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,

 

 

37. Two Red Hooks, false teeth and birth control

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

26 Belsize Crescent
[July, 1951]

My dear Glad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love  to yourself and Edgerton

  • * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Pitcher Lane
Red Hook, New York
July 7, 1951

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

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

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

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

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

Love, Paula.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 25, 1951

Darlings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Hook map

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[August 1951]

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

Darling Jig and Paula

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To May Mayers

[August 1951]

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

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

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

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

1Evelyn’s gynaecologist

* * * * *

To May Mayers

August 6, 1951

Dear May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice

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

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

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

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

The best of good voyages on the best of good ships

Affectionately

* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evelyn

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

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 6, 1951

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

Darling Jig and Pavla

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

August 28, 1951

Dear Gladys:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love to them and yourself.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Darling Darlings

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

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

Red Hook Duchess County NY

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

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

This post office thing has got too much to endure.

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Pavla and Jig

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

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

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

Lovingly, oh we do love you

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

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

September 9, 1951

Darling darlings

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

September 11, 1951

Dear Glad,

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

To Julia Scott

September 11, 1951

Dear Julia1

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

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

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

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

Julia was 2 months old

* * * * *

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