The Fulbright Year Abroad, Part Four: Mar-Apr 1955

A Note on the Text and Illustrations

For those who have not yet read Parts One (Sep-Oct 1954), Two (Nov-Dec 1954), and Three (Jan-Feb 1955), click on the links.

Asterisked hyperlinks below (*, **, and ***) lead to biographical notes in those previous segments.  To enhance online clarity I have again amended some punctuation, adjusted some paragraph breaks, and expanded most abbreviations along with correcting some hasty typos.  A spaced ellipse (" . . . ") indicates one in the original text; closed ones ("...") are my editorial condensations. 

This webpage is best viewed on a device using both fonts I employed: Comic Sans for Mila Jean's entries, and Verdana for my own.


Mar. 6-7, 1955

[handwritten airmail, to her parents]

       North England
       March 6—10:00 PM
       Somewhere halfway to Scotland!
       Here we are sitting before an electric fire in soft easy chairs in a sitting room of a hotel in North Darbyshire [sic] (I think)
—warm as toast (I might add for the first time since bed last night with a red-hot water bottle).  Had a rather grueling day of driving from 2:00 to 7:00, after walking around Oxford for four hours.  It was snowing in a blizzard fashion this morning when we got up, [then] changed to rain and then stopped, remaining only ice cold and nasty.  We left Bristol about 2:00 yesterday in a rented car (rented from a friend of ours who has a car of reliable condition).  Gerry* got a license and is doing all the driving, Jack* is "navigator" studying road maps and signs like mad and I am "keeper of the rations" (I take it you know what I mean: food) and "cleaner-upper."  Helena, Gerry's girlfriend, came along as far as Oxford and stayed overnight—went back to Bristol this afternoon.  We had a marvelous meal in Oxford and went to see the Hippolytus by the Oxford Players—they did it original Greek fashion, with masks in the Divinity School—which dates, I should judge, back to at least 13th-14th Century—all quite impressive.  Wickham* was down for it, in fact we ran into him today while we were sightseeing (I have my camera along).  Oxford has all sorts of interesting buildings, but it was so damned cold I lost interest in most of it after so long a time.  My traveling costume is an especially fetching garb—long green socks, slacks, short-sleeved sweater, cable-knit cardigan, June's*** skiing jacket (with hood!) which must have cost a fortune, green coat, boots.  I can hardly drag around with all the weight, but it keeps me fairly warm.  No heat in the rooms here.
       Speaking of warmth—got a letter*** fro
m John* before I left—usual bitter tone slightly subdued—says he appreciates your notes, but wishes you didn't expect him to write back—it really is an effort for him, Mother, so don't be too bitter.  Says he swore he would never go traveling again since it's so wearing, but in the next breath said he thought a trip to Italy would be "mildly exciting," and proceeded to outline [a] course of travel which staggered even me—Geneva, Venice, Florence, Milan, Genoa, Rome, Cannes and about five other places.  So off we go again, it seems.  I was pretty sure all along he would succumb, but didn't mention it.
       The bar downstairs is now dispersing, sounding like the place in Amsterdam***.  We still have about 200 miles to go tomorrow, but it will be a bit easier and prettier—all through the Lake District and Scotland—the only trouble is that we are sure to run out of money, but I daresay the National Provincial Bank will see us through.  Appreciated your very cute and clever card and recent letters—the packages will probably arrive in Bristol while I am gone, but guess the Reades* will take care of them.  We got into a hilarious situation in this town in trying to ask for "The Queen's Head Hotel in the Street"—there is also in town "The King's Arms Hotel."  We asked for the "Queen's Arms in King's Street"—what a mess!  Jack said, "Hell—why not the Princess's Elbow?"

       March 7th, midnight
       Finally in Glasgow
—dirtiest city in the world, but full of jolly, accommodating people—and living in a boarding-house type hotel—a renovated Victorian home, about five shillings cheaper than any other in town—very nice and friendly—had a nice dinner, several whiskies and saw a movie tonight—tomorrow hope to see the Covent Garden—pardon, the Sadler's Wells Opera* do Troilus and Cressida.  Car is still in shape, but so dirty—we are same.  Love, J

