I’ve forwarded all your letters but my last address for Jig is also care of the radio station in Chicago.  So far as I know he is still there with apparently no prospects or likelihood of being in or near New York.  I’m always glad to forward letters but, of course, this makes for delay and sometimes uncertainty.  Of course the registered letters would have been kept at the PO but the others just lie there.  I’ve been planning to get a PO box, but there isn’t one to be had just now and it would mean daily trips to Scotch Plains.  The old mail man used to be much more careful, but I suspect I’ve lost considerable mail lately.  I’m particularly upset today as all the boxes along this route were torn off by hoodlums last night—Halloween!  So glad as I am to forward any mail for you, I think you ought to know it is not too reliable.

As to the kids—I wrote you after I saw them last.  They were fine then but I haven’t seen them since.  When Jig went to Chicago, I believe the rest went to Paula’s father1—but for how long, I don’t know.  But I’m sure I’d hear and, so would you, if anything went wrong or any of them weren’t well.  They were flourishing, the last time I saw them.  I’m sorry I can’t tell you more as I realise you must want to know. [remainder of letter missing]

Ralph Pearson, then living in Nyack, New York.

During this period Evelyn was preoccupied with preserving her US citizenship (which was never in danger) and believed that one way of doing this was to be “domiciled” in the US.  Accordingly, she asked Gladys if she could use her address as evidence of this “domicile”.  Unknown to her, Gladys had also offered to let Jigg and Paula use her address as a forwarding address as a buffer to prevent Evelyn easily finding out where they were.

Evelyn, frustrated by her inability to contact her son, turned in desperation to Paula’s family.  Some years previously she had met Ralph Pearson, Paula’s father, a talented silversmith who ran a successful design business, and contacted him.  This led to her invoking Paula’s mother, Margué Foster (who had divorced  Ralph and married artist  Joseph Foster) as well as other members of Paula’s family.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 22, 1946

Darling Jig and Pavla

What has happened?  Where are you?1  I have written several letters to the business address given as Jig’s on Pavla’s July letter, and sent them registered, but have had no reply, and have merely inferred Pavla was with her father until she rejoined Jig, which she must by this time have done.

I am writing to Ralph Pearson and sending this letter with the one to him for forwarding, but his address, also, I misplaced, and I have only remembered it recently as Piermont Avenue.

As I am telling him, I had to give Jig’s address as care Gladys, when I got a new American passport and don’t know yet whether he received a check meant for Freddy’s birthday, and it is also very important that I have Jig’s correct present address2 for a British agent for The Muscovites, which there is a strong possibility of my being able to sell in Britain; and it need it similarly for the validation in the States of the Will of which he has a copy, in which he and Jack are appointed my literary executors.   Anyhow, all this goes to prove how necessary it is that we all keep in some sort of continuous contact and I don’t know how may more got where they were sent, and while that was during the bombing, there seems more than ever no reason for being left in the dark NOW.

Our love again and again and I do implore Creighton and Pavla themselves to reply NOW to this.
The very best to you two and to the children.

1At that time, Paula and the children were living in Pine Bluff, North Carolina near Cyril and his wife Louise, and Jigg was commuting from Chicago at weekends.

2Evelyn often claimed she had important practical reasons for needing Jig’s address, but these ploys never had the desired result.

3Paula’s great aunt Gertrude Brownell

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

26 Belsize Crescent
December 22, 1946

[Ralph replied after several letters and in 1949 I learned of experience in Chicago like experience reported in The Sun column during early part of war–similar]

Dear Ralph Pearson,

When Pavla and Jig moved from Tappan, in July, Pavla wrote me saying she would have no permanent address until she was settled with Jig, again; and Jack and myself have been much concerned about her, Creighton and the children recently, as we have had not a word since, although as Pavla, on the envelope enclosing her letter, gave Creighton’s business address as the Columbia Broadcasting Company, Chicago, and we have written several letters to him and her there.  [Other letters were not returned—there were not many two or three at most]

Her own letter was blank as to address, and it has been merely by inference that we have assumed she was with you until she joined Creighton, which by now she must surely have done; though Gladys Grant, said she thought Pavla could be reached through you.  And I would have written to you, in any case, and asked you to relieve our anxiety, and I had not misplaced your address, which I, all at once, remembered a day or two ago as Piermont Avenue.  You have lived there so long, I am sure the fact that I have not got the number won’t matter.  [June Jig had been in Army then ill]

Well, there is the situation!  Jig and Pavla have always kept us apprised of what happened and of their whereabouts, heretofore, and if I had let myself I could have been in a fine dither, by now!

I wrote Margué during the war, to the address which was hers when I visited Pavla and Creighton on my way back to Jack and have written there, again, although that is two years and a half ago, and she may have moved; but I have yet to get a reply; and as letters I sent Pavla’s Aunt Gertrude at the same time I wrote Margué, and which undoubtedly, if it arrived, went to the correct address, [1952—All requests for addresses—anyone’s—were ignored. except that he sent Harper’s ] was never acknowledged, you can’t blame me for the anxiety I shall feel until I have your answer to this and all the necessary information about Creighton and Pavla, Denise, Fredrick and Mathew, whom Jack and myself love very much and for whom we feel the greatest loyalty.  [No allusion to my books and Jacks or to Jigs has been made by Mr Pearson]

And so you will understand why I appeal to you, certain as I am of your innate kindliness!  Letters, the children’s and your own, are of first importance NOW, but the other things are also very VERY very important to us, and, ultimately, what we are able to do for ourselves is important in effect as regards them too.

Our regards to you all, and our very great appreciation,

Do you know Cyril’s address?  I had a letter sent him in my care for months, and can’t forward it because he didn’t give me any more address when he last wrote than Pavla did.  Really, if it wasn’t damnably serious, it would be funny.

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

26 Belsize Crescent
January 12, 1947

Dear Ralph [Took two years to get a reply to this.  He is Jig’s father-in-law]

I called you Ralph “Pearson” in the letter I mailed, or I should say Jack mailed for me, last week, and that is how it is addressed, and while I am sure it will get to you, well known as you are, I add this apology.  I think you live on Piermont Avenue?  Am I not right?  That would explain the ease with which I seem thrown into confusion about the spelling of your name, for I believe I did the same thing in writing you from Canada.  But hereafter, with Louise’s1 permission, I shall call you Ralph and let it go at that.

Feeling sure you will have the first letter by the time this arrives I won’t repeat the contents at length, but I do beg you again, please, to give me whatever news you have of the children as soon as possible.  My distress is great, and Jack, likewise, is anxious; and there are still the important reasons for having Creighton’s address, first and foremost to give the agent handling his novel for British publication, and secondly for documentary purposes, validation of will, and to append to my passport as when at the American Consulate I had to give his as Gladys Grant’s, and it shouldn’t be that everything went through her.

And there is, besides these things,my human feeling to be considered, and Jack’s also affectionate concern, and if both Creighton and Pavla, but of course especially now at once Creighton would write to us as before it would make a very great difference and make us all happier.

Thank you very much and again Jack’s and my regards and good wishes to you and our love and very great love to Creighton and Pavla and Denise and Freddy and Mathew.

Evelyn Scott Metcalfe

Ralph’s second wife

288 Piermont Avenue, Nyack [Google Street View]

To Creighton Scott

Ralph M Pearson’s Design Workshop Courses by Mail
288 Piermont Ave Nyack, NY

February 3, 1947

Dear Jigg:

This second letter came from Evelyn today; I send it on to you where it really belongs.  I have finally after much thought and after consulting Louise, decided on the letter in answer, a copy of which is enclosed [see below].  I cannot see the need of telling her lies, nor of the insult of silence; to us it seems that you should take care of the matter as you know all the answers.

Though Evelyn was distraught while staying with you, silence will only make her more so.  Can’t you see your way to set her at ease before the situation goes from bad to worse?  It would appear to be a son’s duty to do that.

Cordially,
Ralph

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Ralph M Pearson’s Design Workshops Courses by Mail
288 Piermont Ave Nyack, NY

February 3, 1947

Dear Evelyn:

Your letters both received, the second one came today, and both have been forwarded to Jigg.

I fear I can be of little help to you as it is obvious that this situation exists between you and Jigg.  Besides he must know all the answers to your queries.  The letters you have been sending to them certainly must have been forwarded; why he has not answered I do not know. [He did know he and Jig were both pestered by “inquirers” about Ralph’s innocuous second wife Pavla’s step-mother and calling me Margaret Jack Carlo it is just rackety politics]

So, this seems to be the best I can do.

With best wishes,
Cordially,
Ralph

[1952 There was some constraint about the content of Life Is Too Short when I was with Jig in Tappan. He seemed happier about this in London when Jack and I both said the libels libelled the author and that it was evidently re-slanted by a ratty editor to suit low markets  1952—I think the silences I object to criminal—imposed by criminals]

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

26 Belsize Crescent
March 30, 1947

Dear Ralph, this is the second time I have written my objection to the tenor or your last letter; which annoyed—and more than annoyed!—and perplexed me to an extent that made me very indignant; and caused me to write again today when I had calmed down, and could be temperate. [Ralph cooked up a pseudo-explanation thinking he was being helpful as Jig didn’t want to write about a fight—explained the effect on me was disturbing. Margué always said he was cruel.]

Well, that I have done, but the reason for my indignation is as was.  There has been NO no no no NO NO “falling out” of any sort between either Creighton and myself, Jack and him, Pavla and Jack, or Pavla and me.  And why almost a year has passed since Pavla (of whom I am fond) wrote me a letter with a content distressing to me and to Jack both (in which she spoke of the difficulties of the move to Chicago, her plight in having to stay “with friends”, the financial problem of move to such a distance, her wish and Jig’s to be re-established somewhere together at once, and the birth of Mathew—whose advent had never been mentioned to us as imminent in any previous letter), and no further letter has been received here in London by either Jack or me from either of them, is a complete mystery.

And the reason your—Ralph Pearson’s (NOT to mix pronouns) letter was and is a cause for indignation, was and is because Pearsons and Fosters, apparently, are in constant touch with them and our grandchildren.  But when I ask Ralph Pearson to corroborate as Creighton’s present address, that on the envelope of Pavla’s letter (the letter was blank as far as address went), the request is ignored, and on the basis of a fool and quite false assumption.

I asked for Margué’s1 present address, as no letter to her has yet been answered from her old address (although I saw her during the war and she was very pleasant and apparently interested in both Jack and myself as well as Creighton and Pavla); and you—Ralph Pearson I mean again—chose to ignore that request, as well—why why WHY?

I would have supposed a man whose work connected him with the arts would evince some symptom of imagination considering what we have all been through during the damn war; considering that I left the States in a convoy and got here under a rain of bombs; and there has been no real peace yet, and news or information of any sort about our family (and none are nearer or more loved that Creighton and Pavla and their children)—but, no–!  There was not any of the anticipated humanity in the reply I actually got.

What is wrong?  Is there a sort of “Pearson-Foster” opposition to human relations of a natural sort, or what?  If there is an explanation to be given, then you should give it.  If anybody is offended about anything we should know who is, and why!  And in any case I hold you and Margué to a degree responsible for failing to assist in relieving whatever misapprehension, if any, is at the bottom of this rotten madness.  You are both in contact with them, and you therefore have an advantage in influence, and if you refuse to use it on behalf of normal decent human civilized contacts and normal decent human civilized relations between mother and son, son and step-father-in-law, the consequences be on your own head.  You are assuming a responsibility I should not wish to have mine in the state of the world as it is when and while the civilized and normal have a supreme value, everywhere and anywhere.

But I, AGAIN, register objection about a situation which forces me to use “go-betweens”, where there has been no quarrel.  You have merely stirred resentment, where otherwise there would be amiability.  Fifteen letters, literally, sent to the States, have been unanswered in the last two years, and all to previously good friends—again why why why WHY? (and this does not include any of the letters written Creighton and Pavla, Pavla, writing infrequently to both having given blanket answers to most

Justly protesting, I am sincerely

[They have all been unhumanly cruel to me—is it because conditions there have been unhumanly cruel?  1952 E Scott]

1 Ralph’s first wife and Paula’s mother, Margaret Hale (Margué), remarried after their divorce; her second husband was Joseph Foster.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Scotch Plains, New Jersey
April 11, 1947

Dear Evelyn: [She sent paper twice]

Your letter came yesterday and I would have answered it then, but was just taking my son to New York to return to school and had several business things I had to do there.  Last night I came back so tired that I waited to write you until morning.

I realize how you must want to hear about your grandchildren and wish I could send you details.  But I haven’t seen any of them since they left Tappan or even heard for the last month or more.  In Paula’s last letter she enclosed a nice one from Denise, very sweet and well written, mainly asking about the fish they gave me before they left.  So perhaps you know more than I do!

Love to you both as always.
Glads

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

Scotch Plains, New Jersey
May 12, 1947

Dear Jig:

This is written to you to ask what you want me to do if and when your mother comes.  May I say that I promised to give your address to no one without official permission, I’ll lie and say I don’t know, if you prefer, but I’m not a good liar and this may just make her angry and more hurt and determined.  It’s none of my business but, if you don’t want to see her, wouldn’t it be easier for both of you to cable her before she started?  If she gets to this country she is almost sure to find out somehow were you are.  I realize such a cable is hard and cruel but won’t it be much worse for all of you after she is here?

Please forgive my butting in.  I won’t mention it again.  Unless I hear to the contrary I’ll just refuse to give your address, if I’m cornered.

