50. Aftermath

Canada, and Chester, did not provide the hoped-for respite.  Their first winter, living in a caravan in the car park of the local drive-in cinema, was gruelling.  Frederick and Matthew, then aged 21 and 18, had to find  employment to keep the family going.  Jigg’s attempts to find work were largely unsuccessful:  approaches to the Canadian Broadcasting Corportation (CBC) had yielded the opportunity to audition as a news  presenter, but the audition did not lead to any work.  In this enforced idleness he started work on an autobiography, Confessions of an American Boy, but this was never completed.  Looking back to the publication of his novel, The Muscovites, in 1942, he considered returning to fiction, but in the end there was no finished manuscript.  With Jack’s support he applied, ultimately successfuly, for Canadian citizenship.

Death certificate of Evelyn Scott

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
August 7, 1963

My Very Dear Jigg,

Your two letters arrived, I opened the long one first, – and what a tale it unfolds! Don’t worry. Shall burn it, – but keep curriculum vitae.

From what I read in the long envelope I decided not to open the other, smaller one. Because you still had not received the news of Evelyn’s death, and whatever you wrote in the smaller envelope would be on the presumption she still lived, – and would be painful for me to read.

I just at present don’t know how to exist, and of course contemplate suicide. But I am supposed to be going, next Saturday Aug 10 to stay in NJ with Gladys Grant for at least a few days.

Oh, I do sympathise, Jigg, with your unbelievable predicament, – to [illeg] from Evelyn so largely contributed. Men are nasty things, – I never realised how nasty—and what you tell me is appalling.

Do not “admire” me. I am a man packed with frailties. At present I am nothing at all. The sheer ache in my heart is almost unbearable.

Love to you all,

* * * * *

As Jack had taken leave of absence from his “school job” and was not being paid, he had virtually no money.  Gladys stepped into the breach and paid the expenses for a basic funeral, made more expensive as the cemetery for Manhattan was in New Jersey (very near Newark airport), and the cost of travel to the cemetery was added to the bill.  This funeral did not include a headstone, and thus Evelyn’s grave was marked with a numbered plaque..

Funeral expenses
Receipt for funeral expenses

Jigg had long been affactionate toward Jack and  after Evelyn’s death he invited Jack to come and join the family in Canada. It is not clear how carefully he had thought this out, but Jack grasped at this lifeline and much of his energy was centred on plans for this visit.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

August 15, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thanks for invitation. Dearly appreciated and will write more. I am too mentally sick to reply properly, and may have to be hospitalized. The real pain of E’s death is just beginning to soak in. I cannot, still, realise it at all. We were so close.

I would be an honoured guest or grandfather.

Honestly, Jigg, I don’t see myself going on without her. We were so one of each-other, so close. I am just on the verge, really imminent—by now of cutting my wrists or jumping under a train.

It might just preserve my sanity if I saw you, – My ultimate objective, so far as I can have any, – is England.

I am sick, and would much rather be dead. I thank Gladys, and HATE May Mayers, – But, you know, and Paula will know, nothing matters but Evelyn. How can I ever get over it? I can’t. It is a wound, from which I can never, never recover, – I am cut—a dead man [remainder of letter missing]

* * * * *

To Otto Theis and Louise Morgan

Scotch Plains, New Jersey
August 21, 1963

Dear Otto and Louise:

Ever since Evelyn gave me your address last winter I have intended to write. You are so often in my thoughts but I am the world’s worst correspondent.

Then last winter I took a trip to the West Indies. Delightful while it lasted (Jamaica, Haiti!, Puerto Rico) but it ended with a broken arm. Bad break plus age and lack of calcium made it very slow and it just came out of cast last week. Still practically useless (right arm, of course) which has made it very difficult to help Jack. I know you would like to hear what I can tell of him and Evelyn.

I saw Evelyn just before I went on trip. She looked very very badly, suffering from heart and, I believe, a small stroke. She has great difficulty getting her words out and had to keep appealing to Jack. It was pityful. But I was shocked to hear she had cancer and had to go to hospital for x ray treatment. Jack was quite hopeful at first but I realized what she would have to go through at best.

I did manage to get in to the hospital at once, thank God. She was glad to see me and seemed more relaxed and less worried. Her speech was clearer but her color. . . But Jack looked and seemed much worse. He sees poorly and stumbles.

I did not intend to inflict these details on you, just started. I’d tear letter to you and begin over but might never finish.

Next thing I heard she was back in hotel with Jack who tried to keep hopeful. Then the hotel called up to say she had died and begged me to come in. I was shocked and realized things must be very bad. Fortunately I could get in to the city almost at once.

Evelyn had died quietly in her sleep which was wonderful for her but an ever greater shock for Jack. And he had absolutely no one to turn to. Everyone was on vacation, even their doctor. They wouldn’t let Evelyn’s body be taken to a funeral parlor until a police surgeon signed the death certificate.

By the time I arrived Jack was in fearful condition between shock and drink. He fell once in the room yet kept going out for more whiskey which the young policemen in charge kept confiscating. But somehow it did help him to talk. But he could make no decisions and I had to go with him to funeral parlor and make arrangements. (Of course he had eaten nothing all this time.)

The hotel was very helpful. They got him another room and one for me as I could not leave. We actually had breakfast the next day.

Jack is still in a terrible physical and emotional state as you know from his letters. Jig fears suicide but I feel the great danger has passed. He seems actually to be taking some interest in making pans and wants to see friends. We brought him out here for a week, but he would stay only two days. I try to keep in touch by letter and phone and hope to get in again next week.

I don’t know what will happen. Personally I feel he would be happier in England. He has never really adapted himself here and a complete change would be good. He might even start to write again. Also there he might drink in moderation. Now he needs it, but I don’t know how his physical state stands so much. I fear accident (very poor eyesight, too) or possible mental breakdown.

Forgive my pouring all this out on you! I guess I need to share it with someone. Also you should be prepared in case he does go to England.

He has taken some steps in legal matters. Jig wants him with him, but I’m a little dubious.

Very best love to you both

PS On Aug 22. I just talked to Jack on the phone. His whole voice and outlook sounded much better. I plan to see him Monday.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 29, 1963

Dear Jig and Paula:

I should have answered yesterday but I’m weak-minded and hate to cause disappointment or worse. Please forgive me!

Before your letter, Jack had called up and told me to destroy the letters from May. I’m sorry as I realize what importance you attach to them. I think Jack wanted to wipe the whole thing out of his mind.

He seems a shade better. The early mornings are his worst time. But he is taking some action and making some plans. Before he decides about his visit to you, which he wants to make, he will see Walter Frank about legal matters, etc. He is even planning to try to go to work again after Labor Day. If he can do this, it will help his morale and his finances. My main worry now is his actual physical state.

I will see him next week and probably bring him out here for a few more days.

My thoughts and my heart are with you all. God bless you!

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

September 7, 1963

Dear Jigg,

I do so hope you make it OK on Canadian Broadcasting. Keep me informed.

I went down to Gladys’s on Wednesday intending to spend 4, or at least 3, nights, but felt so poorly I had to return here after 2 nights in order to catch the Dr Cohen on Friday evening. He gave me something which he hopes will work well enough to enable me to try school on Monday 9th. At present I feel not at all well, – indeed worse than, say, 3 weeks ago. The numbness, I suppose, is wearing off, and I’m beginning to feel the full impact. But I’ll do my best to hang on day to day till the utter misery, I hope, passes.

Yes, step by step, to England. (Visit you first, of course.)

This is only an inadequate note. I do so hope the Broadcasting comes off, – your account of the audition sounded hopeful.

Cannot write properly. Too sick. Hope to hang on somehow and feel better. Still hope to go to school Monday 9th. But I am only now starting to feel the worst reality of it.

Love to all

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

November 4th, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Where are you? Haven’t heard from you for some time.

And with me it is just touch and go. I would welcome any form of euthanasia, but still hate the messiness of just throwing myself under a subway train. For the last week weeping fits etc. have put school out of question. I don’t know what to do.

For preservation of my own sanity I ought to come to you right away, – yet if I don’t that all must be lost.

I feel I cannot live without Evelyn. I don’t know what to do.

Love to all,

* * * * *

During these weeks Jack had been struggling with his grief.  The school had been patient and helpful by letting him keep a job but their patience was wearing thin and at the beginning of November they finally let him go.  The letter dismissing him said, in part, “I feel at the moment that you are not really making a sincere effort to help yourself.  At the moment you are only feeling sorry for yourself.” Without the distraction (and income) of this job, Jack’s survival was predicated on drink and the prospect of visiting Jigg and his family in Canada. Meanwhile, Dr Cohen was trying to arrange free-of-charge psychiatric care for Jack

* * * * *.

To Creighton Scott

November 7, 1963

My Very Dear Jigg,

My last letter, of yesterday, – was far too self-engrossed, – but I had just received my congé from the school, and was very worried.

I do hope your ‘phone has been re-connected. It is most deplorable, just at this particular time, that it should have been cut off.

I cannot tell you how much your companionship (even if at present just by mail) means to me.

As to E’s death, I strive for resignation but it hasn’t arrived yet. Some people seem to thint that, on the cashing of one’s first Social Security cheque, aetat 65, – one happily and automatically loses the capacity of “missing” one another, – but it ain’t so.

Love to all,

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

November 9, 1963

Dear Jig and Paula

This won’t be a real letter. I’ve been away with a very ill friend and got back to find your letter and one from Jack. I called him tonight and he was in a very bad state. I could scarcely hear him.

But I have no idea what any of us can do. One reason I put off answering your good letter was that I felt discouraged. The last few days Jack spent here were pretty terrible. I feel so sorry for him yet it is hard to do anything for someone so sorry for himself. This sounds bitter, but it is true. Also he is looking so hard for someone to lean on and he has to face things himself, as you know. At first it seemed wonderful for him to be with you for a while, but now I feel very strongly that it would add immeasurably to your problems and would not help him. If not yourselves, you must consider your children first. As for Jack’s threats of suicide, I am afraid I think them more a bid (or threat) for pity. Perhaps it is a case of wolf, wolf and he really will someday.