Mar. 13, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       March 13, 1955
       10:45 PM
       And a happy heather to you, too!
       This one will have to be short, giving you the essentials to be filled in later.  We dragged in [to Bristol] last night just before midnight, after traveling 450 miles since 8:00 that morning, and were we dead!  After eating, reading my letters, unpacking, taking a bath, and organizing things (like Francis See*) I finally got to bed around 2:45 AM . . . up at 10:15 feeling like every bone in my body had tramped each mile by itself, had breakfast in bed (bless
Mrs. R.*), puttered about achingly, read the paper, ate lunch, washed hair, and went over to Rod and June's* for the rest of the day which relaxed me no end, except for the one dim view which darkened the proceedings in that Rod is now beginning to give birth to a little ulcer, unhappy thought, eh Pete*?  Had lovely dinner and sat around gabbing until I had to catch the last bus home (imagine: 10:30!).
       I couldn't face the prospect of throwing things back in the suitcase and hopping the train for South Devon** today, probably not tomorrow either since I have to get more money and do numerous errands, plus meeting June for lunch, so shall probably drag down Tuesday
—will probably be ready to travel again by then.  Hope to be back in Bristol by the 22nd or 23rd, more shopping, booking tickets, having a haircut and wave with June, leaving around the 30th, in Paris by 31st . . . ach, Gott!  Got crazy, mad letter from John, all gay and cheerful and witty, so guess he is back to good spirits again . . . is busily running around to Cook's** for current itinerary: Paris-Geneva-Lausanne-Milan-Venice-Florence-Rome-Nice-Paris.  The only trouble is at present he has no money . . . ha, ha—ain't we got fun?  But that is in the distant future . . . now for relation of past and present . . .
       First: start saving your money for duty, 'cause you are soon to receive all sorts of things from Scotland, which may cost you something, sorry but the opportunity was too great to withstand.
       Got trapped in an export department of one of the nicest stores in Glasgow and flipped my lid:
       First, about the 1st of April you should be receiving two yards of tartan (they never say plaid in Scotland) material.  I looked up on the chart for the Burns clan which listed "Campbell" tartan for the family, so being a true granddaughter of Mila Burns, I got one nice variation of the pattern: blue, purple with tiny gold stripe.  We can figure out what to do with it later . . . 'tis enough for a jacket or skirt . . .is lovely material and worth much more than I paid for it.
      With a check dated the 22nd (time of next paycheck) I bought a few more things, since they were sans tax, therefore pounds cheaper.  About the 12th of April you, Mother, should be receiving your belated birthday gift (you'll never guess what)—the most expensive of the lot, but approximately $12 cheaper than you'd get it in KC.  The salesgirl says that when they send these things out to the States they declare the cost of the things much cheaper in order to get around customs, so hope you won't have to pay much [duty].  It was much easier for me to buy the things now, since I doubt if I['ll] have much money at all after this next paycheck.  Lastly, about the 12th of May (or earlier) you'll be receiving my birthday present to myself.  I had them send it a month or so later since packages should not be sent to the same address near the same time.  This package is a brown cashmere with gold braid (ostentatious but nice); too cheap to pass up.  Of course, after I pay Cook's for my European tour that takes care of that paycheck, but how I loved doing it!  I am reserving Daddy's big present until later; however am sending him a birthday present, which should arrive near Mother's birthday . . . such a business!  They had such gorgeous things at this place . . . Gerry spent all
of £22 for gifts for everyone he knows, but I couldn't manage it.  The bagpipes were tempting, though.  Also bought myself an incomplete copy of a Sir Walter Scott novel (1898 edition) in a secondhand bookstore in Edinburgh, and a book on costuming in Glasgow.  Scotland turned out to be very nice, and we had a terrific time, but what really hit me was the Lake District driving back . . . it really puts Switzerland to shame . . . such mountains, green green green and vividly blue water.  "Ah, Wordsworth, thou should'st be living at this hour!"  Naturally, we had a deadline to meet but kept stopping the car and screaming "Look, look" every few miles, even went past an arrow pointing up a hill, saying "Wordsworth's Cottage," but we simply did not have the time to stop anymore . . . got some postcards at a lovely little town where we ate, and took a couple of [snap]shots myself, though . . . even drove with the top down (you know old English cars have a top which slides back . . . ours was a Morris 10, by the way).
       Thursday we drove to Edinburgh . . . a lovely sunny day, went through the Castle . . . saw a show: Moliere's The Miser redone in Scots dialect . . . a darling idea, and very well done.  Approaching the castle I thought of you, for just outside the wing where Mary, Queen of Scots was once imprisoned, we could hear bagpipes being played inside . . . terribly atmospheric.  I liked Edinburgh much better than Glasgow, it is much cleaner and prettier.  Glasgow, I've since found out, has a tremendously bad reputation, and one of the worst slum districts in the whole British Isles, called the Gorbals . . . standard byword: "Can your Mother sew?
well" (producing razor) "tell her to stitch this up!" ripping the recipient down the cheek . . . they have huge gangs of young toughs who lurk around the dark streets in the smog (the smoggiest town in the world) and Billy Graham is due next week determined to clean up Glasgow . . . that is, if it doesn't clean him up for good first.
       We stayed in an old Victorian house renovated for 13/6 a night (very cheap), was really a steal: all the breakfast we could eat, and a nice landlord.  Located another American couple (he a Fulbright) living there and chummed around with them a lot . . . had dinner there, and two sessions of drinking . . . they are wonderful and affiliated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art there, where we spent the good part of two days, lounging around classes and talking to the director, Colin Chandler, a big man in the Edinburgh Festival every year, very nice.  Went around to the University there also, looks like a baronial mansion, and were shown about.
       Saw three shows in Glasgow, one a pantomime, but nicely staged; one a very cheap, crude piece of dramaturgy; and the other the Covent Garden Opera production of Troilus and Cressida . . . perfectly gorgeous, both musically and scenically, although the tenor was a trifle overweight.  Saw The Colditz Story the first night there, with Eric Portman, what a man . . . am now determined to see him in something other than a movie.  Found Glasgow on the whole quite unbearably dirty, industrial, busy, and lively.  No vacant streets at 11:00 PM like Bristol . . . of course, Glasgow is the third largest city in England [sic] . . . loved the Scots dialect . . . had little trouble in really communicating, but rarely caught every word they were saying.  Oops, forgot
saw the second year students of the Academy do The Sea Gull our last night in town, and very nicely toodirected by Chandler (a friend of Wickham's).
       Gerry turned out to be an excellent driver . . . wouldn't have asked for a better one . . . the car stood up amazingly well, but after we went to Edinburgh [we] had to have it lubricated.  It was making so much noise we could hardly talk over the rattle . . . also it seemed to lap up the gas . . . about twenty miles to the gallon and climbing all those hills didn't help matters.  Gas is about 4/6 to 4/8 a gallon, literally twice the price of that in the States . . . hear it is even more expensive on the Continent . . . Mobilgas everywhere!  We probably spent much more money than if we'd gone on the train, but oh, we would have missed so much more and having it to trek around the city in [and] to lug our friends about helped also.  We three got along very well, considering our close proximity and far-apart personalities . . . only a few minor tiffs with Gerry, but was I sick of his loud mouth by last night!
       Thanks oh so much for your letters, did so love hearing from
Mellie* . . . maybe I can get caught up at Dartington** (that is, if I can afford to get down there).
       More later—must run and make an errand list, hope
Aunt Mame is better by now.  Much love, Jean
       [handwritten postscript:]  One bra arrived
—other package yet to be seen.

