49. The story unravels

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

January 7, 1961

Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

Carmel, California
January 9, 1961

Dear Margaret

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

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

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

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

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

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

C Scott

* * * * *

To Lewis Gannett

January 13, 1961

Dear Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

C Scott

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

January 13, 1961

Dear Margaret,

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

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

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

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

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

C Scott

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

70 East 10th Street, NYC
January 17, 1961

Dear Jigg,

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

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

Yours,
Margaret

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

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

January 19, 1961

Dear Jig:

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

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

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

Best of good luck to you both.
Sincerely
May

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

January 21, 1961

Dear Margaret

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

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

The very best
Jigg

* * * * *

To Robert Welker1

August 25, 1961

Dear Bob,

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

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

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

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

Love from us both,
Yrs ever,
Jack

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

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

 

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 28th, 1962

Darling Jig and Paula,

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

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

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

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

  • * * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Love Lyle1

April 13, 1962

Dear Love,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratefully, Evelyn.

1 Love Lyle, a Clarksville cousin

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

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

 

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

[June 30, 1962]

Dear Mother and jack,

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

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

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

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

Affectionately,
Jigg

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

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Louise Morgan1

January 19, 1963

Dear Louise,

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

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

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

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

Love,
John

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

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

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To John Gawsworth1

March 18, 1963

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Jack.

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

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

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

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

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

May 3, 1963

Dear Jack,

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

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

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

Affectionately,
Jigg

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary: 

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

May 19, 1963

My Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

Evelyn sends her love.
Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

May 24, 1963

Dear Jack,

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

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

Affectionately,
Jigg

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 9, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

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

Evelyn sends love to all.
Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

To John Gawsworth

June 9, 1963

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

Love from both to both
Jack

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 15, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

I could not contemplate being without her.

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

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

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

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

Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack  Metcalfe’s diary: 

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

 June 22, 1963

My Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 23,1963

Darling Jigg,

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

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

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

Mother

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

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

June 23, 1963

Dear Paula

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

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

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

Love,
Jack

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 1, 1963

Dear Jigg and Paula,

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

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

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

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

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

Much love,
Jack

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

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 9, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary: 

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 14, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 16, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

Forgive more now,
Love to you all,
Jack

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 20, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

August 4, 1963

Dear Jigg,

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

I cannot write more now.

Love to all,
Jack

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Nov 4, 1961

Dear Mother and Jack,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Affectionately,

Jigg

 

 

Advertisements

42. Isolation (2)

Very little correspondence has been found for the period after their return to the US and their 6-month stay at the Hartington Hertford Foundation has been found, possibly because after her death in 1963 a grief-stricken Jack destroyed many of her papers as he could not, he explained, bear to see her handwriting.  From the letters that remain it appears they left California in 1954 and found what was probably the only accommodation they could afford, a two-room serviced apartment in a rather run-down residential hotel, the Benjamin Franklin Hotel on Manhattan’s upper West Side.  There they lived until Evelyn died in 1963.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Bonnie Burn Road, Scotch Plains, NJ
March 24, 1953

Dear Paula:

Hope this may help a little.  Wish it could be more!  But it brings with it all my love.

In case you don’t know Evelyn is leaving tomorrow morning for Calif.  I talked to her on the telephone and she said they could not possibly stay longer.  However tomorrow afternoon or Thursday morning I’ll call the hotel to be absolutely positive.  Unless you hear from me you’ll know the coast is clear.  Hope to see you soon.

Love to all
Glads
God bless you!

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

130 West 12th Street, New York City
March 27, 1953

Dear Jigg:–

Your mother presumably left for California at 3PM on Wed Mar 25—in all that downpour!  I saw her several times and she does talk more reasonably than she writes, altho rather buttonholing type of talk like the Ancient Mariner, and after 2 hrs the conversation gets more paranoid.  However, she seemed pretty well and calm—but will it last!?  She told me Miss Allen had told her you were at the Chelsea, and she went there and they were very vague as to when you had left and where you had gone. . .[1]  I began to feel pretty low and horrible when she talked lovingly about “my son” and about The Muscovites and how she was using your agent Russell.  However, I’m sure I did right.  She saw Charlotte Wilder and May Mayers—who seems to be a good egg– and Dawn was hospitable and helpful.  Jack got an agent, too, and registered at several teachers agencies, so here’s hoping!

Anyway, cheerio
MDeS

[1]Jig and his family were still at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, then a cheap residential hotel, where they had been for over a year since their return from Germany.  He had presumably asked the desk not to give out any details to anyone who enquired.

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

The Huntington Hartford Foundation,
Pacific Palisades, California
April 6, 1953

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

Dear Ralph:

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

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

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

It was after Jig returned home with his family that the American Consulate in Munich informed me, in replying to a letter I sent them about a letter of some value that, apparently, when mailed to them from London, was lost, that Jig’s job in Munich had been with the Free Europe Radio Service and that it had then–some while before last Christmas–been concluded, and he and Pavla, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew and Julia had sailed already for their home in the USA.