Jack has so many fine qualities and I really love him. It is heart breaking to see him disintegrate like this. I would not write so frankly to anyone else (esp not to the Mayers or Louise Theis. I think Louise is naïve and not really aware of her subconscious jealousy, perhaps even hate.) I do hope and pray Jack comes through. But no one can do it for him. Write if you want, but don’t spend your needed money on telephone or telegrams. Above all don’t take him in. God forgive me! But it wouldn’t help.

If I hear anything further I’ll write again. Also I want to answer your good letters with personal news. I’m beginning to drive a little which is a relief. My wrist and fingers are still quite stiff, but the doctor said it is up to me to use them as much as possible. This reason for poor typing I’ve used both hands.

This has been a hard letter to write and I’m still tired from my trip, so it is poorly expressed. But I know you’ll understand.

Also and above all it brings deepest love to you all.
God bless you

  • * * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

November 12, 1963

Dear Jigg and Paula,

I am scribbling this on Monday evening, – and shall await any mail from you tomorrow, to add more.

I am really bothered about Jigg’s heart condition. People live with it for years and years, but it needs watching.

For the time being, as I told you in my last, things aren’t too good with me, because I have been laid-off from my school job, and cannot be sure when I shall be in a position to recapture it. I have now arranged for regular evening-clinic psychiatric treatment, – and, if that doesn’t work, I suppose it means a further spell in hospital.

I still cannot get acclimatised to E’s being no longer here, and the pain is sometimes almost unbearable. it is worse, now, than the three months ago, because, then, emotionally speaking, her dying like that, so suddenly, seemed just another of her antics and vagaries, and it is only now, with no voice from the grave, that I begin to realise the appalling, incredible fact, that from now on I am without her, whether I live in Tahiti, Timbuctoo or Moona-Poona.

I hate this maddening little room in this accursed hotel, from which her corpse was carried out, – yet it would be impossible, now, to move.

Oh no: no sense of “disloyalty” would deter me from welcoming any anodyne, but so far only whiskey has presented itself and I remain too much in love with E to have the urge and enterprise to go out and try to get involved with anybody else. At present, people-in-general, places and events hold no interest for me without her. And it is really better for me, temporarily, not to try to “mull over” or project myself imaginatively into too far a future, because, at the moment, any Evelyn-less future is hardly contemplatable. I have no “hobbies”, and has never looked forward to anything done without her.

Tuesday morning. This account of myself, I fear, must worry you, but in the long run it is better not to disguise the facts. The morning hours, from waking around five till I allow myself my first whiskey, around 11.30 (yes, I still have just enough guts to wait till then) are plain misery and suicidally-inclined. After the whiskey it is measurably better through the rest of the day.

My Dr Cohen tells me it will get better. The situation, he says, might change just overnight, – and I might wake up one day feeling quite different. But as yet the pain of loss goes on and I feel like someone under a curse. People (well-meaningly) keep telling me that it is well she was spared a “long and distressing illness”, – which is true up to a point, – but am I to thank God for giving her cancer in the first place?

Please believe I do long to see you all. the trouble now is just that I cannot, yet, get clear of the damned business, – am jobless, and love-sick for a corpse. This, I realise, is “morbidity” to the nth, which John Metcalfe could always be relied on to provide.

But in all seriousness, I must, somehow, climb out of this extreme unhappiness, and start to live again.

The nuisance is that, after 38 years of deep attachment, I cannot, in a remaining span of 10 or even 20 years hope to do much more than just patch over such long and vivid memories. But again, I intend to weather this, somehow.

Much, much love to you all,

There is so much in the story you never, I think, knew. Some day, I’ll tell you.

All those 44 evenings that I visited her in hospital, taking the long subway trek after school to 168th Street, I pulled and prayed for her with all my might, imploring whatever God might be that the radio-treatment might work a miracle. But the miracle didn’t happen (they don’t, you know) and God wasn’t even a quarter chummy. So now, the whole thing cannot but wear the aspect of a great Defeat. I mean, I had tried so desperately to pull her through.

This isn’t, Jigg and Paula, meant to be at all a “tragic”, exaggerated or “self pitying” letter. It is merely as close an approximation as I can reach to the present position about myself and Evelyn.

Let us get there!
Again, love

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

 November 15, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Yours of the 10th received, and I can indeed sympathise with its underlying desperation,–though it could not fail to depress me.

There remain several gross misconceptions of which, for honesty’s sake, I must disabuse you. I did not wish to go into them again, by writing instead of talking, – but your letter almost forces me to.

(A) In some previous letter of yours you asked—why did E and I ever leave England? Simply, and almost entirely, to bring Evelyn, geographically anyhow, closer to you-all, – and make her think she you see you again. “Mad as a hatter” she was already beginning to be, – but that was what she thought.

(B) Since then, in USA, – so far from “not caring a shot”, she worried about you incessantly. She was quite capable, for a while, of mailing and registering her own (regrettable) letters, and I still granted her the privilege of being a free person, where you were concerned. This has proved bad policy,–but it was ethics, to me, at the time. She once (I think when you were still at Carmel) tried to send you a trifling check, which Paula returned torn up. Her main engrossment was just you and family. We did not know of your going through and Senatorial Investigations, – etc, – All we had was a laconic report of your testimony, – which sounded mighty good. We did not know (because we had no information) that your job had thereby been lost, – nor did we have the least inkling of your subsequent difficulties, – though E Scott consciously surmised and suspected them. Her anxiety about, and preoccupation with, your probable difficulties was evident, – and would have hastened her end, anyhow, apart from the recent lung business.

I am an extremely (still) rational person, – and see your side of the whole matter, believe me, as clearly as I do hers. I have realised, for many years, that she was “wrecking my life”, – but it is an entirely fanciful attitude on your part to “admire” me for “sticking to” her. I clung to her, rather than “stuck by” because I loved her, – as I now am. She was largely my mother as well as my wife.

We had no faintest delusion that you were “affluent” when you left Carmel and went to wherever—you did—go. (We found out later it was Vermont—didn’t know where, since we hadn’t the information), – but suspected you were in dire straits of some kind. All this continued preying on her mind.

You cannot tell me more than I know perfectly well already about the difficulties for you, of getting a job in England. All that has faded into the cloud-cuckoo land where, in my heart, I always knew it really belonged. Though I still do hope you get to France.

I am, alas, not getting any better. I am worse each day, so far.

Evelyn and I made a sort of little suicide pact between us. She said, that if I died, she would wait 3 or so months, and then quit this mortal scene – -but I made an inward vow that I would wait one whole year after her death, and then see how I felt. Yet this morning, before I took a sip of whiskey, one almost unbearable. I have a length of clothes-line with which to hang myself if matters don’t mend. I eat nothing, – and save money. I bought a sandwich 3 days ago, and it still suffices me in the frig.

By special concession I went oculist (another $10) Sat morning, – and he said that, barring another operation, and cataract lenses—etc etc, nothing more could be done. He exuded polite surprise that I was hoping to work at all.

I am half-blind, and that’s that, – and I don’t see myself ever getting the school job back. In my present mental state it wd be laughable to try to hold it anyhow.

The “psychiatry” is nonsense. The psychiatrist’s advice, of course, is to fit myself out with some new girl-friend, – but what would be the good of that? If she were just placed in my lap, – I suppose I would automatically fiddle with her, – and end up in the usual way, – and to what good?

It all boils down, more and more, to an irreparable, un-mendable loss. After 38 years of intimacy, can I be reasonably expected to recover in 1 year, or 2 years, or 5? It would be ridiculous to suppose so.

Please forgive this honestly desperate letter.

I wish to meet you all, as soon as possible,–wherever it may be,

Much, much love,

By living, E Scott make me, on the whole, miserable for 38 years, and now, by dying, has made me more so. Oh God, I wish we could talk!

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

December 16, 1963

Dear Old Jigg,

This is merely a sort of continuation of yesterday’s letter, and requires no separate, individual answer. I do pray that things are somehow looking-up for you all. You have my deepest concern and sympathy.

As for myself, I am as per yesterday. I am not getting any “better”, and indeed, feel lots worse than 3 months and more ago. It’s no good pretending otherwise. Even if circumstances were more propitious for our meeting you would find me impossible, – I am fit company for neither man nor beast. I pray to have however that you may get at least to France or somewhere.

The experience of “hunger” has been strange to me for 6 months, – since her worst illness was known. I have, today, eaten ½ of ½ of last Friday’s sandwich, – and this is all I could stomach. That will be under 14 cents per day for food, for 4 days.

Forgive me for letting down my hair in this fashion, – but I have to have some sort of communication with someone., and, in communicating, not just tell polite untruths.

Do not, for Christ’s sake, ever “admire” me for “sticking by” E Scott. It was completely the other way round. During the last 9 NY years I did, certainly, keep her going economically, – but she supplied much more than I did, morally. Nuttier and nuttier though she grew, she still gave me a communion and companionship which (to me at the moment anyhow) appears unduplicatable. One should not “admire” a bean-stalk for leaning against, and twining round, its pole. She was, to large extent, my mother as well as my wife, and she was the pole, and I the bean-plant. She gave me a sense of domesticity and security as background for everything, – and now that has gone galley-west.

Art and Letters” are no longer anything to me, as I told you. I shit on them. Toys and Opium. The “innate ghastliness” of life has, not in any deliberate malevolence (as she imagined) of fate, but in a sheer indifference.

As I told you, I fixed-up a special, concessionary, appointment with the oculist last Saturday morning, – and, – apart from further operation, possible “contact lenses” etc, nothing much, it seems, can be done. He seemed surprised that I was still working, or hoping to. My old job in Study Hall, from which I’ve been definitely laid-off, didn’t require much vision. But any resumption of a job in that school would mean teaching, – and Algebra would be my subject. It would be out. I can still write, as you see, “motorly”, though with tiny exponents such as “Zx+y-3”, but couldn’t read them.

The “psychiatry”, as I told you, is, I fear, no good. What I have lost is a home of some sort, – a settled background to everything. I want domesticity.

