114. 26 January 1997 [NM] (Reviews; Love's Labours Lost)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

Dear Eric, two letters, and what's more a front-page review in the TLS. Between us we are accaparating that respectable paper!

   It does you more justice than Bossy's did me, though your critic seems keener on his own intuitions about what is Shakespeare than on your irrefutable proofs. However it does look as if you're making headway. Has there been among the other reviews any really good one, as the Financial Times was for me? I was amused to read Honigmann's letter of Jan. 10, and could have answered him for you: clearly both your statements are true. He did incorporate unproved preconceptions, and he also presented 'detailed documentation with cogent inference'. However, as our friend Robert sees it, all this goes to make good publicity.

   Yours of 13 January (I always find myself writing happily on a 13th of the month): I'm glad of your relations with Prince Charles, whom I have a soft spot for (which I don't have for Diana, sorry as we can be for her). My dealings with royalty: a school prize from the Princess Royal's hand when I was 12, and in Mexico showing the Duke of Wales's unattractive lady (very hard) round some tourist shops, and later tea with them both. I've never seen anyone so wrinkled as he was, very sweet and concerned for her.

   But about your eventually possible honours, struggling alone yes. I recall my father saying he had made his way without being a Jew, a homosexual or a Freemason. To which one could add, without the support of his own countrymen who never appreciates a compatriot until he is dead. Nevertheless, I think in order to spread the good news about a real Shakespeare you should put up with any honours that come your way!

   Your letter of 22 January: Pity about the Lopez book, if you can remember title, author, country or anything, do note it for me. And keep for me any further follies of which you seem to be a frequent recipient. You're much politer than I am, you answer Carr. I don't.

   I'm really thrilled about the Shakespeare spellings, will these go into The Real Shakespeare vol. II? And if so, when? That, and Nicholl on Sh. and Marlowe, I can't wait for them. What fun about the Romeo and Julietdeconstructed reconstruction.

   Now – entre nous – about what I'm working on, and hoping to write if as in Moby Dick I'm given 'life, time, cash and patience'. Tell me what you think of the idea. I've got quite a bit of material up my sleeve. Shakespeare, whose patron was intimate with Essex, patron of the Bacon brothers (both fascinated with plays), would have had to go out of his way not to have met them. There is enough affinity (plus innumerable thought parallels to be used as cord not chain) to suggest mutual interest. There is no historical proof to link them, but quite a few factual connections. There is no better explanation of the French connection in LLL but Anthony Bacon, whom Henri IV got out of trouble on more than one occasion. AB was close to Henri for many years, and visited him at Nerac in July 1584 (soon after the events described in LLL. All the other suggested travellers' visited Nerac only 'probably'. The link with Antonio Perez (unmistakably Armado in the present text) is also a strong one. I want to discuss first why this possible connection has not been looked at – principally Baconians, and do a real demolition act on them first. Then look at these and other links, and finally a chapter showing how, with all their affinities and common interests, B and Sh were totally different beings. Qu'en penses-tu? A short book.

   I'm really happy you liked my poem. Till very soon, with love