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

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

I phoned Nyack information to ask whether you were still listed in the Nyack phone book, and she told you were not; so perhaps the Design Workshop has been permanently transported to Albuquerque Arizona.

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 20, 1953

Dear Jigg

I enclose a letter [missing] from your mother  which I hope you’ll read.  I’d like to suggest that if and when you get yourself a far distant post office address, you write her a small non-committal letter telling her you’re alive and well.  It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to keep my up-to-now successful dead-pan front when they come back in the Fall.  Her address is:– Huntington-Hartford Foundation, 2000 Rustic Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Best wishes to you!
Faithfully
Margaret DeS

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

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

Hotel Chelsea
223 West 23rd St, New York City
April 24 [1953]

Dear Margaret

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

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

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

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

This is merely by way of illustrating the point things had reached ten years ago:  they were plenty bad before that.  I recall suggesting to various people that she might not be all there, and all I got was a sweet, sceptical smile—the smile one accords to someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

At ABC two things happened.  Firstly, I found that my mother had a reputation among persons of more or less liberal complexion as their sworn enemy, and that it was assumed that I was her staunch supporter in this.  My rather timid intimations that this was not so got me nowhere.  The last person with whom I had an argument on this score happens to have been Whittaker Chambers (he wasn’t famous yet) who offered me a job at Time.  After that I just shut up and played my cards close to my chest.  The second thing that happened was that my boss at ABC got the inevitable letter from my mother, asking, indirectly, that some kind of heat be put on me to make me a better correspondent, and suggesting that ABC was preventing me from writing.  You can imagine what a difficult thing it was to explain to the foresaid boss when I mention that he is now in the publicity department of the NAM, where he longed to be.  He is a pretty decent guy in many ways, but not subtle.

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

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

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

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

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

Jigg

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 24, 1953

Dear Jigg;-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaret DeSilver

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
May 24, 1953

Dear Evelyn:

As I wired you, it is absolutely impossible for me to see you at any time.  This I explained in my wire.  Joe1 also feels as I do that there is no use in post mortems.

So please do not come to see us at any time.

I hope all goes well with you.

I have had no word from Pavli for months.

Yours sincerely,
Margué

1Joe Foster was Margué’s second husband and Paula’s step-father

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
September 6, 1953

Dearest Paula:

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

This is on a subject I have held off writing you about since last March.  Evelyn has written Frieda Lawrence Ravagli1 a six-page letter like all her others to me trying to get her to get your address from me.  It gives her father’s date of death and name and all his jobs, her mother’s etc.  The exact words of her wire to me and may answer that I didn’t have your address.  All about Cyril and her divorce.  The names of Paul and Frederick Wellman and their occupations.  Etc.  Etc.

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

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

So no more of this.  I’ll write soon.

Love to you, all of you,
Margué

1One-time wife of D H Lawrence. The Lawrences were living in Taos at that time.

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

December 25, 1953: Went over to Community House for Christmas celebrations 5.30. Drinks. Dinner.  Distribution of presents,–John Vincent being Santa Claus.  I got tie, Evelyn stockings.  We also had gifts of chocolate, nuts, etc. Before going over to dinner, I opened packet of railroad post-cards from R Wylie, and found it also contained $10! January 7, 1954: In evening got $125 from Derlett, also unpleasant letter from Maggie.  January 9, 1954: Letter from Pavla to E.
January 21, 1954: Matthew’s birthday, – today or tomorrow!
February 12, 1954: E and I had interview with Dr V1 after breakfast
March 8, 1954: In evening E had letter from Charles Day enclosing $50.
March 24, 1954: Day spent in preparations for departure.
March 25, 1954: Did odd jobs connected with our departure.  In afternoon, after nap, made some notes from encyclopedia. Dinner in “our honour”.  Usual awful business afterwards of packing and locking bulging trunks.
March 26, 1954: In morning went in to Los Angeles with John and Sal and heavy luggage, which I checked through to NYC.
March 27, 1954: Left Huntington Hartford Foundation at 11.15,- being driven in to LA by Sal.  Left LA at 1.30.  Dinner at about six or six-thirty.  Poorish night, as expected.
March 28, 1954: All day on train.
March 29, 1954: Reached Chicago 7.15 am.  Snowing.  Taxi from Dearborn to  LaSalle.  Martin Sheffield turned up at 9.15 and took us to Bismark Hotel, where we engaged a room and chatted.  Lunch at the hotel, – oyster stew for E and self.  Martin presented us with $30.  Left hotel at 2.15 by taxi to LaSalle depot and got aboard train “The Pacemaker” at 2.35.  Left at 3.  Dinner rather early, – about 5.30.
March 30, 1954: Reached New York at 8.45, and, after much telephoning etc, fixed up at the Benjamin Franklin hotel.  Had lunch out.  I made two journeys, for heavy and then for lighter luggage, to Grand Central.  Nap.  We had dinner out, at Rudley’s. Had hair cut today.
March 31, 1954: Breakfasted at Rudley’s at 9. Rang St Bernards,- Mr Westgate away.  Went PO on 83rd ST,- fill in and posted card to Immigration notifying new address.  Cashed a traveller’s cheque at bank.  Returned to hotel and rang St Bernards again, – success, – finally arranging to ring Mr Fry between 6.30 and 7.30 tonight. Did so. E and I had dinner. Bed.

