Members of Trollope-l Meet Face-to-Face in London and Salisbury and then write about it online afterwards

Subject: [trollope-l] Ellen on the Epistolary Trollope

From: "Howard Merkin"

List members in North America will not be surprised to hear that Ellen's talk on the epistolary Trollope was received at the Trollope Society AGM yesterday with great acclaim and appreciation. I shall not attempt to summarise it, since I am sure that Ellen will post it partly or wholly on her web site when she gets home, and it will in any event be available in the issue of Trollopiana which gives details of the AGM.

The majority of people at the meeting were not involved in the internet, and had frankly never heard of Ellen before. Nevertheless they followed with fascination her outline of the three ways in which Trollope used letters in his novels, and were most impressed with her erudition and clarity of thought. I also greatly enjoyed the opportunity of meeting her and having a few brief words after the meeting.


Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Ellen on the Epistolary Trollope


I second Howard Merkins comments on Ellen's talk. It was a most interesting evening and the talk was packed with fascinating insights on Trollope and his letters. I also very much enjoyed meeting up with some of the names on the list, and I wish I had been able to meet more. It is so unexpected when you come face to face with someone who has become familiar through the modern equivalent of letters, and yet have only known them until then through their thoughts and opinions. It takes away the external stereotyping of people. Very interesting. I wonder if others there found the same? It was a great evening and I can't wait to read Ellen's book. Teresa Ransom

Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Ellen on the Epistolary Trollope


Thank you Howard-I'd like to hear more about it. I have been in previous years (alack- could not get away so close to Thanksgiving). Were there many questions? Did you meet fellow List members? Were there a good number of Americans?

Etc. Etc.


From: "Angela Richardson"

I was at the London Trollope Society's AGM (with my two wonderful house guests Catherine Crean and Joan Wall) and was able to hear Ellen's talk on the subject of the letters in Trollope's novels. It was a great tour de force which revealed her depth of knowledge and penetrating insights, ranging over all of Trollope's novels. Question time was like an encore revealing even more facts and information.

It was so lovely to meet people from the Trollope list, to have two actually living with me, to meet others at the AGM and finally to go in a party together to Barsetshire. The tour guide in the Cathedral found herself with the most erudite group of Americans she'd ever met and I'll never forget the group of scholarly heads bent over the Magna Carta, trying to establish exactly what language it was written in. (The guide was thoroughly proved wrong).

Thank you all so much for coming over. Angela

From: "Joan F. Wall" What a glorious week! To get to meet so many of my fellow listmembers; and of course to actually stay at the home of one of them, Angela, with another, Catherine; to see so much of the places where Trollope and the others roamed; to wander the drizzle in Kensal Green Cemetary and then walk through a murder in London; to hear the wonderful talk that Ellen gave, to wonder at the depth of her knowledge and ability at the talk and through our wanderings in London and Salisbury; to meet the other halves of the people on line, Paul, our most gracious host with a library the glories of which will probably put me in the poorhouse since I want most of it that I don't own; Nan Eisner and daughter Tory, Jim and Isabelle; Ellen and Sig pouring over the Magna Carta (and by the way for me seeing the Magna Carta); walking through Salisbury Cathedral and hearing organ music playing and the final tea at an old pub with all of us totally replete after a great day planned by Angela.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to do this for us.


From: "Catherine Crean" After reading Joan Wall's wonderful post about our week in England, I can't do better than say, "Hear, hear!" My journal is crammed with details, and I will share a few impressions. Staying with Angela and Paul was one of the best parts of the trip. We enjoyed their hospitality, their lovingly restored home, and Paul's library. It was great fun to sit in Angela's living room with a fire in the fireplace while talking about Trollope and drinking tea. On Sunday Angela and Paul took us around London (or "the city" as I think it is called by the natives.) We went to the Tate Gallery and saw the Bloomsbury exhibition. We also looked at some paintings by Millais and other members of the Pre-Raph brotherhood. Paul gave me a crash course in the Pre-Raphaelites. Success! Thanks to Paul, I have an idea of what the PR Brotherhood was all about. I also made my Y2K resolution that I would start visiting museums. Paul, if you are reading this, I will send you a postcard every time I go on a museum trip. Joan and I went on the walk in the Kensal Green Cemetary on Monday morning. We met Sig and Nan Eisner, and their daughter Torie. Henry Vivian-Neal lead the walk through the cemetary where we viewed the graves of Trollope. Thackeray, and Wilkie Collins. We also visited the chapel and the catacombs. Henry was a charming, energetic host. He strode through the paths among the monuments using his furled umbrella to point to areas of interest. When Henry wasn't using his umbrella as a pointer, he stuck the end of it in the wet ground and left the umbrella standing as upright as a gatepost. Henry does everything with panache! We had lunch in a modern building wing attached to a chapel. The area where we sat down for lunch looked like a visitors' centre. We had a warming meal of stew, salad, and bread. The dessert was a fabulous pie called , and I'm sure I've got it wrong, "bannatoffee." It had a layer of bananas, a scrumtious toffee layer and grated chocolate on the tope. Sensational! The group was then whisked away in a caravan of cabs for the Trollope Walk. As soon as we disembarked in the city we met Ellen and her husband, and Isabell. Hugs and greeting all around and then off on a walking tour of London. More later, if you are interested.