Mar. 16-17, 1955

[handwritten airmail from Dartington, to her sister Mellie]

       March 16th
       Am writing to you since I actually owe you several letters
—but I reckon you can share this with the folks in case they wonder where and how I am.  This is a fairytale place on earth—[we] are living in a ballet school, a house of modern glass and chrome with central heating, hot water, and modern decor.  Each of us has a room with bed, dresser, book shelves, chair, basin and a glorious view out of semi-French windows [at] the Devon countryside.  Actually my window opens out onto a roof—rather like the United Nations building.  The second level where one can walk or sun oneself—wonderful sunny, reasonably warm weather, gorgeous trees, incredibly green grass, purple crocuses, old stone buildings.  We eat constantly—first meal about 8:45, tea at 10:45, lunch at 1:00, tea at 4:00, supper at 7:00—and "goodies" in our rooms after the bar closes—the "bar" is like an oak paneled cocktail lounge right off the dining room in the main building.  Rehearsals are 9:30-1:00, 4:30-7:00, 8:00-9:30—with usually messing around in costumes or props in between.  So far I have prompted, turned up a hem on a dress and taken out a sleeve on a jacket—tough work, eh?  All of us wander about in a carefree manner, going up at frequent intervals to the little store (on campus) for candy bars and fruit—not being able to contain ourselves until the next meal!  I love the play, Anouilh's*** Point of Departure—practically the first real urge I've had to direct in months.  Have just come up from downstairs, where Jack, Gerry, Jim Douglas (another American) and I had a gabfest.  The boys are all living downstairs, the girls upstairs.  I keep taking baths—so wonderful to be warm and cozy again while getting clean.
       Am reading two books on bullfighting and one called Boxing for Beginners—such scholarly research, eh?
       Got my ticket for the
Mauretania** a couple of days ago—plus all sorts of confusing data which Daddy would lap up, but which merely irritates me.  Shall show it to John for advice—am trying to learn Italian phraseology now to no avail.  Hope he remembers some.
       By the way—Dartington costs less than $5 a week for all meals and board—God, why am I leaving, but how long can paradise last, I ask you?
       Am dead tired—from eating, of course, so will close.  Hope all are well.  Love, Jean
       [P.S.]  By the way. we also sing in a choir every other day—sang Bach's St. Matthew Passion today!  Most of this college is a permanent music institute, so the whole place has the air of a summer music institute or a summer stock company.
       March 17th
       Happy St. Pat's to you—about to go to breakfast—getting up so early is the worst feature here, but it is less deadly when the sun is out and the birds [are] chirping madly away—where was Spring all this time in England?