Excuse scrawl.  I’ll write again soon and be sure to let me know how you all are.

God bless you all
Love
Glads

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Scotch Plains, New Jersey
June 15, 1947

[1952  This letter rather stupid in view of facts.  Jack was about to sail—arranging passage when this arrived]

Dear Evelyn:

I’m sorry I did not send the paper before, but waited for you to confirm where you were,  I am sending it herewith.

I must also tell you one very important thing.  Don’t come to this country unless you absolutely have to!  I am sure it must be much worse than England and certainly can’t be any better.  We have more material goods to be sure, but everything is terrifically expensive and the grab attitude is terrible.  I am sure you would both be utterly miserable.

I hope when you wrote “domiciled with me” you did not mean to stay here.  Not that I don’t want to see you and Jack, but there isn’t an inch of space.  You can always have mail sent to this address, if you trust the RFD, and I’ll be glad to forward it.  But there isn’t any place to sleep.

As for Jig and Paula, I haven’t heard from them for ages and can’t tell you their address.  The last letter, I believe, was the note from Denise and had none.  They are worse correspondents than I am, but I’m sure I would have heard if all was not well.  If the Chicago address is the last you have, it will undoubtedly reach him.  [1952—mail to Chicago was returned to London]

I hate to write this discouraging letter and perhaps should not send it, but I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to write again.  I’ll try to when I’m in a less depressed mood myself.

Love to you both
Gladys

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

c/o DeSilver, 130 West 12th Street, NYC
August 16, 1947

Dear Jig,

Here I am back in the US and eager to see you if you care for that.  Whatever the reasons (which I am quite willing to respect) for your long silence, you and I have, I trust, always been good friends and I hope that it may be possible to contact you, preferably in person, or, failing that at any rate by letter.  I feel that a certain amount of, at least, “tentative” clarification would be of mutual help.

I don’t know what in heck the conditions or considerations which have created the present impasse (to call it that!) may be, but I am not lacking in imagination which, towards yourself, has always been and will always be, exercised in the friendliest possible way.  Please take that as a first datum anyhow.

At the same time, you, also, are a person of imagination, so you can probably guess the effect on Evelyn (and by repercussion and propinquity on myself) of a sustained silence.  I fancy, from all one may gather, that she must have been a wearing inmate of your house while she was awaiting a passage to England, and I certainly feel no “disloyalty” to her in saying so.  You and I both know her well, and indeed she herself would now readily admit that she was a trying guest.  Anything of that kind, or any faintest attempt towards a repetition thereof, can, on my personal guarantee, be ruled out.  So if any fear of her being again parked on you has been at all operative, dismiss it.

None the less, and conceding all of this, her affection for you is very deep and genuine, and to grant it some sort of vent, if only by occasional correspondence, could, as I (failing further enlightenment) see it, do you no harm.  It would not be a wedge’s thin-end towards anything you might find obtrusive, inappropriate or oppressive.

Meanwhile, however, your silence has had the effect of rendering her unresigned to life in England.  A line or two, now and then, would, as they say, have kept her happy, or reasonably so; but, as it is, the absence of a word from you has received, progressively, a wholly disproportionate emphasis until it was warped and coloured her entire outlook, and tended, of course, to aggravate those very symptoms of nervousness and all else which may, in the first instance, have played some part in prompting you to drop correspondence.

Once again, please understand, I am not, nor is she, “blaming” (oh holy Mike!) or “reproaching” (oh even holier Mike!) you for all this.  Let us leave any obfuscating so-called “moral” issues out of it.  I am merely stating, without exaggeration and as straightforwardly as I can, the sequence of cause and effect.  And naturally I do not disguise that I, as living with her, am a highly interested party.  All of this, of course, comes back to me!

So what I want to put over to you is the present actual concrete picture and no more.  At present, and rightly or wrongly, that actual concrete picture is that lack of word from you is a prime cause—I may say the prime cause—of mental disturbance generally, impeding work and destroying health.  A word from you would relieve this condition and constitute no faintest kind of “threat” to yourself.  But you can imagine the effect a continued silence will undoubtedly have upon such a nature.

This, of course, is inadequate and partial.  In particular, it fails to convey how warmly I feel towards you, yourself, as a person.  That is quite apart from anything construable as mere “sentiment”, of which, I hope, I am sufficiently adult to be absolved.

If you feel like it, I want, as I’ve said, to see you.  I, just as much as Evelyn, am feeling rather bothered and “bottled-up” by this “situation”,–which I still insist on enclosing in inverted commas.

Yrs ever,
Jack

 * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

c/o DeSilver, 130 West 12th Street, NYC
August 20, 1947

Darling Beloved Evelyn-Chookie

This is just an interim note by air mail.  As I told you in last letter (tho’ it was not air-mail, – and this may arrive first), I saw Ralph Pearson (it’s spelt that way, I find) on Saturday, – and left a short letter for Jig, which he will forward.  Jig had asked R P not to give his address to anyone, so of course I still have not got it, and it may be a week or so before I can get any reply.

R P seemed most friendly, – but a little hurt that you hadn’t visited him as often as he (apparently) had wanted.  He begged me to understand that he was not to blame. Now he regretted the present situation, and, for his part, had asked Jig to write to us, – and had no idea why he would not.

I am sure all this will adjust itself if only you (who have, at the moment, to play infinitely the most difficult part) can hold on for a while.  I told Jig, of course, how lovingly we both felt and I delighted I wd be to see him, – but at the same time assured him that I was not, in any way, “pursuing” him.  If I did, incidentally, learn his address, what good would that really be to us unless he himself had volunteered it?—as I think he will.

All love always
Dickie-Jack

* * * * *

To Cyril Kay Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
August 30, 1947

My dear Cyril,

I am asking this to be sent by Jack who is now in New York, at Margaret De Silver’s, Apt 12G, 130 West 12th St NYC and who I know would like very much to see you herself for his own pleasure and because the affectionate regard of us both is the same as ever.  Jack has written me he is is bringing home a copy of Life Is Too Short, and it will certainly be appreciated as both of us have been doing our best to get it and read it ever since it appeared, but when I was in the USA during the war I was advised to travel with such light baggage that I could not bring a book, besides lacking cash for buying anything not essential at the moment.  But in our estimate of literature an human beings books of the value we are sure that are essential, so it has been a great deprivation to have had to wait as long as this for one we especially want.

The object of this letter, however, is to implore you–and I mean implore–to relieve my distress and the distress Jack feels on my behalf and as one genuinely fond of Jig regarding his strange treatment of both of us, who have written to him repeatedly in the three years since I stayed with him and Pavla at their express invitation to do so; and had, except for the atmosphere imposed by war, a good visit and when I left took a most affectionate farewell of them and their children, anticipating that we would always be the good friends we have been throughout our lives.

I have been here three years and a few months, and for the first two years I wrote to Jig regularly every week (not very interesting letters, perhaps, but that was the war), and no reply did I ever have, except two brief notes from Pavla, which acknowledged by inference that my letters were being received in Tappan.

Jig and Pavla both know very well that my feeling for their three children is the normal affectionately interested one of any grandmother, and while Jack is, as he would say, “just a step-gran’pappy”, he also is interested in them and would enjoy meeting them and getting acquainted.

Knowing that every day during this long interval I have spoken of Jig and every day have thought of him and almost every day have asked aloud why Jig didn’t write, when Jack left the first thing he promised was to ascertain Jig’s address which has never been given us since they left Tappan and see Jig if he could in any case write to Jig there and get a reply which would clear the air of what has become a miasma of mystification and very positive unhappiness, which is the proof of my normality as a mother.

I have been, during all this last year, reduced to sending any mail I wanted to reach Jig to Ralph Pearson, who refuses to give Jig’s address, and offers no explanation whatever as to why, merely says he was “asked not to”.  It is a form of “scruple” somewhat like it would have been had I adhered to Lola’s request not to get money for her from anybody, when I had been told (erroneously, but I didn’t know it) that she was dying.  I asked for money for her without consulting her, and if it didn’t save her medically, it saved her from starving, and you yourself aided with complete disdain for such inhuman “pseudo” “scrupling”.

I cannot force Jig to conduct himself like himself humanly generously decently scrupulously.  During his entire life he has always been good honest responsive sensitive and civilized, but to remember the evidence as we both do of that makes the present situation the less tolerable the more completely incomprehensible.  What suggestions have been made to him?  Who is inducing an attitude so at odds with what he humanly is.  And explanation of any sort would be a godsend.

Pavla wrote the last of the two letters from her immediately after Mathew was born, said she and Jig were in a “terrible state”, did not say why, put no address on the envelope, and on the outside of the letter put the Columbia Broadcasting, Chicago, where Jack learns from Pearson he is not employed, having a better job elsewhere.  But I have been humiliated by having sent letters to the Broadcasting Company, registered which advertise to the public that my son for some good damn phoney suggested fool no-reason acts as if I were dead WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY.  We have never quarrelled, we have had a few “spats” that never lasted but we have never quarrelled.

That is why Cyril I implore you to throw any light you can on the situation and if you can exert influence with Creighton please do so, for I think we both realize by now that the idea of cutting early ties didn’t work.

Therefore Creighton, who has also experienced the war–this last war–not the other–cannot with his intellect possibly believe he can “lose himself” in that way.  There are all the ties he has to some extent chosen, in marrying Pavla, in the responsibilities resultant; but additionally he is in continual contact, whether he prefers it or not, with Pearsons, Hales, Brownells1 and Fosters, who do not appreciate Jig, have NOT the brains the taste the perspicacity the insights into art and living that his father and his step-father and his mother have why the hell and in the name of all common sense then, should Jig be a sort of domestic martyr, to every sort of imposed family tie, and be cut off from the one assortment relatives with whom he has things actually in common.

I resent the situation on Jig’s behalf just as much on my own.  Pavla is a good sensible girl, she has an average good mind but she is not profound, she is not extraordinary and she is in many ways lacking in perspicacity as regards the things in which Jig’s interest is most vital.  [1952–Pavla intellect cannot be assessed as she was too young and immature at marriage for judgements–This was provoked by her then apparent exclusion of me–circumstantial only I hope]

This is not a mother-in-law’s opinion–I was very fond of Pavla and I will be easily fond of her again in a normal atmosphere with normal behaviour on her part towards ourselves.  But I have and do resent (with reservations, for the letter seemed so unlike herself that I have interpreted it in the light of various possible excuses or justifications of the moment, as she saw things, how wrongly–and certainly it was wrongly) the fact that I was sent a letter with such a content (I hadn’t known before the baby was expected) and with no address, and have been left in the period mental torment resultant from such a hiatus in communication.

If I could think of it as deliberate it would be hard to forgive but I think we have every one of us been so controlled and manipulated by every sort of force and influence during the war, that my view of what has happened is based on that, any my judgement of it is a continent one.

Jack has the hypothesis (first time) that some fake analyst has impinged with the “mother complex” rot; and it may be so, though I believe Jig to be too sensible to accept that blather at this late date.  And as I know you yourself Cyril have just the opinion Jack and myself have of “psycho-analysis” as the most completely invalidated lot of rotten nonsense that was ever foist by duped doctors on a duped world, I somehow feel you won’t support that stuff, and if it is an ingredient will help.

You can always assure Jig (though he should know it anyhow) that I will never be a “clinging” mother and that Jack any myself have our own careers work and interests and do not “batten” psychologically, or otherwise But normal human affection has its demands, too, and in a world all but ruined by the rotten putrid totes (and may they meet their annihilation), no one who values his or her integrity of individuality can afford to slight normal human feelings.

So let’s abolish “mystification”.

With the affection best wishes I know Jack shares I am as we both are again
Your very admiringly,

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

Personal
26 Belsize Crescent
August 3, 1948

[1952–This letter was not specifically mentioned at any time]

My very dear (and it is our very dear, for Jack feels precisely as I do about you) very dear Creighton and Pavla  [Very few specific acknowledgements]

Jig’s letter which Jack received when he arrived here, continues to distress us because of its misapprehensions.  I don’t know their source, but I do remember every smallest thing that happened during my ten months stay with you, and remember most vividly of all that Jig was alarmed, as I was, lest some slip-up about my passage leave me on his hands financially, when he was carrying every bit of financial responsibility he could shoulder.  I remember he said then, that, in order to try and assure the speeding-up of my passage arrangements at the American end, he would be obliged to invent some story which would be comprehensible to his then-boss (whom I judge to have been a complete ass), and he intended to tell him there was friction in the family caused by my presence, and he was “desperate” about it.  And this I gather Jig did, and that is why Jack received the cable1 which was so incredibly unjust as regards myself Jack Jig himself Pavla and the children.

I was never “jealous” of Pavla or of Denise and Fredrick in my life, but when I was in Tappan, I was in actual panic, every moment, lest I be stranded there as I was in New York in 1939, when Jack was over here in service, and my income on books abruptly ceased, and I could find no means of supplementing it, though I had somehow to get my mother’s hospital bills paid, and she was dying.  I was in such panic, that conscious of a constraint the war was imposing on every one of us, and that we were not speaking with the candour natural to our affections, I “leaned over backward” not to appear too grandmotherly, or mother-in-lawly, lest it be supposed I placidly accepted just staying on there indefinitely, which I didn’t.

We both deeply regret Jack did not see you both and Denise Fredrick and Mathew last year, as you were one of the chief reasons he went to the USA; as he feels as I do the continuity of one’s intimate human relations is important in contributing to a sane normal life.  But, again, we do not blame you, but conditions.  We have not yet solved our problems, and still we hope.