From: "Catherine Crean"

Angela said Ellen's talk was a "tour de force" and indeed it was. I have seldom been so excited as I was Tuesday night at the Reform Club in Pall Mall. Those of us who were on the Trollope walk on Monday had been in the Trollope Club for tea as guests of John Letts. Thank you, Mr. Letts, for a very special afternoon. The Reform Club's magnificent Library was the setting for both our Monday tea and Ellen's talk. After the business portion of the AGM was finished, John Letts introduced Ellen most graciously. Many of the people attending the AGM were not familiar with the Trollope-l list and many are not internet users. In his introduction, John Letts made the point that the comments readers of Trollope make on the internet are "important and worthy of preserving." The internet is a new venue for people to discuss Trollope - a venue unfamiliar to many readers of Trollope. After the introduction, Ellen "took her position on the hearth rug" so to speak, and began her talk. Ellen mesmerized the audience with her lecture. She had her facts well in hand, she had a unique topic to present, and she she incredible presence and vitality. I felt as if I were hearing a symphony where movements and passages follow one upon the other - sometimes harmoniously and sometimes with contrast. Ellen's gift is not only her knowledge of Trollope, but her ability to weave many threads together in a coherent argument. I look forward to reading her talk, but hearing Ellen expound on Trollope with passion, understanding, and scholarship was a rare experience. The applause at the end of Ellen's talk was sustained and heartfelt. Ellen answered quesitons, and then we all sipped wine and and enjoyed informal conversation. I met Teresa Ransom who inscribed my copy of her biography of Fanny Trollope. I wish I could have seen Teresa in her one woman show on Fanny Trollope. I will have to wait for my next trip to England. Ellen was surrounded by admirers, and everyone I spoke to had great praise for Ellen's talk. On the evening of the AGM, at at subsequent occasions, I was struck by one thing above all others. There is a sense of fellowship among readers of Trollope. This fellowship knows no geographic boundaries. This fellowship is selfless and inclusive. Trollope himself would have been an enthusiatic member such a fellowship. I have seldom felt such warmth and comraderie as I felt at the AGM on the night of Ellen's talk. We were truly honoring the Trollope, both the man and his works. Where could Trollope have found such fitting advocates as John Letts and Ellen Moody?

From: "Howard Merkin" I apologise that I have not replied before to the messages posted over the past few days, and particularly to Laurie, who asked a number of questions. When I got back from London last Wednesday, I set up a new computer and transferred all my files. Fellow list members will not be surprised to hear that I fouled something up in the process, and was not able to receive or send e-mails for some days. I only got things sorted out today, and will reply as best I can to Laurie's questions.

You will have gathered from other messages that there were a great many enthusiastic questions after Ellen's talk. As I said, a number of people that I spoke to were interested in everything that she had to say, and expressed a keenness to find out more about the internet, and the Trollope List.

Sadly, I did not succeed in meeting any fellow list members, other than Ellen. I went round the gathering of 50/60 people looking for an American appearance, and listening for American accents, without any success. Obviously all the list members present succeeded in disguising themselves effectively. Next time I shall wear a hat with a sign on it! I didn't even make contact with Henry, even though at one stage John Letts went round trying to find him for me.

You will have got a good impression of the occasion from the postings from Angela, Joan and Catherine. I am so sorry that I was not, after all, able to get away from the Fens in time to join the Monday excursion to Kensal Green and the Trollope walk, as I had hoped to do.