Mar. 23, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       March 23
       And exhausted greetings to you too!
       Dragged in yesterday noon, after leaving Dartington around 9:00 AM in the rain, in Gerry's current battered car, skidding our way down to catch the train.  Went to the bank, read letters, got things out of hock, did errands, and went to a movie (Demetrius and the Gladiators, lousy) last night.  Today to Thomas Cook & Son with June; she put a new zipper in my black pedal pushers for me and fed me lunch, etc.  I am now owing Cook's £40 by next Monday . . . booked the itinerary I outlined in last letter, plus the night BEA flight from London to Paris next Wednesday night, the 30th.  When I think of all I have to do before then!  Tomorrow more shopping with June, we are both currently involved in Erica's* ninth birthday Saturday.  They're having in twelve little monsters for hot dogs (imported from the States) and to the zoo . . . they bought her a used bike, and June is making her a (get this) ballet skirt out of white and lilac tulle . . . even I am involved with all of this, even to the extent of ruffling lilac material.  Am also officiating at the party.  Have been madly throwing together all sorts of crazy little gifts for John's birthday Sunday [Mar. 27th] (his 35th), things like: cheap cigarette holder, corkscrew, pipe cleaners, each one done in tissue paper and bright ribbon . . . is all I can afford, and feel like maybe he's at the stage where silly things like that might appeal.
       Ironed all my things tonight, and dread the thought of packing (again!) . . . hope I can pour myself into my spring suit after all of that food at Dartington . . . it is absolute agony trying to decide on what clothes to take . . . it is cold in London, Paris, Geneva . . . warm in Italy, so a happy (?) balance must be set.
       June and I [went] for haircuts and waves Monday, perming ourselves Tuesday and packing.  ORDERED John to meet me in Paris Wednesday evening, but can just imagine him blithely sitting in a theatre somewhere while I stew, waiting for him.
       Dartington remains like a dream of remembered beauty . . . get me!  Seriously, 'twas fun while it lasted, gorgeous scenery, nice people, good food (but too much too often) but I was glad when I left . . . the country life is not for me, at least for any length of time.  We all packed a picnic lunch and walked to Totnes**, and took a bus to Paignton Saturday.  The ride down was divine . . . all of the earth down there is blood red (like Tara in Gone With the Wind).  We laid [sic] on the sand and looked at the sea, which, along with the sky, was as blue as you could possibly imagine.  Drank beer and slept . . . and collected sea shells (also pussy willows on the way back, at the risk of ripped trousers on barbed wire fences by one poor browbeaten male whom I ordered to pick them).
       Met an odd old woman who teaches down at Dartington, who repairs musical instruments and makes her own, including an exquisite mahogany clavichord . . . I went to her house one day and thought of you the whole time . . . all the old antiques, the African relics her uncle, a missionary, had brought back; an old spinning wheel with which she makes her own thread, a set of Georgian silver, hand-loomed material, each more lovely than the other . . . and I thought that the age of Walden Pond had passed forever.  Guess I was wrong.  I suspect she even breeds her own cattle, since I spied some right outside her window.
       Took eight shots of Dartington and the chaps, which are being developed, so will send these on now, am rather proud of some of them, others not so hot:
         1.  Left Bank of Paris, the Seine, note the eternal fisherman at left . . . they never catch anything, but it doesn't daunt them in the least.  This was just before the river rose so alarmingly.
         2.  The Seine . . . see the very dim outline of the Eiffel Tower in the background, to the right of the clock-tower?  It was very misty that day.
         3.  Oxford . . . those white pellets are snow . . . 'twas a blizzard . . . this is a Roman Catholic monastery, where we thought Jack was attending services . . . turned out he wasn't.
         4.  Old gate in Oxford . . . don't know which one.
         5.  Helena, Gerry, Jack in Oxford.
         6.  Building in Oxford . . . don't know what.  Note I was holding finger over lens again.
         7.  Oxford street.
         8.        "          "    , note twisted columns of smoke.
         9.  Edinburgh . . . one of main streets
       10.  Sir Walter Scott monument . . . gorgeous green grass . . . that's Jack in the foreground sporting new mustache.
       11.  Old building they are painting on grounds of Edinburgh castle.
       12.  View of what they called "The Royal Mile," Edinburgh, in front of castle
       13.  Took this out of a parapet window, Edinburgh
       14.  Gerry, Jack, Suzie, with castle in background.  Note they are refinishing pavement in preparation for summer festival, no doubt
       15.  Lake District, just outside Keswick
       16.  Ditto: awful, ain't it?  Don't know what I was trying to get
       It only goes to prove what a $2.98 camera can do.
       Met Glynne fleetingly today . . . he said that the magazine Act thought my article on European drama too long, but that they were going to use excerpts.  So he says, whether they will or not remains to be seen.
       Amazing about your weather . . . we feel so lucky to have the sun.  John signs his "The Cold One," really must be cold in Paris.
       I made that discovery about the Wedgwood about the same time you did . . . and they did have such a lovely little cup and saucer set here . . . sure you wouldn't like to start a new set?
       Thanks loads for buying those shorts and things and for the eventual sending of them . . . Hate to put you to so much trouble, though.  They sound lovely anyhow, although we're all waiting with bated breath to see the black sox, can't imagine them, somehow.  Yes, June will have a sewing machine by that time, so any alterations can be made easily.
       Your description of the hat sale was hilarious . . . can just imagine it . . . by the way, both packages arrived safely . . . thanks . . . the bras were wonderful.  No duty . . . last letter from John he was so bitter because he had to pay 1000 francs on a package from his sister, evaluated at half the price!
       Did I tell you that Rod now has an ulcer too?  I'm beginning to think it's my influence, since no one seems to get them until they meet me.
       Should close soon, to begin repairs on my clothes, and to trim a hat . . . bought some grey veiling to use on my white hat (feel I should have one for church wear), which ties it up to the grey suit, have new pair of Degas shoes with gunmetal trim, a gold colored scarf, and gold string gloves.  Am so exciting about  my first plane trip.  Naturally, John will feel I am being a traitor to the cause of SHIPS FIRST ALWAYS, but I did want to try a plane once for the hell of it.
       Want to get to Versailles either this trip to Paris or the next one, and also to Chartres Cathedral.
       Oh, I do get so frenzied planning things
—I shall throw myself instead into plans for the birthday party Saturday.
       Hope all are well, and try not to collapse when the things from Scotland start arriving.
       Much love, Jean

