65. 22 May 1995 [NM] (Baconians; deposition scene; Mme de Chambrun; Real Shakespeare II)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs.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

Dear Eric,

   just received your letter of 13 May – and promptly lost it – and found its predecessor. If I didn't put them 'where they'll be really handy', I wouldn't lose them.

   You must be right about Hamilton. Age or infirmity. I've found a wonderful way of keeping them off, via Christopher. But also, I've just learnt that a couple of glasses of wine a day (or anything up to ½ a litre) are not only good for the heart, they keep our brain alive into the oldest age!

   Delighted with Johnson's remark re 'sheer ignorance'. Reminds me of Churchill's famous one to his staring neighbour when he spat out a hot mouthful at a banquet: 'A fool would have swallowed that!' As to Toby's chess, warning: I have taught all seven grandchildren to play, and now they all beat me hollow.

   Reed was the best of the Baconians. He actually persuaded my father – until I unpersuaded him. My mother was a Baconian, and my father had hooted at theory all his life ('well, shall we have Shakespeare and eggs for breakfast?'). But when she died he found Reed's books on her bed-table and was impressed.

   Alexander (I'm sorry to say) placed the start of Shakespeare's first period well before 1589. See the ArdenHenry VIs and I don't know where else. But more interesting, do you know Shakespeare' Sonnets and Problems of Autobiography by Hugh Calvert, 1987? A good book, and he dates the Shrew and Titus in 1589.

   Do you prefer Lucy Morgan as the Dark Lady, or are you a pure agnostic?

   Well here's enough questions to torture you with. But I must express total disagreement –  pace Eric – with the notion of Shakespeare's writing the deposition scene for the Essex rising. Aside from the fact that Shakespeare did not look upon Elizabeth as a tyrant, and that all Essex aspired to was to be one himself, it seems to me most unlikely in the historical situation, with the actors reluctant and bored by the idea.

   More important, your sequel. I hope you soon have your chat with Yale about it.

   I am really enjoying reading around my next book. I've already got its title and cover-page! And number of pages: no more than 200. And when that's written I shall devote myself to being a lady of leisure.

   What, no cuttings? No attacks? No sword-thrusts at the Oxfordians?

   Please work on that sequel. All good thoughts. till soon