By Nancy Mitford (firstly)


How exciting! I've just realised that something I did in 1945 had repercussions in Evelyn's art for the rest of his life! I mean it contributed significantly to the form of
Officers and Gentlemen and even more so to Unconditional Surrender. Specifically, what I did was to send Evelyn, stationed in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, a copy of The Unquiet Grave by Cyril Connolly. Evelyn loved it and he hated it. (He hated it, he hated it, he hated it!)

Evelyn loved its first sentence because he had just written
Brideshead. That first sentence of Unquiet Grave reads 'The more books we read, the sooner we perceive that the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence.' Did Cyril think that he himself had written a masterpiece? Oh, yes, I think so. Behold the impostor:

Cyril Connolly

Sorry, I meant this impostor:


Evelyn's relationship with Cyril had long been intense. They met at Oxford. They weren't friends then, but they were aware of each other. Once, outside the gates of Balliol College, Evelyn was making a lot of noise. Cyril asked him why. "Because I'm poor," came the answer. It registered.

Richard Pares, Evelyn's first Oxford boyfriend was taken from him by Cyril, though the details are not clear, and in any case Pares quickly moved on to a don called Slicker Urquhart. The following image shows Cyril with another young man, but I'm using it because it's a great picture of Cyril's bulging brains. A brain as big as Cyril's could hardly be contained in the one skull, witness the splurge of grey matter to his left.

Reproduced in Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis

Cyril was described by Sir Maurice Bowra, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford as the cleverest student of his generation. After university, Cyril went into journalism. He greatly admired Evelyn's books and I'll try and back that up with a few quotes. Cyril informed the readers of the
New Statesman that in the pages of Decline and Fall:

'There is a love of life, and consequently a real understanding of it… The humour throughout is of that subtle metallic kind which, more than anything else, seems a product of this generation. A delicious cynicism runs through the book… though not a great book, it is a funny book and the only one that, professionally, this reviewer has read twice.'

On the strength of this review, Cyril got an invite for lunch at the Evelyns' flat in Canonbury Square. After which he said:
'It was a very small spick and span little bandbox of a house, and his wife was like a very, very pretty little china doll, and the two of them were this fantastic thing of the happily married young couple whom success has just touched with its wand.'

What did Cyril think of
Vile Bodies? I don't know yet, because Martin Stannard's Evelyn Waugh: The Critical Heritage is not to be found anywhere on the Castle Howard estate. I've ordered it and will update this essay when the book arrives.

Evelyn loved to tease Cyril. In fact, Cyril Connolly shares with C.R.M.F. Cruttwell, Waugh' History tutor at Oxford, the dubious distinction of finding his name crop up incongruously in several of his novels. In Black Mischief there is a General Connolly who refers to his wife as 'Black Bitch'. After its appearance, Christopher Sykes talks of having dinner with Cyril and his first wife, Jean. Cyril was in ecstasies about Black Mischief. He said it was the best thing Evelyn had written. His wife told Christopher about General Connolly and 'Black Bitch'. Neither seemed to mind, instead they found it funny. Here then is a photo of General Connolly and Black Bitch in throes of ecstasy about Black Mischief.

Reproduced in Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis

That is a photo of Cyril and Jean in 1936. Note that as Cyril's neck has thickened so his forehead seems to have shrunk.

In January, 1936, Cyril wrote of Evelyn:

‘I regard him as the most naturally gifted novelist of his generation... but his development has taken him steadily from the Left towards the Right. A Handful of Dust is a very fine novel, but it is the first of Evelyn Waugh’s novels to have a bore for a hero.’

Evelyn himself, in Cyril’s eyes, was anything but a bore. Cyril records of a meeting in 1934, their first for two years;
‘Evelyn very crusty and charming... so mature and pithy, and, religion apart, so frivolous. Made most of the people we see seem dowdy.’

What did Evelyn feel about his fine-living Oxford chum? Evelyn was not a fan of his writing. In 1938, he reviewed Cyril's Enemies of Promise in The Tablet, the religious paper he wrote in for free. Let me quote from a Duncan McLaren essay which can be consulted in full here.

'He begins by saying that Cyril Connolly is the only man under 40 who aspires to the Art of Criticism. Waugh wants to know what seems to be holding him back from durable work.

'Well, for a start (according to Evelyn) Connolly pays too much attention to fine phrases and not enough to the ‘architectural’ structure of his work. 
Enemies of Promise is one-third autobiography, one-third an essay on the distinction between literary and popular writing, and one-third a handbook of practical advice to the aspiring author. Waugh suggests that Connolly comes close to dishonesty in the way in which he fakes the transitions between these aspects and tries to pass them off as one theme.

'Waugh criticises Connolly’s use of cliché and claims that the book's analysis of the relationship between writers and their patrons is plain wrong. But these are trivial complaints, 
Enemies of Promise is more seriously flawed, writes Evelyn, warming to his task.

'Two long complex paragraphs follow. First, according to Waugh, all the writers that Connolly admires are ‘epicene’. Waugh suggests effete writers band together rather than stand apart from society and explore their talent alone. Thus Connolly sees his own career as a battle against ‘intrigue and repression.’ Waugh suggests that Connolly uses this as an excuse to write about his adolescence and his time at Eton, which Waugh finds highly embarrassing. He suggests that a thousand boys had the same education as Cyril Connolly and none have turned out like him. In fact, suggests Waugh, Cyril had a pleasant and privileged upbringing. The fact that he was and is an unhappy man was the result of other factors.

'What other factors? Waugh suggests that Connolly has a split personality. On the one hand, he is an elitist who thinks that artists should live in luxury and be applauded. On the other, Connolly fears that society is rotten and crumbling and the artist must hope for a fundamental change in regime for the existence of an artist to be at all possible. Waugh puts Connolly’s fear like this: ‘The names have been made up for the firing squad. He must shoot first if he does not want to be shot.’

'The review is one ambitious quote after another, but I’ll choose just one to make the point: ‘And it is into claws of this later bogey that Mr Connolly finally surrenders himself; the cold dank pit of politics into which all his young friends have gone tobogganing; the fear of Fascism.’ An inspired stream of writing goes on to suggest that Connolly’s politics was the most insidious enemy of promise. Connolly needed to get away from the smart cafés full of chatter, to meet some of the people who were engaged in governing the country and by doing so work out what Fascism actually was. Waugh reckons that Britain would become Fascist before it became Communist, though it was unlikely to go either of these unfortunate ways. However, if anything was calculated to provoke a move to the far Right, it was the behaviour of Connolly’s hysterical friends of the far Left.'

