Sunday, September 29, 2013

Notebook 1: The Green-Leach & du Maurier Controversy Pt. 4

March 31st 1925

My dear Mrs. Croker,

In the course of conver (not sure of the writing "Sen Muir?") informed the Poetry Circle last night that immediately following Mr. Meredyth's expulsion from the Circle you entertained him & Miss du Maurier at your house in honour of their engagement.

I was most interested to hear this as at the time of the quarrel I was told that Mr. Meredyth & Miss du Maurier were a couple of cheap adventurers whom nobody would sponsor but as you are sponsoring them I conclude you know of some reputable person somewhere with whom either is connected.

In England one does not receive socially anyone out of the absolute unknown, and I am so interested in studying social customs in a new country that I would love to hear from you an American point of view why you should entertain these people, so for all I could hear was that Mr. Meredyth was connected with a circus & his grandmother a full blooded Indian.

When I came into the Circle I told Mrs. Green Leach that my Uncle's brother in law Sir Hugh Gwen was secretary to a former Local Government Board while another brother in law Sir Francis Cory Wright entertained Queen Victoria's daughter, the Duchess of Albany at his home "Kenwood" when her Royal Highness came by to open a Hampstead Hospital, my cousin Canon Mason is shortly to become a Bishop & my brother are colonels in the British Army, Mrs. Green Leach also told me her family history thus our intimacy established. Mrs. Green Leach came with you to call on me and I was surprised afterwards to learn that Miss du Maurier complained I had not asked her.

From an English point of view there was no reason on earth why I should have asked her, but I do long to learn what Americans do in such circumstances.

Then Miss du Maurier deliberately omitted Mrs. Green Leach's name from her list of Maryland Poets which was a flagrant insult & I have spoken to most of the other members of the Circle. None of them could see in this action anything but the meanest of spite, but I am sure you must know of some other reason for it or you would not have asked her in your house. I do ask you to tell me something in her favour as one does not like to think anyone absolutely bad.

The circle is so dear to Mrs. Green-Leach. She practically lives for it. It was her idea the child of her brain & for many months she personally inconvenienced herself weekly to have the members meet at her home, she paid $50 of her own money as the EAP Prize Contest and if anybody ever earned anything she has earned her place as President.

Mr. Meredyth was only asked to leave the Circle when Mrs. Wood came forward & said that he had tried to turn Mrs. Green-Leach out of her position & offer the Presidency to herself, Mrs. Wood. To try & steal her position from Mrs. Green-Leach was more cruel than if any other common thief had tried to steal her money. Members of the Circle went further & said that in naming Mrs. Wood he knew she had her hands too full to accept the position & hoped she would say "No, I am too busy, you be President Mr. Meredyth." Then he would. (letter unfinished)

This is one of my favorite letters in the first notebook. Once again, it continues the controversy between Mrs. Green-Leach, Mr. Meredyth, and Miss du Maurier. I love the way Lucy not-so-gingerly tries to pull information from Mrs. Croker... almost to a point of sugar-coated bribery. This letter also shows Lucy's willingness to look past her own family flaws, and point out what she finds as flaws in others, such as being related to a full-blooded Indian or being part of a Circus. Let's hope Mrs. Croker decided not to mention anything about Lucy's bad marriage and her unruly children in response to this letter. - Carrie