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Copies of fifteen letters, most handwritten but a couple typed, to Bertrand Russell, and one copy letter to Edith Russell
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Parte deAdditional Manuscripts a
Copies of fifteen letters, most handwritten but a couple typed, to Bertrand Russell, and one copy letter to Edith Russell
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth. - Writes on Edith's behalf to thank Elizabeth for her letter; Edith is recovering as well as can be expected, but will not be fully well until Christmas at the earliest. Remembers Elizabeth's cousin [Jan Bastiaan?] Hubrecht very well; always found him 'very agreeable and very enlightened'. It is kind of Hubrecht to invite him to stay at his house, and he would accept if he were going to Holland, but he 'never had any intention of going to the Congress of the World Federalists' and does not know what could have given any newspaper the idea that he would. Edith's illness would have prevented it in any case, but he has become 'rather too old for the sort of jaunts that I used to indulge in'. When he gets at all tired now, he cannot swallow; tells the doctors that this has been brought on by his 'attempting to swallow the pronouncement of politicians', but so far his diagnosis has not been accepted. Otherwise he is well. Hopes that they will be able to visit soon, but for the moment Edith is not allowed to drive and he cannot. Hubrecht's letter originally enclosed.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth. - Thanks Elizabeth for his birthday letter. She has been very kind to Alan Wood [writer of "Bertrand Russell: The Passionate Sceptic"?], who is 'duly grateful'; thinks Wood has done a very good job. Often thinks of how hard it must be for her not to be able to read: wishes she could find someone to read as well as she used to, 'in the days when I used to urge you not to skip the footnotes!'.
Thanks Bessie for her letter. They had a 'full account' of Dr [Frédéric] Bauer's death from Alice Boner: he was with Alice and her sister Georgette at Bangalore, went up to his room after dinner to fetch a book and did not come down; they found him unconscious and he died in hospital a few days later. Mitra, an Indian friend, also wrote to Beryl [de Zoete], calling it a heart attack. Beryl left for China yesterday and will stay there a month; he is going to Norway tomorrow until 20 May. They look forward to seeing Bessie later.
Monk's House, Rodmell, Lewes, Sussex. - Remembers Bob's stories, but thinks they were sent back; cannot find them here. Would like to visit Bessie, but is going away to Greece and Palestine, until about mid-May; also finds it 'very difficult to exist' on his petrol ration, but if he can in June will suggest a date for lunch.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth. - Is glad Elizabeth liked his talks; amused that, like him, she sought out certain books because she had been told not to read them. Did not ask for them not to be published in "The Listener"; they appeared in "London Calling", which meant for readers outside Great Britain, and he supposes the BBC thought that enough. Is sorry that she cannot find anyone to read to her properly: this is becoming a lost art.
I Tatti, Settignano, Florence. - Bessie should not be so distressed by the disappearance of his letters to Bob. Good to hear of Julian's successes. The trials of old age.
I Tatti, Settignano, Florence. - Agrees that it is difficult to destroy personal letters, though one knows they will interest others either too much or not at all; understands how she clings to those Bob wrote to her. If she comes across letters he himself wrote to Bob, please do send them on. Hopes she is getting on well with her son and his wife.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyn Deudraeth, Merioneth. - Glad to hear Elizabeth is feeling stronger. While Alan Wood was in hospital for his operation, Mary's illness worsened, and she was finally diagnosed with benign myalgic encephalomyelitis and taken to hospital; now she is much better and will probably be able to walk again by summer. It does not infect children, or only very mildly, so the two boys are now well. If Elizabeth writes to Alan at 8 Queensgate Place, S.W.7, he can pass letters or messages on to Mary. They are 'wonderfully gallant about it all'. There is a Hungarian painter [Georges Csato?] downstairs painting Russell; Edith expects he will make him look Hungarian, as they 'all make him look like someone of whatever nation their own happens to be!'