1Dr Vincent, then director of the Huntington Hartford Foundation.

* * * * *

have met several people this year

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Scotch Plains, NJ
June 28, 1954

[First page missing]

You are quite right that I avoid writing about Jig and Paula. It is not that I don’t want to, but because you ask impossibly intimate questions that I have no way of answering and then accuse me of lying or concealing. For instance I have no possible way of knowing about Jig’s health. Even on the few past occasions when I visited them, I could only tell you what I saw or they volunteered. Evidently Jig told you much more when he saw you in London and this was only natural.

I can’t possibly remember how many times I saw Jig or the family since 1941. Not many and we did not discuss you or Jack or any of them. And all you wrote abut 22 years ago was completely new to me. I was either selfishly absorbed in my own first love affair and did not know what was going on or was away in Darien. Both probably.

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

But you have Jack’s love and I still know and have always known that love is the greatest thing in the world!

Love to you both–Always

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Brooklyn Hospital
July 5, 1954

Dearest Pavli—

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

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

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

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

Love to you all
Aunt Kitty¹

1 “Aunt Kitty” (Gertrude Brownell) was Paula’s great-aunt on her mother’s side.

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

38. Paranoia?

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

* * * * *

Charles Day1 to Evelyn Scott

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

September 18, 1951

My dear Evelyn:

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

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

* * * * *


To Creighton Scott

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

September 18, 1951

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

My dear Creighton:

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

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

[September 19, 1951]

Dear Evelyn:

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

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

My sincere regards.
Charles

* * * * *
To Charles Day

[Red Hook, New York]
September 25, 1951

Dear Mr Day–

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

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

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

Sincerely,
Paula Scott

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

* * * * *
To Paula and Creighton Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
October 1, 1951

Darlings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evelyn=Mother

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

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

* * * * *


From John Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

 

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

October 7, 1951

Darling Jigeroo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 * * * * *

To Frederick Scott1

November 4, 1951

Dear Freddy Scott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Grandmother Evelyn

This letter is best appreciated read aloud.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

 

November 25, 1951

Dear Darling Good Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *


To Creighton and Paula Scott

December 9, 1951

Darlings—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evelyn
to Jig Mother

 * * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 11, 1951

Maggie darling—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

December 12,1951

Dear Evelyn

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

Love
Margaret

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 27, 1951

Dear Maggie:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

December 28, 1951

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

Darling Jigeroo

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

 

 

35. London and second-hand clothing

Margaret DeSilver, a well-connected and wealthy Manhattan socialite, would soon be a major player in the lives of Evelyn and Jack. None of the letters in the collection gives any indication as to how they met, possibly in the 1930s or  early 1940s, but it is clear from the letters that have been found that their relationship had been in existence for some time and that it was close.  It becomes more and more important, as will be seen in later chapters.

The start of this sequence finds Jack visiting New York in order to maintain his right to residency in the United States.  He is also using the opportunity to seek employment, while Evelyn is taking advantage of his visit to try to gain information about Jigg’s whereabouts.

* * * * *

To Cyril Kay Scott

For Jack to send on to Cyril please
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, 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.

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”.

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.

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.  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, whether or not well-meaning (it remains to be proved that they are, except as regards Pavla) 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.

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,

A reference to Paula’s maternal aunts, and particularly her great aunt Gertrude Brownell

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Eastham, Massachusetts
September 6 [1947]

Dear Evelyn:-

I hope you got the $50 in time.  The mails are so slow and your letter had to also be forwarded from NY.

The reason I seem so unresponsive and do not answer your letters is because I am anyway rather confused politically and of course do not know the situation in England at first hand as you do, but my sympathies, as you must surely know by know, are with the Labor Party in general, and here in USA with the Socialist Party, so there really is not much that I can say.  As for the world of arts and letters, I certainly agree with you that it is in a woeful state, but I do not know what I, as a Philistine, can do about it except to buy the books and the paintings that I like and to protest that this and that are not published or exhibited.  My protests are, of course, entirely futile, as I am not a figure or a force in those worlds and have absolutely no chance of appearing authoritative, natch.

As for Jig, that is a personal matter about which I am also entirely incompetent, as I do not even know where he lives, and letters I have written to him in the past, merely friendly, neighborly letters, have gone unacknowledged.  Harrison1 has clear and friendly recollections of Jig and frequently says he would like to get in touch with him but it appears to be quite impossible. [She knows why I ceased to see them and I should think someone could have relieved my anxiety about taking “sides”.  Margaret is included in all I say of Jig—details different that’s all why guess]

Anyway, as you know, I love and admire you and Jack and do wish things were not so rotten for you.  But I think it unfair of you to make your friends responsible for all your troubles.  People really DO still protest, but the forces are such that their voices simply are smothered.