We love you and the three children and we feel precisely as we always have about Cyril whom we have both been accustomed to consider one of our best friends, notwithstanding a divorce, for the occasions of divorce don’t last forever, and Cyril and I as Jack appreciates have a son, the son more important than the original cause of divorce.  For Jig’s sake I hope Cyril will write to both of us as he used to do.

1Dated January 28, 1944: see blog post 28. This reference to this cable illustrates Evelyn’s lack of awareness of the effect her behaviour had on her son.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United States Post Office
Nyack, New York

July 21, 1949

[NB August 3rd 1949 this was an inquiry about mail addressed to my son in Pearson’s care which though correctly addressed was returned. I therefore regard the Post Office at Nyack as disingenuous and evasive and as having downright refused to answer straight questions regarding a specific instance of mishandling. This inquiry was made May 27 1949 this letter arrived August 2 1949.]

Dear Madam:

Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of June 29th, 1949, all which has reference to mail which you send to your Son, his Wife and your Grandson.

You are advised that Mr Pierson [ear—my fault! ]is alive and resides at 288 Piermont Avenue, for a number of years. All mail received at this office addressed to him or other persons in his care has been delivered to that address.

Of course, it would be impossible to trace the letters you mailed during the years 1944 and 1945, however, I can assure you that if they were addressed to Mr Pierson or someone in his care they were delivered to the above mentioned address. What he might do with such mail is unknown to anyone at this office.

We have no forwarding address for your Son or any member of his family and any mail addressed to them directly would be returned to the sender marked unknown. If the mail was addressed to your Son or any member of his family in care of Mr Pierson it would be delivered to Mr Pierson’s residence for such disposition as he cared to make of it.

Trusting this explains our position in the matter,

I am
Respectfully yours,
Postmaster

[NB 1952 This blast of ice returned to me a letter and parcel correctly addressed to Mathew Scott my grandson and Mr Pearson’s in Mr Pearson’s care–Mr Pearson said he know nothing of it. In London, Jig said Ralph’s second wife had been called a “red” because she was once in a teacher’s union in which were some communists. The two Pearsons were once socialists.]

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Ralph M Pearson’s Design Workshop
288 Piermont Ave Nyack NY

 October 7, 1949

[Pearson is as brutal as Walter Frank–Pearson lies I think and he knows a situation so painful would naturally make it impossible for Jig to read my letter in his presence.]

Dear Evelyn:

The Nyack postmaster just showed me another letter from you about Jigg not getting your letters. Now look, Evelyn–Jigg has received every letter you sent in my care. That last long one about a month ago came to me while he happened to be here visiting for the day and I gave it to him direct from the carrier–without reading it myself. From the way he acted I doubt if he read it, altho I saw him read part of the first page. He is following a deliberate policy of not answering your letters; that is the hard fact you may as well take into account. And I suggest you stop bothering postmasters about this family matter; it is hardly fair to them to be brought in on such a thing.

The packages must have gone astray because I was not in Nyack to receive them and it is too late now to do anything about them.

But every letter you send to me will be forwarded–so you may always be assured Jigg gets them.

It is very unfortunate, this whole situation–and I regret it very much–but there is nothing I can do.

Sincerely,
Ralph M P

[Egregious evasion–Ralph doesn’t answer during two years and not until I had embarrassed him by inquiring of the P Office about parcel ((returned))]

* * * * *

Next week Evelyn finally sees a copy of Life Is Too Short and is inspired to record her reactions to it.

 

 

 

29. An exercise in red tape

In 1943, while on secondment to the Canadian Royal Air Force, Jack was informed he would be ordered to return to Britain to take up his Royal Air Force commission and report for duty somewhere in Britain.  There was provision for serving officers to have members of their immediate families repatriated to the UK, at the expense of the officer concerned. Evelyn decided she wished to return to England to be with Jack and he therefore initiated the necessary paperwork while still in Canada.   As the following exchange indicates, the initial contact with the Canadian RAF was probably the source of considerable delay due to the application being caught between the twin stones of Canadian and British operating procedures but was probably not helped by Evelyn’s constant flow of letters querying delays.

(Personally, I would not have been happy to cross the Atlantic in a convoy during this period.)

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Air Force Staff Officers’ Mess
No 31 Royal Air Force Depot, Moncton, NB Canada

Sunday September 12, 1943

Darlingest Dear,

As post-script to my other note of today; – apparently you should get your passport back in from three to five weeks after application; – so if much delayed beyond that time you had better write to Air Force Headquarters.  Now, you have your “dossier” of copies of all those letters etc I had to write, – and although they bear varying dates, the actual registered letters in which they were finally mailed were sent off from Clinton [Ottawa] in August 13th. One batch of stuff went to Air Force Headquarters through Command Headquarters (i.e. the actual registered envelope was addressed to “Air Officer Commanding, No 1 Training Command, RCAF, 55 York Street, Toronto”; and Command Headquarters, after retaining one copy of everything for their files (except the actual passport of course) sent on the other set and passport to: – “Chief of Air Staff, Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa”.  The other batch was to the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission.  These two main registered packets were posted from Clinton, as I say, on Aug 13th, the Clinton PO registration numbers being: – For the packet to No 1 Training Command: – 338; and for the packet to the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission: – 337.  Each of the two packets contain information-carbons of the letters etc sent to the other addressee.

Now, what all this boils down to is that if you don’t get your passport back in, say two weeks’ time, I should write to Air Force Headquarters, addressing envelope to:- “Chief of Air Staff Air Force Headquarters, (Attention D/DPC/RAF), Ottawa” and say that your husband sent your passport No 372415 on August 13th and can you soon expect to receive it?  Also state that, as I have not present funds, I am saving up for your fare, by deductions from my pay, and that this has been approved by the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission in their letter dated August 25th and signed by Mr F C Fayers, the Civil Officer for Finance and Accounts.

All this will probably be unnecessary, so don’t let it worry you, – but if you don’t get your passport in, say, two weeks from now, there’ll be no harm in chasing it up.

There is, actually, a possibility, I understand, that you may get a passage even before I have finished accumulating the fare; – i.e. they might let you sail “on credit”, so to speak, and they carry on deducting from my pay after your arrival in the UK.  This would be swell, – and the only worry then would be that you might not have saved enough for your actual train-fare to whatever American or Canadian port to have to sail from.  I wish to goodness I had more money  I fancy the actual rail-fare might be as much as $50 or $60 (you’d better enquire re this).  I should try to put by for this as soon as ever you can.

Also, of course, hang on to your USA passport. Also, it might perhaps be useful, later, to have a chat with the British Consul in N York.

No more now, beloved
All, all dearest love always
Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Canadian Air Force
The Rev W Scott Morton Station Chaplain MPO 106
Fort Albert, Ont

October 15, 1943

Dear Mrs Metcalfe,

After receiving your letter I made some enquiries and find that there is no reason to suppose that your passport will not be returned to you in due course along with the exit permit etc.

If you do not have any further word in a short time from the relevant authorities, perhaps you will be good enough to drop me a line again, and I will take up the matter through the RAF Families Welfare Committee in Ottawa.  I am not doing so at present as I feel that it is slightly premature, but I shall be glad to write to them later on if it seems necessary.

With kindest regards to Sqdrn-Ldr Metcalfe and yourself
I am,
Yours sincerely, W Scott-Morton
Sqdn-Ldr, Station Chaplain

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
November 22, 1943

Dearest Love,

I hope you will soon get my recent several letters answering yours re the passport difficulty.  I should continue writing somewhat on these lines:

“My husband, well before leaving Canada, was careful to follow most strictly all the instructions of pamphlet HQC-33-1-26 in making application for my passage.  The date of my necessary departure from Canada to the USA (Aug 31st 1943) was also stated in my husband’s application, and as the application was despatched to you from Canada on August 13th there should have been ample time to drew my, or my husband’s, attention to any difficulties in procedure regarding the passport.  Being a special case, it may well fall outside the scope of routine procedure.  As it is, it is obviously impossible for me to acquire a fresh passport, from Consular authorities in New York, until you have returned my old one.  The money for my ocean fare has not yet been accumulated by my husband from his pay, so that perhaps my enquiries re my passport may seem premature; but meanwhile I am naturally anxious to have it returned and to be assured that everything is in order and my name on the waiting list for a passage, in readiness for the time when the money for my fare has been accumulated and fully deposited by my husband.”

Something like that.  But meanwhile of course I’m very worried re your immediate situation, – re Jig, allotment, Pavla’s health and all.  Am eagerly awaiting your next letters.

Much love, and sympathy in its troubles to the family, and dearest love my own dear to you, from

Your own
Dickie1

Evelyn’s pet name for Jack

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
November 27, 1943

Dearest Love,

Just got your letter dated Oct 20th, written when you were sending the cable re your allotment money.  I do hope you have this allotment money now, – and also that you duly received the cable I sent, answering yours.  My previous cable, sent on September 21st, I know you did not get, and I do hope you got the other.

I’m so glad you heard at last from Brownlow, and that Martin is to pursue the matter, – and that, apparently, your passport is being returned to you OK via the British Consul.  A few days ago I sent you a suggested rough draft for further letter asking for passport, – but by the time you get this draft you will—presumably, and it is to be hoped—have got the passport itself; and that, as soon as the passage-money has been accumulated and credited you should, at any time after that, get notice of your passage darling.

This may reach you by, or about, Christmas—and carries, anyhow, all my love and blessings for that and for the new year.

Much love, as always, to the family, and all dearest love my own to you from
Ever yours Dickie

* * * * *

One issue which undoubtedly made it more difficult for Evelyn’s passage to be approved was uncertainties regarding her citizenship, when in fact she had always maintained her American citizenship and held American passports.  The authorities appear to have assumed that, as the wife of a British officer, Evelyn would also be British.  This confusion led to  further misunderstanding and delays until it was eventually clarified.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Department of State
Washington DC

December 10, 1943

My dear Mrs Metcalfe:

The Department has received your letter of November 18, 1943, stating that you have a British passport and requesting to be advised whether you should obtain an exit permit to leave the United States.  Since you are an American citizen, you could not obtain an alien’s permit to leave this country and an American passport can not be issued to you at this time for your trip to England.  However, the Department will arrange to waive the customary permit to leave the United States, which in your case would be an American passport, if the appropriate British authorities should request that such arrangement be made and will assure the department that they have arranged reservations for your travel.  In that event, the Department should be advised of the exact date of your contemplated departure from this country, the port of departure and the means of transportation which you will use.

Sincerely yours.
R B Shipley
Chief, Passport Division

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 12, 1943

Darling Love,

No further letter from you recently (your last to be received was dated Oct 29th) and I’m hoping to hear again soon as your most recent news to reach me is now some six weeks old.

Anyhow, I’m so glad to know, by the last letters I did receive, that the issue of your allotment money had started, and also that you expected soon to have your passport returned.  Another couple of months should see the passage-money duly accumulated.

Well, darling, this is just an interim scribble.  Love as always to family, and all dearest love to you from
Yours, Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Consulate-General
25 Broadway, New York

December 16, 1943

Dear Madam

I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 15th December.

I regret that it has never appeared from the preceding correspondence that you possess Dual Nationality having been born in the United States.  This is of course apparent from your recent passport application, and I regret that the fact has been hitherto overlooked.

As a dual national, the form of application for an exit permit which you obtained from the United States Immigration authorities is inappropriate, and I think that when you applied for the form the United States Immigration authorities must likewise have been unaware that you possessed United States citizenship.  In order to comply with the requirements set out in Mr Shipley’s letter to you of 10th December, which is returned herewith it will be necessary for the British Embassy to apply to the State Department for a waiver of American exit permit facilities.  Will you therefore kindly complete in duplicate and return to me the enclosed forms, and I will ask the Embassy to approach the State Department in the usual way.  You cannot of course give the exact date of your contemplated departure from this country, nor can you state with certainty from which port you will leave.  You should consult the British Ministry of War Transport, 25 Broadway, on these points, and give such information as they will advise.

It will be necessary for you to undertake to do war work on arrival in the United Kingdom if called upon to do so, and I shall be glad if you will express your willingness to do so in writing when returning the forms to me.

Yours very truly,
A J S Pullen

 * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 18, 1943

Darling Love,

No fresh letter from you, and the last one I received, written in October, is now seven weeks old.  So I’m hoping to hear quite soon.

All well with me, and nothing fresh to report.  I hope your allotments are now coming regularly and that you have your passport back OK.  And by now, anyhow, you know about Jig.—I shall eagerly wait for news about that and do hope your anxieties on that score will be over,–for the time being anyhow.

All love and good wishes for New Year to the family,–and all dearest love to you, from
Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

[December 30, 1943]

NITE LETTER

SQ/LDR W J METCALFE
GARDEN FLAT 26 BELSIZE CRESCENT HAMPSTEAD LONDON NW3

RE YOUR WIFE EVELYN STATE DEPARTMENT WASHINGTON WILL WAIVE EXIT PERMIT ON RECEIPT OF WRITTEN ASSURANCE THAT PASSAGE APPROVED ETARRANGED BRITISH VICECONSUL HERE IGNORES RAF ARRANGEMENT SUGGEST YOU WRITE HIM MR PULLAN 25 BROADWAY NYC ALSO SECURE WRITTEN ASSURANCE EVELYNS CORRESPONDENCE WITH OTTAWA UNFRUITFUL

CREIGHTON SCOTT (BLUE NEWS RM 276)

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 31, 1943

Darling Love,

I have just got Jig’s cable, – which was ‘phoned over to me when I got home, – I having been out when the man called.