Mar. 27-29, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       March 27
       At the beginning of a fateful week:
       If this trip doesn't wreck me mentally, I don't know what will; am presently beginning a fifteen day treatment of a new Rexall product called "Tranquilex" for ragged nerves, etc.
—since I have all the symptoms they list on the box, I felt it might do some good.  Just discovered on top of everything else that the handle on my big suitcase is beginning to come off . . . now wouldn't that be a great thing to happen in the middle of an Italian railway station . . . John would never forgive me . . . guess I will have to lug it around tomorrow to see if someone can repair it, they don't have luggage handles (no Samsonite) like it over here, and can just hear them saying "Well it will probably take at least a fortnight" (that's what they always say) and me leaving Wednesday morning!  Also, [the] skirt of my spring suit is so tight I can't sit down in it (June can't repair it since she doesn't have her sewing machine yet), I am still unbooked for getting over to Paris (excursion flights from London booked solid), will have to send John a telegram to meet me in the morning if I can get on the early flight from Bristol (there is one from Bristol to Paris once a day) which means probably that I won't get met and will have to get to the hotel by myself, and a few other little things . . . aside from them all is fine.  Actually, disregard all my crabbiness, I am just looking for things to complain about, since the prospect of traveling (even to Italy) again for a month is a bit much after the past few weeks, but I'm sure once I get there and start having fun all will be forgotten.
       Another thing to dim the radiance was a recent letter from Dr. Barnett**, which was anything but encouraging about the future . . . 'twas very nice, but he sounded kind of tired and bewildered (as we all get), and things about KCU sound as confused as ever.  He says they have to cut down on the budget, the most obvious place being the fellowships, and although he is trying to push some in theatre, doubts if they will go through.  Also, if I want to get my MA in theatre, it will be a matter of practically starting from scratch, so why not some place else, I say.  He says that McIlrath* is going to write me soon, etc. etc. but all in all, it was rather depressing, and I dread showing it to John and getting into one of those everlasting arguments about not going back to KCU . . . guess I shall wait until McIlrath's letter before making any decision and writing back to Old Paint [Dr. Barnett].
       Had a hilarious day yesterday at Erica's birthday party . . . went over to the house around 11:00 to be greeted by chaos, June nearly at her wit's end, the children getting wildly hysterical (Erica and [her younger sister] Diane, no guests arrived until noon), Rod bleary eyed, having just gotten up . . . we frantically arranged the house, made hamburgers and hot dogs, orange and lemon squash, etc. etc.  Luckily I had brought along a pint of gin and when the going got too rough made stiff ones, and plodded on.  By the time the party had got [in]to full swing, so had we and gaily served the refreshments with a minimum of accidents and a maximum of fun.  They were typical little English children, being terribly reserved and well-mannered at first, gradually warming up, and in the end, yelling and screaming and eating and drinking alarming amounts of punch (the most popular room in the house was the WC for hours) with the best of them.  By this time it was raining (good old Bristol—every day since I've been back) but on we went to the zoo, dragged the twelve children behind—had to change buses twice, ach, Gott!  The zoo is beautiful though, all green and well laid out with the swan and duck pond being unfenced so that they are walking all over the place along with the human beings . . . saw the seals being fed, I do love them so, the ape house, monkey aquarium, flower aquarium, snake house, bears, and Rosie, a thirty year old elephant who plays a mouth organ (and unfortunately at this time the power of suggestion got too much for Rosie, [who] punctuated the music by doing her duty at the same time).  [After] an hour and a half we were all thoroughly soaked [handwritten insert: from the rain!] but Erica was in heaven and all the little brats seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Back on the bus, getting them all home (except two or three of the inevitable hangers-on who came back to the house with us until their "daddys" came after them).  We collapsed in front of the fire for awhile, then cleaned up the deluge—and didn't move for an hour afterwards.  Had another drink, and finally got around to eating ourselves—then sat around for the rest of the evening in various positions of collapse, drinking cider and getting sentimental about how hard it will be to say goodbye in August, etc. etc.
       Today, I had a hard time even getting out of bed.  Cleaned up and tried to organize things, do repairs on what I should pack (provided I have a suitcase), reading Tom Wolfe (again), etc.  Tomorrow to Cook's to see how much I have to pay on tickets (should take every cent of British money I've got), the hair appointment, seeing a rehearsal [by] the Old Vic first years of Our Town, seeing Glynne, part of dress rehearsal [by] the Old Vic Theatre of The Enchanted (remember? KCU did it in 1952 with all those children I was in charge of) and over to Brandt's** tomorrow evening.  Tuesday: chaos, packing, etc.  Wednesday, leave (we hope).
       Sat in on a rehearsal of the Old Vic first years doing 1939, a very interesting exercise, but terribly funny . . . all cinemagraphic in mime, with narration done over a loudspeaker.  Bob*** (the one who played Chremes in God in the Garden***) is once more the hero and is doing his usual good job . . . must describe it all to you sometime with gestures, it's too funny, especially the Battle of Dunkirk.  Afterwards, I did my shoppin
g (£5 worth) since this is the period when all my staples are running out, and went to dinner at Sonia Fraser's**, the girl who played the lead in Hello, Out There**.
The newest batch of pictures are described as follows.  By the way I hope the last set made it, since I couldn't afford to send them first class.
       1.  A long view of the main building of Dartington in the sun
2.  Front view of the same, through the big door and to the left was where we ate: you can see how old it is
       3.  Lav's* h
omemade car, and from left to right Jim Douglas (the other American), Gerry, Patrick Blackwell (Old Vic student).  The car was down in the lot outside of where we lived
       4.  Picture of a cat (I meant for John but decided to send it on with the others).  She was lovely golden color and lying under an enormous tree . . . those little spots about her are purple, yellow and white crocuses
       5.  "The Gang"[:] crouching is Peter Baldwin, [then] from left to right: Patrick, Gina Stott, Mary Noonan, Gerry, Eileen** (with apple in mouth) and Daphne.  In background[:] building which runs to the right of the main building
       6.  Another one: old stone steps going up to the place where we had choir.  Left to right Mary, Jim, Patrick, Jack (being petulant), Gerry, Eileen, Gina, and Sylvia
       7.  This is where we lived, with Eileen in doorway . . . my room is upper bank on the left, fourth window down, window opened out onto roof where we sunbathed
       8.  This is what George Brandt calls my "surrealistic shot"—unfortunately didn't turn out, but was [a] picture of Paignton and the sea with the gang in front.  From the looks of this, they just got hit by an enormous wave (actually, think it must have been light in the camera).
       Now have three more rolls of film for Italy—someone told me it had been snowing in Venice, oh, no!
       Think I'll close for now and get back to Look Homeward Angel . . . will wait until after tomorrow to mail this.  Ta, ta

       [handwritten postscript:]
       March 29th
       As far as I know now—am booked on the 5:30 plane from London [to] Paris—will get to the Left Bank by 8:45.  From now on you can write me in care of John if you need to.  Am beginning to get good and healthily excited.  Is now 1:00 AM—have spent the night at Brandt's gabbing and seeing one act of the dress rehearsal of The Enchanted.  Tomorrow, dinner at Rod and June's and pack.
       More later
       Much love
       The Wayfaring Stranger

Mar. 30Apr. 29, 1955

[handwritten itinerary recap]