When I and the other Americans got back we wrote in too:

From: "Ellen Moody"

Re: My Week in London I too will chime in. I had a deeply gratifying week. Jim, Isabel, and I took a flight that left Washington at 9:40 pm, USA EST, and arrived at Heathrow at 10 am, London GMT. We slept on the plane: what else can you do when there are 32 inches between the back of your seat and the seat in front of you? (Yes, we went by steerage.) GMU (George Mason University) bought my ticket, and Jim planned for us to come to the apartment we rented while the concierge was on duty so we got in promptly, rested, showered, changed clothes (like good Victorian characters), and then Jim called Henry. Then I heard Henry's voice loud and clear. Miraculously, we were in walking distance of where Henry's group led by the remarkably knowledgable Bill Streeten. It seems I have been to many Trollope sites without ever recognising them. Jim had rented an apartment for us which was on York Street and overlooked the church in which Trollope's sister, Cecilia, was married. All around this area of London Bill has mapped out walks in which one can pick up moments in the lives of Trollope or his mother and the imaginative stories of his characters. Among other routes and houses, we traced the route Emilius took to murder Mr Bonteen, the route Mr Bonteen took, how Phineas managed to save Mr Kennedy in an earlier book, where this or that character lived or did this or that. Bill's grasp of the physical realities of the novels' many scenes brings home to you how much Trollope's novels derive from his memory and imagination dwelling on London's hierarchical and labyrinthian landscape.

Tuesday we rested, and I gave my talk in the evening. My subject was a complicated one: epistolarity in Trollope. The reason I use this super-abstract word is it takes into account all the real characteristics of the experience of a letter as it occurs in society -- all of which Trollope exploits. By this I mean (among other things) the difference between the real thoughts of someone, the words he or she might use, and what he or she will write down; the documentary nature of a letter which can be used against people; how a letter makes people both present and absent to one another and how writers and recipients take advantage of this; how letters allow people to pour out their souls, and how they can equally be studied performances. How they import meanings into a narrative Trollope knows he cannot control. Trollope makes acts of reading and writing letters narrative events in his novels too -- so we get a multi-perspective as we read -- for we interpret the letter as does the narrator. I also went into how Trollope uses letters to bind together and tell his stories. I demonstrated that Trollope's use of letters and semi-epistolary narration is central to his story-telling technique, distinguishes him from all other Victorians, and can be studied in three separate phases. I had lots of examples from the letters, and quoted the novels wherever I could insofar as time permitted. It will appear in the next _Trollopiana_ so I'll say no more.

Afterwards I met a number of our list members. I had met Sig, Nan, Toria, Catherine, Joan & Henry on Monday. I was delighted to talk to Howard and Teresa. I so enjoyed the numbers of people who came up to me to confide ideas they had long had about Trollope which we shared. John Letts had a copy of my book, _Trollope on the Net_ waiting for me. To me it is beautiful. It is a finely made book physically, with reproductions of the original illustrations from the ovels, and I think _dulce et utile_. I hope everyone will enjoy it. I will later this week or early next put on our list information on how to buy it through e-mail and the post for those who are not in the Trollope Society. I am told it will cost 17.50 or $29.95.

As others have said, the lecture is held in the library of the Reform Club. The library consists of a comfortable size pair of rooms. Behind the huge building is a beautiful garden and on the other side of the garden two other older clubs: the Atheneum and the Travellers. I believe Trollope belonged to both.

On Wednesday Jim and I made it to Kensal Green where Anthony & Thackeray are buried -- and a lot of other Londoner autors.

I can add to what others have said that it is a fully functioning cemetery. There are fresh graves, and it's really not a place for show in the way of the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. It's not easy to find individual tombstones. The map they give you at the gate is, according to my husband, worse than useless.

Thursday was another high point. Angela had organized a trip for a group of us to Salisbury Cathedral. We got on the train at around 9:30; the day included a tour round the cathedral by a guide who was well-informed. She did not give a short potted or predigested talk about a subject she didn't know very well. She loved that church and talked for a full hour and one half and could have gone on further. It was not her fault she had a group of people who were well-read in some of her areas, and inclined really to listen and question what she said. I think she enjoyed our paying real attention to her. It is true that she suggested Magna Carta was not written in Latin, and a group of us poured over a copy under glass in the church store (yes the church has a store just like a museum), and discovered it was in Latin. The document itself was fascinating. It had curious clauses in which the barons singled out individuals they apparently were not keen on, and forbid John to favour them; it also had some interesting clauses about women: widows were expected to accept a man's proposal to them to become their second husband unless they could provide security (money and land) in proof they needed no husband. This reminded me of how in Trollope women are expected to say yes to a man's proposal unless they love some other man or can produce some strong reason why they refuse him.