I simply do not see how I can carry-on. As I said, I shall continue till Aug 3rd, 1964, and then make up my mind. I simply cannot express to anyone, what the crazy E Scott meant to me.

A purely selfish letter, and try to forgive it. I am not “indulging” grief. I am simply realising, more and more, that I can’t live without her, – any more than poor old Sir Harry Lauder could without his wife.

May the Lord’s blessings be upon you all. If, by some magic, I became a very different person, you might bear with me, – and find me tolerable.

Love, and loads of it, to all,

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

December 25, 1963

Dear Jack,

All of us have thought the question over very worriedly, and the result is that there will be no combined household consisting of yours and ours. You have become a rubber stamp of E Scott—to be expected, I suppose, after 40 years of servility to her manias.

I have explained to you in other letters what she herself said her motives were where I and mine were concerned. The same old pattern that she set recurs in your letters to us. Although you knew of the disasters which have overtaken us, largely thanks to her egotism and your spinelessness, the discovery that we really were at the end of our rope and as poor as we said was such a shock to your system you had to throw up your job right away so as to make things worse. This made it our fault that you were miserable for reasons we could not prevent. That’s the kind of thing that made me hate my mother. Again, when it became necessary to explain to you that—since we were at financial rock bottom, and for other reasons you knew as well as we do—we were not free agents in the sense that Rockefeller is, this news (which you had heard years ago) so crushed your spirit that you couldn’t read our letters anymore, and went blind or nearly so. You are not too stupid to understand this: I am not the spineless, gutless, mindless, nugatory foetus dangling at the end of an umbilical cord; that E Scott devoted 30 years to trying to make me be. What will crush you even more than the other things you already know is that I don’t intend to become such a creature to please you. Neither do my wife nor my children.

The domesticity you want would consist of our devoting our full time to gushings of phoney commiseration while you crooned over your spiritual leprosy. I’ve read it in the lines and between the lines of your letters. That ¼ of a stale sandwich in four days, that kissing the gapping lips of the dead, all that crud about hurling yourself under subway trains except that it would be so messy, is bullshit.

Bullshit is bullshit, and what you want is someone to scratch your mange, not a family.

My patience has come to an end. I’m sorry it had to be this way. We started out trying to be kindly to a man in distress, and now find ourselves spiritually to blame for all the hazards of life that beset him as they do others.

I also have a spark of pride. My mother played me for a fool from the time I was a baby. You’re trying to play all of us for suckers. It won’t wash.

We’re at the end of our rope and you’re at the end of yours. I haven’t the faintest idea how either of us can extricate ourselves. One thing I know is that you can’t recruit seven people to pet your sores, as my father used to say.

There will be no point in answering this because the answer won’t be read or acknowledged. This is goodbye, with very deep regrets that will under no circumstances change any of our minds.

Your stepson,

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

January  4, 1963

Dear Jig + Paula:

Thanks for your letters. I always enjoy hearing from you. I don’t blame you but did think your letter to Jack was a little too strong especially at this time. After so many years it can only be expected that he should bear the ES imprint. I saw him yesterday, and feel that for the first time he is trying to be a man again. Plans his job back, admits enough money if he stops drinking, etc. I hope he succeeds but no one, least of all myself or you, can help him.

I, too, can’t bear his pathologic self pity and agree wholeheartedly that you and he should not be together. (At first it seemed a possible solution, but how wrong I was!) I hope you can put him + the ES image out of your life + thoughts. There is no tie on earth to bind you. I won’t write about him again unless to answer your questions. (I don’t expect to see him again for some time.)

We are both well but the weather—and driving—are both terrible. Our driveway is such a sheet of ice I scarcely venture down it for the mail. But today the sun is out + will, I hope, melt the ice.

I’ve been trying hard to make time to write again—but the “mechanics of living”. I know you + Paula will understand.

Much much love to you both + to the kids. I
God bless you

PS Perhaps as you say your letter had to be strongly worded to get through to him.

* * * * *

Jigg’s and Jack’s stories do not end well. In desperation, Jigg thought he could capitalise on the fact he was born in Brazil to claim Brazilian nationality, but discovered that merely being born in Brazil did not confer citizenship:  it was necessary that the birth be registered at a Brazilian Public Registry.  Around this time he  broke his shoulder and spent weeks in an awkward shoulder cast which significantly limited his daily activities.  He also suffered a psychotic episode which led to him being sectioned and held in the local mental hospital.  After discharge he suffered a series of mild coronaries, culminating in the summer of 1965 in the severe heart attack which killed him.

Jack was eventually hospitalised with a severe grief reaction and spent some months in a state hospital on Long Island.  Since Evelyn’s death he has been planning to return to England and had made plans to live in London with his friend of many years, John Gawsworth.  The hospital were reluctant to discharge Jack to make this journey unless Gawsworth agreed to sign an undertaking to be responsible for his welfare, and Jack was able to return to England in early 1965. He found a room in a local hotel and one evening he and friends met at a local public house where they had a convivial evening.  It was an icy night and on returning to his hotel, Jack slipped on the front steps, hit his head and collapsed.  He was taken to hospital, where he never recovered consciousness and was buried in Mill Hill Cemetery in north London.

* * * * *










47. Onslaught

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

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

 * * * * *

To Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
March 30, 1958

Darling Paula

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

November 15, 1958


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

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

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

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

November 15, 1958


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


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

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 18, 1959


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


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

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


Lovingly, LOVINGLY,

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 7th, 1959


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



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

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

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

June 7, 1959


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


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




* * * * *

To Deputy Personnel Officer, ICA

July 19, 1959

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

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

Respectfully Yours,

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

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

* * * * *

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


 * * * * *

 To Evelyn Scott

July 23, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

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

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

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

Love to Jack

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

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann, ICA

July 26, 1959

Dear Madam,

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

August 5, 1959

Darling Paula

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

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

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

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

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


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



* * * * *

To Ronald Pearson

August 5, 1959

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

Dear Ronald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 9, 1959

Darling Jigg and Paula,

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

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

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

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


Evelyn–to Jigg Mother




* * * * *

To Virigina Hale1

August 27th, 1959

Dear Virginia Hale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

August 29, 1959











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

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

September 6, 1959

Dear Maggie,

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

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

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

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

Damn total rule! As a health elixir I still repeat my refrain of 1943,

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Charles R Soll
Counsellor at Law
86 Main Street
Nyack NY

September 11, 1959

Dear Mrs Scott:

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

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

Very truly yours,
Charles R Soll

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United States Post Office
Carmel, California
September 19, 1959

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

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

Fred G Strong

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

September 25, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

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

Love to both,

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

September 26, 1959

Darling Paula,

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

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




* * * * *

To US Passport Office

[October, 1959]1


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

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


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

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

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







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

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

* * * * *

From Howard Ross

International Cooperation Administration
Washington 25, DC
October 8, 1959

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

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

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

Howard F Ross, Chief
Employee Relations Office

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

October 10th, 1959

Darling Paula,

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

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

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

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

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

Our Love,

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

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

October 13, 1959

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

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

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

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

Love to you both,

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

October 19, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

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

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

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


* * * * *

To Paula Scott

October 24, 1959

Darling Paula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 * * * * *

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

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

November 12, 1959

Dear Jack—

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

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


* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

December 1959

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

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


* * * * *












37. Two Red Hooks, false teeth and birth control

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

26 Belsize Crescent
[July, 1951]

My dear Glad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love  to yourself and Edgerton

  • * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Pitcher Lane
Red Hook, New York
July 7, 1951

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

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

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

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

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

Love, Paula.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 25, 1951


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Hook map

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[August 1951]

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

Darling Jig and Paula

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To May Mayers

[August 1951]

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

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

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

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

1Evelyn’s gynaecologist

* * * * *

To May Mayers

August 6, 1951

Dear May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice

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

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

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

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

The best of good voyages on the best of good ships


* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 6, 1951

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

Darling Jig and Pavla

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

August 28, 1951

Dear Gladys:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love to them and yourself.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Darling Darlings

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

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

Red Hook Duchess County NY

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

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

This post office thing has got too much to endure.

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Pavla and Jig

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

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

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

Lovingly, oh we do love you

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

September 9, 1951

Darling darlings

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

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

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

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


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

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

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

September 11, 1951

Dear Glad,

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Julia Scott

September 11, 1951

Dear Julia1

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

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

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

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

Julia was 2 months old

* * * * *

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















36. Isolation

Evelyn and Jack were enduring a life of bleak poverty in post-war London, and her letters convey their difficulties. These letters are lengthy and sometimes incoherent, possibly because Evelyn, alone all day and unable to go out due to her proclaimed lack of suitable clothing, filled the time by doing what she knew best, writing.

A search of the various collections yielded only two letters dating from 1950.. Judging by the very large number of surviving letters from 1951 and 1952, it is fair to assume that she wrote a similar number in 1950.  After Evelyn’s death, Jack destroyed a large quantity of her documents because he could not bear to see her writing on anything:  it is likely that this included many of the letters she wrote in 1950.

The following sequence is a very small selection of the letters written during the first half of 1951.  These letters are lengthy, repetitive and sometimes incoherent, and have been heavily edited to reduce repetition.  Evelyn’s language becomes increasingly bizarre, reflecting her growing conviction that her letters were being intercepted by political forces, with the specific aim of keeping her from her family. In his unpublished memoir, Confessions of an American Boy, Jigg refers to his mother’s overweening self-obsession, to the extent that she was incapable of understanding or responding to another’s needs or point of view. It appears she could not comprehend that someone to whom she wrote would choose not to respond to her letters: ergo unanswered letters were being intercepted for vague political reasons based, partly, on the fact that she and Jack remain in London even though she is an American citizen.

The first letter picks up from shortly after Jig’s visit to London in 1950.  The family had been living  in Rutherford, New Jersey since November 1949:  it just happened that a former lover of Evelyn’s, William Carlos Williams,  a well-regarded poet and a  paediatrician who had looked after Jigg when he was a small child, also lived in Rutherford.  It is not clear whether Jigg knew this when the family moved, but Evelyn took the opportunity to ask her former lover to visit the family:  Williams never responded to her pleas. 