I am very worried and concerned, – because I cannot understand the cable.  It is, in a way, good news that the State Dept will waive exit permit—but how are you going to pay your ocean-fare?  I cannot of course send money out of the country in the ordinary way, – and the only way I can do it is by paying it in at this end to Air Ministry as I am doing.  The Air Ministry here then advises Ottawa (UKALM) when my payments are complete.  That is, no actual money is sent across the ocean, but the adjustment is made on paper as between London and Ottawa.  Ottawa then pays the Shipping Co, – and allocates a berth etc.

Secondly, unless you adhere to the repatriation scheme there would probably be trouble in getting your married allowances when you do arrive here.  Though this could be risked perhaps.  The point of view would be, perhaps, that though here in body you were not here at all officially.  Which, considering all the sweat and worry you’ve had in trying to get the officials to follow their own directions would be exasperating indeed.

Thirdly, – I can’t understand about the “assurances” Jig mentions.  Supposing you did scrap the repatriation scheme and raised the passage-money some other way, how could I, over here, give any credible assurances that your passage had been “approved”?  I am only longing for the time when it will have been “approved and arranged”—but you would hear that good news before I did.  And similarly with the assurance about correspondence with Ottawa having been “unfruitful”.  The only way I could assure Washington of that would be by quoting from your own letters to me, – i.e. second-hand, instead of first-hand, evidence.

I shall do my damnedest of course in any way in which I can possibly help but (a) I don’t see how you are going to raise the passage money, – and (b) the assurances, as I see it, could only come from your end.

As I told you, your passage-money will be ready at my end by early March.  The Air Ministry will then have it all and will so advise UKALM at Ottawa.

All OK here except that I’m lonely and wishing you were with me.  This geographical separation business, (though I’m sure it won’t be too protracted)—was what I always bothered about, you remember, in 1936 etc, – though people thought I was “just exaggerating”.

But cheer up beloved, – I’m sure it won’t be more than a few months now.  Blessings for New Year and for your birthday.  Love as always to family, and dearest love to you from your Dickie.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 9, 1943 [sic]

Darling Love,

I hope my recent letters won’t take too long to reach you, for, till they do, the cable I sent in answer to yours can’t be much help!  A few days ago I sent you a copy of my letter to Mr Pullen which sets out the position (in my present state of knowledge) fairly clearly I think.  To be sure you get it, I shall be sending you another copy later.

But until Ottawa has been informed that all your passage-money has been paid in on this side by me, we cannot expect any action from them.  When it has been paid in they will have to act, – if only to get their books straight so to speak, and if there is any delay we shall then be in a position to importune.  This (the completed paying-in on this side) will be by early March.

I’m so sorry.  You are unable to get on with your own work at present darling.  Never mind, – once you get over here I’m sure you’ll be able to , – so roll on the time!  Must also postpone your birthday present till then.  I shall be thinking of you on the seventeenth.

Love, as always, to the family, – and all truest love and blessings to you.

Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Department of National Defence
Air Service
Ottawa, Canada

January 14, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

With reference to your letter of December 30th.  It is regretted there is no action this Headquarters can take on your behalf in view of your residence in the United States.  However, it is advised that the Secretary of the RAF Families Welfare Committee, Ottawa, who has received a similar letter from you mentioned above, is replying, instructing you as to the necessary action you will have to take in connection with passage arrangements.

Very truly yours,
J B Thorpe for J A Sully
Air Vice-Marshall for Chief of the Air Staff

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission
Lisgar Building Ottawa

January 14, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe,

With reference to your letter of the 4th inst addressed to Mr Fayers and which has been passed to me for reply, the position as far as your passage to the United Kingdom is briefly as follows.

Inasmuch as you are residing in the USA, no steps can be taken by any of the authorities in Canada to arrange for your passage and in the circumstances, therefore, all negotiations will have to made by you with the RAF Delegation, Washington.  This Mission has, however, agreed to receive payment of the cost of passage from your husband in due course and when this has been received the RAF Delegation will be advised accordingly.

I would suggest, therefore, that you communicate with the RAF Delegation, Washington, in connection with obtaining the desired UK Exit Permit that you require and complete all other necessary details for your sea transportation to enable you to join your husband in due course.

Yours very truly,
N Walden Secretary
RAF Families’ Welfare Committee

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 23, 1944

Darling Love,

I received your registered letter re Mr Pullen etc OK, and, also, yesterday, two more from you, – but they were undated, and the postmarks undecipherable as they almost always are.  Anyhow, I was so gad to hear you were feeling cheerier generally and had got more of my letters all right.  I hope you will get the letters I wrote to you after I had cabled you on or about Jan 1st.  I have, to date, sent you two copies of the letter I wrote to Mr Pullen.  But do remember darling to date your letters or I can’t sort things out.  Not so long now for early March when my payments will be completed.  Hurrah!  If there is undue delay after that I can begin to agitate at my end.

Much love to family, – and all dearest love and lookings-forward to you.

Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Canadian Air Force
Ottawa, Ontario

February 4, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

With reference to your letter of January 20, which has been referred to the Secretary, RAF Families Welfare Committee for action.

Mr Walden, of the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission, has now advised that he replied to you direct in regard to your passage arrangements to the United Kingdom.

As previously advised you, there is no action this Headquarters can take in your behalf, in view of the fact you are resident in the United States.

Yours very truly,
J B Thorpe for J A Sully
Air Vice-Marshall for Chief of the Air Staff

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission
Lisgar Building Ottawa

February 4, 1944

Dear Madam,

With reference to your letter of the 18th of January last, I have been in communication with Mr Pullen at the British-Consulate General at New York and he informs me that, as he has now received from you the completed Application Forms for Passage to the United Kingdom, he is now taking steps to obtain the necessary waiver for you to leave America from the US State Department.

Therefore, as soon as advice is received from the Air Ministry that the necessary deductions have been made from your husband’s pay towards the cost of your sea transportation (a signal in this connection has been sent to the Air Ministry to ascertain the present position) steps will be taken by the authorities in the United States to complete necessary arrangements for your passage.

Yours very truly
N Walden,
Secretary RAF Families’ Welfare Committee

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
February 14, 1944

Darling Love,

No fresh news from my end, – save that I’m well and OK—and I hope you are at least fair-to-middling at your end.  The payments for your passage will be completed early March, – only a few weeks now.  I sent you copy of a letter I wrote to Dawson.

I shall be glad when you’re over here darling, as I know you will be.  Let me know if you hear from Pullen, to whom I wrote on Dec 31st, and sent you carbon.

Hope you manage to keep well and don’t catch colds.  Save for the one nasty cold in November that I told you about, I’ve kept very well, with plenty to eat.

Much love to family as always, and all dearest love to you, from
Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

British Consulate-General
25 Broadway
New York

February 25, 1944

Dear Sir,

I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 31st December. The position concerning your wife’s passage is as follows:

I have now obtained from her application forms for priority on Eastbound Atlantic Passage, which are required of all passengers proceeding to the United Kingdom.

Your wife, as a dual national, has to obtain, in lieu of the United States exit permit given to aliens departing from the United States, a “waiver” of American passport formalities which amounts in effect to an exit permit.  She has made application for this, and her application has been supported in the usual way by a letter from the British Embassy to the State Department.

I am waiting to hear either from the RAF Delegation or from your wife herself that the arrangements for payment of her passage which you describe have been completed.

I am today advising your wife that when she hears that arrangements for the payment of her passage are complete, she should so inform the British Ministry of War Transport in New York, who will in due course inform her when a passage has been obtained for her.

Apart from that financial arrangements for the payment of her passage, the obtaining of her passage and her waiver is a routine procedure which is normally followed by many hundreds of applicants similar to herself and I foresee no reason for her to have any worries about the matter.

A J S Pullen
HBM Vice-Consul For HBM Consul-General

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
March 3, 1944

Darling Love,

All OK with me, and, as I told you in my last two letters, the payments were completed earlier than I imagined towards the end of last month, – so new it shouldn’t be too long before you are advised by Ottawa.  It may, however, be a month or more yet, so meanwhile we must just be patient.

Supposing my present household arrangements to be the same on your arrival you may have to put up with cramped quarters for a short time, as I must give a month’s notice to tenants to vacate their rooms, – and of course I shall probably not know you are here till you actually are here.  But I hope you won’t mind as it will only be for a comparatively short time.

Much love as always to the family, – and all my dearest love to you, from
Yr own Dickie

PS—shall think of you on our anniversary, – the seventeenth March!

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Ministry of War Transport
Passenger Division
25 Broadway New York 4, NY

March 4, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Many thanks for your communication of March 2nd, from which we are pleased to note that everything is in order as far as the waiver of the United States exit permit requirements are concerned and that you have made preliminary arrangements with respect to the censorship of your papers.

As soon as we hear from you that payment of the passage money has been completed we shall be glad to make arrangements for passage in line with your priority, as well as the date of registration which is entered as of August 13th, 1943.

Yours very truly
G W Rehman
For the Representative in the USA

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Consulate-General
25 Broadway, New York

March 4, 1944

Dear Madam

I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 2nd March, in which you inform me that your “waiver” of American exit permit formalities has been granted. I note the arrangement you have made with the Customs about your parcels and papers.

You will, I presume, as I suggested to you, inform the British Ministry of War Transport, Passenger Division, 25 Broadway, when the arrangements for payment of your passage have been completed.

Yours very truly
P B Pullen
HBM Vice-Consul For HBM Consul-General

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Canadian Air Force
Ottawa, Ontario

March 8, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

With reference to your letter of February 24th.  As previously advised you, it is regretted that in view of your residence in the United States, there is no action this Headquarters can take in your behalf.  Had you been resident in Canada, any assistance you required in this connection with documentation, would be responsibility of this Headquarters, also finalizing of your passage arrangements.

Yours very truly,
J B Thorpe for J A Sully
Air Vice-Marshall for Chief of the Air Staff

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
March 10, 1944

Darling Love,

No fresh news here, – save to repeat that the payments are completed, so that you should be hearing before too long from Ottawa.  Loud cheers!  Also, I have a cold, – though the worst is over and I’m now on the mend.  Hope you got over yours all right.

Whenever you come, if possible a few packets of “Valet” auto-strop razor-blades would be much much appreciated.  Also some packets of pipe-cleaners.

I don’t suppose I shall have any advance intimation of when you are coming, so, as I told you, you will have rather cramped quarters at first lovely till tenants have left after their one month’s notice.

Have been and still am, very busy, but am usually home in the evenings by about 6.15 or 6.30.  I get up, usually, soon after 6.

No more just now, lovely, but will write again very soon.  Much love as always to the family and all dearest love to you, from

Ever your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Ministry of War Transport
PASSENGER DIVISION
Representative in the USA
25 Broadway, New York

March 21, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

We have not had any further word from you since your letter of March 4th and wonder if you have heard as yet whether payment of your passage money has been completed.

As advised you, we would appreciate this information as soon as you receive it since you mentioned to us you would not be prepared until then and we are not of course taking any action.

We therefore await to hear further from you so we may know how best to proceed in your case.

Yours very truly
G W Rehman
For the Representative in the USA

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

March 25, 1944

EVELYN METCALFE CARE SCOTT PO BOX 521 TAPPAN NY USA

PAYMENTS WERE COMPLETED MIDDLE OF LAST MONTH FEBRUARY DOING ALL POSSIBLE TO HASTEN ARRANGEMENTS LOVE JACK METCALFE.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission
Lisgar Building Ottawa

March 29, 1944

Dear Madam,

With reference to your letter of the 9th inst, and as you are no doubt already aware, the necessary deposit towards the cost of your sea transportation to the United Kingdom has now been made by your husband and the RAF Delegation, Washington, have been notified accordingly.

Yours very truly
N Walden
Secretary RAF Families’ Welfare Committee

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

Kansas City, Missouri
[March 31, 1944]

Dear Jig and Paula—

I am having a wonderful visit [to my son], entertained with daily luncheons, dinners, parties, theatre, etc, but I am so worried about you blessed children that I can hardly sleep nights.  Having your permission to do so, I’ve talked the situation over with Paul a couple of times.  His advice is “Throw her out on her ass, no matter what happens.  Jig and Paula, and no one else on earth, can do anything for her, and she will kill both of them if something drastic is not done.”

What I’m afraid of is that you’ll both get your health permanently, or at least seriously, injured, and then what will become of you, and those marvellous babies?  I don’t know exactly how to advise.  Would it be possible to get her to NY and then say, “You sign the proper papers, and keep your mouth shut while you’re doing it, or you’re not going to back to Tappan, even for one night.”

You see the situation is not a human one at all.  It’s a medical situation entirely.  Any trick, lie, deceit or scheme is not only justifiable but perfectly honourable in dealing with sick minds, as any physician will assure you.  So don’t even try to regard it according to moral obligation that would apply in sanity.  Get rid of her by hook or crook, with no compensations.  The complete and unanswerable reply to anything she may ever say afterwards is “You’re crazy”.

God bless you all four,
Love, Dad

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
April 22, 1944

Darling Love,

I was so glad to get your letter dated March 28th, and to know your laryngitis was better.

