According to Gordon, "Eliot claimed that before he left for Europe in
1914 he told Emily Hale that he was in love with her. He said that he
had no reason to believe, from the way in which his declaration was
received, that his feelings were returned 'in any degree whatever'." But
they had a relationship: he sent her roses via Aiken. He kept in touch
with her when he was in Oxford, just before he married Vivien. And then
he renewed it with visits, letters, autographed copies of his work, a
shared visit to Burnt Norton that he wrote of as a moment of
illumination. And in 1914 a young lady was expected to be modest and
non-expressive. Not knowing what 1911 has to do with it is not knowing
history. That she sustained the correspondence and visited him was more
than an acceptance later. At any rate, he made the avowal of love; she
had every reason to expect it to mean what it said.
Yes, saying he was in love was in effect a proposal of marriage. Emily
and Tom were both members of upper-class Boston families whose relatives
no doubt knew each other socially and perhaps in business as well. The
families would have been aware of the situation and so Tom's defection
would have involved their censure. Emily had the social code of her
class as reinforcement for her trust in Eliot. Diana
Nancy wrote: "As I said, there is no analogy. In 1911, if a man said he
was in love,
it was to be trusted. That was the point of those words. And it is
frankly disgraceful to say that when a man betrays trust the woman is
just silly. It is outrageous.
>>> Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]> 06/14/07 8:06 PM >>>
By the way, Nancy, Annette was also a New England lady.
As I remember, Annette had a good job and received promotions, etc. She
owned a nice home. Emily waited all of those years, instead of pursuing
happiness with a man who wanted to be with her. I imagine that Emily
used to cry
at Christmas and Thanksgiving and on her birthday, etc., just as
In a message dated 6/14/2007 7:40:01 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
Emily Hale was a very accomplished, intelligent woman who was also a
England lady in 1911 when she and TSE met--well before the married Viv.
When they started writing and seeing each other, Viv had been put in
institution. Hale did not just meet a married man and "see" him.
is no analogy at all. She was not remotely silly or naive.
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>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 06/15/07 10:13 AM >>>