Margaret DeS

[They should have some sense about Jig.  These silences cannot be an advantage to him, they are a painful embarrassment  Jig is fine of spirit I say, and certainly they cannot deny he has intellect—his book]

This may well be Harrison, or Hal, Smith, who had previously published a number of Evelyn’s books.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

I AM OFFICALLY EVELYN SCOTT AS WELL AS MRS W J METCALFE

Reynolds, Richards & McCutcheon
Attorneys and Counsellors at Law
68 William Street
New York 5, NY

September 22, 1947

[1952—London they were at first reluctant to cash anything for Evelyn Scott legal professional signature as author—Evelyn Scott Evelyn D S Metcalfe was Margaret’s gift I was here alone and literally without a cent Jack was trying to get job in the States]

Dear Madam:

Herewith, draft No D-14306 for $50 drawn on the Central Hanover Bank & Trust Company, 7 Princes Street, London, England, to the order of Evelyn Scott, which is sent at the request of Mrs Margaret DeSilver.

Very truly yours,
REYNOLDS RICHARDS & McCUTCHEON

Cc:  Mrs Margaret DeSilver

[1952 The Bank here has since cashed checks to Evelyn Scott but Jack had left me access to his account with the signature Evelyn D S Metcalfe.  Everything, in 1947, was a bloody mess.]

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

[October 8, 1947]

EVELYN METCALFE 26 BELSIZE CRESCENT HAMPSTEAD LONDON NW3

SAILING OCTOBER 8 ARRIVING OCTOBER 17 POST OBTAINED LONDON CORRESPONDENT OF NEWYORK PERIODICAL  DEAREST LOVE.  JACK

[They went back on this offer letting Jack work at it 6 weeks pallid also racket]

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

[October 10, 1947]

EVELYN METCALfE 26 BELSIZE CRESCENT HAMPSTEAD LDN NW3

NOW SAILING ON QUEEN MARY ARRIVING SIXTEENTH OR EARLY SEVENTEENTH LOVE. JACK

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

October 11, 1947

My dear Mag,

The Reynolds, Richards McCutcheon letter with your gift was received by me just a few days after you wrote yourself you were sending it, and is now with the bank, having arrived in the nick of time, when, again, due to “this and that” (and god rot this and that) I had just two pounds cash left to draw on.  [1952—I had not a cent left in the house–literal]

Yes it was the first time (barring five dollars sent once, which insulted me) that I have received any money whatsoever since I have been in England this time.  When I was here as a Guggenheim Fellow1 I cashed checks here of fund money, and when Jack had enough, in Suffolk, he opened an account for me so that whether the money was for my books or his I would not have to consult him about what I spent for personal necessities.

Mag darling, I told you, I would write you more about what’s wrong with “this and that”, and I am doing so.  And my situation as it has been so far is especially unjust as regards Jack himself, on whom has devolved the responsibility for maintaining us both, which he has done impeccably; but it has been often by “odd jobs” which sacrificed the time he requires for creative work; and as normally I earned as much as he did (sometimes one more sometimes the other) also at creative work, there was never a more senseless and inexcusable waste of two talents.

I will go to the Bank again to make sure the gift has been cleared (I went there on Thursday and they thought so, but I didn’t try to do anything as to drawing on it), and if it is and I am pretty sure it must be, I will mail this then with my very great and continued affection, because the most important thing to say here really is that you have again done something generous and genuinely good that is just Margaret and thank you very much.

Evelyn

Evelyn had received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation in 1932 and, exceptionally, a further grant a year later. These were intended as financial support to enable her to write, and did not carry any duties with them.

* * * * *

 To O  C Reynolds

October 11, 1947

Mr Oliver C Reynolds
Reynolds, Richards and McCutcheon
Attorneys and Counselors at Law
68 William Street, New York City USA

Dear Sir,

Mrs Margaret De Silver has just written me enclosing the carbon of your original letter of September 22nd, 47, containing draft No D-14306 for $50 dollars drawn on the Central Hanover Bank and Trust Company, 7 Princes Street London, England, at the request of Mrs Margaret De Silver and made out to myself Evelyn Scott

Your letter and the draft would have been acknowledged earlier, but I did not receive it until about eight days ago and the Bank, when I last called there, on Thursday (this is Saturday) had not yet cleared it, but were sure it was all right and will be cleared when I go there to draw on it or before.  As a gift I am sure it is all right, but the longer time it has taken to clear it may have been due to its having been sent to me in my professional name which was my legal name when married to Cyril Kay Scott, and which is still my legal name as regards books contracts and anything of a business nature appertaining to my literary career, but which, incredibly, I have not used officially since I arrived here during the bombing phase of the war, as the literary careers of myself and my husband have been very much interrupted until recently.

However, we are beginning to re-establish ourselves normally, and while Mrs De Silver has apologized for having sent the draft that way, she need not have done so, as after all, the preservation of my continuity as a writer in an official as well as unofficial way is important to me, and especially as my son Creighton is also a Scott.