Well, beloved, I do hope that you won’t have too long to wait now, and don’t think you will.  As I told you in my last letter, Dawson got my letters all right and replied to me saying that he had acted at once.  So whenever I get the official information (which won’t, I expect, give me more than a very short advance working) I shall give notice to the tenants I spoke of so as to free more room, though even so, as I must give them a month’s notice, there will pretty certainly be a period of overlap during which we shall be very cramped for space, – also re sharing kitchen etc.  The only alternative would be, of course, getting a room temporarily in a hotel or boarding-house, but unfortunately I shall be too stoney-broke for that, – and anyhow it’s very difficult to find anywhere now.

Much love to family as always, – and, again, all good luck and congrats to Jig!  All dearest love to you from ever your own

Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Ministry of War Transport
Passenger Division
25 Broadway, New York 4, NY

April 24, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

We wish to acknowledge with thanks your letter of April 21st, together with a copy of the communication addressed to Mr Pullen of the same day.

It is noted that the necessary payments have been completed and you are now prepared to leave as soon as we are able to make you an offer.

We have made necessary note accordingly and will see you are advised immediately the opportunity is available which we hope will be soon.

Yours very truly
G W Rehman
For the Representative in the USA

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

Pine Bluff1, North Carolina
Sunday [May 21, 1944]

My beloved Son—

Your letter of the eighteenth only reached me last night and was a shock2.

However, I trust your judgment completely in the matter, and am sure you have done what was the wisest thing in view of the circumstances, which I know I at this distance cannot judge. I’m sure you’ll get something else promptly, for the demand for men with skills is terrific and, once dug into a new place and making yourself invaluable during the duration, you will be safe again.

At least you are not starting out job hunting as an unskilled or inexperienced man.  You have a profession and can take with you real proof that you know it and have a real cash value to begin with, and are not someone who will have to be taught your job.  I’m certain that there will be places ready to snap up your services, and I believe you will find something that will not include such murderous working hours, too.

I’m going to try not to worry too much over your situation, but I wish you’d keep me informed of all developments.  I do wish I knew what to do to help out, but I know no one who would be of use right now.  I shall think of you and Paula all the time, and pray with all my might.

Tell Paula and the babies that I love you all four and carry you all four in my heart.  One thing I hope comes out of this, and that is that ES realizes that you can’t keep her any longer, with you jobless.  I’d underline that if I were you.

I’m risking sending this to Tappan, and hope no one snoops into it, before it reaches you.

My devoted love and a kiss and hug for each of you, my blessed children.
God bless you,
Love, Dad

1 This is the first indication that Cyril was thinking of moving to North Carolina. His sixth wife Louise owned a property in the town of Pine Bluff.
Jigg had lost his job with the Blue Network.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Pine Bluff, North Carolina
Monday [May 1945]

Darling Paula—

Thanks for your lovely letter of Saturday.  I didn’t recognize the handwriting on the envelope until I turned it over!  “All good things are God’s things” is more than an epigram.  It’s an unfolding [illeg]-truth, and marvellous.

Boy, but I hope that ES will get away soon, not only for the sake of my poor children and grandchildren, but for my own sake, for I’m hungry to see you all.  It seems years since I was out to Tappan.  And I’ve never yet seen your new home and the babies are growing up month by month—with me missing it all.  I could almost bawl myself over it.  I didn’t mean that July or August will be the only times I would come up from Pine Bluff.  I meant that I’d probably camp on you each summer while it’s hottest down here!  I miss you all as much as you can possibly miss me.

Yes, Jig is a marvellous man and Christian.  I can admire his beautiful spirit.  But I wasted 14 years of Christian kindness on ES and, I’m sorry to say, have no more for her.  I suppose I should have, but it’s now all for those who are not Pharisees and Sadducees.  I can’t cast any more pearls before her.  For long years I strove to be Christ-like and forgiving on this matter, but now, I grieve to say, I’m done.  The children of God should not suffer too unbearably at the hands of the children of Beelzebub. Yes, he and I are lucky to have you for wife and daughter.

God bless you all four,
Love, Dad

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

[June 1944]

MRS METCALFE CARE MR CREIGHTON SCOTT PO BOX 521 TAPPAN NY

CAN YOU REPORT NEW YORK, JUNE 14TH STOP.  REPLY IMMEDIATELY.  IF ACCEPTED, DETAILS WILL FOLLOW.  M H KING

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

[Pine Bluff, North Carolina]
June 2, 1944

Dearest Pavli—

I’m so immensely relieved and thankful that, after a short eternity, Jig’s and yours and my grandbabies’ home is to be freed of evil.

I do hope that neither of you will tolerate any last-minute alibis or shilly-shallying.  This is the one opportunity to get rid of something that would, if she succeeds in staying on, murder your souls and, in time, the souls of your children.  I hope you will say to her, if she balks in the  least, “We have put up with you so far, because you had no place to go.  Now you have a place to go, and our responsibility is over.  Sail or not, just as you please, but you leave our house for good on sailing day, and that is final.”  No half-way measures are either just, right or kind in this sort of a crisis.  Feel as sorry for her as you wish, but feel sorrier for each other, and for your children.  Nothing could be more fatal for the future than to allow her to put over a last-minute E Scottism on you and yours.  Be as firm as granite.

God bless you both, and the babies.  Try to have a little peace as soon as the evil genie departs.

I’ll write again soon.  I love you all four and God bless you all four.  Kiss Jig and the lovely grandbabies for me.

God bless you,
Love, Dad

* * * * *

To M H King, Royal Air Force Delegation

June 7th 1944

Dear Miss King,

I am enclosing with this the receipt you have sent which acknowledges that I have the Embarkation Order, and the other receipt detached from the advice on the disposition of baggage which accompanied the Order.

My ultimate address in the United Kingdom is the home of my husband and myself, where I can always be reached care Squadron Leader William John Metcalfe, 74992, RAF, Garden Flat, 26 Belsize Crescent, Hampstead, London NW3, ENGLAND.

I appreciate the attention you have given to securing my passage and I am sure you have done as well as could be expected under the circumstances.  I don’t object strongly to “dormitory” sleeping, and in respect to my baggage the only problems presented are my typewriter, essential to my future livelihood as a novelist (my profession during some twenty-five years, although circumstantially suspended since I have been in the States awaiting my passage), and the secure disposition of the manuscripts of novels and poems by myself and my husband (on which both of us will work in England) which were deposited with the censor in New York on March 6th, to be returned to me at the pier when I depart, with twenty-two contracts for books by myself previously published in the UK and the States, some shorter mss and other matters more personal.  But I assume some safe place for these will be found aboard ship although I am to be allowed only the one piece in the “dormitory”, as all these mss and documents are an essential of future livelihood and my husband, on his repatriation from Canada, took home mss and books by himself without difficulty or question,.

Again my thanks to you, and I will report at the hour and place designated with due punctuality.

Yours sincerely,

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[Red Hook, New York]
[June 14, 1944]

My Beloved Children—

I received both your letters in today’s mail and, if you will let me, am answering them together and, laws Deo, can send them to your home address.  For this is June 14th, flag day, because today I have been thinking of you all day.  At last you are freed of the most spiritually-destructive and evil-loving being I have ever known personally.  Until Jig’s birth she was not that way, so he, thank God, imbibed no poison through her veins.  He is not her child, any more than the marred ground is parent of the seed planted in it.  He is my son, alone, and of my seed, bone of my bone, a real Christian gentleman like my father and grandfather and great grandfather and our lone line of Christian gentlemen that I have traced back to Pauling Creighton Wellman who died in Palestine in 1251 fighting to free the sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ from those who hated and profaned it.  So you see, Paula, that I agree with you when you write in the highest terms possible in words, of your husband of whom I am as proud as you.  He owes nothing, and derives nothing in body, mind or soul, from Elsie Dunn or any of her ilk, for she, when caught in the grasp of God’s will and delivered of my child, rebelled at it, at me, at God Himself.  For she could not conceive of anything or any event greater than herself.  All her mind (which was once good, even brilliant), her heart, her spirit, her whole life, was henceforth bent to master or destroy what had shown her she was not omnipotent, me, my son, even God who made us.  I had 14 years of it, part of it as bad as what you two blessed children have just been through.  So my heart aches for you.  But now you know that I, whom you both know to be kind, loving, gentle and even tender in thought an emotion, never overstated what she has become through not loving good.  Until he was born she wanted my son, because thought he, and through him I, would be hers to violate.  When he and I escaped her completely (for he took from her not one iota of her nature in any respect) her love turned to hate, and I need say no more; for you have seen it daily for nearly a year—extending from  me to everybody and everything beyond her power to rule.  she has forfeited every tie.  You, and your children, are not in any jot or tittle related to her.  I am your father and your mother both.  What God once joined together God can put asunder.  Actum est, finis est.  Amen.

God bless you all four,
Dad

* * * * *

The following excerpt is from Evelyn’s lengthy document entitled “Précis of events indicative of libel”.  It was written in the third person in 1951 in support of what she then saw as  libelous persecution and adds further detail to the wait in Tappan and her return to England.

MVS rangitiki
RMS Rangitiki [http://www.rms-rangitiki.com]
Evelyn Scott when, in 1944, she was finally assured she would be allowed to sail for Britain, sat for three months and a half by packed baggage, her mss in the hands of the censors, her writing ended as far as Tappan was concerned; her fixity indoors or near her habitation essential, she supposed, in view of the warning she had had that she would be permitted just twenty-four hours to move in, and the combined total lack of any baggage transport whatever in Tappan, and of her son’s heart murmur which had re-alarmed her about him so that she was resolved not to allow him to carry any of her baggage for her  She had, in fact, about three days, and satisfactorily contrived to get her typewriter and various pieces of small luggage to town over the mile-and-a-half of steep hillside and flat road newly strewn with uncrushed stones, between her and the bus-stop.  And when she went aboard the vessel, which was a New Zealand troop-ship, afterward sunk and since either retrieved or the name re-used, she took into her quarters, on a porter’s advice, her typewriter and an suitcase of mss beside the single “dressing case” which was really a suitcase for clothing and which was the one piece of luggage which was “according to Hoyle”.
However—again in view of her Passport difficulties and of subsequent libel—she asks again today whether the Canadians, the British, or the Americans had it in for her in giving her dormitory space with airmen’s wives and small children, several decks down, where portholes were seldom opened and a large glaring electric bulb which lighted about a quarter of the space used by forty of all ages and was controlled by the steward so that she could not turn it out, burned fiercely a foot or two above her head most of every day and more than half of each night.

The Rangitike was not a very comfortable ship, the dormitory bunks were built high off the floor, and it was unwise to have put small children in beds from which they might have tumbled with serious results had there been any really heavy weather.  But after a tiff with the purser, who thought her “unreasonable” in wishing to store mss in his safe where “valuables” were kept, her typewriter was lashed to a rafter above her, and she made the best of her situation; though—AGAIN—she would like to know why it was that when the ship was full of officers wives who, as far as she could ascertain, did NOT “out-rank” her as Senior, she was not allowed as they were cabin-space on a passage for which she had already been waiting ten months since the first payment on it and four months since the payments were complete.

The Rangitike was in a large and very handsome convoy which was all divulged on the last day out of Liverpool, and which was probably bringing aid to France as the Allied landing was then recent; but even before Evelyn Scott went aboard her ship there had been an ado on the book about her waiver, which had been guaranteed her in a letter from Washington in late October 1943, and had been confirmed at the Customs’ House many weeks and possibly a month or two before she actually sailed.  It was said at the dock “not to be on record” and because she had to rely on the offices of a dock policeman to telephone the Custom House and verify what she had said, she had no opportunity—or thought she had none in the ensuing pother—to phone a promised goodbye to her son and daughter-in-law.  And when she was admitted to the slip at which the ship was moored, she discovered one of her parcels of mss returned by the Custom’s was handed to her un-sealed, as it should never have been.

In London, when met by John Metcalfe at the railway station, she was greeted by a fly-bomb, like a salute to their re-union, but most unpleasant.

* * * * *

 

28. A son writes to his mother

In common with many young families, Jigg and Paula were finding life in New York City with their new baby a financial struggle.  Jigg, with a modest amount of journalistic experience gained in the West behind him, had to seek whatever employment he could find and, with help from Paula’s aunt Dorothy McNamee, was able to find a position in radio journalism. 

* * * * *
To Evelyn Scott

[269 W 10th Street, NYC]
August 9, 19401

Dear Mother,

Got your note and very much pleased with it. Things are going from bad to worse with us, although we are keeping our chins up, rather.  We land in a crisis and scrabble and beg our way out, and then before we have recovered from that, the same old devils are back haunting us again:  rent and bread and butter etc.  It is pretty hard at times; but we have gotten this far, and DV we will go right on to the very end in spite of all hell.  Still, it is a weary business and a burden of some weight that we have to share, although amply compensated for a hope of peace and quiet and all the things which are indubitably and rightfully ours if we can only wade through the present swamps.  The future has been much brightened for us both by Pavli’s Cousin, one Dorothy McNamee, who has done all that she could do to get me a job somewhere, and who alone among those I have recently known is disposed to weep on our behalf.  She managed to euchre the general manager of a department store into saying he would give me a job; and although he welched on it, it was not for lack of energy on her part.  That was the news I was hoping to give you; and now nothing has come of it.  Yesterday I managed to get a man who runs a display company to agree to pay me 70¢ an hour for a 44 hr week.  But it isn’t much and he may have changed his mind before Monday when I start working, and I may be up against manner of technical problems (cinematography illusions and so forth) that I cannot do.  Still, it is worth trying.,

As you know, I am a natural born coward, without spine.  But I daily blind myself to what I know I must expect, and charge in.  And in the long run they do not throw me out the back door, and I extract from the name of someone to whom I may apply for the luxurious privilege of regaining my self-respect and supporting my wife and daughter.  And I lie abut myself and claim all sorts of talents I do not possess and magnify what I have, and go home exhausted and degraded beyond hope.  But somehow it is all gone by morning.  It is my nature to sour quickly; and each night I swear more terrible vengeance in the world; but I know damned well that if I ever do get the job, I’ll forgive everyone, like the ass I am.

