87. 15 April 1996 [ES] (Real Shakespeare: Paris)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs.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

Dear Hayat,

   Thanks for the card. I also had a nice note from Charles Nicholl, to whom (in a mad fit) I sent a copy of The Real Shakespeare; he too mentioned Shakespeare's birthday as the date for launching Bacon. I trust that this arrangement isn't being disclosed to Francis Carr; we'd never hear the last of it. But at least he seems to have stopped pestering me, for the moment anyhow. I expect him to return to the charge about Edward III (now titled and blurbed by Robert Baldock as in the enclosure). I doubt whether he'll be as affable as my Oxfordian pen-friends, who think that I sometimes get certain things right, except of course the name of the actual author.

   Ah, Paris. One of the last times I saw her, in 1947, her heart was anything but young and gay. Mine was more so, at least with the famed Gaité Parisienne; but the city itself was Offenbach without the sparkle. Croissants are evocative too; I once fed one to an elephant in the Jardin des Plantes, which trumpeted so loudly and dismally in a minor key, on discovering that this was all there was, that Annick and I had to depart in haste before being accused of maltreating the beast. Annick, blonde comme les blés, was just five years old, and enchantingly feminine in her endings, such as 'Ah, Eric, comme je suis heureuse'. I also recall such observations as 'Ah, j'aime ça, les elephants' (when we still had a croissant) and (waving it vigorously), 'viens, cygne!'.

   Here's the latest Vickers, in case you haven't seen it. It's very creditable, to be sure, but it's sad that he should depend, nay dote, on dreary old duffers like Duthie and Jackson. He's much better than either. But academics somehow have to stick together – even in the-mud.

   Looking forward to meeting you and celebrating the book,

   Yours as ever Eric