The draft was deposited in the account of my present husband W J Metcalfe, who is John Metcalfe the British author and publishes in the USA.

Thanking you for having sent Mrs De Silver’s generous and appreciated gift.

Very truly yours

I am very explicit, because I dislike “pokers, pryers and snoopers”, and if it is actually true, as is published in the papers, that the Government reads your mail, I just think it best to tell everything relevant.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

October 17, 1947

Margaret my dear

Jack arrived yesterday evening full of good news of yourself as the best friend ever was.  I did not know you had again helped out about the Queen Mary and my gratitude is reintensified.  These have been a very long two months and a half, and when Jack cabled about the change of boats, I was relieved for his sake and my own that he was not obliged to put up with the terrible accommodations of the previous voyage.  But I did not know it was entirely due to you yourself that he was able to arrange the transfer and actually, as your air mail saying he was “on his way” arrived last Tuesday or Wednesday, and I thought the Queen Mary took just four days, I didn’t believe Jack was here until he was at the front door.  And my delight was all the greater, and I have been wishing all day I knew what I could do for Margaret De Silver that was half as good as what she has been doing for us both.

He feels very much encouraged about things as a result of this renewed contact with USA friends and so do I, and the one thing yet to be solved in personal relations is how to re-establish normal communication with Jig, but I am certain that it will be re-established and we will be all three good friends and able to express what is our fundamentally affectionate attitude given a little time.  I have my own idea as to how a situation as a-typical of ourselves has come about, and of course while I won’t blame anybody until I am quite sure about blame, I think it probable Pavla has been stuffed with absurd suggestions, which may or may not have been absorbed.  She is herself honest, but is susceptible to suggestion, an she may have been jealous because of misinterpreting various things due entirely to the war.  She may have actually told Jig a whopper, also as a result of her excitability, and I think the difficulty probably is just that, as it explains by inference some comments Jig made while I was there that I did not understand. But he himself is so completely honest, that, as she was originally, I hope it will clear up.  (Margué may be the nigger in the wood pile, as she is ridden by fake theories of behaviour, and was continually inventing “complexes”, just fool in my opinion.)

I wish I could, I say again, do half as much for you as you for us.

1The preface to Life Is Too Short was written by Cyril’s eldest son, Paul I Wellman

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary

Jack earned his modest living as a teacher in a series of private prep schools or “crammers”, teaching mainly algebra and Latin.  He kept a diary for many years, recording in his neat schoolmasterly hand each day’s events in a kind of staccato narrative. His life was ordered and orderly, and this was reflected in the diary entries, often brief and very similar from one day to the next.  Sometimes they varied .  .  .

December 25, 1947: Breakfast. Work. Coffee. Work. Lunch. Felt mouldy and went to bed. Got up again and had tea. Supper of steak. More work at Maths. Cake and bed.
January 28, 1948: Gladys has sent a box of typewriter paper, very welcome; – and the paper is excellent quality.
March 12, 1948: E’s teeth troubling her greatly of late.
April 18, 1948: E still very poorly with jaw-ache.
May 10, 1948: Letter to E from B Baumgarten asking E to employ another agent.
June 25, 1948: Letter from Gladys with $50 arrived just as I was leaving for school.
July 12, 1948: Posted letter to Maggie, also letters (3) from E to possible agents

* * * * *

No letters from or to  Otto Theis or his wife Louise Morgan for the 20 or so years prior to this letter were found during the search for Evelyn’s correspondence.  This does not mean that there were none:  it is clear from the tone of the letters that were found that the relationship continued and was warm. 

* * * * *

To Louise Morgan

August 13, 1948

[First page(s) missing]  Standing as regards clothes any one of these acceptable and every one needed.  I have a pair of slacks and some old blouses for wear indoors.  I have a coat ten years old and somewhat out of style for very cold weather (worn but usable if not smart)

I have not a pair of shoes—brown or black or both very acceptable, size five-and-a-half c last, for highish heel dress, five d last for a tennis or heelless shoe (and in espadrilles I wore four and a half d—I like low or moderate heels (very high, tire) wear sandals indoors when I have them, and though having no dressy shoes, would still find good black grey or brown evening shoes second-hand acceptable, as of possible use with all future dress (have an old blue dressing gown and no slippers, by the way).

I have no moderate weight or light coat, nothing for moderate winter weather or coolish summer fall or spring; and either a sports coat or a dressy coat (or of course both) would be most welcome—size thirty-six bust gives a good coat shoulder (the best jacket shoulder is thirty-four, but usually the skirt measures don’t g, being larger in waist, and longer in skirt than a misses size)—and as becomingness is as important as warmth, I may say, that I can wear to advantage brown black sage green medium green (can’t wear acid green or bottle green) tan, beige, fawn, and any subdued mixture of tan or beige with green or blue or yellow or orange, or any very small pin-stripe on a tan or brown or fawn base, also russet and deep wine (not bluish) and navy blue, but don’t like, and I can’t wear (beside bottle and acid green) black-and white (hideous), white (horrors), very pale fawn (terrible) and though I can wear navy blue, it is not really becoming, just passable, and lacks interest when you have few clothes as it is more difficult than brown black and beige to combine with various other colours, can’t wear grey (atrocious).