Evelyn kept carbon copies of most of her correspondence, including the letters in the collection.  As a result, very few of them were signed by her.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

For Pavla to forward to Creighton Scott–ask Pavla to smile at the length I could never write short letters. It’s because there is so much to say

26 Belsize Crescent
March 19, 1950

Darling Jig

Jack and myself do so hope and hope and hope your return to London promised on November 26th will be soon.

Your visit of November was, as I have written to Pavla, the brightest spot of the last bloody five years, since the damn war was supposed to end. And to find you so like your original self in your interests and outgoingness filled us with an optimism of which we were becoming almost incapable.  You revived up and the good job you made of things when you were here can’t be undone.  However, even if that hadn’t happened, we will never change toward yourself and Pavla and the children and your art and her talent.

We love you Jig darling we love Pavla-Paula1 (I am really anxious for her to write as Pavla because of Paula Snelling, Pavla is more completely her name to us).  We think politicians scum but there are the exceptions there too so we hope the Conservatives will get their majority and tell the truth about this and bloody that in a world which has got so rotten it could hardly be more so.

Have you been able to see any of the France you knew when you were a child?  We think of what a really good and delightful and unique child you were Creighton-Jig darling when we were at Banyuls and Collioure, yourself and myself and Merton, and when you were with myself and Jack at Cassis-sur-mer and in Algeria with us.

English spring is pleasant.  Do try it please.

1Paula was born in a Spanish-speaking part of New Mexico and was named Pavli, the Spanish form of Paula. She was known as Pavli Scott until it became too burdensome to have to explain the origin of her name.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 1, 1951

Please please send me your address should you move as I need and must really have it for the Consulate here whenever I do there.  Please don’t throw me back on Gladys1 I don’t like asking favours and Jack and I are with Jig as Cyril is–our address in the States is Jig’s

Darling Jig

This is for Pavla too and I send with this in one envelope the birthday letter for Mathew2 which you will see is one of the jingles from the juvenile by me of which I still have one copy.  I hope Mathew will like both the jingle that goes with the book and the illustrations for the impromptu jingles not to be included.

We don’t yet know whether at least three-quarters of our mail to the States has ever been received by anybody.  And though during the visit of 1949 here, Jig said he “thought” “most” of the letters we had sent there to yourselves were received there was no way of checking on it and we had no real opportunity to discuss particular letters and identify them by content–especially as this sort of thing has been going on continuously since 1944.

I continue to think people we all used to know have been monsters–whatever their reason–in none of them so far having made so much as one gesture toward seeing Jig and Pavla and the children–all five of you–personally and giving me some first-hand information, as there are a few whose mail apparently is not stopped or obstructed–something that leads me to wonder if I have not–ever since I complained about the results of phoney–I think–“inquiries” into “subversiveness” in 1939–been on some kind of damn libellous “list”.  That is the single explanation that occurs to me of mail that apparently does get here in a few selected instances and not others.

We were given just a sketchy idea of events between 1944 and 1949, and when on top of that no word came from France after Jig promised he would be here again in two weeks, the impact has been a disaster to everything but love.  We love him and I love every one of you and we both really love Cyril as the best friend we ever had yet, and just discount whatever appears to have resulted in a breech we can’t yet elucidate.

I know we are every one sane and good individuals, and until dirty war politics impinged on our lives our lives were full of interest and achievement.  Please help to lift and remove the bann on both plain speaking and art, for we have every proof that there must be one.

We love you and our love is really indestructible but common humanity insists we know how rotten silence was imposed on our free human interchanges. We are not politicians but artists who think–and until thinking is re-encouraged in the States Civil

1Evelyn had been using Gladys Grant’s New Jersey address as her “permanent” US address. This request may have been another ploy to persuade Jigg to answer her letters.

2Matthew’s birthday was 26th January, when he would be 6 years old.


* * * * *

To May Mayers1

January 8, 1951

My dear May

This is to thank you and Lew for your Christmas gift.  This and my hope that you would see Jig and Pavla in person and relieve my mind respecting them are of great importance to me.

This you will grasp is to me very significant.   When Jig was here in November 1949 his physical aspect was so altered I would hardly have known my own son, though just five years had elapsed since I was in Tappan with him and Pavla.  And though the atmosphere during his five days in this house was affectionate and genial, he was plainly somewhat constrained in his allusions to the injustices and humiliations he and Pavla, who are just innocents, have had to endure since their marriage.

He is good and we love him and I know he is not changed actually.  But as I have said to many people, there is everything in my own experience to indicate that the books of Evelyn Scott were “listed”—perhaps by the Government—as not conducive to that bovine frame of mind unscrupulous commerce encourages2, and although the utmost quibbling could never discover anything “suspect” he and Pavla have actually suffered something on my behalf.

You, May, are the medico, and an advocate of the normal and perhaps you will tell me why you think Jig, who when I saw him in 1944, was muscular and in good condition as to weight should suddenly have gotten stout, and why even his nose didn’t look like Cyril’s as it always has, and why his very expression of the eyes was changed.  The very colour of his eyes has changed and their very shape—they were unusually large for a man, blue in which grey predominated and were deep set and very pretty and they are now blue—pure blue—or were in 1949—and do not give an impression of being deep-set or large, just average.  Could any medical monkeying in the Army have done this?  If so they are criminal fools.

Please tell me whatever you can you and Lew May my dear.
Our love

1May Mayers was introduced to Evelyn by Gladys Grant and was a long-term and loyal friend. She was a physician,working at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York and was often the recipient of Evelyn’s theories about medical issues.


2Evelyn was highly contemptuous of books which she perceived as having been written for financial return, not as “art”.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

214 East 18th Street, NYC
January 12, 1951

Evelyn dear

Your letter of Dec 11th has just been forwarded to me from Mt Sinai Hospital.  I regret to say that I received your previous letter, but I was travelling thru the State and so busy I did not get to answer it.  I

It seems too bad that somehow your contacts and correspondence with Jig has been so intermittent and unsatisfactory.  At such long distance I am inclined to think this is almost inevitable.  But it makes me sad.  I see no way to intrude into this situation, however.  I wish that Jig would keep you in equally close touch with his affairs. But you know how it is Evelyn, some people are better at that sort of thing than others.  I am sure he thinks of you a lot even when he doesn’t get down to the business of writing.

I hope the new year will somehow get you and Jack in the clear.  I wish you were not so far away.

Our best to you both

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

Scotch Plains, NJ
January 15, 1951

My dear Gladys

Jack and myself were really glad to have your letter, and we think of you as we do of Dudley on every occasion likely to revive affectionate associations.

But we continue to be troubled by a constraint in your correspondence which we do not blame you yourself for, but which we must construe as a commentary on rotten conditions in the States.

I haven’t asked you to do anything for us since spring 1950–almost a year, now.  But notwithstanding your saying “I can’t do any of the things you want me to”, I am now asking you something again, because I think as my requests are every one sane normal human and reasonable, if you “can’t” execute them, it’s time you, too, did something to assist to make it possible for normal Americans to carry on normally with their lives and careers.

We have not yet ceased to have egregious criminal interferences with mail.  I think there has to be a check on it and this probably to take the form of more “police” trial.

I cannot even conjecture any reason why it is we yet have been unable to account for so many of our letters and have had no acknowledgement that they were received.  It is either the fault of supposed authorities here or there, but that phoney “probing” in the States, of which I had that sample so often sanctioned, leads us to infer the fault is more there than here.

Pavla has written me many letters I have never received though I did receive a single note sent here in October 1950, which advised me of Jig’s being home.  And as I have had very few specific acknowledgements of any letters sent to them and to other friends during the year, I am still in the predicament of not knowing whether to condemn the mishandling of mail by postal authorities as the cause of all this, or whether in some instances, people have not replied because they were otherwise badgered.

Can you see Pavla and Jig now?  I hope so.  I can’t see any sane sensible reason why an old friend of the family living just a short journey from Rutherford should find it difficult,, or even if it is, why that friend–who all her life has been humane and generous, should not be willing to make the effort to again relieve our minds completely.

In 1944, in bloody damn Tappan, he was, it was obvious to me, already being made alarming respecting myself and Cyril and Jack and our friends, and what I gather to have been intimations that we were blacklisted for Government inquiry as “subversive” because we do not write sheep-fold “literature” for low-level commerce and nincompoop “labour”.  And as the impression I had then was even more pronouncedly my own in 1949, and I also know he and Pavla must have been “pushed around” to some extent–perhaps in connection with us and Jack’s being British–it was a very severe strain on my poise when, on his leaving here for France, he did not return when he said.  And it has become still more a strain to not be allowed any correspondence with him and Pavla save those two notes, she of an entire year, neither informative save as to Jig’s re-appearance.

He is restored to radio announcing and there can certainly be no damn mystery respecting this.  But on every occasion of my writing to ask anybody we know who knows him to please go to Rutherford to see them, there has been no responsive move and ninety-nine-and-a-half-percent of the times no allusion to the request, afterward.  We must begin to be humans again NOW–we shouldn’t permit American to become a country of “psychological dog-trainers”–like these tote countries are!  Will you please try to see Jig Pavla and the children and tell me your impressions of them genuinely.

Please be our old Gladys and don’t be afraid to speak out against the stupidities inane fools aspiring to dictate must have attempted to impose on Americans–results prove it [remainder of letter missing]

1Evelyn was concerned always to have a “permanent” US address to give to the US Consulate in London.


* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

January 15, 1951

My dear Jig and Pavla

It is preposterous we decent people with distinctions in achievement to our credit should be shoved, here by finances, preponderantly, into analogous and ambiguous positions.  It is rotten and intolerable.

We are so tired of political tyranny.  We hope for the change to Republicans but are without illusions and know the cultured men of intellect must go on pressing the rattybottom or peruna dregs of very party until tyranny ceases.