The cathedral is also a working church. It's not just a beautiful place with a deeply green shaded cloister, choirs, chapels, sewn alter cloths (modern) and stained glass windows of 20th century creation. Angela pointed out some figures by Burne-Jones.

Angela took us to an inn several of whose walls and roof derive from the 13th century. It stands next to a building built in the 16th century, and overlooks a beautiful stream filled with waterbirds. We had tea there. Jim played Mother and poured. We talked of Chaucer. A good moment we will all remember.

Jim, Isabel, and I also made it to a couple of museums, saw Peter Grimes, the full trilogy of Aeschylus in two parts: Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers were brilliantly performed at the National theatre. We also managed Noel Coward's brave autobiographical A Song at Twilight (he reveals his homosexuality). Standing by the Thames at night on the bridge which you walk across from the main part of London to the South Bank you see magnificent buildings, many lights, and so many boats. The old steps of the walls of the embankment are not yet gone.

A less happy note: I have wondered for 3 trips now who are the women beggars one sees everywhere around London who are dressed like gypsie. They always have an infant wrapped round their shoulders, and come up to people in a sing-song determined demand-like request for money. There are so many of these women. They dress alike; always have the infant. The infant is always the same age. There are never children trailing behind them. There is some act and costuming going' on here. In the US one does see many homeless people, but it is rare to see a child in the street with them. If a women refuses help, I have supposed her child is taken from her. Not that I approve of anyone taking a woman's child from her.

By myself I had a couple of business meetings! With Martin Sheppard I looked forward to another book, this one on Jane Austen's two Bath novels (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion). I also met with a group of baroque musicians who go round England playing beautiful (and very sexy) 17th and 18th century music. They are interested in the life and poetry of Anne Finch for whom I wrote half a biographical-literary study which I have put on my homepage, as well as a complete annotated chart of all her poems in chronological order, showing their provenance, manuscripts, editions, and which anthologies you can find them in.

We went home Sunday. Right now I am waiting for British Airways to bring to my house the large suitcase we brought home with us which included many of our clothes and the six copies of my book -- as well as Isabel's homework. This suitcase didn't make it onto the plane with us. Many airlines have decided they have in effect a monopoly of the air as a group. They can ignore their passengers' comfort (witness steerage), can overbook a plane, and make people stand in line for hours to put away their baggage. Then they need not hire enough employees or pay sufficient attention actually to get people's suitcases onto the correct plane.

I thought of Dorothy and Toto when I got home. As those of us familiar with The Wizard of Oz know, after the adventures are concluded and journeys achieved, she says there's no place like home, and we hear the click, click of her shoes, we leave the excitement and colour of high life to return to the quiet good world of black-and-white again.


(Two days later:

Dear All, my suitcase arrived in the wee hours of this morning. The man was literally afraid to come to the door. Other customers must get very angry.


To Trollope-l

November 30, 1999

Re: The Warden and Dr Thorne Sites

I forgot to mention that on Thursday when a group of us went to Salisbury Cathedral we also visited a compound (probably a US term) which is said to be made up of precisely those buildings and space Trollope described in The Warden. As we walked away from the Cathedral, we came upon a series of enclosed gardens which were cultivated by the side of houses built well before the 20th century. One of these walled-in enclosures lacked grass: on the one side you saw an old stone building, blackened here and there, tall older sash windows, much beige and gray. Here the 12 bedesmen lived. One could say why in the 19th century such people would have been seen as living in comfort. A kind of L-shaped building faced the stone building. It was larger, and was Mr Harding's mansion. In the center of the courtyard was a circled stone garden. Here Dr Grantly harangued the old men.

On Monday when a group of us followed Bill Streeten around London, we saw the block on which the Greshams had their home.

A little later in the week my husband told me he walked over to where the workhouse Trollope faced had been. It is now a large institutional building. The older one was pulled down and replaced. The rest of the facing blocks contain mostly early 20th century terraced houses. All but the new building which replaced the workhouse stems from around 1890.


