3. 27 April 1969 [ES]

My dear Alan,

   thank you for your kind letter of March 20th. I'm so sorry to have been so dilatory about replying; but you can guess I expect the kind of domestic difficulties we have been having lately.

   It was very truly observed (by Bacon, I think, which could explain why it sounds like Shakespeare) that a man that hath wife and child hath given hostages to fortune. Which doesn't in any way deter me from offering you my warmest congratulations and best wishes on your marriage and special salutations to your wife – whom Enid and I certainly hope to have the pleasure of meeting one day. Things are going better for us now; very slowly and very gradually, but better.

   You'll see from the enclosed that I'm in touch with Barrie about the Symposium (the prime meaning of which word is as you know a drinking party and only secondarily a compendium, which explains why whenever I hear or write it I think of Plato and you, in that order). I've been so bold as to suggest a lunch; and it would be very nice whether then or separately to see you again for a chat, whether over chop suey or BBC bangers.

   yours ever Eric