I have no suit except one bought in 1938 and darned, as well as démodé, the skirt conspicuously short.  So a coat suit would be very very very acceptable; and the range of colour is about the same as for coats, although the matter of combining other colours with it figures more importantly than as regards coats, and I can wear yellow blouses with brown, green blouses with brown, pink and cherry blouses with brown navy blue and black, and pale blue blouses with all three; and, as well, especially with black blouses in any interesting floral strip or check if it is small, the more colours combined in one textile subduedly the more interesting the effect with a plain suit.

I have no dresses whatever; neither for hot or cold weather sports or afternoon or evening, so every sort of dress is a fine fine fine if in style, with a close-fitting blouse or top and a longish, flaring skirt.  A black dress with subduedly vivid colour touches, or a black dress with cream (can’t wear white touches, hideous), or a dress in a very small and intricate floral pattern on a black brown or green base.

I have not any stockings, I have no underwear nor rags, especially step-ins and bras (a few frayed, 6 slips, all much too short to be of any use now); my stocking size is eight and a half, step-ins with elastic 28 waist without elastic 29, brassieres 34 bust.

I also greatly appreciate elastic step-in girdles without bones but with hose-supporters, price new one dollar and a half, 28 waist, like the step-ins, slips 34 bust.

I have not a hat of any sort, but hats are something you have to buy yourself, in most instances, though sometimes toques or tie-on turbans or comprise headgear can be used second-hand.

Well there is the situation and of course blouses in any of the colours mentioned as becoming would be gratefully received—thirty-four or thirty-six (thirty-four not washable, thirty-six washable).

Slacks eighteen year size (I have a pair, but just one) twenty-nine waist, brown black blue dark (not bottle) green, pin stripes in same, and any material including corduroy which I like very much in most colours.

I don’t expect any one source to supply all these, nor do I anticipate a full supply from every available source combined, but it does seem possible some could be acquired and sent over, if I do not over-tax, the generosity of those to whom I appeal.

I didn’t mention the evening dress, but if any are going and in the mode, all the better; but I cannot wear a real decolette now, having got too “old and skinny”; and I actually cannot stand the temperature indoors here well enough to wear thin clothes without an evening jacket—so that ingredient is more complicated.

A black brown or green dress, or a black dress with touches of interesting colour, just decolette enough to not to be mistaken for a “day dress” is what I would buy if I could buy one and with it, either as part of a costume, or as combinable with the dress, a short wrap of the jackety order, with a touch of trimming in colour if it were black, or perhaps if the dress were black the jacket could be one of the becoming colours subdued but contrasting. [remainder of letter missing]

* * * * *

To Louise Morgan and Otto Theis

Personal
August 15, 1948

My dear Louise and Otto

I have written to both Lenore Marshall  and to Margaret de Silver and shall write to some others, asking them to try and locate friends who will donate me some second-hand clothes in good style, so I can make a front here and get about some.  But we cannot pay duty and I can get no assurance that any clothes will reach me really free, and I am therefore trying to find somebody who is coming to England to visit and could bring a few things second-hand with her own clothes (a woman, it would have to be).  And as you two have mentioned seeing Americans, and brought the California girl here, I have wondered if yourselves or perhaps Sophie and Ruth might not know somebody who was about to visit England who would be willing to include such gifts for me with their belongings and deliver them on arrival.

It is a favour I dislike asking, but the situation fully justifies it I think; otherwise, I might as well be in prison.  I haven’t even marketed since May.  Not a step can I stir from the house under these conditions.

Perhaps Sophie and Ruth themselves might know somebody who had something used but not worn and in good style and though I know this is chance, I include with this a list of needs of measurements to send on to them if you yourselves consider it fitting.

I stress style because I want to put up a good front, and I don’t want just “kivver”1, as per charlady, as that would defeats the real purpose of being decently dressed again, but though it is a lot to ask, I know Sophie is already au courrant with some of the charitable wealthy and as I have written Margaret, Marie Garland supplied me with half a wardrobe of very expensive good quality clothes which were not entirely satisfactory only because I had to have them altered; which I couldn’t now afford and which seems about the hardest thing to get done in London there is, judging by our previous experiences in that line.

So if Sophie or Ruth know anybody with clothes to contribute and also know somebody who is soon to arrive in England that would be splendid.  And if they know somebody who would bring clothes and would be good enough to communicate with Lenore Marshall (better post than phone) and with Margaret in case they have anything to contribute—then that will again be good and whatever we do eventually get on books will not have drains on it, to the same extent, for to solve the problem, we actually require several thousand dollars (house repairs, painting, etc, a good sale, not a sacrifice, taxes, and things including clothes and dentist needed by Jack too.