Subject: [trollope-l] London

From: Sigmund Eisner Friday morning, 3 December, our alarm clock in the Jury's Hotel in Kensington went off at 5:30. Twenty-four hours later to the minute our plane touched down in Tucson, Arizona, and Nan, Tori (No. 1 Daughter) and I were met by Tori's husband and our No. 2 Daughter, Halley. Today is Sunday, and I don't think Nan or I are over our jet lag. But we plan to meet Tori and her family, No. 2 Son Chip and his family, and Halley and her family at Halley's house to discuss our two week trip to the UK and France. Jet lag or no jet lag, I'd like to tell all of you what we did and saw.

Let's start with Sunday, Nov. 21, the day after we arrived. We were graciously entertained at lunch by Robert and Vicki Wright, who live in Kensington, not far from our hotel. There we met Henry, who was later to conduct us on our tour through Kensal Green cemetary. After lunch Robert drove us on a tour of London, which included the amazing "Eye of London," a new 450 foot ferris wheel located just off Westminster Bridge and looks like a huge front wheel of a bicycle. Monday was the tour through the cemetary, which has been described by others. We did see the graves of Trollope, Thackeray, and Wilkie Collins. Then we all got into taxis and rode to the West End, where we walked where Phineas Finn, Mr. Emelius, and Mr. Bonteen walked in Phineas Redux. Our guide was Bill Streeter, who has cleverly made up maps of places mentioned by Trollope. We ended up at the Reform Club, where we were greeted by John Letts and where we had tea. On this day I was very pleased to meet Ellen, her husband Jim, her daughter Isobel, Catherine Crean, Joan Hill, Angela, and her husband Paul, and others whom I had just known as names on the net. We had dinner with Angela, Paul, Joan, and Catherine. The next day was Ellen's lecture. Ellen was just as well organized in her lecture as she is on the net. The subject, which we all now know, was Trollope's use of letters. Ellen made her points in logical order, one, two, three. The lecture was every bit as big a success as others have told us. Also, I had the privilege of leafing through Ellen's new book, which I advise all Trollopians to buy and enjoy.

On Wednesday we went to the museum at Wimbledon, which we all wanted to see, and Tori visited her old college, Richmond University of London.

Thursday was the great trip to Salisbury. Angela was our guide, and we saw not just the Cathedral but the very buildings which were the origin of Hiram's Hospital and Mr. Harding's house. Congratulations to Angela for providing us with a marvelous day.

After the Trollope business was over, we went to Melton-Mowbray in Leicestershire to visit old friends and then to Cambridge, where I spent the day going over manuscripts in the Trinity College Library, while Nan and and Tori shopped.

We took a quick trip to France by the Chunnel to visit and old friend who is a recent widower. Then we came back to the Jury Hotel and prepared for our trip home the following day.

I have six photos which I would like to show you. Not being very good with attachments, I'm going to make a separate message for each one of them. Do bear with me.

And, again, I want to offer warmest congratulations to Ellen, who was the real reason for our trip to England. Those of us who were at her lecture were more than impressed. We were overwhelmed.


From a snail-mail letter to my long-time friend, Karen Dubno, who lives in New York City

Dearest Karen,

As you can see from the public postings, the lecture went very well for me. Something did bring out in me on the spot my ability to perform. The old A student in dramatic reading is still alive in me. Of course I couldn't tell of the bad stress and sleeplessness, headaches, hives, the fact that my chest would tighten up and it was hard for me to catch my breath.

I also didn't tell of the 'official business' at the meeting which prefaced my talk. It consisted of re-affirming who runs the Trollope Society and describing its monies. We watched an election whose option only one person opposed and only for a moment. John Letts was given as a gift personally to him some 10,000 by an American millionaire, on condition Letts keep the society going and publish a Trollope book once a year (it had been 4 a year, but now the novels are all published). Then the man gave the society another $35,000.

An interesting sidelight: the atmosphere of the Reform Club is somewhat uncomfortable. At least I feel it to be so. The average employee wears very old-fashioned "class" marking clothes: bell-hop uniforms, stiff maid's dresses and the like. wear absurd clothes. One of our American friends made the mistake of coming into the Reform Club in sneakers. The people controlling the entrance (men in frock coats) tried to forbid her entry. She was forced to go up the back elevator. The attitude of those enforcing the rules is predicated on how they are treated and the rules that they too must obey.