Parental love is a wonderful thing.  How strongly I would recoil from the stained drawers of even the most angelic person.  Yet Bumpy2 lades us and drenches us with all manner of things and we are privileged to change her pants; and what is more, when she holds levee on the potty we stand around and gawk and admire.

Dated 1940 but contents indicate it must have been 1941
2
Childhood nickname for Denise

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and John Metcalfe

[269 West 10th Street, NYC]
[November 16, 1941]

Dear Mother and Jack

This will amount to little more than a note although it should be more, to thank you both for your birthday wishes and the beautiful neckties; and to tell you that, beginning tomorrow, Monday November the 17th, I go to work for the National Broadcasting Company, Rockefeller Center, as assistant to one Maurice English, who is head of the Propaganda Section of the International (short wave) Division.  I will be paid $150 a month, on a salary basis, until such time as I seem indispensable enough to sign a contract, on a yearly basis, with the company.

Jigg newsroom_20180415_0001
National Broadcasting Company news room, with Jigg on far left.

I don’t recall that either of you have ever tried to get into Radio; so let me say that it was a heartbreaking business.  I had to lie about everything on earth, and commit myself on countless dubious points; that was the only way.  My duties consist of editing the daily news, as provided by the Associated Press, the International News Service, and about six others, including the Office of the Co-ordinator of Information (US) where my application is still being considered (I haven’t had time to withdraw it).

In addition to the above, I have to digest the Editorials of about fifty papers, and keep an itemised file of the War.  My hours vary from 7 to 9 in the morning, to 5 to 9 in the evening.  Theoretically I should appear at my desk at 9 and leave at 5; but circumstances often interfere.  There are seven broadcasts daily, in the compilation of which I have a hand; not to mention intermittent news bulletins during the day.  That is about all I know of it so far.

Yesterday (Sat) I was given a cursory introduction to my job; and am wearily resting at the moment.  I will write you more fully when I have the poop—in about a week, I think.  Which does not mean that I have not appreciated your presents.  Bless you both.

I will write Jack as soon as ever.  Wish me luck,

Jigg

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

[269 West 10th Street, NYC]
November 21, 1941

Dear Mother,

I appreciate that my correspondence is in a mess, but there is no help for it.  I have a dim impression of having written you about my new job, but, things being as they are it is very likely that I just intended to.  Here is the situation.  Last Monday—today is Friday—I went to work for the National Broadcasting Company as assistant foreign editor in the International division.  We are understaffed.  I get to my desk at eight ack emma, and leave it sometimes at six, sometimes at six thirty, sometimes at seven or even seven thirty, but never before six.  I have from ten to thirty minutes for lunch.

If you will just stop and picture for yourself the bulk of the New York Times on week days, it will help you visualise what I have to do.  The number of pages in an average Times varies from 25 to forty.  Well, an equivalent mass of material goes through my hands daily, and has to be edited and distributed to 12 departments.  In addition I have to read anywhere from fifty to seventy out-of-town papers and digest their editorials.  Not only that, but all the material from the office of the US coordinator of information goes through my hands as well.  This is merely a part of the job.  Every day I have to collect material for one half-hour broadcast, and write another.  My boss does the rest, and it is really something considerable.  At the present he is sick; I am new; and we are breaking in a Swedish department, and trying to locate the men for a Finnish department.

I don’t get Saturday or Sunday off until this situation improves.  I have already agreed to work on Christmas day and New Years, and I have worked on Thanksgiving.

God bless.  The baby is fine, so are we all.
Jigg

* * * * *

In October 1942, Jigg, Paula and baby Denise moved to Tappan, a small town on the Hudson River, where they rented a modest house.   No correspondence discussing this move survives, and is likely that they felt that, with one baby and another on the way, it would be better for them to live in the country, where Jigg could continue to commute to New York. Their second child, Frederick, was born in November 1942  In March 1943 Jigg began employment in the American Broadcasting Company newsroom; the commute from Tappan, although long, was just tolerable.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

National Broadcasting Company, Inc
A Radio Corporation of America Service
RCA Building, Radio City
New York, NY

Life Life[November 10, 1942]

Dear Mother:

It’s a boy. Everybody’s fine, although Pavli had a hard time of it.  I sent you a telegram the same day, only the telegram wasn’t sent, I’ve just discovered because I had already used up my expense account (Employees are allowed five dollars worth of telegrams per month) notifying people, chiefly Pavli’s family.  The kid was born November nine at six twenty am, weighed six pounds twelve ounces, and looks like a comedy Irishman.  The name is Frederick Wheeler Scott.

I am on the lookout for a new job, my present one having come to an end.  The government has taken over all short wave, and has banned all broadcasts to American troops abroad (on the grounds that such are not important) and so my section—which specialized in this—are out of work.  It would happen at a time like this.  I took a look at the office the war information’s headquarters here, but have decided against working there if possible.  While waiting I observed that Mr Edd Johnson, the man I wished to see, dictated his polemics to a secretary.  I just couldn’t work on that basis.  Also while I was there, Churchill made a speech, and when a someboy in the office proposed that it should be re-broadcast in its entirety, Mr Johnson said:  “Oh, no!  Because, whenever European listeners hear its Churchill, they turn off the radio.”  I just refuse to have anything to do with prejudices like that.  Naturally nobody knows what European listeners do, or when they turn off their radios.  The same man also referred to Gen Giraud as a “senile son of a bitch”—and unhappily I think Giraud is a fine man—with guts enough to fight, which is more than most of those draft dodgers at the OWI have.

So, I am looking around for a job.  Wish me luck.  For the time being everything is oke.  I’m terribly sorry you didn’t hear more promptly, but it’s the fault of red tape, and not me.

Bless you all.
Love
Jigg

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

[Tappan, New York]
December 9, 1942

Dear Mother,

After another unseemly delay, this is to let you know that we are all well.  The government has not abolished us so far; and in fact we are working harder than usual.  I hope it lasts.

We want to thank you both for the presents to the kids.  No formality this time:  they were useful as we could hope, and filled a very decided need.  Bumpy, who is after all the one chiefly concerned, was tickled to death.  She held the dresses up under her chin—the way grown-ups do—and said “purry” (pretty); and could hardly wait to get dolled up.  But she had to, because she had a cold and her nose would have run over everything, especially the green dress.  Anyhow, bless you—the stuff for Freddy is immensely useful, although he hasn’t reached the appreciative stage.

There’s just one thing about it, though: we know you are broke as hell; and it doesn’t seem right that you should be sending us expensive stuff like that when you are being pinched.  We love it; but we also have some idea of what you’re going through.

Freddy is a pretty good boy, in that he does nothing but sleep and eat and wet; and he gives great promise, although of what I don’t yet know.  Still, its very gratifying to have a son.  Fond as I am of Bumpy, I always wished she was a boy; and now I don’t have to wish it any more, if you follow me.  She is growing up to be the prettiest and best child you ever saw.  She must have gotten her looks from Pavli; but anyhow, they are certainly there.  Freddy, on the other hand, is no beauty.  When he was born he had a boiled look; and now he resembles nothing more than a comedy Irishman, with a fringe of pinkish hair, pouches underneath his eyes, and a generally apoplectic look—especially around meal times.

We have finally managed to get our house fixed up a little—it was awful bare for a while.  Pavli made us a blue corduroy couch cover, and we managed to make the chairs presentable, etc.  But best of all we got hold of a grate, and now have a coal fire in the living room.  Most of the day we keep the furnace down to negligible; let the grate heat the whole house, which it does pretty well.  I had forgotten what a pleasure an open fire can be.

I may not act like it in the matter of correspondence; but I certainly wish we could see you folks—it would do us no end of good; and we are looking forward to it like nobody’s business.

While Pavli was in the hospital, I had a fairly disagreeable heart attack—the worst so far; and was so goaded into going to a doctor.  He says I shall probably live to be ninety; but that I have to watch myself in the matter of stairs, hills, coffee (I can’t have any, which is pretty convenient, seeing as how you can’t get any) smoking and excitement.  It about scared me to death, as this is the first time I have had any really spectacular symptoms—the others were only mild.  However, it does mean that I am definitely out of the running as far as the military are concerned (it would be hypocrisy to say that I was sorry) and that I am more or less inactivated for life where strenuous occupations are concerned.  I can’t even take a swim any more.

Just as you are feeling the pinch, so are we.  When the government took us over we were all supposed to get a raise (I haven’t had one for over a year) and in fact the boss promised me one.  But he’s afraid of the Vice President in Charge of Saying No, or something; and so I haven’t gotten it.  As a result having the baby was a pretty tight squeeze.  Babies cost upward of $200; and we just didn’t have the cash.  We still have to pay off the MD.  However, the end is mercifully in sigh, even in spite of this damned Victory Tax, which begins on the first.  I don’t mind giving up 5% of my salary in a good cause.  But I do mind the blasted arguments used by the powers that be.  The arguments are as follows:  that the rich can’t pay for the war by themselves, and so there is no reason why they should pay proportionately more than the poor.  In other words, however just our cause, this still a Preferred Stockholders’ War, from where I see it.  We have a four letter man for a boss in here who is always prating about “Social Goals” and who is keeping some men (with wives and children) on less than a hundred and fifty dollars a month.  I’m better off than most, thank God.  Anyhow, if I have to pay 5% he should have to pay 55%.

I have to get back to work now; but bless you all, and the best of luck to both—and DON’T send us any Christmas presents—we aren’t sending any.

Love,
Jigg

* * * * *

In 1943, the Federal Communications Commission had ordered the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to divest itself of its associated network, the Blue Network, thus creating the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and in March 1943, after what appears to have been a difficult period, Jigg found employment with the new network. He became editor of the new ABC newsroom and had a daily news broadcast syndicated over the 44 stations of the network. He held this post until 1946.

At this time Jack, an officer in the Royal Air Force Reserve, had been called up for active service when the war started. In 1941-42 he and Evelyn were living together in Ontario where Jack was on assignment training the Royal Canadian Air Force, but as Jack was being posted to duties in England, Evelyn needed somewhere in the US to stay while she was awaiting authority to travel and join him. This was wartime, and though she was not a British subject, as the spouse of a serving British officer, she was entitled to a passage to England on a convoy. Even so, there was a considerable amount of red tape involved and Jigg, to help out, invited his mother stay with him and his family while this was being arranged and while Jack was making the necessary payments for her passage.

Jig Denise Paula Tappan
Jigg and Paula Scott with Denise (18 months) in Tappan


To Evelyn Scott

[Tappan, New York]
[August 1943]

Dear Mother,

You are more than welcome for as long as you want to stay.  With some embarrassment we have to ask you to pay for your own food—about $6.00 a week.  The rest of our economy is unaltered, and your visit will be a first class treat.

It’s only fair to warn you of the following:  my job comes to an end on August 22 and I start another on the following day, hence chaos for about 3 months thereafter.  We are moving to a somewhat cheaper and pleasanter house in September—more chaos, but you can help.  The present house, where we are somewhat camping out, is small, and so is the other one.  I’m not in the best of health and pretty crockety.1  It costs $1.00 round trip from Tappan to NYC and is a bore.

All this is merely forewarning—P and I will be tickled pink to see you, and only hope that the inconvenience won’t get you down.  We also think it’s a rotten shame that J can’t come too.  Still we envy you like hell going to Britain.

I’ll send you dope on trains instanter.  A warning:  don’t bring too much baggage here.  There are no porters, no taxis, and no nothing.  And it is absolutely Verboten for me to carry loads up the hill from the station.  So, travel light, be prepared for about 1 mile walk from the train to the house.

Wish me luck on my various ventures, and lent let us know the expected date of departure pronto.

God Bless, and all our best to Jack,
Jigg

1 Jigg had suffered from a mild heart condition since early childhood; he was to die of a heart attack in 1965, aged 50.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[Robbins House, Red Hook, New York]
[September 1943]

Dear Jig and Pabli—

Thanks for Pabli’s lovely letter, which was a pleasure to have.

I am aghast that ES plans to dump herself on you for such a long stay.  It’s terrible, but I suppose there is nothing to do about it.  However, I hope that if she starts any funny business whatever, even the slightest, that you send her packing instanter.  With Jack’s position, she has plenty of money, so there’s not the slightest reason she should stay with you a moment longer than is a complete mutual pleasure.  Don’t make the kind-hearted mistake of starting in to handle her with gloves.  She doesn’t understand kindness, courtesy or good taste—or anything except first principles.  And she will be awake nights trying to make a rift between you two—so stick close together no matter what the merits of a discussion appear on the surface.

