83. 21 February 1996 [NM] (Hotson; Shakespeare's Will; Baconians)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs.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

My dear Eric, two letters.

   How like you to celebrate your 70 years with song! And what a young man you are, with all those irons in the fire! Please may your hot irons include more real Shakespeare, along with all the rest!

   All right, I give up on Hotson. I don't want to see my name flourished in some learned journal with a 'pace Ms Mathews'! But I'm still unconvinced by the begetting. Some day when you're at leisure, will you justify that usage? And as for more Calvert I agree, but please note that he illustrated his book repudiating Hotson with the 'Hilliard Shakespeare' (1588) which is a part of Hotson's case. [...] I've been reading over some Baconians and it's beyond belief what scents they will fly off on with blithe conviction. Carr sent me an article he had written declaring – as if for the first time (it's been going on since 1914) – that Bacon was the author of that wholly un-Spanish work, Don Quixote.

   It was déjà vu for me, since one of their big wigs, Commander Martin Pares, did the same at a lunch with him about forty years ago. I wrote Pares some of the evidence against his theory, and never heard from him again. I couldn't resist answering Carr this time, copy attached for your amusement. I didn't tell him that the King of Spain in person, along with other authorities, authenticates Cervantes as the author of D.Q. What do you bet he w'd find a way out – they were all in the secret!

   I am very touched by your effort to read through Hotson for my 'beaux yeux', and your kind offer to rummage in the shelves of your garage! No, no, I'll manage with Honigmann and Everitt (of which I have photocopies). What I'm after is Shakespeare's time in the country, before London.

   I wonder when the early authorship idea was first propounded? Was it before the enlightened Edwin Reed (1904)? I keep coming across the view in the Baconian articles of those early years, set forth in a way that (barring their Baconian conclusions) looks very sensible to me. I enclose copy of two articles on the Troublesome Reign and King John, which may interest you. Of course it was all up their Baconian street since the only reason why this approach was not officially adopted (and perhaps the ur-cause of all that reconstrictive* stuff) was that people could not conceive works so full of classics, French, Italian and the law c'd have come from the pen of the young butcher of Stratford. And indeed, whatever his genius, it does remain remarkable. His law for instance extends beyond attorney's assistant, to some quite abstruse points. What a thirsty mind!

   Another thing, From Baconiana 31, July 1910, p.180: 'In a manner which left little room for doubt, a German lady /whom I found in an earlier No. but she's drifted away/ had proved that the body of Shakespeare's will was in the same handwriting as the three alleged signatures to it. Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence endorses. Of course, all to show none of it was Shakspur. Intéressant, however?

  Now the most important point of my letter. What with deconstruction and reconstruction, the times are very much out of joint, and you are born to set them right. So please enjoy your music but come back into the field, shaking your valiant speare. And continue to write to me. You are one of the few people I know who really answers letters. My father was another. I hope things are better with Enid?

   With love, as ever


* Freudian slip?