       March 30th       Left London, arrived Paris 8:45—Dinner in Latin Quarter
       March 31st       Cook's—window shopping—The Beggar's OperaLe Select bar
       April 1st            Printemps store show—Merchant of Venice
       April 2nd          The Pearl Fisher—Opera Comique
       April 3rd           zoo, Seine, Amahl and The Medium
       April 4th           Left Paris for Geneva, arrived 4:30, fondue
       April 5th           Lake Leman, Geneva—Of Mice and Men
       April 6th           Left Geneva for Lausanne, arrived Milan 9:30
       April 7th           Milan sightseeing—La Scala—La Fiamma, Resphigi
       April 8th           Milan—Venice
       April 9th
       April 10th         Easter—St. Mark's—The Lido—No Business Like Show Business
       April 11th          Venice [to] Florence
       April 12th         Le Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower, Basilica, Gina Lollobrigida movie Bread Love and Jealousy
       April 13th         Florence [to] Rome, Spanish Steps, Victor Emmanuel, Colosseum, Forum, The Little Hut
       April 14th         Sightseeing tour—walk—cognac—Trevi Fountain—Pantheon
       April 15th        
       April 16th         Genoa, Municipal Opera, Rosenkavalier
       April 17th         Genoa—graveyard
       April 18th         Genoa [to] Nice, Spanish Dancers
       April 19th         Nice [to] Marseilles, bouillabaisse
       April 20th        Marseilles [to] Paris
       April 21st         Bank, Montmartre, Harlequin Through the Ages, V.Columbia
       April 22nd        Opera Comique, Spanish, Ravel
       April 23rd        Casino de Paris revue
       April 24th        Amants de Venise
       April 25th        Grand Guignol
       April 26th        boat ride—Intermezzo, Barrault
       April 27th        Versailles, [illegible] on Seine, [illegible], pantomime
       April 28th        Paris—London, Old Vic, Henry IV Part II
       April 29th        London—Bristol

Apr. 2, 1955

[handwritten, to her parents]

       April 2nd
       Dear all

       Since I can't remember when last I wrote (although I'm sure it was early this week), felt I should drop you a few lines to let you know I arrived safely and to wish you, Mother, a very joyeux birthday.  It is now about 1:30 in the afternoon of a beautiful sunny day (though still not warm)—I just finished my coffee and rolls in the Biard, where some of the patrons were taking advantage of the "almost-springlike" weather in sitting outside in the sun to enjoy their wine.  The little flower seller across the street had put up his bright-colored umbrella and all the French were beginning to get terribly intense (also more verbal) in their excitement over the advent of Spring.  Hope it is decent weather in KC.  Per usual, John is not up yet but I'm just as happy since I've been feeling a bit "rocky" yesterday and today.  That damnable flu bug had been going around Bristol before I left, naturally hitting the Brown children right off the bat—this type was the "achy" kind plus runny nose and eyes—the latter complicated by some sort of nasty sticky fluid.
       When I got to Paris, John had just recovered from intestinal flu.  Now comes the not-so-funny part.  I have contracted a mild case of both types—neither of which are pleasant.  Luckily it (or they) hit in Paris when I can stay in bed, but it did make me so mad that it would have to wait until my "big" holiday.  I still manage to stagger around, although 'twas a bit difficult last night—however I always manage to throw things like this off after a couple of days and I daresay this will be gone soon.
       The airplane flight was absolutely wonderful and à la Cinemascope technicolor movies.  Did all of my packing in one case of June's parents which expands and is of lightweight stuff (also stuck books etc. in straw basket).  The packing was hellish to say the least, since I had to keep within the limits of 44 lbs.  Left home around 11:00 AM (luckily I could carry my own suitcase) and took a bus to the station—met two girls on the bus, one from Jamaica, one from Sweden, and got to talking—so we rode to London together; they went along with me on the subway to the air terminal—ate lunch there (very swish and American) and from there got the bus to the airport.  By the way the girls accompanied [switch from pen to pencil] me out of the goodness of their hearts—they were just spending the weekend in London.  Said goodbye as the bus left and got involved with a little old German lady on it—lovely ride through London, by the way.  Short wait at airport—no customs problems.  On to the plane (Air France), took off, were served tea and cakes and by the time we'd finished we were landing at Paris Airport.  Another short customs, on to bus, a forty minute drive, and there we were at Gare d'Orsay on the Left Bank, with John waiting—claimed baggage and walked the few blocks to the Lindberg*.  Deposited suitcase and ate enormous meal, walked around and gabbed.  Next day we went to the Printemps exhibition at a department store (just like Macy's), to Cook's and window shopped—saw Beggar's Opera that night—not too good—hero looked like the Great Gildersleeve.  Yesterday more window shopping and to bookstore, saw Merchant of Venice last night—fair.  Tonight we're seeing the
Opera Comique*** do Love, the Magician by de Falla and The Pearl Fishers of Bizet.  Tomorrow Marie Powers (Broadway) [in] Menotti's The Medium, and Amahl.
Monday at 8:10 AM ! we leave for Geneva, arriving there at 4:00 PM—will probably stay overnight and sightsee—stopping next at Milan.  Pray we have good weather.  Don't know where we'll be Easter, probably Florence—certainly not Rome, since the tourist trade must be overwhelming at that time.  [handwriting starts to slant down page]  Sorry this has been a bit incoherent, but my right eye is half-closed at present, and what with the pen breaking down, makes it a bit difficult writing.
       Hope you have a perfectly marvelous birthday—wish I could be there to spend it with you.  Much love to all, Jean

Apr. 9, 1955

[handwritten (very faintly) to her parents]