And so I throw myself on your generosity, for the time—if you can do anything, as I say, well and good and whether you can or not it is very much to be appreciated that I can discuss things with you both with complete candour.

our love
Evelyn

1Cod-Cockney for “cover” or clothing.

* * * * *

To Louise Morgan

September 13, 1948

My dear Louise

I am glad you did not phone, again.  Often here, too, the phone rings, just as Jack is about to call somebody for me—I do so less often), and we have also been treated to hocus-pocus, by way of tangled wires, on so many occasions, a few weeks ago, we had to leave the phone off the hook overnight and a good deal of the day, until whatever flim-flam corrected it was summoned, to have any peace whatever.  This has occurred so many times, in the last four years, if a normal telephone service were not a great convenience, in emergencies, I would get rid of it.  But of course normally it can be useful, and I just wish, too, the public knew what shenanigan went on to produce, repeatedly, such silly business.

I am obliged for suggestions about where to get clothes cheap, and hope these not utility1, for as I said, when dressed at all, I want to be dressed as suits myself and not as the government dictates, or anybody dictates.  We haven’t got six pounds.  We have under five a week, and most of it goes on the house so we just can buy food and some smokes. But when we make some money I can apply to the place you mention.

But I admit fit is the second-hand problem, though it is difficult to believe Sophie would be anything but willing to inquire of the millionaires she knows when opportune.

And again this brings us back to the vital issue, and the sensible view abut publishing and selling enough in both Britain and America to render charity to authors superfluous.  If it weren’t for racket controlling, I think every one of us be already without the necessity to ask the favours.

Everything good to yourselves to Jack’s book my book and the book about which I am eager to have clear facts—here’s hoping we soon have true facts about public matters, too, and give up huge plans, and a power war which is affecting us everyday, largely because the public is ignorant of the techniques and methods by which it is promulgated, and electorates can’t yet and should demand responsibility of irresponsible governments and forces.

Evelyn with love

During and for some years after the war, clothing was rationed and what was available met standards designed to reduce the use of fabric: these “utility” standards sometimes but not always affected their stylishness. Evelyn clearly thought them not stylish.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

September 13, 1948: Letter from Gladys enclosing $25.
September 24, 1948: E got cheque for $50 from Maggie, which I paid into bank (it was made out to me)
October 14, 1948: Went into town and bought children’s book for Denise at Foyles. E got first parcel of clothes from Maggie today.
October 15, 1948: Bought more children’s books at Foyles.
October 16: 1948: Further parcel of clothes came for her today from Maggie
October 29, 1948: E got another parcel of clothes from Maggie.
November 26, 1948: . . . also packet of typewriting paper from Gladys.
December 25, 1948: At home all day, working mainly on Scilly novel. Removed teeth after tea, as very sore. Supper of steak. Work. Bed.March 14, 1949: Got letter from Margaret with $100
April 4, 1949: In evening found out we had run out of American-size typewriter paper, – and E accordingly depressed.

* * * * *

In November 1949, Jigg decided to try to find employment in Europe, and sailed to London en route to Paris. He had been given some small commissions in England and hoped to find work at the BBC or, failing that, a post in Paris, for which he felt he was well qualified with his fluent French and his extensive experience in radio journalism. The family had moved to Rutherford, New Jersey, where they lived at three different addresses during the following 18 months, including the period Jigg was in Europe.

 

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

November 17, 1949: Found E had opened in error letter for me from Pavla to say Jig coming to London.
November 20, 1949: Jig rang up from Regent Palace Hotel and arrived soon afterwards, bringing whisky. He stayed the night, company retiring, after coffee, at about 1.30

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Regent Palace Hotel, London
Monday, November 21, 1949

Dearest baby—

I had a very severe shock a while ago.  The telephone in my room rang and when I answered it, it was my mother.  The letter you sent care of Jack was the means by which she knew I was coming; and they found out where I was by the simple expedient of calling up the Cunard line every day and asking where I would stay until the right ship came in.  Naturally I had to go out there, which I did last evening.

It was awful.  E Scott is much better—in fact, she is quite changed.  But they are both living in a state which I can only describe as near-destitution.  The house is up for sale.  For a while they hoped to live on some money the government allotted them to repair bomb damage; but that was not allowed.  Jack is very sick with the same thing Dad had—an infected prostate, but he can’t have it out because he does not dare give up the occasional tutoring jobs by which they keep body and soul together and take the time to be operated on.  They are both almost emaciated and so shabby they are quite ragged.  The rent from the house is no longer enough even to keep the house going, and the price of fuel and repairs, etc, has skyrocketed in the last few months so that they are heavily in the red.  Lately they have been unable to pay for the gas which heats the house, and the tenants are threatening to leave.  If that happened, they would have to leave themselves, with no place to go.  Jack has been trying to look for a job, but he can’t because he has no decent clothes, and all he has been able to get is a few kids to tutor.

I went out last night and stayed until midnight, then found that the underground closes and that there are no cabs late at night, so I slept on the couch.  But they no longer have even enough blankets to keep warm, and I slept under a coat.