As I said to you, my position with regard to the lady is briefly this:  I don’t want her to have my address or know where I live, or anything whatever about Ward Manor estate1.  As soon as you know when ES is coming please drop Gladys a card immediately and tell her not to give ES my address.  For Jig’s sake, since she is after all his mother, I might just possibly see her once in New York, if it is mutually convenient, providing she will behave herself and cut out all Evelyn Scottisms.  And I want her to keep her fingers out of my book.2  Of course she will find out about it, one way or another, and doubtless get to read it.  She will say it is not true to facts, meaning that I have omitted to say that from the time we returned to New York from Brazil she slept with other men and tried to rub my nose in it, that when we went to Europe she took along a lover (Merton) whom she began to sleep with in Bermuda and slept with him in my house in Collioure and Banyuls, that when we went out to North Africa in my car she took along a lover to sleep with, whom she afterwards married (Jack), etc, etc.  She will be furious because I have left her some self-respect to live with, and myself some self-respect to die with!  But the book is true to my life.  I stood for all this for Jig’s sake, trying to seek some semblance of a home for him.  And if I have refrained from telling the world what kind of a mother my son had, and she says a word about it, either in public or in private to any friends, I shall be her bitter enemy and never see or communicate with her again as long as I live.  And I think she knows me well enough by this time to know that I mean exactly what I say.

God bless you all four
Love
Dad

1 Cyril had moved to this secluded estate just outside Red Hook, New York
2
Life Is Too Short, Cyril’s autobiography, published in 1943. Evelyn did not see it for several years and when she did she took great exception to his account of their life together.

* * * * *

Evelyn arrived in Tappan some time around September/October 1943, while Jack returned to England at around the same time. He had recently been left some money by an aunt, and that, with the proceeds of the sale of Jove Cottage was used to buy a property in London where he stayed whenever possible. The house was a large detached Edwardian dwelling on four floors, and his plan was to convert three of the floors to flats, and to use the rental income to support himself and Evelyn the basement flat. In the event, the house became a massive financial drain.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

[Red Hook, New York]
[November 1943]

Dear daughter—

I just have your long letter, begun Oct 25th and concluded Nov 7th, and am much touched and pleased that you felt that I was a father to whom you could come in a time of perplexity and sadness.  I am glad you sent me these letters, written in a time of trouble, instead of destroying them when what you dreaded had passed, for they are one more realization that you are a really-truly daughter to me who love you as my own child.

Jig and you are more Christian in your attitude toward ES than I am.  To me her psychology is not human.  It really rests on choice of the highest available degree of emotional tension at any cost to anybody, and is thus a spiritual drug habit.  I pray that I may never become comparably oblivious to the sufferings of others, and admire the spirit of Christ-like compassion that Jig expressed and you joined him in.  I also pray that your home may be delivered from her soon.

God bless you all four
Love
Dad

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

[Red Hook, New York]
[November 1943]

Dear Jig—

I wrote Pavli last night after I talked with you on the phone, and today I want to write you.

Listen, old man.  If and when a thing no longer lies within your control the only means of safety resides in the way you meet it.  Let’s hope for the best, son, but I advise facing the alternative right now, even if it doesn’t come.  Let’s face anything that may come, with heads up and determination to win through.

I wrote to comfort Pavli, but you are the only one who can comfort her.  It’s a woman’s role to stand by in small crises—it’s a man’s role to stand by in a great one.  Start in right now to get Pavli in the best frame of mind possible to meet whatever eventuates.

It’ll come out all right, whichever way it goes.  And you are your father’s son, and you will be like him in a tight place.

All this doesn’t mean that I have lost hope—but just in case.

God bless you my dear son,
Love,
Dad

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

[Red Hook, New York]
[late 1943]

My beloved Son—

I understand perfectly what you and Paula are going through—I endured it for years.  I hope and pray that by hook or crook you can get that octopus’s tentacles out of your home right away, and when you do, for the sake of your children, of Pavla, and your own sake, never let her enter it again, no matter what the pretext or circumstances presented by her.  She’s killing you and Pavla by inches, but you can rationalize it and think of the great day when she finally has to leave—your magnificent babies, when they are a little older, not having experience and perspective, would have their poor little souls completely wrecked by her satanic emotional instability and complete inhumanity.

God bless you
Love
Dad

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

January 28, 1944
NITELETTER
SQ/LDR W J METCALFE
26 BELSIZE CRESCENT HAMPSTEAD LONDON NW3

THIS URGENTISSIMO ET CONFIDENTIAL YOUETME1 STOP AM DOING ALL POSSIBLE OBTAIN EXIT PERMIT EVELYN YOUR WIFE BUT EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT YOU EXPEDITE PASSAGE ARRANGEMENTS YOUR END UNDERSTAND PASSAGE MONEY ALMOST ACCUMULATED IF NOT EYE GLADLY CONTRIBUTE FIFTY DOLLARS OR MORE MAIN POINT GET EVELYN ENGLAND PRONTO OTHERWISE HELLISH FAMILY SITUATION COMING TO HEAD TELL ME HOW SEND YOU MONEY IF NEEDED REPLY COLLECT THIS ADDRESS LEAVE EVELYN OUT OF IT UNDERLINED

CREIGHTON SCOTT, BLUENETWORK NEWS RM 276JA

Telegraphese for “you and me”

* * * * *

27. Recovery, two deaths and a granddaughter

Very little correspondence remains of the period between Evelyn’s separation from Jack and the summer of 1937, when Maude Dunn died.  During this time Jack managed to sell Jove Cottage and returned to London and to the Royal Air Force.  It is very likely that, as a former reservist from World War I, he was called up when it looked as though Britain would be involved in a second war, although he may have rejoined voluntarily.  The tone of his letters indicated a much improved mental state.

Although Jack was stationed at RAF Kinross, he used the address of his old friends in Claygate, Surrey during this time for security reasons. Letters from this period also include references to his house in London, which he presumably bought with the proceeds from Jove Cottage.  This property, 26 Belsize Crescent in the pleasant suburb of Hampstead, was a large house on three storeys plus a basement. Jack planned to let out flats on the three floors and to live with Evelyn in the basement, using the rental from the flats to service the mortgage and to support himself and Evelyn. For reasons that become obvious later the property became, instead of a source of financial security, a huge financial drain which will merit a chapter on its own.

Following her return from Brazil in 1917, Maude lived with her Gracey cousins in Clarksville, Tennessee.  She was effectively a pauper and Evelyn supported her when she could with a modest monthly allowance, scraped together from her small earnings from her writings.

* * * * *

Will of Maude Thomas Dunn

I want my only child Evelyn D Scott Metcalfe (novelist) to have everything I possess.

Maude Thomas Dunn

April 6, 1937
Clarksville, Tennessee

MTD will

* * * * *

To Lola Ridge

c/o Abrams, 66 Perry Street, NYC
Sunday [Summer 1937]

Darling, I hate this awful building up of days and distances between us but I know nothing can affect our very deep fundamental rapport and that love once felt for a person wholly though it may sleep in expression can rise when called for from whatever apparent tomb of silences. No dearest I am not ill, but just sapless.  Some days I think I must have TB1, again that I am on the brink of declining from some unnamed obscure malady; and in the end when I rest it is just that—fatigue—and rest is really all I need.  Jack’s situation is very, very tragic; and I can’t quite recover from my own decision, which my mind still approves, to save myself at the risk of his own chance of complete reestablishment.  He went back to England, and I won’t write to him until he is thoroughly in control again as it only harrows under the circumstances.  He has every logical chance of being OK, again and greatly improved before he left; but finance and discouragements to writing are dreadful things for a man to bear alone who has just been through his ordeal—psychological collapses are worse than anything physical and I say that knowing at least enough of the physical not to be a fool of unimaginativeness.  But at the worst if you are ill in body you die.  So I was very glad the doctors so conclusively diagnosed him as not a case of insanity, but just break down, which is vastly different in the medical meaning.

Jig is writing a novel,2 Lola—don’t tell.  I think it is marvelous in lucid, lucent reticent style.  Lots of sad things come out in it however and the theme may make it difficult to sell today.  [remainder of letter missing]

It is very possible that recurring references to chest problems indicated early symptoms of the lung cancer which eventually killed Evelyn. 
Jig’s only novel, The Muscovites, was published in 1940

 * * * * *

To Louise Morgan

28 Craven Terrace, London W2
September 23, 1937

My Dear Louise,

I meant to write or ‘phone you for several days, but have been rushed.  Darling, something you said over the ‘phone annoyed me, and I prefer, particularly in my present irritable mood, to get my little “mads” off my chest.

You said I made “excellent first impressions”. What I would point out is that even that is pretty darned good for someone who, ill-advisedly, sought a better world, or no-world, only a few months back, and was told by his doctor that he was foolish to think, as yet, of so much as applying for a job.  The whole business in NY took me at a most staggering disadvantage.  I’d given up the house [in Walberswick] for what seemed, after weighing pros and cons, the joint good of both, but the actual doing of it was such a fearful wrench that I arrived a temporary wreck and said and did utterly misrepresentative things which precipitated the break.  The break itself was hardly therapeutic with effect and the vicious circle was prolonged.  It’s completely unjust, my dear, to judge a still-sick, if recuperating, bloke by standards applicable to the quite robust.  I’ve survived enough to tip the strongest, let alone someone taken between wind and water in the middle of a nervous breakdown.  I consider the whole thing a most grotesque pity, and an enormous waste of time, nerves and emotions.  I want, of course, to cut losses as much, and as soon, as possible.  Evelyn’s action is historically and psychologically comprehensible, and while I think it misguided and quite as much of a pity for her as for me, I see how it happened detachedly enough, and leave it at that pro tem.  Meanwhile, I can, with recovered health, live my own life, and get as good milk as has been spilt.

Love, – see you soon,
John

* * * * *

To Lola Ridge

Officers’ Mess, No 14 FTS
RAF Kinross, Morayshire, Scotland
July 23, 1939

Dear Lola,

I’ve been meaning to write for a long while, and wondering how you are getting on.  I do so hope you are feeling fitter than when I last saw  you, and that you are able to work some.  The way you have carried on all these years in the face of so much illness and discouragement should be an example to anyone.

As for me, I’m back in the Air Force as you see and comfortable enough.  I came up here in May.  I was hoping to be posted nearer London, so I could use my own house1, but this station has its advantages.

Work is varied and interesting—but leaves little time for my own writing.  However, I manage a little now and then.

The country round here is quite lovely in its way, but we’ve been having an awful lot of rain;—it’s been general, all over England too.

I wish I could have remained longer in New York and seen more of you and of Davey while I was there.

Over here there is, of course, the usual talk of war.  There’s no telling really what will happen.

RAF Kinross
RAF Kinross, c 1935 [commons.wikimedia.org]
This station is quite new, and only partially built.  At present we are in hutments.  It’s all very familiar though it’s twenty years since I was demobbed and twelve since I came off the Reserve.  The CO is a very decent sort of bloke and the crowd as a whole not at all bad.

Ever so much love to you dear Lola, and all the best to Davey from
Jack

PS  Am worried about Evelyn who seems, from her recent letters, to be having a hard time of it.  And I, at the moment, have to put every cent from my pay into the house or, if I miss a payment, lose the whole thing.  But if I can hang on for a few months longer I will have rounded the corner.

This is the first reference to the house in London, 26 Belsize Crescent.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Care of F Walton, Esq, MA
Lime Cottage, The Avenue,  Claygate, Surrey
September 6, 1939

Darling Dear,

Hope you got mine of yesterday, explaining that, as serving officer, my address, in all letters written to “abroad” has from now on to be care of “relative or friend”.  Uncle Frank’s is above, so write to me care of him, in care of Cousin Gertrude (Winds End Riding School, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire), or at Uncle Jim (27 Viceroy Lodge, Hove 3, Sussex).

The particulars of our marriage certificate which, as I told you, I may have to forward to Air Ministry are:–

State of New Mexico
County of Rio Arriba

William John Metcalfe       of Alcade, New Mexico
Evelyn D Scott                      of Alcade, New Mexico

Sixto Espinosa Justice of Peace
Witnesses:  C K Scott, Phyllis C Scott

17th March 1930

Marriage Record Book No 8 Page No 637
Jose W Valdez County Clerk

And on back is “Marriage Licence”—No 4478

So I should think all you need quote for 2 certified copies is—the names, date, Marriage Record Book No 8, Page 637, and Marriage License No 4478.

Darling dear, this has to be just a “business” letter written in an awful scramble.  Will write better later.  All my heart and thoughts are with you and I’m yours for ever and ever, and we’ll get together sometime.

All all love
from your
Dickie1

Shall try to write lovey whenever I can, – but without [illeg] all the circumstances you could hardly credit how difficult.  If letters are delayed, don’t worry.  Yours to me, too, may be held up or undelivered now and then.  But one thing you may always be sure of, – that I love you with all my heart and soul and life, and we’ll be together soon or late, according as the situation shapes out.

1  Evelyn’s pet name for Jack

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Claygate, Surrey
October 15, 1939

Darlingest Dear,

Just got two letters from you—one dated October 1st and the other October 3rd.  I have got a letter or letters from you every week except one, so far.  In regard to putting “per USA boat”, if repeal of Neutrality Act involves cessation of USA boats’ running to England you will of course not put that.  Anyhow, the letter you didn’t put it on arrived OK.

I do so hope your cold is quite gone, and that you won’t catch more and get down.  And don’t add worry about me to your own other troubles, lovey.  I am quite oke and going strong.  And for Pete’s sake don’t stew if letters don’t arrive sometimes.  There may be long gaps now and then and it can’t be helped.