       April 9th, 2:00 AM
       Have been intending to write for ever so many days, but the constant strain of packing and repacking have taken their toll and, as you can see even now I have to write during stolen moments.  We're now in Venice
—arrived about 4:45, a fairytale city which it is impossible to describe—all gingerbread and mosaic architecture (although I myself prefer the more simple classic style), canals everywhere with millions of gondolas and motorboats, blue skies and the everlasting chatter of the Italians.  Even now they are screaming, laughing, and arguing under my window.  We have apparently the only remaining rooms in Venice—it being so near Easter.  Huge double rooms in a flat up four flights of stairs off of a main street just around the corner from St. Mark's Cathedral.  They are very expensive and luxurious and John is getting very intense about trying to find others, but I am basking in the enormity of it all—especially the bed with its length and width of at least six feet—French windows overlooking the main noisy street, et. al.
       We arrived at the Piazza [San] Marco via ferryboat—naturally no cars, cabs, or anything—just water.  We have not taken advantage of numerous offers for gondola riding (they seem awfully precarious) but may take a motorboat to the Lido beach tomorrow.  Is not very warm here but was almost hot in Milan (although more northern).
       Last Sunday [Apr. 3rd] (after I last wrote) we took a walk by the Seine and went to the Zoo in Paris—was a gorgeous warm day and everyone was out.  Saw Marie Powers that night in The Medium, magnificent woman.  Got up next morning at 6:30, usual agonizing mess, but all went smoothly for us—horrible mixup about being on a car that only went halfway to Geneva, but eventually got on another in the midst of some rugged scenery in Switzerland.  Geneva was positively beautiful. we lived in a very nice hotel for two days just down from the Lake, where we spent most of the time—incredible blue.  Still love Switzerland's winding streets and hills—had fondue again and saw a production in French of Of Mice and Men.
       By this time I had recovered from my eye trouble and flu, but John felt awful.  To complicate matters I twisted my ankle and have been limping ever since.  Such a biz!
       Took train from Geneva to Milan Wednesday [Apr. 6th]—spent two hours in Lausanne sightseeing.  Milan was disappointing somehow—probably because neither of us was feeling particularly spry and consequently took it out by scrapping with each other.  It was warm, but more of an industrial town—had gorgeous clothes.  Went to La Scala Opera last night and left this morning for (rather yesterday—I keep forgetting what time it is) Venice.  The food of course is delicious and we stuff ourselves.  The one meal a day we eat together.  Breakfast and (for me) the early part of the day is spent alone.  John is slowly but surely getting to the point where he hates to get out of bed at all—I don't believe he is at all hardy, shall we say?  But in spite of the various illnesses, quarrels, and discomfort of being always on the go, we're having a fabulous  time.
       Will probably stay here for Easter Sunday [i.e. the next day, Apr. 10th]—on to Florence either late Sunday or early Monday.  Wednesday [Apr. 13th] to Rome—that's all I know for now.
       Hope you are all peachy.  We think of you and talk about you all the time.  Will try to write more later.  Much love, Jean

circa Apr. 15, 1955

[picture postcard of the Roman Colosseum: handwritten, to her parents]

       Happy Birthday Poppa!
       After three days here I hate to leave
—absolutely gorgeous.  On tomorrow for Genoa, then Avignon and to Paris by Wed (the 20th).  Easter was lovely and sunny in Venice.  Florence nice but didn't get to see all I wanted to.  To opera tonight, Cyrano.  Sightseeing town this morning—my last—I don't work well in crowds.  Luv—more details later.

Apr. 17, 1955

[handwritten, to her parents]