I know that's rather a long quote from Duncan, but that's quite apt really, as Cyril generously studs his own writing with other people's epigrams.

Back to Evelyn's teasing of Cyril. As I've already said, in
Black Mischief there is a General Connolly and his 'Black Bitch' wife. And in Put Out More Flags, Basil Seal makes use of the three wild and ignorant Connolly children in order to make a little money on the side in his job as billeting officer.

For some reason, Cyril didn't seem to mind. Or rather he minded, but was determined to put a brave face on it. So much so that in 1941, he published 'My Father's House' an excerpt from
Work Suspended, the novel that Evelyn abandoned because of the impending war. What follows is the cover of a treasured possession as it contains both my precious friends' names, one in the middle of the page and the other along the foot of it:


As I say, and as you can see, that was in 1941, same year as
Put Out More Flags and its uncontrollable, uneducated Connolly urchins. All good clean fun.

And then came the incident I've already referred to. The publication of
The Unquiet Grave by 'Palinurus', though it was an open secret that Cyril was the author. Evelyn was resting on his laurels, a captain in the army, posted to Dubrovnik where he was overseeing a delicate local situation. Early in 1944 he'd been granted leave and had used it to write Brideshead Revisited, which from the start he referred to by the initials G.E.C.. (Great English Classic.) A copy had been sent to Cyril; the covering letter reads:

Dear Cyril, Pray do not let your London friends persuade you that you are caricatured in this old-fashioned fiction. Think of all that Belloc wrote of the noble qualities of the men of Sussex & be guided by them. Love from Evelyn.

As far as I'm aware, Cyril is not caricatured in
Brideshead. Though receiving such a note would make sure that the distinguished editor read the novel with a particular and personal interest.

On January 7, Evelyn's diary notes:
'Two little parcels of books from Nancy including an authentic breath of Bloomsbury air - Cyril's Unquiet Grave. A letter from Nancy proclaiming Brideshead Revisited as a classic.'

The same day he wrote to me: '
A lovely parcel of books from you. Connolly’s Grave. What he writes about Christianity is such twaddle - real twaddle - no sense or interest - that it shakes me. And he seems ashamed of the pleasant part of himself - as a soft, sceptical old good liver. I am shocked by the Grave but have read only five or six pages.'

Duncan McLaren's annotated copy.

Evelyn's diary for January 9-10 reveals that he experienced two days of storms, giving him the opportunity for more reading: 'I read Connolly's Unquiet Grave, half commonplace book of French maxims, half a lament for his life. Poor Lys [his girlfriend]; he sees her as embodiment of the blackout and air-raids and rationing. And Jean [his first wife, as seen above] as the golden past of beaches and peaches and lemurs. It is badly written in places with painful psychological jargon which he attempts to fit into service of theological problems.'

On January 10, Evelyn commissioned a portrait bust of himself from an impoverished sculptor called Paravicini, and expressed his fascination with the process. On Jan 16 he announced that he had gone back to Cyril's book and was annotating it. He adds: 'The Paravicini bust takes the shape of an Anglican divine of the Matthew Arnold epoch.'

When Evelyn says he went back and annotated Cyril's book, he means he really got stuck in. On the title page he wrote:

'Why should I be interested in this book? Because I have known Cyril for more than twenty years and enjoy dining with him? Because, alone in Dubrovnik, I have not much to occupy me? Rather because Cyril is the most typical man of my generation. There but for the grace of God literally… He has the authentic lack of scholarship of my generation - he read French while getting a third in Greats - the authentic love of leisure and liberty and good living, the authentic romantic snobbery, the authentic waste land despair, the authentic high gift of expression. Here he is in war-time, strait-jacketed by sloth, in Bloomsbury, thinking of Jean in the South of France, peaches and Vichy water, instead of Lys and sirens and official forms. Quite clear in his heart he feels that the ills he suffered are theological, with the vocabulary of the nonsense-philosophy he learned, holding him back. The Irish boy, the immigrant, home-sick, down at heel and ashamed, full of fun in the public house, a ready quotation on his lips, afraid of the bog-priest. Proud of his capers; the Irishman's deep-rooted belief that there are only two final realities - hell and the USA.'

On 17 Jan Evelyn wrote to me, a letter full of fascination. He kicks off by saying that:
'The bust in grey mud grows more formidable daily and will soon be petrified. Short of getting myself stuffed - and not very far short of it - I do not know how I could better perpetuate myself. I have always thought it very clever to paint bad pictures but bad sculpture is ten times more exacting.'

Then onto the meat of the letter. Evelyn writes that - without me to talk it over with - he has covered Cyril's book with annotations in red. The book has allowed Evelyn to fill in a gap in his acquaintance with the author.
'When I next met him, he was the genial host of Bedford Square [address of Horizon] and the enviable possessor of Lys [one of several young female assistants]. What a surprise then is his book! First, how Irish. I have made the note in my copy: 'An Irishman's eschatology. The English gallows; the judgement of Father Flynn; the U.S.A.; Hell, a dark place peopled densely with ancestral enemies.' Cyril is poor paddy escaped from the tyranny of the bog priest, dazzled by the splendours of Tammany Hall, quite at a loss to know what to do with his freedom.'

On Jan 20, Evelyn's diary tells us that he has met a Belgian bookbinder and entrusted
Unquiet Grave to him, so as to save his ambitious annotation. Maybe the end product looked something like this copy that Daphne Bath, a mutual friend of Cyril's and Evelyn's, had bound. For sale on Abebooks for £350 in this spring of the year 2020


Now all Evelyn's Palinurus-baiting, his
Unquiet Grave disquiet, has implications for Evelyn's war trilogy, as I say at the top of this essay, but let's stick to a chronological order for now and tell the hilarious story of Cyril, Evelyn and The Loved One, that brilliant little book dedicated to moi.

Actually, I think I will let Duncan McLaren tell this part of the story, which has to go into things in forensic detail. Over to you, Duncan, Waugh scholar for a virus-ridden new century.


Thank-you, Nancy.

In some ways the genesis of
The Loved One was simple. Waugh visited America in February and March of 1947, became fascinated by Californian mortuary practices, and on returning to Piers Court in April, prepared himself to write about the American attitude towards death.

When he had written the book, he asked if Cyril Connolly would publish it complete, as a special but regular edition of
Horizon. Cyril agreed to do so, and so the book appeared in February 1948.