We think Jig should paint and write and Pavla write and every one of us should be revived and restored and we know even mentions in print will assist revivals.  It is black rot that during these three years since 1937 we have been treated as ghouls treat authors, who will not be forgotten or ignored an should be restored to the normal means of living and their normal careers and contacts now.

We would be so grateful for specific acknowledgements of specific letters.  I am now trying to think of something to enliven the mail for Denise in February.

Love is not all-powerful–damn hokey-pokey fake religiosity.  But it is high value in the world given over to hatred, and we do stand by our affections these cannot be shaken nor can our confidence in ourselves and yourselves creatively.

Our affectionate for yourselves we hope helps

Mother-to-Jig Evelyn-to-Pavla Jack-to-both and-anything-they-like-as-to-name-to-Denise Fredrick and Mathew

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

February 16, 1951

Evelyn dear

I have never answered a letter so promptly before—your letter arrived yesterday am!

What is important is what you say about Jig, Pavla and the kids.  As a mother, you can be very sure the situation you have been telling me about has troubled me greatly—far more than I was willing to admit to you, since I saw no way of doing anything about it.  But since you are really putting me on the spot, tho’ ever so gently, I will pick up the challenge and tell you a little bit more about it as it looks from where I sit.

Since you left for England, I have lost all contact with the mutual friends we had.  The one exception is Gladys—I have seen her once in 2 years perhaps for a brief visit and lunch, or something like that.

After receiving your previous letter however, I took the liberty of inquiring again about Jig and his family from one of your friends, explaining frankly that you were worried and that I wanted to give you some information.  I was informed that Jig and his family are all well, that he has had some difficulty in supporting his family, that the change in his appearance which you observed when he was in England, was probably the result of all those stresses and strains.  But I was informed that they are in no different situation from most families having several growing children to raise in these troublesome times of high prices etc.  Apparently Jig had hoped to improve his situation when he went to Europe, but things did not work out as anticipated.  Pavla makes a wonderful mother, the kids adorable and well brought up and cared for.

There it is in a nutshell.  Whatever block there is between you and Jig—as regards communication—is not, I am convinced, the result of any conspiracy.  Your politics, your writing, the British Labor Govt etc etc have nothing to do with it.  And mail in this country is never intercepted.  I am sure that whatever letters you write are delivered.

Otherwise, no special news.  I am glad you are well again and I hope you and Jack do keep well.  We are all find at present—but facing this troublesome world, with crisis after crisis, it takes courage to try to maintain a balanced and objective outlook.

Our very best to you both

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

March 10, 1951

Dear Evelyn:

I don’t know what to write as you disbelieve what I say and accuse me of hiding things when I try to be absolutely frank.  That naturally leads to constraint and makes me put off writing–Perhaps the same is true of others and is the reason they don’t write either.

Now about Jig and his family.  Of course I see them!  I wrote you in detail when they were here about a year ago, i.e. Paula and kids, Jig was in Europe, and have kept in touch ever since.  The were over for Denise’s birthday celebration–all fine.  I haven’t seen them since but have talked on telephone.  The kids had the flu like almost everybody here, but not bad and were fine two days ago when I talked to Paula on phone.

Jig was pretty sick in Europe but is better now.  I can’t give details because they don’t want to talk about it and so I don’t know–He lost a bit of weight which I think was good.  So far as I know they are settled in Rutherford.  Like lots of the younger generation  they don’t like questions and withdraw from those who ask them.

I want to remain friends to you and Jack.


 * * * * *

To May Mayers

March 11, 1951

May my dear

I am pleased that you thought my letter was “more relaxed”, my dear May, but I am sorry to say it wasn’t.  I am compelled by the incredible cold-blooded obtuseness of most of those dominant in Britain and America today to protest the conditions here and in the States which have been imposed on Jack and myself and Jig and Cyril and their families—I am compelled by my natural human feelings and by the sort of literary and financial impasses we have yet to surmount, to protest over and over.  If you were here or we could meet otherwise than in correspondence, you would have ample proof that I am NOT “tense” as a matter of “temperament” which can be put aside, but because we are still fighting for our lives every moment of every day.

What the hell am I supposed to think?  Talk about totalitarian oppression, it could hardly be beat in the sort of things that have happened during my seven years and Jack’s of attempting to preserve normal contacts and communications with our family in the United States of America.  I have never seen anything so rottenly evasive and whoever or whatever it is that has interfered.  And as for being “tense”, if I starting breaking up the china and hurling the bric a brac it would still be just the normal human reaction to such senseless atrocity respecti9ng decent normal human connections there.

So don’t ask me to just accept such a situation because I won’t.  We all know what low caliber minds have figured in American politics from the start.  I think these have been at work.  And I think they must have become for more brazen as a result of dumping foreigners in the States adlib.

So you see I disagree with your interpretation of these extraordinary silences about my family as not being connected with external aspects of things, I am damn sure they must be and criminally so.

Love to Dan and Lew us both

* * * * *


To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 25, 1951

Any news of you whatever does Jack and myself good, but Gladys recent note about you mentioned that Jig, when in France, was ill, I am distressed to think that happened when he was so comparatively near here and could have been so well taken care of by me in the room he was in here those five days.

I had asked May Mayers to go see you and find out how Jig is and think it would be good should she do so, but she won’t go unless asked specifically as a doctor, and so I just hope you’ll decide to ask her and relieve my mind and perhaps get some valuable help.

Jack has had to borrow again to get even a beginning on the [garden] wall that fell down.  Ninety pounds estimate for repairs, so I could have kicked that damn fund.  They are all alike—a lot of political fifth-rate hoaxers.  But I think a waterloo for the funds that are merely that is due.  They have spent billions literally on just stereotyping voters—what it amounts to.

Our love to yourselves and the children.  I am going to be a real grandmother to be proud of yet or but, tell them.  We just WON’T be licked nor will you I know and certainly Cyril won’t.

Jack’s love and mine

* * * * *

To May Mayers

March 28, 1951

May darling

Don’t throw up your hands when I appeal to you again.

Now May darling please know I really am imaginative toward you yourself and if I were the sort who can see people suffer and not turn a hair I would not protest these things to you.  But I have no one else in any sense associated with medicine to whom I can appeal.  Your brochures on industrial disease have now arrived and I am going to read them as soon as I complete this eleventh-millioneth typing of my novel mss—which will NOT be typed again honestly this time, as it is now clear.

And now Gladys, when I implore her to see the family—writes me in a letter of March 10th, as vaguely as ever.  She says “I don’t know what to write to you as you disbelieve what I say and accuse me of hiding things when I try to be absolutely frank”.  Well I HAVE JUST ACCUSED HER OF NOT ANSWERING my questions—that’s all.  I never at any time ever said I “disbelieved” her.  I don’t know where she gets such misconceptions unless she has neighbours who pump her full of guff.

I was glad to hear you were in touch with Gladys, I think she is very unfortunately situated in isolation such as has been “wished” on her by the isolation of her house.  I am not angry with her herself and have never been, but I don’t think she is using her imagination as she can when conditions are normal–that is to say when she is not heckled or harried, as she must be periodically to say such really stupid things when she isn’t really stupid.  And I think she has too much pseudo “legal” advice from a lawyer who has become antagonistic and unfriendly to ourselves–to myself and Creighton, at any rate.

She never writes except on these damn via air, self-contained envelope-cum-note-paper things–just one page and almost always handwriting so there is no room to say much.  And here is the rest of what she has to say this time in the letter that must have crossed yours to me or mine to you:

Jig and Pavla I know despise “youth guff”–it is for utter driveling fools.  Pavla has written me and I know she has, and her letters were not allowed to reach me and this is the truth as to Jig when in France also.

If I had the power to indite official mystifiers at any point I’d have ‘em hanged or electrocuted or shot.

There I stand myself and I think it probable that if the genuine opinions of the people I know best were obtainable now most of them would agree with me and my family would completely.


I have been twice x-rayed as a “TB suspect”1 and once was pronounced a “case” but the opinion was later revoked as a “mis-diagnosis”—and I am still alive and KICKING and my lungs are normal.

1Evelyn died of lung cancer in 1964. This is one of several references to possible problems with her lungs.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

April 1951

Darling Jig and Pavla

Darling Jig and Pavla when will I have your letters?  When?  We do love you so and Jig as artist has proven he is so completely worth saving for the fine arts and Pavla also, though she has just begun and he has accomplished considerable–to use an old-fashioned American phrase.

But as we all get well and we everyone have I hope there will soon be an end and an end of hushiness about whatever goes on that fuddles doctors as it evidently does.  You will remember Ingermann’s twice “diagnosing” me as a “cancer” patient, disproved by the Rockefeller Cancer Hospital’s real tests and no recurrences.  So what I might add is that they all seem to be  swallowing bee-bee, to all intents and purposes.  TS Eliot and Bevin had anal operations, which has included myself and Jack and Hall Bynner

It may be a “wonderful world”, but I think it is a helluva one just the same, and hope you will agree optimistically that it is.

Love and love and love

* * * * *

To May Mayers

April 29, 1951

May my dear

There is no “impasse” with Jig and his family my dear May.  I disagree with you about a “block within the family”.  I know how comprehending and good our relations with own family have been for every year of our lives until the war and there were no quarrels in the war.  But remember that Cyril’s autobiography which publically disclosed the identity of my father was virtually suppressed.  It was egregiously edited and distorted as regards our personal relations; and that he ever endured such editing can reasonably be attributed by those who know his character completely to the fact that he was financially pinched to the point we have been or worse at the time it was published—a pinching consequent not on him or ourselves but on political manoeuvrings in the book world and the art world.

This is guffy of course.  But I can see the pattern of libel in such a happening; and the fact that Jack is well-born1 and not scum probably figured.  I remember at “Yaddo” when the “dialectical” Jews among the guests jumped down my throat because I was a “Southern aristocrat”!  Well I was actually born in the South in a genuine ante-bellum mansion, but if they’d ever lived in Clarksville they might—if they ever grasped anything—have seen how ironically ludicrous it was as an “accusation”.