San Juan, Puerto Rico. - Thanks her for writing to him on his birthday; he has received messages from all over the world, which proves he has 'not done too many bad things in [his] life'. Puerto Rico is an ideal country. Will be back in Europe in May, and very busy; in October or November he will return for the winter. The Festival will be the most important 'musical manifestation' ever in Puerto Rico: there is great enthusiasm for it. Hopes everything will go well; he has to conduct and play in all twelve concerts. Sends his love to all the Röntgens.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyn Deudraeth, Merioneth. - Bertie's throat is much improved, he has indeed had several operations under anaesthetic before. The Russells are very glad Elizabeth likes Bertie's BBC literary talks, and that she is well enough to go up to London for the day, even if it is to see the doctor. Wishes they could meet at Julian's Boat Race Party, but the Russells cannot go to town so soon, even if invited, and if Elizabeth is not they will have to make their own party. Had a very nice letter from Mary and Julian. Very good Elizabeth has an 'old companion' to help her to sort letters, which is a 'sad occupation' though she agrees it is 'bearable after a length of time'. Everything in Wales is very beautiful at the moment. Bertie is writing an article against the hydrogen bomb, having just finished a philosophical essay.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyn Deudraeth, Merioneth [headed notepaper, but letter seems to be written from London]. - Bertie has had a thorough examination of his throat after weeks of trouble with it, and there is no cause for alarm; everyone is much relieved. Sorry they will not be able to visit the Shiffilds, but Bertie has much work to get done. Distressed that Elizabeth has had a lengthy infection, hopes it is now cleared up, and that they will be able to visit in the spring. The 'poor Woods' have been ill as well, Mary with a mysterious infection and Alan with nasal trouble which requires an operation. They have not seen John; fears he is no better. The grandchildren are very well, 'growing up to be nicer and nicer', and enjoy their new school. The Russells love living in Wales, though they would prefer more sun; the only thing Edith misses about Richmond is the Park. Glad to hear happy news of Mary, Julian, and Elizabeth's grandson; hopes to see them as well when they return to London.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth. - Thanks Elizabeth for her letter and the enclosures, which he is glad to have [see 5/261]; does not criticize her at all for reading them. Very glad she has such nice things to say about his "Portraits from Memory". The Russells had been hoping that they would be able to visit the Shiffolds for the day when in London, but petrol rationing will make this harder; hopes this will not last forever.
Prades. - Has been very busy, but now thanks her for her letters; is pleased to hear about her nephews [the Röntgens], and also that she appreciated the ideas in Corredor's book. He criticises the important cuts and errors in the English edition, and supposes the translator, his friend Mangeot, was influenced too much by the publisher. Is currently very busy preparing for another voyage to Puerto Rico, where another Festival will take place next April. Is sorry to hear about Engelbert, who seemed very robust last time he saw him, and sends his love to him and his brothers.
Plas Penrhyn, Penrhyn Deudraeth, Merioneth. - Has been waiting for the BBC to send a list of dates when Bertie will be wanted for broadcasting to reply to Elizabeth, as they plan to call on her at the Shiffolds on the way back from London; they have heard nothing from the BBC but no plan to come towards the end of the month or the beginning of October, after the children have gone to their new school. Difficulties with selling their Richmond house. The children have being 'angels' this summer, unlike 'last summer's devilments'. Bertie is working on a new book, which she is glad of: philosophy serves as a 'counter-irritant to the perfect horrors in the political world': finds the 'war whoops' of the British government, supported by Gaitskell [over Suez] astounding; supposes the matter will go to the U.N.; she 'can hardly bear regarding Dulles as a dove of peace'. The Russells were very interested to hear about the Waleys. Likes to think of Mary and Julian enjoying the sunshine in Italy: there is so much rain in Wales they 'are rapidly developing fins and scales'.
Casa al Dono, Vallombrosa, Prov. di Firenze - Age encroaches. They often recall 'Trevy' with great fondness.
86 Chesterton Road, Cambridge. - Would like to see Bob's collection of Desmond [MacCarthy]'s reviews, and would be able to send them back quite soon. Does not know who Desmond's literary executor is, but gives his son Michael's address; they see him occasionally as he usually visits when he is passing through Cambridge. His arthritis is still very bad; an X-ray has found that it is osteo-arthritis, which Dorothy says is incurable. He has no pain but is 'badly crippled'; it has affected his arms as well as his legs, and he is liable to fall asleep in the day. Hasn't yet read Forster's book ["Marianne Thornton, A Domestic Biography"?] as he discouraged Dorothy from getting it at first, but it has just arrived and they will read it soon. Saw Forster himself at an exhibition of Gwen Raverat's oil paintings. Always pleasant to hear of Ralph Wedgwood; is sorry to hear from Bessie that he looks older; hopes Veronica is not over-working. Hopes Tim will enjoy his visit to the States and get some good work done; Tim has always liked jazz, which is Moore's 'only reason for thinking that there must be some good in it.'