A foreword, ostensibly written by Connolly, but essentially supplied to him by Waugh, itemised the following as being the book's inspiration:
'The ideas I had in mind in writing were: 1st and quite predominantly overexcitement with the scene of Forest Lawn. 2nd the Anglo-American impasse - 'never the twain shall meet'. 3rd there is no such thing as an American. They are all exiles, transplanted and doomed to sterility. 4th the European raiders who come for the spoils and if they are lucky make home with them. 5th Memento more, old style, not specifically Californian.'

Please note that this list does not deal with the love triangle at the centre of the book. That is, the relations between Dennis Barlow, Joyboy and Aimée. I will try and show how the visit of Cyril Connolly and his partner, Lys Lubbock, to Piers Court in the summer of 1947, before Evelyn had completed the first draft of The Loved One had an influence on the themes and the form of this cold and brilliant little book.

The manuscript of
The Loved One is kept at the Harry Ransom Center in Texas, and I have not seen it. Robert Murray Davis has, and, where useful, I will refer to the chapter on The Loved One in his Evelyn Waugh, Writer, a book published in 1981. Though I think it would make sense for an American-based Waugh scholar to look again at what exists in manuscript and typescript after perusal of the present article.

The Loved One begins with a funny scene that mentions Horizon and one of its recent issues. Was that always the way the book begun? The scene may be what motivated Waugh to enquire whether the editor of Horizon would publish it. Or was the scene written once Evelyn realised that he dearly wanted Cyril Connolly to publish the book and he thought that such an opening scene might pull him in?

In other words, when Cyril received the manuscript, he would have been immediately faced with a scene set in California where two elderly ex-pats are sitting in rocking chairs, each with his whisky and soda and his 'out-dated' magazine. One speaks:

'Kierkegaard, Kafka, Connolly, Compton Burnet, Sartre, "Scottie" Wilson. Who are they? What do they want?"

"I've heard of some of them. They were being talked about in London at the time I left."

"They talked of "Scottie" Wilson?"

"No, I don't think so. Not of him."

"That's "Scottie" Wilson. Those drawings there. Do they make any sense to you?"



Sir Francis Hinsley's momentary animation subsided. He let fall his copy of HORIZON and gazed towards the patch of deepening shadow which had once been a pool.'

The copy of
HORIZON in question was an actual one:


OK, let's go about this methodically. Surgically, even. Evelyn was keeping a diary in 1947, and this tells us that he began
The Loved One on Wednesday 21 May, and that progress was very slow. He wrote until 11 June at which point he and Laura went to Ireland and got back on the 16th, very tired. He didn't finish the first draft until the week ending July 13. By this time, at the end of June, he had been visited by Cyril and his 'concubine' (Evelyn's word), Lys Lubbock.

Reproduced in Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis. Detail thereof.

This was Cyril's first visit to Piers Court. 'They came on Saturday afternoon and proved pleasant guests, showing more than polite interest in the house. Cyril recanted his socialist opinions, saying that his father's death had liberated him from guilt in this matter. Cyril is now obsessed by porcelain and silver gilt and nauseated by books.'

The late hours kept and the brandy drunk meant that Evelyn was still exhausted on Monday 30 June, not starting work again on The Loved One until the 1st of July. Here he is, the prankster. At the peak of his powers.

Evelyn Waugh in his library at Piers Court.

Another thing that Evelyn says about Cyril in his diary is:
'His joint tenure of the house in Regent's Park is proving irksome.' Horizon had had its premises in Bedford Square, with Lys and Connolly living in part of the property. With that lease having finished in 1945, Connolly had found a large house in Sussex Place which he and Lys shared with a woman called Janetta and her husband. Now Janetta was an ex-lover of Cyril's from the period 1937 to 1939, and according to D.J. Taylor's research, the nostalgic references in The Unquiet Grave were to Janetta and not to Jean. (It was to Janetta that Connolly bestowed a presentation copy complete with handwritten marginalia.)

So it was awkward for Cyril having his ex-lover and his present lover living under the same roof.

Janetta (left) and Lys (right). Reproduced in Lost Girls by D.J.Taylor.

Piers Court is a large house. With Laura talking to Lys in the drawing room, Cyril and Evelyn would have had plenty opportunity for a confab in the privacy of the library. Might Cyril have opened up about his love life? Of course he would have! By this time Cyril had had several lovers and a wife. His ex-wife, Jean, was in America but there was ongoing correspondence about her coming back to him. Cyril was always unhappy with his present lover, constantly comparing her assets and liabilities with those of his exes. Evelyn accepted he was stuck at Piers Court with Laura, a woman he may have loved once, but now looked upon more pragmatically as the mother of his children. Hearing about Cyril's ongoing sex life must have been fascinating, especially with half an eye on the book he was writing.

And Evelyn had his own relationship with Lys. In September 1943, in a letter to Laura, he wrote:
'On Friday I dined with Cyril Connolly. His mistress loves me still. Nancy there too. Truffles and lobsters.' In a letter to Nancy of 1945, Evelyn described Cyril as 'the enviable possessor of Lys' . Less flatteringly, Nancy referred to Lys as the Mouse at Bay, and in 1946 wrote to Evelyn: 'Have you heard about the Mouse @ Bay? Some other women were saying how the virility of men is in relation to the size of their noses and the M@B jumped out of her chair and said “It is quite untrue. Cyril has a very small nose.”'

Reproduced in Lost Girls by D.J.Taylor. Detail thereof.

Below is the Mouse@Bay cleaning Cyril's shoes, or so I deduce. Apparently, she was a great cook. Evelyn said more than once that he would have liked Lys to take over cooking duties at Piers Court. True, he had his own mouse-in-residence. But he seemed to find Lys somewhat sexier.

Reproduced in Lost Girls by D.J.Taylor.

Did Evelyn revise and finish the first draft of The Loved One with the visit from Cyril and Lys in mind? In creating the relationships between Dennis and Joyboy and between Joyboy and Aimée he would have had to draw on his actual experience, and that could hardly have been experience gained in his relatively short visit to the United States. In a superficial way, Joyboy was based on the mortician that Waugh had met who had shown him something of his craft. But the love element, the sexual jealousy, the blood and guts? That, I believe, is where Cyril came in.

Evelyn had long been fascinated by Cyril and his women. As the editor of
Horizon, he was surrounded by female assistants as was Joyboy at Whispering Glades. D.J. Taylor's book The Lost Girls details how Cyril was the centre of attention, his magnetic personality attracting beautiful, clever, ambitious young women, and his vanity, vulnerability and egotism ultimately making them regret their devotion.