We my darling May don’t “gloss” anything unless you are bent on stirring my ire because when anything is “glossed” I feel like a fourth-of-July firecracker ready to explode.

1Jack Metcalfe’s family included minor gentry.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

May 2, 1951

Dear Evelyn:

Sorry if you don’t approve of this paper1. I won’t inflict it on you after the present supply is used up. I use it because of its convenience and the saving in time and money–time because I have to stop and get each letter weighed and often have to make a special trip to the PO. Money because this is considerably less than the same amount of air mail stationery plus stamp.

I did not mean to say you accused me of lying in so many words. But time after time you have asked questions about Jig or his family. I have reassured you when I knew and you have immediately written or asked me to contact others to find out the very things I have told you. Or I have told you I did not know certain things, such as Jig’s whereabouts when in Europe, and you accuse me of reticence or lack of frankness. I realize you do not mean it as it sounds, but it shows a lack of trust which is hard to bear by an old friend. If you have shown the same to others who are less understanding, it is no wonder you receive no answers.

It’s no use talking about conditions so far away. I think they are very different here from what you think them. Things have changed a lot since even Jack was here, both for better and worse. But certainly there is no censorship on the mails that I have ever heard of. Sometimes everyone expresses their views too freely! We are all confused and I think the English are too, though I don’t feel competent to judge from across the ocean.

Love to you and Jack both–I’ll write again. Glads

1Gladys had been using pre-stamped air letters, commonly used at that time and until the 1970s

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

May 20, 1951

My dear Glad

If I went into the chronology of our correspondence and you yourself read over my file of letters and questions and your replies and these dates of these indicating the time between my writing and your answers you would not say I was unreasonable. I am not. However, I don’t see why you should have interpreted this as “mistrust” of yourself. It is mistrust of a policy of evasiveness regarding most specific facts which seems to have become pervasive in America, like a sort of contagion. But I have never blamed you yourself, nor do I specifically blame the many others who have followed a policy of never replying to me or whose letters–so I know in a few instances, were either lost in the PO, confiscated thee under some pretext of “censoring”–wrong I think in communications to Britain–or were not delivered here because of factionalism in the PO either in the States or Britain.

Our finances here are as dire as ever. Jack has never been as discouraged as recently. He just hasn’t had the heart to write. And that is criminal. We do not want to be reduced to “turning on the gas”, but we would rather than be shoved from pillar to post by such conditions as the government here–probably dominated by uno’s extremists–have imposed on us. We will not be paupers. And that is that. But we can’t merely “exist”, and in order to live at all require both cash at once and the restoration of our raison d’etre in specific terms of art.

I have re-registered at the American Consulate and the preservation of my citizenship is prized by me and I am honestly very grateful that it is now grasped there that I am not indifferent to it nor is Jack but that we have been too broke to go home—home for me and home for Jack too should our lives become normal again and he be enabled to resume his quota residence. But we have been “economically” exiled. You cannot call it anything else. The furthest thing from our thoughts when Jack was re-patriated during his war service, was to be stuck here as we have been and not allowed any “choice” whatever as to how long we remained.

We can easily be saved and if and when we are well and good–anything else is murder.

You are our good friend Glad or I would not confide. I am very clear in distinguishing you and your character from surroundings and such changes in the States as have been for the worst. The competence of generals in military spheres is one thing and important no doubt, but there are problems at home there as there are here which require the first attention and get very little.

Our very real love to you and everything good and genuine to yourself. I appreciate every one of your helpful moves.

* * * * *

To May Mayers

May 27th 1951

My dear May

Jack and myself grow increasingly desperate about getting home to the States—we will just die here as a result of “economy” unless something is done for our books there.  I call it murder.  We have been economically exiled and it is preposterous to say we were ever allowed any choice about it.  We may move before long to cheaper quarters and sublet this flat—once it is repaired—but we are still having to mend the garden wall that collapsed last summer, and the law about taking out money should we sell it would have to be abolished for any sort of sale to be worthwhile—it couldn’t be very profitable in any case unless the mortgage were paid off.  I’ll let you know if and when we move.

So you see again when you say we “isolate ourselves” in England you are not as accurate about me as you are about medicine, I here quote your own words May darling.

Well you will see that the financial pressures that have compelled us to remain in a veritable slough of despond, unable to buy more than postage stamps and certainly not boat fares, are scarcely to be classified as our “choice”.  Don’t forget that when Jack went over in 1947 to maintain his quota and tried to get a job to bring me over there—me born there—he didn’t succeed and had one substantial offer after he was on en route home.  Jack is qualified to teach as very few of those who “thrive” in our robot system of “education” are, but it cut no ice.  He is honours in philosophy University of London and has also much experience in teaching higher mathematics and every sort.

We just go on fighting and hoping so please you do too.  I know Jig and myself and Jack and Cyril and Pavla and the children will meet you and Lew and Dan on the old footing eventually, and just hope before long.


Please don’t forget—regarding legalities—how unjust every repercussion of libel about me and Cyril has been on Jack and on the Jig of Escapade.  They were even less responsible for any result whatever of our elopement of 1913.  Cyril’s divorce from me as his Common Law wife secured in Chichuaua County Mexico is legal and was witnessed by the US Consul there.  We are not renegades who ignore responsibilities.  And if you were Jack and had been as good as he has to both myself and Jig as Cyril’s con and my son and had lived in the States as he and I were in 1930—well, May my dear you too would find some of the things we now know have been said about us very embittering.  America ain’t perfect, and you know it isn’t!  I speak as an old old American—so old I can claim Bunker Hill and early Virginia.  I dont because it also has been made a guffy cause, but I know my America.

* * * * *

To Frederick Scott

May 27, 1951

Dear Freddy1

As your father when little Jiggie–or Jiggeroo–was very much interested in collecting stamps I take the liberty of supposing you probably are also interested and I send herewith a few stamps from old letters I have received here for which I hope you have an album. Or if it chances Denise is the collector, you can hand them on to her please.

I hope my letters reach you and Papa and Mama and Denise and Mathew because I write to every one of you and very seldom have any reply, though I know Mama and Papa have complained there that some letters sent me here were not received.

“Gladys”–Mrs Grant–has written me of having seen you three children and Mama and Papa recently and she says Denise is sweet and pretty and Fredrick is as pretty as little boys have a right to be and Mathew is very pretty as–being the last and youngest–he should be, whether girl or boy. And she also says you are three bright and good children–and Fredrick is the most interesting little–but no longer very little–boy she knows. I am sure you are growing up at such a rate that I and Stepgrandpappy Jack are the more eager to get back to the States before you are grown completely so we can be acquainted with you as children too.

Give Mama and Papa and Denise and Mathew and your own Grandfather Scott our affectionate thoughts of them.

And please please do write to us one of you NOW.

1Frederick, Jigg and Paula’s second child, was 8 years old when this letter was written

* * * * *

In the summer of 1951 the family moved to a house in Red Hook, a small town in the Hudson River valley about 100 miles north of New York city.  Next week, Evelyn attempts to locate the family.








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.


* * * * *

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,

[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.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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,

 * * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

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,

[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.

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.




30. Home again

No sooner had Evelyn returned to England than Jack (who was still a serving RAF officer), was posted to a series of RAF training schools, leaving her alone in the garden flat at 26 Belsize Crescent. This created a number of difficulties: Evelyn would have had no experience of being a householder in England, nor of managing a house full of tenants. And the house, instead of providing them with an income, as Jack had hoped, was fast becoming a massive financial drain.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

No 1 RAF Instructors’ Course, Officers’ School
RAF Station Cosford, Wolverhampton
November 9, 1944

Darlingest Dear,

Just a few lines further to my telephone call yesterday, – and I do hope you are feeling fairly well and comparatively free from interruptions from the Pirunas, Gefunkuses and Hoci Poci generally.

All very oke with me, except, as I told you, carting that heavy suitcase was the very devil.  However, I’ve now got it all right.

I have a quite comfortable room containing only six beds, – and only one of these beside my own is at present occupied by a quite decent fellow.  The room has central heating and is quite decently warm.  Forgot my dressing-gown, but it doesn’t matter as I wear great-coat in lieu when going to shave etc, – so don’t send it on.

Had our first day’s work today—all quite interesting.  I’ve just had tea, and there is just a spot of evening work from 6 – 7, after which we have supper.  Breakfast is at seven and lunch 12.30.  We have “practice lessons” etc to give to the rest, so I’m now busy preparing mine.

Judging by yesterday I’m eating an awful lot! – a big tea at 4.15 just now.  Maybe it’s the colder weather.  Anyhow I’m very fit, – except for a recurrence of blisters on feet produced by lugging that suit case.  Pricked ‘em last night, and now almost oke.

But I’ll be awfully glad to be back home again you bet with my own chookie.

No more now darling,
All blessings forever from your own

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

RAF Station Cosford
November 12, 1944

Darlingest Dear,

I hope you got my letter mailed on Thursday fairly promptly-though I’m told the post is rather slow here, out and in.

I have quite a light week-end, – from Saturday lunch to Monday morning free, – though of course I am employing it in swatting up for my next “practice lesson”.  None the less, I have got a couple of books out of the library just for relaxation, – one of them an excellent Freeman Willis Crafts called Found Floating, which I have just finished.

And yesterday I walked (in the afternoon) into the neighbouring village of Allbrighton to get a new bulb for my electric torch, and torch is pretty well a necessity here, since there is no way of getting up at the right, early time except by looking at one’s watch with the torch, – and of course my new torch went on the blink after two days use!  It’s all right now.  I also bought a ruler and boot-polish, having forgotten to bring them.

I’m still eating an awful lot!  It’s partly the colder weather, I think.  Yesterday, for instance I ate, – breakfast; eleven o’clock snack; lunch; large “high tea” with bacon chops etc; and then supper. . .!  So, like the missionaries of the ballad I am “keeping up my pecker”.

The nice Squadron Leader who shares this room with me leaves on Thursday, and then it seems likely I’ll have the room all to myself.

No more just now darling.  Look forward to the 22nd, junket!