41 Queen's Road, Richmond, Surrey. - Wishes they could come to the Shiffolds, but 'as usual' they are too busy for the next few weeks; they are selling the house and preparing to move to North Wales, and also to put the children into a new school nearer there. They do hope to come and visit before they leave, hiring a car and also calling on Flora Russell at Albury. Have received a card for Mary [Fedden's] show at the Redfern Gallery and hope to get to it: have not seen her or Julian since the boatrace, and have never seen many of their paintings. Have not seen the Woods [Alan and Mary] since returning from Wales; is afraid they have had a difficult time but hope things are going better for them now. Encloses a blurb of a book of Bertie's ["Portraits from Memory and Other Essays"?] which she thinks may interest Elizabeth.
Prades. - Thanks for her letter on his arrival in Prades after his trip to Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico, which has been wonderful and moving. He does indeed plan a Festival in Puerto Rico for April 1957, which will be in honour of his mother. Indeed, his whole stay there was homage to his mother, since there were many acts dedicated to her such as the placing of a plaque by the government of Puerto Rico at the house where she was born. Is glad the Röntgens' stay with her was good; hopes that Johannes has played his own compositions to her, as he has a great talent.
41 Queen's Road, Richmond, Surrey. - The Russells were sorry not to see Elizabeth at Julian and Mary's Boat Race Party; however, they enjoyed themselves and saw many old friends. Trying to sell the Richmond house; looking forward to going to the Welsh house for the children's holiday, as they hear the spring flowers are coming out and hope the Chinese geese are beginning to lay eggs. Bertie can get on with his work much better there than in Richmond. They will keep on the London flat and so hope a visit to the Shiffolds will be managed. The Woods have brought good news of Elizabeth; glad she coped with the cold spell. Bertie has been busy recently with the case of Morton Sobell; wonders if Elizabeth saw his letter in the "Manchester Guardian" last Monday [26 March]. The hope is to 'stir up opinion in this country' to force the U.S. authorities to act. The case, and others similar, provide 'a splendid quarry for Communist propaganda' which does 'much harm the world over'. Bertie has been getting letters asking him to take on their own case: a pity 'he is not a hydra and an octopus rolled into one, and with the energy of a hydrogen bomb to boot!'
41 Queen's Road, Richmond, Surrey. - Lovely to have news straight from Bessie, rather than through [Alan and Mary] Wood, 'dears though they are'; it is kind of her to invite them for the Christmas holiday, but they are going to Wales with the three grandchildren as soon as they return from school; they have just heard that their 'daily' there has to go into hospital, so their domestic troubles will continue. Looks forward 'to cooking a turkey for 10 or 12 people in an oven into which it will not fit. Is glad Miss Jones is still living with Bessie and hopes she will be able to find someone to read to her 'who loves the country. The people who interrupted at the Central Hall meeting were an organised band called the "Royal Imperialists" whose stated concern is "to uphold the Empire"; very silly, but no more so than the article in this week's "Time and Tide" on India; 'amazing how many people...feel they can achieve great things by not looking at facts and merely calling everybody they don't like nasty names'; this includes the Russians, who are 'lying in India now'. Is very glad Julian and Mary are so happy, and about Julian's successful show.
Prades. - It is very good of her to send all the news of the Röntgen family; he is particularly glad to hear about Joachim and his quartet. Asks her to pass on his love to Joachim and his wife if she writes. Next week, he is leaving to spend the winter in Puerto Rico, which has a lovely climate and where there are many members of his family. His brother Enrique is trying to arrange next year's Festival; unfortunately there are many difficulties.