As to my private experience, Last Sunday we left Washington at 9:40 pm, EST last Sunday and arrived in London, 10 o'clock London time. We made it to our flat in 2 hours, rested just a bit, washed, dressed, and then called Henry Vivian-Neale. We actually met him and a number of the people who showed up at the lecture, and followed an elderly man, Bill Streeten around the area of London in which our flat was located. This for 3 more hours. We were in Trollope country: Bill Streeten could tell you where so many of the characters in Trollope did this or that or lived -- and where the Trollopes lived too. The flat Jim took for him, me, and Isabel looked over the church in which one of Trollope's sisters was married. We got to the Reform Club at 6 o'clock London time, met Letts and had a very rich English tea (Jim downed three super-sweet cakes). There was good talk. I kissed and hugged Sigmund Eisner. Then Jim, I and Isabel went back to our flat around 8.

This was wonderful, but my body was superconfused.

I couldn't sleep. I found myself wide awake around 1 in the morning, but feared the Restoril would affect my ability to perform. So I took a fiornal for the terrific headache that was forming. Two hours and two stories by Dinesen later the headache was gone, but no sleep. So I took a Restoril. I slept until 10. As of today I am still only managing 4 hours a night.

The first practice in the morning of Tuesday November 23rd was weazy. The Restoril interfered with my producing energy for verve and pizzazz in the reading. Still I knew I couldn't have done it without sleep. I rested again, and around 2 practised again. This time it went very well.

It went even better in front of the people. I did say I remembered getting an A in dramatic reading in college, and Laura gets her talent for dramatic enactment from me. I did read it very well. Not perfect. I stumbled here and there, once in an attempt at too much eye contact, another time in an attempt to depart from my written script. They also liked the content. One of the Big Men at the table (all officials of the Society) said when I'd done, he wished every time they had a paper like mine, and declared 'this was not literary criticism.' Yes it was. But it was not jargon nonsence. I really went into the novels, and talked in ordinary language. Jim said the audience was responding because they knew all the books -- as a Janeite audience will know Austen's books and get all the allusions and jokes.

There was a reasonable crowd. I recognized the faces of a couple of Trollope scholars who lived in London. It was said that there were many more people than usual. This was remarked by several people. I think the people from Trollope-l made a difference. I would say there were about 110 people in the room. After I finished I was strongly applauded. There were lively questions. A bit later several people came up to me and talked to me in tones of intense enthusiasm about Trollope: I could see they hardly ever get a chance to talk about their hero in this way.

From the list: I met Teresa Ransom: a small blonde Australian woman who was once and is still in part physically lovely. Howard Merkin is a shy tall Englishman -- so nice in person. Henry Vivian-Neale similar. Sig, his wife, and daughter were there; Catherine Crean, Joan Wall, Angela Richardson and her partner. Sig is a elderly man, very kind, very sensible. There was also a woman who told me she is in an English Johnson society, and asked me if I would come and talk to them sometime. Really. We exchanged names; I have lost hers, but hope she has not lost mine. She suggested I could make a talk about someone Johnson knew: Richardson, perhaps a later 18th century contemporary Not that I would have the time: the audience would be academic, but not nailed to the cross of deconstructionist kinds of talk.

Martin Sheppard was there. John Letts seemed pleased. He bought Jim, I and Isabel dinner at the Reform Club afterwards. One man, Pelham Ravenscroft (that's his real name) joined us.

I felt a real exultation afterwards. Could I have e-mailed you, I would have sounded happy. I felt good because I felt I had earned it. Many people remarked on how much work it must have taken.

I was overexcited and couldn't sleep all night, but didn't mind so much.

The second important moment for which I went also went well. About 5 in the evening Linda Brand and her co-musician, Helen SomethingOrOther showed up at my flat. We talked for 3 hours. They are women I am very congenial with. Both are in their early 30s; Linda plays the recorder and teaches; she has 2 young children. Helena plays the harpischord and also teaches. I don't know that we came to any agreement over a specific task for me to do, but we did like one another and talked together about possibilities. I showed them my big books of poetry; they said they would get them. We talked of what poems, what a narrative life would be like to fit their musical program. Their problem is money. The government no longer supports groups like theirs; they would have to pay for a narrator. They also encounter ignorance. Those who hire them, say Anne Who? People who hired them are afraid the audiences won't come. Yet to do this would popularise their very high-minded jigs (baroque music with accompanying operatic soprano). Linda talked of trying to get Eastwell Park to provide a venue. At any rate, if they can manage something, they will, and I can and will work with them on Anne Finch. Another result of my time on the Net :).