All dearest love from your own,

PS  No letter from you yet, but expect I may get one tomorrow, Monday

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Air Force Station
Staverton Near Gloucester
July 1, 1945

Darlingest Dear,

Here is Sunday and thank goodness the weather today seems better.  It’s been pouring with rain recently but this morning there’s a bright sun.  I hope you got the letter I posted on Thursday. This, though posted today, won’t actually be collected till Monday so you won’t get it till Tuesday I fear.

All well with me.  The work is interesting and there’s a fair amount of free time in the evening.  Today, Sunday, we have a short period of work in the morning only.

Yesterday (Sat) afternoon I and another chap went into Cheltenham by bus between 4 and 6, – shopped and had tea.  I needed some ink, also toothpaste.

Thanks for your two letters (so far) darling.  Hope the kid1 is not being too much of a nuisance.  If we should stay at 26 Belsize he will have to go, – but supposing I am amongst those selected for this job it will almost certainly mean posting away in a few weeks time.  The temporary dislocation, getting accommodation, etc would of course be a nuisance but the job would be worth it and we might be quite comfortable for a year in new surroundings.  We should then be able to put by money for purchase of small house at end of it, and then put up No 26 for sale.

I expect to have a week or so anyhow free, after conclusion of course and before being posted (if I get selected), in which to do packing etc (as well I hope as some writing!)—but there would be no harm in your doing a little preliminary sorting and tearing-up of papers etc whenever you liked, to avoid rush at end.  Though I don’t think there will be a rush, and anyhow I may not get the job.

All love and blessings, ever your own

PS  Ask Hobsons to repair cracked lavatory pan and give them the broken pieces.
PPS Send me on Ogg’s2 receipt, and other letters, please.
PPPS  You should get your new ration books soon, – but not on July 4th or 5th because of polling.

It appears the child of one of Jack’s tenants was being a nuisance.
Hobson and Ogg were tradesmen who did various repairs at No 26

* * * * *

26 belsize cres
Jack in front of 26 Belsize Crescent

To John Metcalfe

26 Belsize Crescent
July 10, 1945

Beloved Dickey  The job in your room is varnished and ready for your occupancy as soon as it is straightened—the room I mean.

The sensible solution will be for you to continue to live in your own house and of course the only ultimately sensible solution for us is the opportunity to proceed with your books and I with my books as literary value is our real contribution to any decent future.  The hell with “mass handling” any way!  War conditions may have imposed it to some extent but nonetheless true recovery depends on giving each man or woman the opportunity to pursue the work to which he and she are suited by reason of natural abilities.

I wish you were getting a longer rest between the end of the course and the posting but in any case hope your job will be near home.

I asked about the riveting of the toilet bowl that was broken and was told by Hobson’s man that riveting would cost as much as a new one, but he is to ascertain the price shortly.

I have been trying to shop and tried to get a pair of shoes at John Barnes without success my feet being a size smaller than anything suitable they had.  But I shall continue and will get something eventually I am sure.

I will not seal this until tomorrow as I won’t be able to mail it today and I will follow your instructions and forward nothing after the twelfth.  I don’t quite understand what sort of job the job is1 and shall be interested in what you have to say about it bless you and good luck


Jack had completed an instructors’ course at RAF Staverton which prepared him for a position counselling airmen about to be demobbed on their career choices. He appears to have enjoyed this work very much and to have been good at it.

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

July 10 [1945]

Darling Dickie, Splendid that you have successfully completed your course and I am sure congratulations are well deserved.  I shall be seeing you soon and am very happy thinking of it.  That you indeed for phoning to let me know.

Fisher is writing to Ogg and says he has also phoned him and satisfactory arrangements will be made.  But I won’t attempt sending the letter as you will be here so soon.

Yes I hope we may be able to stay here too.

Bless you, Evelyn

Too much “pooh-pooh” and “awful brat” but otherwise all well.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

RAF Staverton1
July 24,1945

Darlingest Dear,

As I told you yesterday on the ‘phone, I got here all right, though the taxi failed to show up and it was an exasperating job getting another one.  However, I arrived in time for dinner, so no harm was done.

So far, Hornchurch still stands, as the selected base, and I do hope it so remains, as it is so close in to London as to enable me to live at home, – though there will be occasional nights away when I am visiting some station at the other end of the country.

Probably, I shall have the driving test, final billeting, etc tomorrow, Wednesday, and may be able to get home on Thursday for one night, before reporting to Hornchurch on Friday. Then (I anticipate) I can get home again Sat afternoon, or Sunday anyhow, after spending either one or else two nights at Hornchurch.

Then, for the two following weeks probably, my job will simply consist in visiting each station in Essex so as to get to know the CO, etc at each one, preparatorily to starting in as the actual Advice Service which is not due to begin till August 7th or 10th.

There has been a hold-up in the supply of cars, which will not be delivered till the actual job starts, – so this preliminary “tour” of the area will have to be done by train and bus etc.  Rather a nuisance, since it means paying fares out of one’s own pocket in the first instance, and claiming for expenses later.  Also, no arrangement has yet been come to for the designation of an accounting unit to pay all our allowances, which may be held up some time in consequence.  One or two fellows here have had no allowances since April!  Of course it will be all right ultimately, but until it is fixed up current “income” is only about two thirds of normal.

Anyhow, I shall hope, during the next twelve months, to put by as much as possible for eventual purchase of cottage2.  On Monday, when I had cloaked my stuff at Paddington, I saw Smorthwaite, the Bank Manager of the Westminster Bank, Haverstock Hill, – and started a small account.

I hope you have not had too much Piruna, – and down and out with all Totes.  No totes. . .!!! – Wonder what the election results will be.  We shall know on Thursday evening, – or Friday morning anyhow.

Bless you always, – All dearest love from your own

Although headed RAF Staverton, it appears Jack had arrived at his new posting in Hornchurch, Essex.
Jack had hoped to use some of the proceeds from the sale of Jove Cottage to buy another cottage in the country. This hope proved to be unrealistic.

* * * * *

In January 1946 a third child, a son, Matthew, was born to Jigg and Paula.  Jigg was working in Chicago at the time, and Paula had been staying with her father and stepmother in Nyack, New York, a small town on the Hudson River not far from Tappan.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and John Metcalfe

Tappan, New York
April 10, 1946

Dear Evelyn and Jack,

The first thing you will be interested to know is that our third baby—a boy named Matthew was born in Nyack on Jan 21st, 1946.  He is now aged roughly two and a half months and is doing fine.

I haven’t written before now for several reasons, mostly illness for one or the other of us—the winter has been a long series of colds and flue, for all of us and I’ve had my hands full.  Also we are in the un-enviable position of having the house we are in sold and although under law they can’t put us out for three months after they start trying, we’re looking for a place to live without buying, which is so nearly impossible as to be almost funny.  We’ve been hunting for six months, in spurts, and not one single house for rent.  They’re all for sale at high prices.  The situation is so desperate that people are being forced to buy whether they want to or not, which if we can possibly avoid it we are not going to do.  And it’s like this all over the country—the housing shortage here is worse than it is in England, in spite of the destruction of the bombings.  It would be unwise of you people to come to the States at this time, since you would have one hell of a time finding a hole in the wall even, in which to live.  Congress is about to pass a bill putting a ceiling on the prices of already built houses, and encouraging the building of new houses, which will help.  But the situation will probably not ease up for a year at least.  We, along with everybody else are caught in the jam, and yet we at least have a place to hang on to by the skin of our teeth if necessary, but heaven help the ones who don’t.

As for the rest there is not much.  As for a job for Jack, Jigg has absolutely no contacts with the academic world.  The best thing we can suggest is applying direct to schools and colleges—they are having a boom—college attendance is at an all time high now and it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to land something.  Best of luck.  Love, P

These letters fill me with loving distress on hearing of her Jig and the now four [sic] children—they have endured brutal injustice.  Jig’s Mother, London 1952, November

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and John Metcalfe

[Scotch Plains, New Jersey]
May 9, 1946

Dear Evelyn & Jack:

I am ashamed to have waited so long to answer your good letters.  The truth is I’ve been suffering from pip about the world and even my own work and haven’t been fit company either in person or by letter!  Please forgive me!

There is little personal news except that my job is completely over1 except for occasional work.  I’m glad in a way and ought to get back to writing.  I hope I will.  But there are so many things that must be done—Dudley called them the mechanics of living.  And when I’ve done the minimum, I seem to feel just too tired.  I’m hoping it is just the reaction and that I’ll soon get a little pep and will power again.

Then, too, I do want to get in touch with friends again.  I did get over to Tappan a week or so ago and had a grand visit.  I don’t know any place that has a friendlier and happier atmosphere.  They were all well.  Denise is always growing lovelier and Frederick was amazing.  The baby was very sweet though he was away asleep the greater part of the time.  He looks somewhat like Frederick at his age, but has a personality of his own, too.

I’ve been too self centred and haven’t asked a thing about you two.  Please write anyway.  I will again and soon.


1 For years after Dudley’s death, Gladys worked as a freelance parfumier. She had a fully-equipped laboratory in the basement of her house in Scotch Plains.
There was a paper shortage in Britain during and for some time after the war. Gladys, among others, sent supplies to Evelyn when she could.

* * * * *

In May 1946 Jigg left his job at ABC. He had been offered a job at WBBM in Chicago, part of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and went on his own to Chicago, hoping to find accommodation which would allow him to bring his wife and children to Chicago to join him. This proved not to be possible: as Paula wrote, “Housing was available, but not to people like us. To get an apartment in the city one had to pay a year’s rent in advance and buy the landlord a new Chrysler or Cadillac. New-car prices were still very inflated because production had not yet caught up with demand.”

From “WBBM Listening Guide”, June 1946

Meanwhile Cyril had married for the seventh time. His new wife, Louise Lotz (known as “Weecie”), owned a house in the pleasant little town of Pine Bluff, North Carolina, not far from Chapel Hill, and the couple moved there. It was decided that Paula should take the children to live near Cyril, and that Jigg should fly down to join them whenever he could at weekends. This separation continued for a year, until Jigg joined his family permanently in Pine Bluff in August 1947. The family stayed there until August 1949.