Whether there are or not you know that all is fine and strong between us.  It may be possible for you to come over later on, if and when that can be done safely, but length of parting makes no difference to what we are to each other.  I wish I could tell you!  I have such a welling and overflowing of love and everything,—as you say, it is like an “ache”,—but it will be all the sweeter when we are together.  I think of you constantly, of all sorts of things that bring you vividly back—the Yaddo W African negroes and their “Jeem-jeem, Jeem-jeem-jeem”; and the Spanish records at Santa Fe “That’ll be delightful, delightful, delightful”, and the “Valse Ananas” etc, etc.  And that isn’t just “sentiment” at all because it is all integrated with a purpose for existence, with a steady realisation of you-and-me as persons with an identity-in-differences whose actual practical living-together means intelligent understanding and work as well as love.

Send the marriage certificate whenever it comes along.  Yes, these things are slow, I know.

Dropped Jig a line for [his birthday on] the 26th (late 27th). Do hope he keeps fit and well, and all blessings on the novel.  Cyril too.  Do trust things aren’t too hard if his job ends.

So, darling, darling, darling—don’t worry—not about me anyhow.  As to war, it may be shorter than we think and after it (if not before) we’ll be able to enjoy all those things we’ve looked forward to.

All, all, all love for ever for my darling dear,
YOUR
Dickie
Love as always to Jig, Cyril
(William John Metcalfe)

 * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Claygate,Surrey
October 19, 1939

Darlingest Dear,

Just a very hurried note to tell you I have been promoted to Flight Lieutenant (i.e. equivalent of “Captain” in the Army).

All oke.  No time for more at the moment. – tho just a very very hurried scribble that you knew.  And send marriage certif. as soon as possible.  Shall write you soon, – all dearest love and adoration from

Your
Dickie
(F/Lieut William John Metcalfe, RAF)

* * * * *

In the summer of 1940, Jigg married Paula Pearson, the daughter of Ralph Pearson and Margaret (Margué) Hale. They met when living in Greenwich Village, Jigg with Cyril, and Paula with a friend, and the newly-weds lived for a month with Jigg’s half sister, Alice Wellman Harris in Teaneck, New Jersey, before moving back to Greenwich Village. where their first child, Denise, was born in February, 1941.

At around this time, Jigg had found work in radio news, based on his experience on the Rocky Mountain News, where he had been a reporter while living with Cyril in Denver. His first radio job was with in the newsroom of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), where he was able to make use of his excellent French by broadcasting in both English and French. He remained with NBC until March 1943.

Muscovites.jpg

Before his marriage, Jigg had been working on his first and only novel, The Muscovites, published by Charles Scribner and Sons in 1940. Although it was well reviewed, it sold very few copies.  His mother, perhaps naturally, considered it to be a work of great artistic merit.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Claygate, Surrey
March 11, 1940

Darlingest Dear,

Nothing fresh since my last of a day or two ago.  Am hard at work as usual, – though there may be a lighter week-end soon over Easter, – weather and other things permitting.

Times goes slowly-quickly, in the funny way it always does, and by the time you get this it’ll be a year since I sailed last from New York and ten since our marriage, on the 17th.  Oh, golly, I think we are the funniest people out, – but I feel that after all these vicissitudes we are closer, and so much much more understanding than ever before.  How I wish I could talk to you, – just for 10 minutes, even.

Well, I’m glad winter’s over anyhow.  I thought of you when I read of the New York blizzard in the papers, – and of course (now it’s two months old, and the press has published weather-stories, it’s permissible to mention it) it’s been pretty cold here too.  Many nights really darned cold, and with my shoes comically frozen to the floor next morning.

Oh, dollink, how swell, some time, to be together again and write our books.  All blessings to your own novel.  It will mean frightful hard work under unfavourable circumstances, I know.

Thank Jig and Pavla1 (is it Pavla or Pavli?) so much for their message, – and much love to them.

Where is Cyril now and what is he doing?  What is latest news of your mother?

All dearest love, always from
Your
Dickie (W J Metcalfe)

Paula was born in Spanish-speaking New Mexico and originally christened “Pavli”, the Spanish form of Paula. After her marriage to Jigg in 1940 and their move to the East Coast she adopted “Paula” to avoid the need for constant explanations of the origin of her name.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Claygate, Surrey
April 1, 1940

Darlingest Dear,

I have just got your sweet letter of March 14th.  I hope you have been getting my recent letters OK.  There are bound to be gaps in between, – I mean, a number of letters, written on different dates, arriving in a bunch.  That’s the way with yours, and I guess it is so with mine to you, also.

I wrote you a few days ago, – and had hoped to have any leisure to write a longer letter on Sunday (yesterday).  Vain hope indeed!—And today is as bad.  I want to read your poems properly, – but nowadays I have hardly time to think at all.  This is just literally so, – No time whatever for leisure of the mind or for “souvenirs”.  But I hope to be able to get a moment to myself (and you!) before long.  My letters, such as they are, have often to be written in a noisy, crowded room, – and this is one of them.

Oh dear, – I’m so sorry, – but know, beloved, that nothing alters and one is each’s for always.

Tho only a tiny note to let you know I’m well and loving you.  Shall write better letter the moment I can.

I am so sorry for your poor mother—do hope the operation will relieve her somewhat.

All blessings on you, on your novel, – and for Jig and Pavla

Yours
Dickie (W J Metcalfe)

Do forgive this note.  It’s not my fault, love, and unavoidable—but all OK Love you!!!

* * * * *

Louise Gracey1 to Evelyn Scott

April 21, 1940

MISS EVELYN SCOTT 18 GROVE ST NYC.  MOTHER PASSED AWAY EARLY THIS MORNING FUNERAL MONDAY MORNING.  LOUISE.

1 A Clarksville cousin of Evelyn’s

* * * * *

To Lola Ridge

[18 Grove Street, NYC]
[May 8, 1940]

Yes, Lola, dear, losing mother did strange things to the emotions and still does.  Death is wonderful clarifier of feeling.  Mother was so oddly, too, both the same hen-headed person she always was, and quite different toward the end of her life.  When she was ill, she had the most really aristocratic dignity and reticence.  I don’t think she ever complained except occasionally in a rather sharp joking way; and the only time she was furiously angry was when some nosey church members she didn’t know butted into her room.  I was there and she quashed them far better than I could in a highly dignified way, although she was so ill.  Her face changed, too; and got a curious aquiline contour, different from the one it had when the bones didn’t show.  And she always thought I did everything for her, whether I did or not—other people got no credit for their flowers, these all came from me.  It was very touching.  So I knew in the end that I really did love her, and that seeming not to was an instinct of nature in defense against a temperament too unlike my own to be lived with.  It was my piece of sentiment to arrange what was to be read at her funeral, even though I couldn’t be there.  They read the Episcopal service at the cemetery, and Saint Paul on charity and the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, those being the loveliest things I know.  So I hoped the petty little townsfolk would hear about charity for once.  I don’t like rationalistic funerals, in which death and garbage collection are on a par.

Now I’ve got that out of my system I won’t talk about it again.  I don’t think I need to be pampered with visits.  Just know I love them when they come.

god bless, evelyn

* * * * *

At some point during the winter of 1940/41, Jack, whose work experience was mainly as a teacher, was stationed in Kingston, Ontario, where the RAF was providing training for the Canadian Air Force. Evelyn was at this time teaching writing at Skidmore College and took the opportunity to visit Jack when she could, and eventually to live with him once again. There are only a few letters describing these events in a period during which Jack’s mental health appears to have improved and he and Evelyn to have been reconciled.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

NEWYORK NY FEB 10 857P

MRS W J METCALFE 150 REGENT ST SG

MISDIRECTED ANNOUNCEMENT DUE TO EXCITEMENT VERY DISTRESSED DENISE EIGHT POUNDS ONE OUNCE PAULA DOING FINE LOVE AND REGRETS

DSF West Union_20180325_0001.jpg

To Evelyn Scott

[269 West 10th Street, NYC]
[February 12, 1941]

Dear Mother,

I have sent you the same birth announcement which I mis-addressed in the excitement, by air mail and special delivery.  If it does not reach you, I shall print another as soon as I have time.  I’m desolate that you, of all people, should have been neglected.  I have intended to write you a full and complete letter about anything and everything when I recovered.  This is to tide you over.  The bathtub, a beauty, came; and I shall express my gratitude later, in full.  Denise was born on Saturday, Feb nine, at approx 11:30 pipemma, after twenty-four hours of labor pains.  She weighed eight lbs one oz, has dark green eyes, a dark brown pubescence on the scalp, and a fresh, not to say choleric, complexion; but less raw looking than the average.  The medical verdict is that her health is absolutely perfect.  Appetite and voice both phenomenally powerful.  I saw her for one minute on Sat, and am not allowed to see her again until she leaves hosp.  Pavli is much admired for her stoicism and fortitude.  The house physician, an assisting intern, and our own doctor all paid visits for the express purpose of telling her she was an ideal patient.  The doctor who officiated did not realize her pains were labor pains because she minimized them so.  He’s used to Jewish mamas1 who raise hell.  P had to be told that she could scream if she liked.  She was very slightly torn, but only to the extent of a mild discomfort, and nothing more:  one small stitch.  She feels like a new woman.  Plenty of milk, and enthusiastic about the baby.  This is just a measly note, but honestly, I’m a ruin pro tempore.  I’ll write you more later.

ES and DSF.jpg

You’ve been angelic, which forcibly comes upon me by contrast with MY mother-in-law.  You may be an arch-loony, like me and the rest of the litt profession, but you’ve got taste.  Margué2 gets in my hair a little, especially as she’s being very ladylike in order (I suspect) to show me up as an oaf.  Or maybe she is just ladylike like a lady.  I don’t know.  This Freudian instant-calculators gives me indigestion.  I haven’t enjoyed my meals since the lady came, although she is being very pleasant.  But whatever you say or whoever you mention, she has a bright explanation for.  For example, if you remark that Churchill said so and so, the instant comment is that, Oh, Yes; that’s probably because he has no hair on his balls, or because his grandnephew was buggered by the choir master, and so whenever he (C) has pickled beets it aggravates his Agamemnon complex so that he resents Germans.  It’s a mania, sort of an intellectual dysentery, the diarrhea of which cannot be relieved except on somebody else’s shirt.  However, she has been trying hard to be nice, and don’t ever quote me.

As I said, the bathtub is supercolossal and hyperprodigious, and I will write again.  Denise received your valentine, in what spirit I am not able to say.  My best love.

Your affec son,
Jigg

1 The baby was born at Beth Israel Hospital, a Jewish hospital in Greenwich Village.

2 Paula’s mother, Margaret Hale Foster (Margué)

DSF announcement_20180325_0001
Engraved announcement, by Jigg

 * * * * *

For many years Lola Ridge had been a friend and close confidante of Evelyn’s, and had long suffered from a form of tuberculosis which affected her digestive tract.  She died in May 1941. Gladys Grant was also a long-term friend of Lola’s as well as a member of her larger circle and was able to attend Lola’s funeral.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Scotch Plains, New Jersey
May 25, 1941

Dear Evelyn:

Just a short note to let you know as much about Lola as I do.  But in the first place I will have to forbear taking credit for telegraphing you.  I would have done so anyway, but it was Laura who specifically asked me to and did so in Davy’s name.  So you see you were not forgotten, but they did not know your address.

I know very little about the last sickness even though I rode in the car with the nurse.  The nurse had been called in a few weeks before the end, first temporarily, then again and finally asked to stay.  She seemed to think there was no one ailment, just a complete break down of everything.  And after Lola’s life and many desperate illnesses this seems very possible.  Martin told me that Davy would not believe it until it actually happened.  Lola had recovered so many times before that he was sure she would again.  But Martin said he knew it was the end when he was called.  I don’t quite know when this was, but some time before Lola’s death.  He had apparently been around as much as he could and been a great help to Davy.  He and Laura both told me that for a year or more Lola had been in utter seclusion, seeing no-one and just saving all her little strength to write.  This as well as Davy may have been why none of us even heard from her.  In your case Lola may have been just too weak to combat any opposition of Davy’s.

I went to the funeral last Thursday.  Except for the actual service, which was merely a prayer, excerpts from the bible and some reading from Lola’s poems, it was the conventional funeral which surprised me.  I really thought there would be only a reading of her poems or something of the sort and supposed she would be cremated.  I don’t know whether it was Davy or the Benets or Lola herself who arranged it otherwise.

There were a lot of people for their apartment, but few that I knew and a few others I knew neither by face or name.  The place was full of flowers and everyone was taken to see Lola.  I do not know the name of the clergyman who was evidently some friend of a friend of Lola’s if not of Lola herself.  After the service quite a few drove way out to the Evergreen Cemetery where she was buried with almost the usual rites.

Funerals are always very unreal to me.  I could not feel Lola at all in the conventional apartment room suffocating with flowers or see her in the doll like image, even though the place was full of pictures of her and the walls covered with her and Davy’s books.  The only time I seemed to feel her presence and loss was when we were sent into the bedroom to wait for the coffin to be taken out.  Here the austere simplicity and something about the windows open and looking far out over the roofs gave a sense of Lola.  Everything was bare except for the winged victory by her bed and one sprig of flowers on her pillow.  Here I almost made a fool of myself while the others were praising the service.

The day was one to the two terrifically hot ones we have had here so you can imagine how worn out I was on my return.  Friday I was all in.  I tell you this to explain why I did not write before.

Excuse tired and confused letter.  It brings lot of love to both of you.  As always I wish I could see you and have a good talk.

Love,
Glads

* * * * *

Next week we see how Evelyn came to live with the young Scott family, and of her increasingly desperate attempts to cross the Atlantic and rejoin Jack during the early days of the war.