Our apartment was large and lovely. Isabel had a larger room than we did. We overlooked a school and she watched the children play. She seems to have enjoyed herself. She came to everything but my meeting with Linda Brand and Helena and Sheppard. We had a long day in Salisbury Cathedral with Angela and the Americans who came -- which Isabel enjoyed very much. Angela took us to a 13th century inn by a mill to have tea. Jim took Isabel to the zoo during the time I met Sheppard.

The weather cooperated. It was mild, and often sunny. I carried my coat a lot. Isabel wore a gorgeous red cloak I bought her about 3 years ago. The first time she got some real wear out of it. As usual, Jim seems to grow English or taller when we come to England. At the inn Angela invited him to play Mother and poured. He did. He and Angela understood one another.

The trip home was very bad. Jim and I say we'll never take British Air again.


And one year later:

Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 10:39:16
From: "Joan F. Wall"
Subject: Happy Thanksgiving

Hi there,

I couldn't let the morning pass without wishing you, Jim and your beautiful daughter a good day. I remember sitting down with you three for thanksgiving at Salisbury last year to a quiche and scone. This year will be a little more traditional but I find myself thankful so much for last year's trip.

How wonderful it is to think that on the train a year ago you were discussing the possibility of the book you're now writing.

I thank you for all the help you've given me with Fanny Burney. I'm enjoying her and Fielding very much. Do you have other authors of the time--lesser known ones--whom you like?

I hope the three of you (and your other daughter if she's there) have a lovely day.

warm regards,

Re: Happy Thanksgiving Too!

Dear Joan,

Off-list I have just been talking with Angela about our happy time last year. She remembered too.

It was and shall remain a high point for me: It seems like some sort of dream. I worked for months on that paper; then I spent three week reciting it to the walls of my little study twice a day; I made myself an absurd podium out of a stack of books on a table and would practice and practice. I was so worked up I was on a high emotional crest -- in order to get myself to do it. I had never given any paper to peers anywhere. And I succeeded. And then we all met three times. I still remember Angela sitting on the train as we all boarded looking about at us all as if she couldn't believe it was happening. It did. What a beautiful memory. How extraordinary to have met Sig at long last ...

Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 17:33:13
To: Ellen Moody
From: "Joan F. Wall"
Subject: High Points

Dear Ellen,

I am fascinated with how much last year meant to me. After all, I didn't give a talk or do anything really but be a tourist. Much of it I think has to to with Angela, who made my stay at her home so wonderful. She and Paul were so incredible to just open up their home and lives to me (and of course Catherine) for a week. I remember so much of it vividly that I feel it has something to do with meeting names that come at me on the computer screen. Since I'm also on the Collins list, I had read Paul's mail and been on to his web page so when he walked into his home on the first day and I was in the hall, I recognized him immediately.

Also getting to know a little of Catherine, who I didn't remember well from postings, was a real challenge to me. She and I are totally different, would never have spent a week together under any other circumstances and it made for a very interesting week.

You write of Angela on the train not being able to believe it was happening. Did any of us really believe it? And yet tea at the inn was such a warm, lovely experience. I'm really sorry to hear about Sig and will email him tonight. I remember how he cared for you and wanted you so much to succeed because of your worth.

I had dinner yesterday at a neighbor's who luckily had found a fresh turkey--all 23 pounds of it. There were only eight of us, but all were to leave with dinners for the next few days. One of the two vegetables I brought was a new, partly made up from my head recipe for sweet potatoes. I just peeled them, sliced them into what would be very fat white potatoes for deep frying, then coated them very lightly with oil, put some brown sugar on top and put in the over on a tray. In 15 minutes they were cooked and loved by all but the 6 year old.

Weather here has been very cold lately. We've hardly gone over 40. Sunday we had about 2" of snow. Early tomorrow we may have some freezing rain or sleet--I can't wait.

I had just found Margaret Oliphant's Autobiography and letters in my favorite used bookstore, so as soon as I finish Wives and Daughters (for a local group), Amelia for my class. I brought Udolpho back from a used book store in London, but haven't touched it as yet. Now I'll wait for Romance of the Forest -- if I can find it. I read Belinda along with the other group on Janeites but got tired of its taking so long. I didn't much like it. Too stiff. Thanks for the other suggestions. I'll start looking for them on line ....


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Page Last Updated 11 January 2003