41 Queen's Road, Richmond, Surrey. - Is ashamed not to have written sooner: the summer "surpassed the most lurid imaginings of upsets and busy-ness' she could have had. Bertie has been incredibly busy with 'meetings and speeches, plans, discussions, articles and conferences both here and in Paris', while the difficulties with John led to 'a series of climaxes and horrors'. They took a house in North Wales in June, for the grandchildren and future holidays, having seen it once and fallen in love with it for its views; has had to work hard to furnish it and arrange for utilities. The children went in mid-July, and they joined them in mid-August 'for a glorious six weeks'. The 'nice Woods' [Alan and Mary], who are 'dears', brought news of Bessie. Is afraid they will not be able to get to the Shiffolds to see Bessie, but there are too many things Bertie must do; he is currently meeting the Austrian Socialist leader who is visiting the Austrian Embassy.
86 Chesterton Road, Cambridge. - Kind of Bessie to send extracts from her letter about his first visit to the Trevelyans after their marriage: he and Dorothy found them very interesting. Is ashamed to say he has forgotten completely what the house looked like. Not offended by her criticism of his piano playing, which he knows was not at all good; remembers Oliver Strachey being shocked at the way he 'scrambled through a piece'. Tim is appreciated at Dartington and also likes it very much, though he is very hard worked there; spends a lot of time when he stays with them in the holidays practising and composing, as there is little time to compose in term. They have unfortunately not been able to play duets together for four years, as Moore is thought not to be well enough. Ralph Wedgwood came to visit earlier in the summer, but Moore doubts whether he will ever go to Leith Hill Place again.
I Tatti, Settignano, Florence. - Glad to hear Bessie enjoys being alive in a lovely landscape; he can say the same, though old age is tiresome. Will happily send the photograph, though Nicky is not sure which one Bessie wants: is it the one of him in a chaise longue? Il Frulino [sic: usually 'Il Frullino'] was Mary's house before they married; Bob used to stay there too. Will soon go to Vallombrosa to escape the summer heat.
Prades. - Thanks her for sending Johannes' letter, from which he is happy to see that that there is still recognition in the Netherlands of the stature of their dear friend Julius Röntgen. After this celebration [of the centenary of his birth] the performance of his works must continue: it is time that true music takes back its place. Asks her to pass on the sentiments of this letter to the Röntgen family.
Prades. - Is glad that she has Corredor's book; the English edition [translated by Mangeot] will come out soon. He thinks he remembers that Moór spoke to him of his meeting with her husband; yes, Moór wrote operas which were put on in Germany and he thinks also in England.
41 Queen's Road, Richmond, Surrey. - Very disappointed: Bertie has an engagement already for Friday 6th so they will not be there; they would have loved to see Bessie here, and Miss Jones; Edith would have been happy to help Bessie up their stairs if Miss Jones could not come. Got back on Monday from a fortnight in Rome and Paris where Bertie had to go for a conference and speeches, and immediately his time was filled with engagements 'trying to bring Gov'ts and peoples to their senses about war and thermo-nuclear weapons'. Einstein's death a tragedy; they heard about it on the plane from Rome to Paris, and arrived in Paris to find a letter from him saying he would support Bertie entirely, which must have been almost the last letter he wrote. Bertie is now working on the proposal he and Einstein intended to issue; he needs a holiday and they are planning to take a month's holiday 'out of communication' in Scotland.
I Tatti, Settignano, Florence. - Thanks for the photograph of 'Bobbie'. Is glad to hear about her grandson [Julian's son Philip]. Will be going to Tripoli in two days, and will return slowly via Calabria, Naples and Rome: this will get them away from a 'crowd of callers' as he needs rest after his bad fall last December. Is looking for his photograph to send her.
41 Queen's Road, Richmond, Surrey. - Originally some more leaflets [about Bertrand Russell's anti-nuclear proposal]. Bertie thinks he must concentrate on the Indians; perhaps Bessie could write to Queen Juliana. Does not know whether the proposal has been published in the Netherlands; thinks it has in Sweden and Denmark. Must have written 'very misleadingly about John' to give the impression that his mother has helped him: she 'has behaved quite frightfully'. The doctors thought that John might get better if given proper care, which was arranged for him; she persuaded him against their 'very pressing advice' to leave the hospital and live with her; John seems to be afraid of her. He comes 'wandering out here twice or thrice a week' but there is nothing they can do but wait till he gets worse. Their London char has now fallen ill, and the children's governess is now their 'mainstay'.