Decr. 2nd, '34.
Your graphic presentation of those faces near Baker Street station, “so maimed & crippled,” makes me wince. Ah, poor, dear London faces. Yet, apart from the results of dishonest food & unwholesome quarters which do particularly afflict the poor, both in town & country, is there any class or country, in Europe, where maiming & crippling is not the general rule? Do not most of us have to calculate, & go about armed to the teeth?
Unless your so nice and charming Signor Cresset will be satisfied with Wells, adieu to plans. Shaw excuses himself on the ground of being ill as a result of overwork.
Perhaps it is just as well. For though, personally, I do not regard G.B.S. as an essential sponsor, & feel that quite a formidable little army of godfathers & godmothers (a various army, too, including the professor of psychology at Manchester univ. who devoted to D.R. the last chapter of his last book, & at least one big Harley St physician) would be willing to support the scheme, everything, i.e. the response of the general public &, thence, financial return, depends not only upon the
wide advertisement & wide circulation of this little propagandist brochure, but also upon intensive & insistent advertisement of the new edition. Is this speculative outlay – essential to the degree that anything less would be worse than useless, ‹and› would be the sacrifice of an irreplaceable advertisement, the little collection of tributes – possible?
I know that there are thousands of people, quite simple people & a sprinkling of others, who would like my books if they could get at them; if the libraries, even, stocked them, (few do) & the librarians of those where ‹there is› an odd volume, usually in tatters (I quote the testimonies of innumerable friends & readers) knew the order of the sequence (which D. does his best to conceal). Short of an intensive & expensive campaign, & a Kot, winged, to fly around booming at travellers, booksellers & librarians, I cannot see that anything is to be achieved.
I am not going to weep if the plan falls. Chiefly, I shall regret the loss of the opportunity for correcting the chaos D’s reader made of my Punctuation,
which I failed to proof-read into order. I feel, deeply, that. And I’m deeply pleased that the editor of
Résume ‹Mésure[s]›, a new French monthly to be managed by the director of N.R.F., asks to be allowed to have my ten-year-old article (Adelphi) on Punctuation translated for use in his first number.
We have just emerged from our first big south-west bombardment of wind & rain, keeping the birds silent & invisible. We listen for them to tell us when it is really over. For they ignore a mere temporary lull, sitting perdu while the storm retreats to gather renewed fury. But into the first moments of the real cessation fall some of their sweetest little winter notes: “That’s that,” they say & pop forth from their hiding-places, & hop cheerily about in the open & look toward doors & windows for a hail of crumbs. Such supporting little presences they are, Kot, in this darkest dark of the year – for the December darkest, though longer, has a moon – fragile, vital, cheery; restorers of confidence & joy.
I must away, or the milk (for Sunday bread & milk supper) will boil over_.
All best wishes,