Let's have a quote or two from
The Loved One: 'Mr Joyboy was not a handsome man by the standards of motion-picture studios…Mr Joyboy was unmarried and every girl in Whispering Glades gloated on him. Aimée knew that her voice assumed a peculiar tone when she spoke to him.'

Reproduced in Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis. Annotated by Duncan McLaren. A Bedford Squarescape.

It's also true that Cyril Connolly was referred to in the correspondence of Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford as 'Boots', short for 'Smarty Boots'. In the manuscript of The Loved One, Robert Murray Davis tells us that the Joyboy character is originally called 'Elmer', then that changes to 'Boyes'. That was perhaps too close to Boots for comfort, so a change was made to 'Joyboy', which anyway is better.

Oh, and the way Dennis Barlow got to Aimée's heart was through the written word. He impressed her with the poetry of Shelley, amongst other choices from the
Oxford Book of English Verse, allowing her to believe that he had written the following:

'Aimée, thy beauty was to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.'

When Joyboy learns of this, he is able to puncture her fantasy. The knowledge that Dennis has betrayed her leads to the depression that kills Aimée.
Nil desperandum, I say.

Reproduced in Lost Girls by D.J.Taylor. Annotated by Duncan McLaren. A Bedford Squarescape.

Talking about Aimée's cremation, Robert Murray Davis comments: 'The reader's response to this event, of course, is conditioned by the development of the relationship of Dennis - and of Joyboy - to Aimée throughout the novel, and Waugh revised heavily at almost every stage to exploit his material more fully.'

Let's leave these thoughts bubbling away and return to the chronology of 1947. According to Martin Stannard, Connolly wrote to Waugh following the weekend at Piers Court:
'May I record how delightful, suitable and commendable I found your train de vie [lifestyle] - fine books, fine wine, fine view.' According to Stannard, Waugh was nearing the end of the first draft of The Loved One and had mentioned it to Connolly briefly during the visit at the end of June.

On July 7, Connolly wrote again, congratulating Waugh on
Scott King's Modern Europe which had appeared in the summer issue of The Cornhill, edited by his great mate Peter Quennell. But Connolly went on to say: 'It is the Strand one ['Tactical Exercise'] which haunts me - very subtle and perfect.

Reproduced in Lost Girls by D.J.Taylor.

Now 'Tactical Exercise' is where a man of the same age as Evelyn (or Cyril) plots to murder his own wife. And what happens at the end of
The Loved One? Dennis and Joyboy combine forces to dispose of the corpse of the girl they've both been pursuing. Having committed suicide (no wonder with Evelyn and Cyril, as it were, on her tail), Aimée is taken by Dennis and Joyboy from Whispering Glades to the Happier Hunting Ground, the pet morticians that Dennis worked for. There they place Aimée's body in the incinerator, and after that has done its thing, Dennis pounds the skull and pelvis into fragments.

Cyril's admiration for 'Tactical Exercise' may have been a crucial link. Just imagine Cyril's approbation trickling down through Evelyn's mind.
'Very subtle and perfect.'

I'll mention in passing that
The Loved One was published by high-class Horizon (a sort of Whispering Glades) and then later the same year published as a book by Evelyn's father's humble firm of which Evelyn was presently a director, Chapman and Hall. The Happier Hunting Ground?

Evelyn spent much of July and August on
The Loved One, writing two drafts. In the middle of August, he went to Sweden for a fortnight, but by 14 September he had heard from his agent, presumably about the second draft. Then Evelyn sent him a new version that he'd been sweating away at, and it was this version, on 16 September, that he promised to send to Cyril Connolly were he to express an interest in reading it.

Of course, Cyril was interested, and once he'd read the typescript, he wrote back:
'Est, est, est!… One of your very best I think. I shall be honoured to publish it.' It's the second volume of Martin Stannard's biography of Evelyn Waugh that quotes Cyril Connolly correspondence here and there, so thanks go to him.

I should also mention at this point the funniest passage in what is a funny book. The scene I have in mind is when Joyboy takes Aimée round for a meal at the house he shares with his elderly mother. It starts with Joyboy addressing Aimée in his mother's hearing:

"Let's go see what surprise the little old lady has been cooking up for us."

"Just what you always have. I ain't got time for surprises."

Mrs Joyboy turned in her chair towards a strangely veiled object which stood at her elbow. She drew the fringe of a shawl, revealed a wire cage, and in it an almost naked parrot. "Sambo," she said winningly, "Sambo". The bird put its head on one side and blinked. "Sambo," she said, "Won't you speak to me?"

"Why, Mom, you know that bird hasn't spoken in years."

"He speaks plenty when you're away, don't you my Sambo?"

The bird put its head on the other side, blinked and suddenly ruffled his few feathers and whistled like a train. "There," said Mrs Joyboy. "If I hadn't Sambo to love me I might as well be dead."

Cyril had something of a mother fixation. She deserted the family when Cyril was young and lived in South Africa, but Cyril always stayed in touch with her, anxious to please. Moreover, as Peter Quennell tells us in
The Wanton Chase, when Cyril lived in Bedford Square, during the war years, there was a bird in residence:

'But a white sulphur-crested cockatoo temporally sat behind his chair. A ferocious bird, whenever it left its cage it would descend like a snow-white thunderbolt, a whirlwind of savage wings and talons, on any newcomer who crossed the threshold; and no less violent than its detestation of strangers was the passion it showed for Cyril, at whose approach it would immediately sink to the ground, pinions extended, crest thrown stiffly back, bubbling and gurgling an insensate song of love.'

Could it be that Evelyn had noticed this strange bird and found its character irresistible?

However, if Evelyn had used his love-hate rivalry with Cyril in
The Loved One, and the relationship between Cyril and Lys too, never mind his pet bird, wouldn't Connolly have spotted as much? Obviously, the American layer had to be flawless and consistent and complete, and account quite satisfactorily for everything that happens on the surface of the story. If Cyril and Lys have been made use of, the usage is deeply buried, having not been spotted by Cyril Connolly or, as far as I'm aware, by subsequent biographers/researchers.


Back to me! I'll do my best to keep up to Duncan's quality of research. (Gosh, such original speculation!)

In February of 1948, this appeared:


On February 9, I wrote to Evelyn: 'Darling Evelyn, The heaven of The Loved One, oh you are so kind to dedicate it to me, thank you thank you for it. I've been utterly shrieking ever since it arrived, luckily was lunching alone.' The letter went on: 'I dined with Smarty and thought him sad, but perhaps I bored him.'

