From: Chokh Raj
Well, till something serious comes up --
Will this correspondence between Wyndham Lewis and Eliot help?
12th March, 1950
My dear Eliot. It was very kind of you to send me a copy of "The Cocktail
I have now read it with great care and with unusual interest. I have seen it
that your use of so popular a figure as the Mental Doctor was bad form,
but for my part I was rejoiced to meet you disguised as a psychopathic quack
About half way through I decided that it was in the nature of a large naval
mounted on a Thames houseboat of shallow draught. This of course might
strike one as inartistic. But later on I learned that the big gun was part
the fixtures of the houseboat: and my last glimpse of this heavy
ordnance was its festive departure in the company of Julia (of Mrs.
Porter's family I surmise) to other cocktail parties. That it is a
success as a play (and I wouldn't know about that) is demonstrated
by its tremendous reception in New York. You will I expect be responsible
for the death of a number of libidinous Yankee damsels, for
surely U.S. Psychologists will not be slow to take the hint and will
dispatch the more dewy-eyed of their patients where they may be
swallowed by alligators or pecked to death by vicious tropical birds.
As I went along, I felt that quite apart from the question involved
in the blood sacrifice, there was much highly interesting material
being used in connection with the adulterous couple, who were in
adequate vessels but it could with advantage be drawn on for another
play; not exactly a comedy. I congratulate you on your work and its
great success in the U.S. This success will, I hope, be repeated here
Faber and Faber Limited
24 Russell Square London W.C.1
13 March 1950
My dear Wyndham,
You are quite right no one else has yet remarked that Julia is a niece of
Mrs. Porter, and that Reilly's mother was a Sweeney (but no doubt James J.
Sweeney will be looking into the matter). Possibly the houseboat is a
Down the Mississippi, Baby, we will float along;
In our little houseboat, maybe, life's one grand sweet song.
I await statistics of the selfimmolation of young women from the Long
The success of TCP in Saftesbury Ave. was equally impressive.
Eliot was apparently [if memory serves] the first to have simultaneous
successes in N.Y. and London of the same show.
Note that in the play, Reilly is associated with a certain ONE-EYED Reilly.