At this time, too, Cyril had reverted to using the name of his birth, and had personal stationery printed “Frederick Creighton Wellman”. Paula writes of this, “When I arrived in Pine Bluff, Dad [Cyril] immediately introduced me to people, without any warning whatever, as his daughter-in-law, Mrs Creighton Wellman. There was nothing I could do about it, and Daddy [Jigg] was suddenly Wellman, too. We had to spend our entire three years there as Wellman, which produced awkward moments for us. . . . Even getting mail meant that we were accepting mail for a cousin, something, when addressed to “Scott” and all our friends had hurriedly to be told to use Wellman. Dad, however, kept to Wellman for the rest of his days. . . Dad hoped that we would make the change permanent, but we reverted to Scott as soon as we left in August 1949, with a great deal of relief.”

Jigg left his Chicago job after a year and came to live in Pine Bluff full time where he and Paula tried to set up a creative business; Jigg drawing and painting and Paula designing and making greetings cards.  No doubt the idea for Paula’s enterprise came, at least in part, from the fact that when she was a child her parents had created a successful greetings card business from their home in Taos, New Mexico. Although Paula’s ideas had a good deal of approval and practical support from many of their friends, the business never took off.

At this time, Evelyn writes on a number of occasions that the family went to Lumberton, North Carolina, about 200 miles from Pine Bluff,, to live rent-free on a farm owned by a Negro in return for labour. There is no evidence for this unlikely scenario:  neither of the two eldest Scott children has any memory of this, though both would have been old enough to remember it. However, years after his death, large detailed maps of Lumberton were found in Jigg’s papers: he may have considered this course of action, and never actually gone.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

RAF Staverton
July 3, 1946

Darling Dear,

Just a note to say I love you and look forward to Saturday next!  It was nice to speak to you on the ‘phone.  Hope you got your dress OK.  All well here.  V hard at work.  I expect a week at home before being posted; and then, if it is not London, I must find accommodation for us as soon as I possibly can.  Of course I hope it may be near enough to London to go on using No 26, – but it’s just a chance.

If selected, I shall be in charge of an “area” or “parish”, and go from station to station in car which will be provided.  Each “area” has a Headquarters Station to which I shall be attached, – and if the area is not London it means that I shall have to find accommodation for us there.

Down and out with all totes!

Dearest love always from your OWN

PS  Better not forward anything after July 12th at latest.
PPS  Don’t forget your new ration book!

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

RAF Staverton
July 3, 1946

Darlingest Dear

Just a scribble to follow up letter posted yesterday.  The mess and everywhere is clean out of cigarettes. Can’t get them anywhere, or of course I would send some.

Thanks for letter and enclosures.  If you have not already sent it, you may as well keep Ogg’s receipt, very preciously, – but if you have already forwarded it, never mind.  Shall write Fisher.

All well here.  It has been cold and rainy, but today quite hot and I hope it will keep so.  If I get this job there is just a chance that I may [bottom of page torn off] . . . mentioned my circumstances to the powers that be, and they hope they may be able to take them into account.  The job itself, as a job is a good one and better than I could get elsewhere, and, thank goodness, two novels only need revision and Scilly perhaps ¾ done.

The course, I find, was supposed to be a three weeks one, – but someone made a mistake, – so now, as a compromise, it will be about 2 ½ weeks, – and will end on Saturday July 14th, – i.e. Saturday week, – two days later than we thought.  Then, as I said, I hope for a week or so before posting, – and then (if it is not London area) must find accommodation for us.

All dearest love and blessings from
Your own

* * * * *

As the war drew to a close and the  world was learning to cope with the aftermath, Evelyn’s letters became more and more critical of post-war politics.  Her letters included lengthy, sometimes incoherent, passages attributing political decisions to vague forces emanating largely from socialism or communism or a mixture of both.  Her vocabulary, also, began to include words without dictionary definitions whose meanings were crystal clear from the context.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott and three children

July 4, 1946

Dear Creighton Pavla Denise Freddy Mathew

Soon we hope to be writing of real peace with NO repetition of last spring’s fiasco.  I sent you a number of clippings last week, but this week seem to have accumulated nothing of interest.  However, Paris peace conferences must have a result shortly when there will be something to write about that isn’t drivel.

Down and out with tote systems
Cause and effect function just the same
Regardless of the political game!
You can’t make a world of dupes and fools,
You can’t save anything with racketeers tools!
Down and out with the totes NOW NOW NOW

Further political mummery is simply ruin anywhere and everywhere!

Every shopping tour I am bombarded by inanity which is attributable to political symbolics, as you might say, the soap situation being an example, as there is almost no soap to be had and those who are actually not allowed free public expression of opinion and whose views are therefore to be summed up as a mere x or zero make euphemistic capital of a literal lack–and it is all very stupid!  Inexcusably so!

But the nostalgia for civilization is growing and as uno1 seems to be a complete failure–and world economic control such as it has proposed can be nothing but a damnable extension of the disasters of present experiments–somebody and anybody must surely take a decisive stand SOON and we hope it will be sensibly moderate, neither the foolish “umbrella” policies of Chamberlain, nor the quite as foolish extreme opposition.

Did you get the letter asking about my father2 and if you had any recent news of him?  I have been thinking of the unnecessary difficulties extremists of both persuasions have made in the South, and that this has probably complicated the problems of the USA which, in turn, delay peace.

Pavla’s letter is something for which I remain grateful and the other letter we hope Jig will write us is also going to be much appreciated.  It is a damnably wicked and inevitably disastrous thing when circumstances resulting from politics interfere with human relations and individual careers, and the indifferent service of the post office is illustrative.  The American typewriter paper Jack and myself need has been sent us by three individuals and some of it has been over three months en route and isn’t yet delivered, and that is just one item in the general inefficiency and confusion that still prevails everywhere.

No nation, race, country, people can afford any further war and the solution must be NOW if we and the USA are to escape from chaos  No rings and no rackets!  Without controls these won’t exist.  No living under the political eye–that’s hell!!


This appears to be a reference to the newly-created United Nations Organisation. Evelyn clearly disapproves.
Evelyn had just discovered that her father died three years previously. The letters relating to her search for information about his death and his will will be presented in a future instalment of this blog.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

RAF Staverton
July 5, 1946

Darling Dear,

Thanks for letter and Ogg’s receipt.  I have written to Fisher to tell him to put in hand the Discharge of Mortgage as soon as possible before he has to rejoin the RAF.

All well here, and I hope you are.  Have you been able to get your new dress yet?  I wish I could have left you more for it darling, but I thought I had better clear all Ogg while I could, – and for that I had somewhat to overdraw at the bank, so I have not so much in the pot at the moment.  If it so happens that we are able still to use the present house, then Derek must go, of course.  But the probability (barring specially favourable treatment, which of course I am trying for) is that I should be appointed to some other area, in which case I should have to go ahead to the station, and find accommodation for us as quickly as I darned well could:  I imagine a week or so might elapse between July 14th Saturday, when the course here ends and I come home, and my posting to an area.  If I am appointed it will mean catering for the requirements of a county or so, with a staff of 5 or 6.  A car is provided and I must dig up my driving licence again.

Lectures very interesting and a healthy bias against robotism.  Psychometric tests used with plenty of salt.  Chief Instructor an excellent type and most humanely and culturally minded.

I do hope you are getting on with what, pro tem, we call the “novelette”.  As soon as we are settled, after the interval of dislocation, we can both get on with our books I hope.

All, all dearest love, and DOWN and OUT with the Totes!!!

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

1952—This letter without address other than the “Col Broadcasting System” Chicago on her envelope relieved yet distressed me.  We heard nothing more for three years thereafter.  Evelyn D S Metcalfe—Evelyn Scott author

[Pine Bluff, North Carolina]
July 11, 1946

Dear Evelyn,

As to your enquiries about us—we couldn’t very well be worse placed, within reason.  Jigg’s NYC job with American Broadcasting Co (ABC) came to an end last March, and it took a long time to get another, which he finally did, in Chicago.  He is living in a hotel because apartments and houses are not to be had without paying an exorbitant price for the furniture on top of the also exorbitant rent, and in view of such a profitable racket there are no unfurnished places to live.  He’s managing on 30 dollars a week, sending me what’s left.  I am living with friends who kindly offered me and the children sanctuary until the housing shortage is over.  I can’t find a place in NY because although not quite so bad as Chicago, it is bad enough to be out of the question.

We are all well and looking forward to bring reunited—probably in Chicago wherever and whenever the situation lets up sufficiently for us to afford a house.

Good luck to you both, and to Jack’s book.


* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

RAF Staverton
August 21, 1946

Darlingest Dear,

Just a scribble—My release date is Aug 28 Wednesday (a week today) and I’m afraid it means staying here until then, as my leave entitlement is now exhausted, – unless I come up just for “the day” on Sat or Sun.  But even so I have have to be back here Sun evg.

But I expect to be home late on Tuesday evening (the 27th), – then I go to Uxbridge for actual release on the following day, Wed.

So it means six days from today before I’m home.  I hope you won’t get too lonely darling, – anyhow it’s for the last time.  And I do hope you can manage to get some cigs and to do some writing.  As for me, I have a fair amount of form-filling and “clearing” to do.  Saw Accts Officer at Barnwood yesterday, who were v nice re my claims.

Also of course I am idle of an evening to get on, to some extent, with the book, – in pencil, – so I need only “manually type” it when I get back.

Bless you and bless you
All love darling

* * * * *

Cyril’s autobiography, Life Is Too Short, was published in 1943, but for a number of reasons Evelyn did not see a copy until 1946.  When she did finally read it, she was incensed by what she saw as Cyril’s defamation of her character, and she wrote numerous letters in protest.  Some of her letters offered her own (highly unlikely) explanation of how the manuscript might have been altered.  Next week all will be revealed.











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,

* * * * *

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

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

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,
Love as always to Jig, Cyril
(William John Metcalfe)

 * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

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

(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.


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
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

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


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




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,

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.


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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.