And Evelyn wrote to me that same early February:

'Cyril has had an apoplectic seizure and gone to take the waters. The bare-footed partisans have got his dining room.'

This is a reference to one of Cyril's female assistants, Janetta, who'd had the audacity to serve Evelyn at a Horizon party when barefoot. And to the fact that, at various times, Cyril's flat adjoined Horizon's premises.

On Feb 11, I wrote again:
'Darling Evelyn, Yesterday I got a Loved One sent by Smarty today yours, with love and disapproval. Well love is the thing - toast!

Although it wasn't officially published by Chapman and Hall until months later, the book had already been printed. The cover and several drawings inside are by Stuart Boyle.


Boyle had visited Piers Court in December of 1947, and Evelyn's diary at the time reads: 'A morning discussing the illustrations and decorations of Loved One, which resolved itself into Boyle taking dictation. I supplied every detail.'

Which means that the images should be exactly how Evelyn wanted them.


My letter of February 11 goes on to say: 'Well the pictures are wonderful though I was shocked by dear Sir Francis having a monocle when we are expressly told he didn't and what about the wreath? Dennis is to the life and never has Nancy Mitford looked so pretty.'

Let's follow up these remarks surgically, like Joyboy would. 1. 'Nancy Mitford has never looked so pretty'. Because the urn has my name on it, I presume that the drawings of Aimée are based on me. But another thought is that they are based on Lys. Evelyn did not let me in on his secret use of Cyril and Lys, knowing that I would never have been able to keep such a delicious secret. A secret that simply had to be kept. I don't suppose Evelyn breathed a word of it to anyone.


2. Dennis is to the life. Did I get it into my head that Dennis Barlow was based on someone I knew? My first husband, Peter Rodd, even? But if so, how would that fit into Evelyn's ambitious schema?

3. 'I was shocked by dear Sir Francis having a monocle when we are expressly told he didn't.' In this case, Evelyn has made an alteration to his copy of Horizon, in which the relevant scene reads:

Also, of course, the monocle looks less natural when the eye is closed. Did you particularly wish to feature it?
"No, let us eliminate the monocle."
"Just as you wish, Mr Barlow. Of course, Mr Joyboy
can fix it."
"No, I think your point about the eye being closed is decisive."

That becomes in the illustrated Chapman and Hall book:

Also, of course, the monocle looks less natural when the eye is closed. Did you particularly wish to feature it?
"It was very characteristic."
"Just as you wish, Mr Barlow. Of course, Mr Joyboy
can fix it."
"I like the idea of the eye being closed."


Perhaps Stuart Boyle had put the monocle in the above image, and Evelyn thought it was easiest just to change the text. But Sir Francis is pictured twice, and it may be that Evelyn wanted the corpse to look quite like Cyril Connolly, but not too alike! Of course, Joyboy as described in the book does not look like Cyril Connolly, Evelyn would have known he wouldn't get away with that. So Evelyn did not ask for recognisable drawings of Joyboy. Instead he has saturated The Loved One with hidden references to Horizon and Cyril.


Oh, and some not so hidden! Look at that copy of Horizon next to Cyril's - I mean, Sir Francis's - elbow. Hilarious.

Back to my letter of February 11:

'Awful about Smarty's stroke. I saw Osbert [Sitwell] in the shop and he said: 'I put Cyril very high on the list of those who will have strokes.' Later at luncheon Lys disclosed that Cyril had had one in a train and I never had such winks as Osbert gave me. But as a lover of Smarty I feel sad about him. I thought he seemed wretched the night I dined alone with him.'

PS You needn't have wondered whether I would laugh - in spirt of Cyril's preface forbidding me I
bellowed for an hour and half gasping for breath.

And another letter from me: 'I read Loved One every day. My favourite joke is 'They do when they go to the can'. (So true.) My 2nd favourite is 'what you said first'.

I might as well explain these jokes, as another way of putting over the book's content and tone.

It is the custom of The Happier Hunting Ground to send a card to the ex-owner of a pet on the anniversary of its death. In the case of a dog, the card would say: 'Your Fido is wagging his tail in heaven tonight.' But in the relevant case, the pet was a goat and Dennis Barlow pointed out to the pet cemetery's owner that goats don't wag their tails. Mr Schulz's reply, that they do 'when they go to the can' conjures up the image of a goat taking a piss in heaven. Well, why not? Cue laughter from me lunching alone in Paris.

'What you said first' refers to a discussion between Dennis Barlow and the husband of a woman whose dead dog has just been bagged up and put in the back of Barlow's van. Their conversation goes like this:

"I have our brochure here setting out our service. Were you thinking of internment or incineration?"

"Pardon me?"

"Buried or burned?"

"Burned, I guess."

"I have some photographs here of various styles of urns."

"The best will be good enough."

"Would you require a niche in our columbarium or do you prefer to keep the remains at home?"

"What you said first."

I must admit I burst out laughing twice there. First, picturing Dennis Barlow asking this American businessman who just wanted shot of the corpse 'were you thinking of internment or incineration?'. Second, at the idea that keeping the ashes of the dead dog in his house would ever be the option this customer would go for. Yes, I'm with my younger self, bellowing down through the years.

Oh, and Evelyn wrote again on 6 March 1948:
'Did I tell you of Boots's stroke? Not I think paralysis in the full Elwes sense but a definite seizure. His doctor sent him to Tring where he was strapped to his bed for three weeks and treated with enemas and synthetic orange juice. He lost 21 lbs. Well that is a lot for a shortish man. I think it will be the end of him.'

I suppose, gentle reader, that you are thinking that Evelyn and I were being a bit harsh in respect of our mutual loved one. Not true. Cyril was a one-off and we loved him truly, even if we did take gross liberties.


Nancy is exhausted. Whether by researching or laughing I can't tell. So it's back to me, D.McL.

In the late forties, Cyril began to lose interest in
Horizon. His eye wandered, and when he got embroiled in another relationship with a young woman, that was demoralising for Lys. Over the course of a year or so, she warned Cyril that she was going to leave him.

June 1949: Evelyn to Nancy:
'Smarty Boots has just left, having spent the weekend in torpor. Whenever Cyril woke up it was to tell me of his enduring loyalty to, and dependence on, Lys.'

June 1949: Nancy to Evelyn: '
Good (about Cyril and Lys). I love Lys and she has grown bald in his service it would be a horrid shame if he turned her off now.'