I couldn’t stand it.  The upshot is that I lent them fifty dollars, mostly to pay the gas bill, buy a few clothes, and get something to eat.  They will also be able to fix up one of their 4 rooms so that they can take a lodger.

I’m sorry, baby.  It is really appalling.  Nobody asked me for anything but I just couldn’t stand it.  Blood is a little thicker than water, and it’s hard to watch anybody living on oatmeal.  I am sending out some of the grub I brought with me.

If you can raise the missing fifty I will be all right.  My room here is paid for until Wednesday—that is, Thursday morning, when I shall be able to go to a pension and live much more cheaply.  However, I find I can’t do that until they give me my ration books, which won’t be until Wednesday.

Try to raise it from two sources, on the grounds that my going to work is delayed by red tape.  It seems to me that Glads and Julia could do that between them.  I shall be in a frightful jam if I don’t get it, but I will do the best I can.  You should get a bank draft and send it to me here, or wire it here (to this hotel).  Even if I have moved, I can always get mail from the hall porter after I have left.

I am terribly sorry, baby.  The letter care of Jack was a mistake, and I should not have gone out there, but I didn’t know what I was getting into.  And I just simply couldn’t take it all in my stride.

I have told them that I am leaving for the continent on Wednesday, so they don’t expect to see me again excepting perhaps for a brief visit, which I can’t refuse.  I have between 35 and 40 dollars left, and that will do the trick if I can get the other fifty.  I would think up any reason but the real one, if I were you.  Tell them I have to pay for a laboring permit—anything you decide is propitious. I will avoid pitfalls hereafter.

The other thing I am in a hurry about is the letter to the Newsweek man in Paris.  I want to start planning to do something about that if life here seems too rough.  Paris is, I am told, quite comfortable, and we may be happier there.

I have a terrible pip at the moment, and I am sorry to afflict you with this dismal letter.  By the time I have seen BBC and so forth, I will feel better.  I have to get started pretty soon.  I intend to take a nap and then start on my rounds—I didn’t sleep at all last night.  I’ll let you know what I find out pronto.

When you send money or the letter to Jess Jones, send it airmail, or if you find it cheap enough, wire to me.  Perhaps you can send money with the message.

Once again my humble apologies.

I read your beautiful letter, and the letters from Freddy and Bumpy, and they made me break down.  Don’t give up hope or anything—it’s not that bad by any means.  And the 50 will put us back where we were before, so that nothing will really be changed.  Perhaps you can raise it in small chunks—I think the cost of a labor permit is the best excuse.  50 dollars is 15 pounds fifteen shillings, an enormous sum in England at the moment, the minimum wage being 6 pounds a week.  It represents a month’s wages to quite a few.

God bless you, baby.  I love you better than anything in the world.  I’ll write you again later, when I am more myself.

Your devoted husband,
Jigg

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

November 21, 1949: Jig left after breakfast, I putting him on right track for a taxi.
November 24, 1949: School–and lunched there. Tea. Nap. Jig arrived.
November 25, 1949: School as usual. Tea, Work. Nap. Supper of corned beef. Read stories etc to Jig. Bed.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

Rutherford, New Jersey
Saturday November 26 [1949]

Dearest Angel—

Today I got your letter about your mother and Jack.  I put a PS on the letter I was about to mail to you—about it–but this is the real answer.  And yet I don’t know what to say—except that until we have some money of our own we can’t help them any more—after than perhaps we can—at least enough for Jack to have his operation.  I was sorry to learn that they are so terribly up against it.  But we can do no more now, so please don’t get into anything more.  I have enough for myself and the kids with Julia’s and Gladys’ help, but if I have to send you more (not counting the other twenty you’ll get next week) before the normal need for more arises, if it does before you can get things started for us, the kids and I will be up against it.  So stretch it, will you, honey?  I’m dying to know how the BBC thing works out.  It’s the limit that your letters take so long to get here, but I suppose that regular mail would be 10 days instead of five.

I told [Deo1] and Aunt G that you had to pay 50 bucks for a labor permit.  They helped out, but we can expect no more from them for quite a while.  Julia and Glads are doing their best.

Dorothy McNamara, Paula’s maternal aunt.  This passage makes it clear just how dependent Jigg and Paula were on financial support from Paula’s family.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

November 26, 1949: Walked home, and all three had lunch of soup, – no, mistake, – Jig didn’t want any! Nap.
November 27, 1949: Work most of day. After supper read aloud to E and Jig from This Emergent and from 1926 diary. Bed.
November 28, 1949: Morning school. Jig just leaving when I came home for lunch.
December 25, 1949: Spent all day quietly at home. After tea read E’s MS to p 515. Steak and Christmas-pudding for supper. Work. Bed.

* * * * *

In spite of some had seemed positive interviews in England and in France, Jigg did not secure employment in Europe and returned to the United States some weeks later. Evelyn had been very hopeful of his success in finding employment in Europe as she saw this as bringing her son and his family within easy reach of London and Jigg, realising this, did not tell his mother that he had returned to the United States jobless.

* * * * *