September 1949. Nancy to Evelyn:
'I am appalled to find that in this week's Horizon there is not one single article I can understand. It's not a question of 'I don't quite see what you're getting at' I simply do not understand it, it's like a foreign language. What does it mean - ought I to commit suicide? I don't dare ask Cyril he is so touchy and he might think I imply a reproach.'

September 1949. Evelyn to Nancy: 'Boots boule de suif [dumpling] what was her name? Sonia something is engaged to marry the dying Orwell and is leaving Horizon so there will not be many more numbers to puzzle us.'

October 1949. Evelyn to Nancy: 'I went to London for a week and hated every minute of it. I saw the inside of Horizon office full of horrible pictures collected by Watson, and Lys and Miss Brownell working away with a dictionary translating some rot from the French. That paper is to end soon. Everyone I met complained bitterly about the injustice of having to earn a living and the beastliness of his own profession - Cyril about editing. Cyril was offered 1500 dollars to write an article about 'Young writers in Britain who swing right' and his mouth watered but he couldn't find one writer under 35 right, left or swinging.'

October 1949: Nancy to Evelyn:
'Have there ever been any writers under 35 except you?'

Cyril Connolly at the window of the Horizon office in Bedford Square.

Now I want to get to the nub of Cyril and Evelyn. And I can do so by quoting Evelyn's letter to Nancy of July 20, 1954. Oh, but that is five years ahead, I can't miss out such a long period. Really, I must keep my head down if I am to stay in Nancy's good books.

Horizon stopped in 1950. And a year later Cyril became lead reviewer for the Sunday Times. In 1952, Cyril was sent a copy of Men At Arms with the inscription 'To Cyril, who kept the home fires burning.' The biggest comic set-piece in the book concerns a mobile toilet owned by officer-trainee Apthorpe but purloined by Brigadier Ritchie Hook. On the inside of the lid was a plaque bearing the embossed title 'Connolly's Chemical Closet'. Cyril's review was lukewarm. 'For the first time I found myself bored by the first section of a Waugh novel…One raises the silver cup expecting champagne and receive a wallop of ale.' In the novel, the wallop is given to Apthorpe when, thanks to Ritchie Hook's plottings, Connolly's Chemical Closet blows up when he is on the job.

Evelyn wrote to Cyril to thank him for his review, pulling him up for referring to 'Atwater' a character from
Work Suspended, when he meant 'Apthorpe'. Evelyn added: 'I think it odd that you did not enjoy the 'thunder box' incident in what, I fully agree, was a dreary section'.

On July 20, 1954, Evelyn wrote to Nancy saying
'My book grows steadily and is OK. I have Boots as a Corporal of Horse in the Blues, composing Palinurus during the battle of Crete.' Nancy replied in August, 'Oh I long for the book. Bonnyboots and his wifie came to breakfast and I told him he was in it as a soldier. "A frightful coward, I expect" he said gloomily. Oh how deep is my love for him.'

The Cyril character is Corporal Ludovic. Actually, that's not really the case. It's not Ludovic that's Connolly, but Ludovic's book is Connolly's book. The first pensée from his journal concerns the men who lead him:

'Man is what he hates. Yesterday I was Blackhouse. Today I am Crouchback. Tomorrow, merciful heaven, shall I be Hound?'

An equivalent sentiment from
The Unquiet Grave? That book which enraged and engrossed Evelyn so much back in January of 1945.

'My previous incarnations: a melon, a lobster, a lemur, a bottle of wine, Aristippus.'

Or how about:

I have much more in common with Chamfort than with Pascal; sometimes I feel that I was Chamfort, for there is nothing of his that I might not with luck have written, yet it is by reading the thoughts of Pascal, which I could never have written, that I change and grow.'

Chapter 4 of 'In the Picture', the second half of
Officers and Gentlemen, begins: 'Corporal-Major Ludovic's journal comprised not only pensées but descriptive passages which reviewers in their season later commended.' And that is exactly what The Unquiet Grave consists of. Little epigrams interwoven with chunks of memoir which don't stint on description. The pensées are easier to imitate:

'We live,' wrote Corporal Major Ludovic, 'in the Age of purges and Evacuation. To empty oneself, that is the task of contemporary man. Cultivate the abhorred vacuum. "The earth is the Lord's and the emptiness thereof.'

Your turn, Palinurus:

'Cigars, tisanes, long draughts of water or fruit juice have a clearing, calming effect. They rev down the motor and overcome blockages. So also do sitting still, relaxing climates, luxury, constipation, music, sun-bathing, hang-overs, listening to fountains, waves and waterfalls.'

How does constipation overcome blockages? I think this might be a case for
Connolly's Chemical Closet. Explosions near the head are excellent for overcoming blockages in the bowels.

Back to
Offs and Toffs and Ludovic's ludicrosities:

Major Hound seems strangely lacking in the Death-Wish.'

And now to the noisy Grave:

'If all the world loved pleasure as much as Palinurus there would be no wars.'

And again:

'Captain Crouchback has gravity. He is the ball of lead which in a vacuum falls no faster than a feather.'

'New-year resolution: lose a stone, then all the rest will follow. Obesity is a mental state, a disease brought on by boredom and disappointment; greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear. The one good way to get thin is to re-establish a purpose in life.'

But the main thing about Palinurus is that he was the pilot of Aeneus in ancient times. That is, he steered a boat about the Mediterranean. Which is more or less what Ludovic does in the closing pages of Officers and Gentlemen. Crouchback and Ludovic are both on board, but Crouchback loses consciousness and Ludovic sees them to safety.

The view from Bedford Square to Piers Court and vice versa.

What did Boots make of Officers and Gentlemen in the pages of The Sunday Times? Like Nancy, I'm awaiting the availability of Evelyn Waugh: The Critical Heritage, but access to Waugh biographies allows me to say something. This is from Stannard's Evelyn Waugh: No Abiding City:

'Disappointed by
Men at Arms, Connolly had looked forward "to its successor to make amends" and discovered "a benign lethargy which makes it slow reading". Swallowing his embarrassment, he lauded the opening scene and the last hundred pages dealing with Crete. In the intervening matter, however, he had discovered little to interest him in the relationships between the characters who seemed "too superficial to sustain the structure.'''

Why 'swallowing his embarrassment'? Because in the opening scene Waugh writes: 'a group of progressive novelists in firemen's uniform were squirting a little jet of water' onto Turtle's club, which was ablaze. This can be taken to be an insulting reference to Cyril Connolly and Henry Yorke both. And because the last hundred pages feature Ludovic's pensées.

Cyril Connolly gave several of Waugh's later books a pasting in the pages of the
Sunday Times. In 1960, he wrote. 'A Tourist in Africa is quite the thinnest piece of book-making that Mr Waugh has undertaken… the particular pose he affects - of an elderly, infirm and irritable old buffer, quite out of touch with the times - is hardly suited to enthusiasm, a pre-requisite for travel writing…. What a drubbing I would have received if I had written it.'

In 1961, when it came to writing the third book in the War Trilogy, Evelyn did
a very clever thing. By his own suggestion, Ludovic is Cyril Connolly. And although the character continues into Unconditional Surrender, it is a new character who really is Cyril Connolly, editor, and who publishes Ludovic's pensées!

'Everard Spruce, the founder and editor of Survival; a man who cherished no ambitions for the future, believing, despite the title of his monthly review, that the human race was destined to dissolve into chaos.'

That's our Cyril.

'Those of his friends that had not fled to Ireland or to America had joined the Fire Brigade.'

Nominally, Cyril was in the fire brigade but managed to avoid all onerous duties.

'Spruce lived in fine house in Cheyne Walk cared for by secretaries to the number of four.'

During the war, Cyril and
Horizon were based in Bloomsbury, at Bedford Square, but Evelyn has to go through the motions of putting distance between his character and the man he is basing him on.

'Spruce was in his middle thirties. Time was, he cultivated a proletarian, youthful aspect; not successfully; now, perhaps without design, he looked older than his years and presented the negligible elegance of the fashionable don….The secretaries were dressed rather like him though in commoner materials; they wore their hair long and enveloping in a style which fifteen years later was to be associated by the newspapers with the King's Road. One went barefooted as though to emphasise her servile condition. They were sometimes spoken of as 'Spruce's veiled ladies'. They gave him their full devotion; also their rations of butter, meat, and sugar.'

Reproduced in Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis. Annotated by Duncan McLaren. A Bedford Squarescape.

That's Sonia on the left, who Evelyn disgracefully referred to as Boots' boule de suif. She married George Orwell on his death-bed. And Lys, on the right, who as we know was Cyril's lover for several years, ten in all.

In the first main scene set at
Survival's offices, Ludovic is shown around. Spruce tells him:

'Don't go until we have had the chance of a talk. I must apologise for the crowd. Two anti-fascist neutrals have been wished on me by the Ministry of Information. They asked me to collect some interesting people. Not easy these days. Do you speak Turkish or Portuguese?"
"That's a pity. They are both professors of English Literature but not very fluent in conversation."

I don't know if
Horizon did a Turkish or Portuguese special, but they did a Swiss number in 1946.

The bare-footed secretary is called Frankie, and she offers Ludovic a drink which is a mixture of South African sherry and Olde Falstaffe Gin. She asks Ludovic to introduce himself, and when he does, she says:

"I know all about you now. I read your manuscript. Everard is awfully impressed with it. He said it was as though Logan Pearsall Smith had written Kafka. Do you know Logan?"
"Only by his writing."

Cyril knew him all right. Enemies of Promise is dedicated to Logan Pearsall Smith.

"You must meet him. He's not here tonight. He doesn't go out now. I say, what a relief to meet a real writer instead of all those smarties Everard wastes his time on."

A pretty vivid scene then. It carries on a few pages later, when Guy Crouchback turns up on the lookout for champagne. He is told by another secretary, Coney, that there is nothing to drink, but goes in anyway.

'Ludovic was seated. For two minutes now he had been in enjoyment of what he had come for, the attention of his host.'
"The arrangement is haphazard or planned?" Spruce was asking.
"The plan is not immediately apparent. There are the more or less generalised aphorisms, there are the particular observations - which I thought, if I may say so, extremely acute and funny, I wondered: are they in any cases libellous?"

It should be said, that Evelyn was making sure that what was being said was not, strictly speaking, libellous. The next scene pertaining to Everard Spruce is one where Guy Crocuchback is looking at a copy of

'Guy turned the pages without interest. It compared unfavourably in his opinion with the Squadron Leader's 'comic' particularly in the matter of draughtsmanship. Everard Spruce, in the days when he courted the Marxists, dissembled a discreditable, personal preference for Fragonard above Leger by denying all interest in graphic art.'

That's slightly odd in that it's Evelyn who preferred Fragonard to the modernists. In a letter to Nancy of 1949, Evelyn writes:
'I think it might comfort and humanise me a little to see some French paintings - not of course, the filthy moderns nor Manet nor Monet nor worst of all Sisley but Fragonard.'

So maybe this was Evelyn playing safe, distancing Connolly from Spruce. However, it should be mentioned that the scene goes on to say that the frequent art supplements were chosen by Coney and Frankie.

The next scene set at the offices of
Survival comes following the death of Virginia Troy, Guy's ex-wife. All Frankie and Coney (aka Sonia and Lys) know about Virginia is that at a party Everard (Cyril) gave her enough smoked salmon to keep them for a week. Everard tries to explain who she was. He reaches for a book and reads eight lines from it. A tribute to a type of woman who thrived between the wars.

"I bet neither of you know who wrote that. You'll say Michael Arlen."
"I won't," said Coney; "I've never heard of him."
"Never heard of Iris Storm "that shameless, shameful lady" dressed
pour le sport? "I am a house of men," she said. I read it at school where it was forbidden. It still touches a nerve. What is adolescence without trash? I dare say you've not heard of Scott Fitzgerald either."
"Omar Khayyam?" Suggested Frankie.
"No. Anyway, the passage I read, believe it or not, is Aldous Huxley 1922. Mrs Viveash…"

Let's dig down into that passage. First, I think it illustrates how Cyril came across in conversation: full of sharp, vivid opinions with literary quotations to back them up. He was forever teasing his audience with their relative ignorance. Aldous Huxley is an author that would have been important to both Waugh and Connolly when Antic Hay came out in their first Oxford year. Likewise, the book would have been to hand in Evelyn's library (when he was writing his novel in 1961) as well as the bookcases of Horizon (during the war).

Shortly after, Everard Spruce finds himself discussing with either Frankie or Coney (no specific identification is given), the manuscript of
The Death Wish, a long novel by Ludovic, the follow-up to his altogether different pensées.

"You've read The Death Wish?" Spruce asked.
"Bits. It's pure novelette."
"Novelette? It's twice the length of
Ulysses. Not many publishers have enough paper to print it nowadays. I read a lot of it last night. I can't sleep with those damned bombs. Ludovic's Death Wish has got something you know."
"Something very bad."
"Oh yes, bad; egregiously bad. I shouldn't be surprised to see it a great success."
"Hardly what we expected from the author of the aphorisms."
"It is an interesting thing," said Spruce, "but very few of the great masters of trash aimed low to start with. Most of them wrote sonnet sequences in youth. Look at Hall Caine - the protegé of Rossetti - and the young Hugh Walpole emulating Henry James. Dorothy Sayers wrote religious verse. Practically no-one ever sets out to write trash. Those that do don't get very far.'"

To be honest, that could be Evelyn's or Cyril's voice. Both were well read and liked to think and talk about literature. That was the basis of their relationship. It was the basis for their high regard for each other's decided talents. It has to be said. Evelyn was the toughest, funniest guy in the lit world of the time. And Cyril was the sweetest, most articulate talker.

Unconditional Surrender ends with The Death Wish selling a million copies in America, and Ludovic making enough money to buy the Castello which had for generations been the Italian holiday home of the Crouchback family. A sort of happy ending.

In public, Cyril was generous to
Unconditional Surrender. Perhaps becoming a father had mellowed him, He had married for a second and third time, to Barbara Skelton in 1950 and to Deirdre Craven in 1959, and Deirdre gave birth to a daughter, Cressida, in 1960. After reading the first two books of the trilogy again, he came to the conclusion that has since been on the back of Penguin editions of both Unconditional Surrender and Sword of Honour.


But before the review was published, he expressed his fear to Ann Fleming that he'd been portrayed as Everard Spruce. Waugh tried to deny it: 'A mischievous woman in London tells me that you identify a character named 'Spruce' in the book I lately sent you, with yourself… it is persecution mania. Just count the points of resemblance and difference between yourself and that character and see what the score is… But what distresses me (if true) is that you should suppose I would publicly caricature a cherished friend.'

Perhaps, in Evelyn's mind, there was a legitimate distinction between to publicly caricature a cherished friend and privately to do so.

Meanwhile, Nancy was in no doubt about the resemblance. In October 1961 she wrote:
'Evelyn your book! Surely one of your very best, oh how I love it…. You got one thing wrong. Spruciboots never dived from a flying bomb - he dived off into the country for the duration of them. You probably weren't in London and so don't remember the extraordinary behaviour of many of our friends.'

Cyril wrote to Evelyn:
'I began to mind a little, I think, chiefly because Horizon had taken so much trouble about you and because I had been so pleased to publish 'My Father's House' as well as 'The Loved One' etc. I felt you did not understand how much one loved doing Horizon. You are like Nancy in The Blessing who thinks that parties and pretty secretaries are what editors really go in for!'

Evelyn tried to mollify his old friend. But how convincingly?
'It is very proper that you should have proud memories of Horizon. It was the outstanding publication of its decade. As for secretaries, Lys was beautifully neat and, as I remember her, Miss Brownell was quite presentable. Sometime later you had a bare-footed landlady but surely she had no part in Horizon and very little part in the delightful parties you gave. The whole identification is a fantasy.'

Spruciboots to that, I say!

Before I run out of steam, let's bring this to a conclusion.


Evelyn died in 1966. In 1971, Cyril was in America when he made a trip to the Harry Ransom Centre in Texas. Amongst the Evelyn Waugh collection, there is the copy of
The Unquiet Grave that Evelyn annotated in 1945. Cyril read the annotations and was horrified. He felt betrayed. He should have been able to foresee such a denouement, but he hadn't. Returning home, he sold all his first editions of Evelyn Waugh, complete with inscriptions, but I don't suppose that made him feel much better.

Evelyn had been taking the piss out of Cyril all his adult life. Thank goodness the latter had never realised what was going on in
The Loved One. On the other hand, Evelyn and Cyril were Celtic twins separated at birth. Short, calculating men, possessing biting charm and exceptional literary skills, who would both run to fat because of their craving for fine living, their inability to curb their appetites for life.

Let us end with the anonymous poem called
The Unquiet Grave that Cyril quotes five verses of in his own version of T.U.G.. It begins with Cyril speaking:

“The wind doth blow today, my love,
And a few small drops of rain;
I never had but one true-love,
In cold grave he was lain.

“I’ll do as much for my true-love
As any old man may;
I’ll sit and mourn all at his grave
For a twelvemonth and a day.”

The twelvemonth and a day being up,
The dead began to speak:
“Oh who sits weeping on my grave,
And will not let me sleep?”

“’T is I, my love, sits on your grave,
And will not let you sleep;
For I crave one kiss of your clay-cold lips,
And that is all I seek.”


“You crave one kiss of my clay-cold lips,
But my breath smells earthy strong;
If you have one kiss of my clay-cold lips,
Your time will not be long.

“’Tis down in yonder garden green,
Love, where we used to walk,
The finest flower that e’re was seen
Is withered to a stalk.

“The stalk is withered dry, my love,
So will our brains decay;
So make yourself content, my love,
Till God calls you away.”

God called Cyril away in 1974, eight years after Evelyn. But let me make the official announcement in respect of the
Brideshead Festival:


Next up:
Peter Quennell. Or is it news the Brideshead Prize? You decide.

Notes and Acknowledgements

1) Throughout the writing of this essay, Nancy and I have had to hand
Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis, published in 1997. Jeremy died in 2017 but in 2011 I had the privilege of performing with him at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond. Jeremy had just published his book on several generations of Greene authors and my Evelyn! Rhapsody for an Obsessive Love was due out, though the publisher went into administration and the book did not appear for another four years.

The Lost Girls by D.J. Taylor, 2019, is about the women who worked at Horizon, giving their complete back stories and destinies as well as their experiences with Cyril Connolly. It deserves to be widely read. I hope I have not gorged too much on the photos included in this book, whose copyright is given for the most part as 'Connolly family'. David Taylor and I both contributed short stories to PEN New Fiction 2, published in 1987. In 2016 I investigated what had happened to all 32 of the contributors to that volume. PEN Pals can be read online.

3) Nancy has given me permission to quote as much as I like from her letters. We have balanced off her contribution with quotes from Evelyn's diaries and letters, and if the Evelyn Waugh Estate asks me to cut back on these quotes then of course I will do that.

4) In due course, Alexander Waugh, in conjunction with the OUP, will publish further volumes of his grandfather's
Personal Writings, consisting of Letters and Diaries. These are eagerly awaited by Nancy and me, to name but two eager readers.

5) This essay will be updated for Cyril Connolly reviews of Evelyn Waugh books when I finally get my hands on copy of
Evelyn Waugh: The Critical Heritage, edited by Martin Stannard.