       April 17th
       Sorry I had no time to locate a more appropriate card in honor of your birthday, Daddy, but as you can well imagine things were going fast and furious at that point and it was only by a few stolen moments and a frenzied rush that we got the postcard mailed
—John wanted to send a telegram but I felt that the shock would lessen rather than heighten your birthday spirits, so we settled on the Colosseum to pacify you.  Hope you are having a wonderful day—bought your birthday present in Florence but found it impossible to mail then and there—even at that after ten minutes of searching I found John waiting bitterly at the Ponte Vecchio in the rain.  It seems I had been in the store for thirty minutes.  Due to my delay we missed getting into the Uffizi Art Gallery—for which I was sick, but there's always the next time.  If Italy hasn't taught me another thing, it's convinced me that one lone trip is less than adequate, and most awfully frustrating.  You can't even hit the high points.  Especially when you're tired and need to sleep in the mornings.  I indulged in a sightseeing tour one morning in Rome (had to get up at 8:00!) and convinced me that I don't mix well with crowds—was like so much cattle being herded around—after three hours of it I staggered back to the hotel where John had just got back from breakfast and was "raring to go"—so off once more, this time on foot and with a vengeance!  On the sightseeing tour I met a family who is going to live in KC next year!  Very dull and typical unaesthetic American types but nice enough—young son of some eight years developed a crush on me and I had to drag him along hand in hand all through the Borghese Galleries and Vatican City.  Get me!  I and an acquired metal got blessed by the Pope that morning in his usual mass ceremony in St. Peter's Square—the crowd collects and at 12:30 he appears at the window and blesses them and their holy relics—I acquired the latter in case some Catholic friend should want it—it seems this is the epitome of holiness for Catholics to possess a metal or rosary blessed by the Pope.  My main miss in Rome was the Sistine Chapel, which was closed both times I was in the Vatican.  Oh well—next time.
       2 AM
       Have just read over the preceding mess and it occurred to me that it is relatively futile for me to attempt to write letters of any intelligence en route—I am either too tired or hurried to make any sense at all, so from now on, will pinpoint highlights and viewpoints.
       Easter in Venice, gorgeous—got up late and went (alone) to the last half hour of services at St. Mark's—very frustrating—thousands of milling tourists wandering through the church constantly during services—tourists, mostly Americans and Germans.  Went to see No Biz Like Show Business that night, dubbed in Italian.  Loved eating scampi (large shrimps) and ravioli in the narrow winding streets or having an aperitif alongside the Grand Canal.  For the sheer spectacular there was Venice.  Florence was much less prepossessing in appearance, but chock full  of art treasures.
       Right smack in one of the main squares in Michelangelo's David.  What a shock to see it standing casually there unguarded and matter-of-fact.  First night there I was ill again with flu—ach!  Next day the Cathedral, Giotto's Bell Tower (I was standing way up on top taking a photo when the wind whipped my scarf off of my neck and carried it away—I hated to lose it but how dramatic) and Basilica, Ponte Vecchio, and shopping.  Ate charcoal broiled T-bone steaks and tortellini and lived in an absolutely mad pensione where we communicated with the concierge by sign language and where I accidentally locked John inside all one morning.  Countryside around Florence was gorgeous.
       Rome—well, what can one say?  It is all anyone could hope to say good about a city—gorgeous buildings alongside ruins, lovely weather, beautiful gardens, and a huge bevy of the American social set, which seems permanently settled there—all snobs but pleasant.  Lived in a wonderful hotel where all spoke English and I had a little beflowered room that overlooked a Greenwich Village type courtyard where pandemonium reigned.  NOTE: the Italians are emotional, sentimental grownup children and are very noisy.  Would make Ruby and Gladys Johnson sound like cat-footed cherubs in comparison.  The last night we were there (as I told you) we had tickets for the opera and got all dressed up in taffeta and good blue suit respectively, but turned out the opera was postponed for no apparent reason, so we sauntered over to the Ward Parkway of Rome and drank cognac for the rest of the evening—I saw just enough of the tourist attractions and sensed enough of the environment to realize this is one city that could well take a lifetime to appreciate properly, and during which time you would never be tired of.  It is perfect.  I was even slob enough the throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain (which is about to be closed for repairs) and dragged John around the Pantheon and Forum.  Left with much misgivings yesterday and got to Genoa at dusk—got into a very cheap pensione, had a luscious dinner, spaghetti with seafood dressing, scampi, green salad, strawberries, wine, and saw the Opera's production of Rosenkavalier—good singing but dull staging.  We were both so tired we kept nodding through the whole last act which began at 11:45 and [was] finally over at 1:00 AM.  Last show: at Italian cinemas are usually anywhere from 11:30-12:00, isn't that a riot?  And the whole rest of the night they wander through the streets singing, talking and laughing.
       Today we went to Genoa's great tourist attraction—its cemetery, and down to the bay.  Also got involved in a political demonstration.  Are steak, ravioli, salad and fruit with Kirsch and went to an evening of Disney cartoons since we were in a hysterical mood.  The Italians loved them.  Genoa is very friendly: gay, but still damaged badly.
       Tomorrow morning we're off to Nice, which means leaving Italy (sigh!) but the prospect of Paris is heartening, except we figured out it's about twice as expensive.  Along with its other virtues, Italy is very cheap.  Women's clothes (especially in Milan and Rome) are the best I've seen anywhere in Europe—displays artistic—food incredible.
       Forgot to say that Easter we also went over to the Lido by boat—was chilly but damned if there weren't some people swimming in the Adriatic.
       Tuesday we hope to go to Avignon, but we never plan more than a day in advance, so who knows?  Is now 2:30, so believe I'll close and pray I can get this to a post during the rush tomorrow.  Much love, Jean
       [P.S.]  Write to the Lindberg if you want to tell me anything  We'll be there the 20th.

Apr. 25, 1955

[handwritten (again very faintly) to her parents]

       April 25th
       Just a note
       To tell you that we arrived gratefully back in gay Paree the 20th and [I] have been trying to rest up to face the ordeal of going back to Bristol, which I dread
—to postpone it even further am planning on staying in London for several days after I fly back [on] the noon flight Thursday (the 28th).  Had to write Rod and June to send me several pounds (broke again) in care of the St. George Hotel** so I could pay the bill there and to see several shows—will probably get back to Bristol Saturday, God willing.
       From Genoa (where I last wrote from) we went to Nice.  By the way we spent a lovely day in Genoa taking baths, going to the cemetery and eating—ha!  Nice was gorgeous and sunny and surprisingly cheap for my idea of the Riviera.  Incredible colors in the sea and sky, usual resort fashion, and many crazy people running around the surf or sunning themselves in bikinis while we froze to death in sweaters.  Well, I had myself one glorious time in Nice—we had a wonderful meal that night and went to see José Fernandez and his group of Spanish dancers—John was nonplused but I was ecstatic—wandered around an art exhibition in the same building and gaped at the gambling casino—had a drink across from the sea, where you could hear the breakers pounding away.
       Next stop was Marseilles—which was pretty much as I had expected—rather dirty and dingy—walked around the old part and ate at a waterfront café.  With John's encouragement and always wanting to try the specialty of each city, I had bouillabaisse—seafood soup with huge chunks of clams, mussels, etc. floating in it.  'Twas awful—and I was already full after starting off with a heaping portion of what we call "little rascals"—tiny little fish fried whole—ugh!
       We left the next day for Paris on a packed train.  Got on the wrong one at first and John had to run and get the baggage off while I stayed on the right one.  The wrong one sped away and after fifteen minutes of no John I was convinced that he hadn't been able to get off—and was frantically wondering what I would do in the Paris station with no money when he finally came up.  We sat on baggage for four hours outside the WC in the passageway when we finally fought our way to seats.  Believe me, you have to fight!  Spent the next five hours eating salami sandwiches and beer in the compartment.
       Paris looked wonderful—I am to the point where its glamour has worn off—I merely love it now.  Madame and your letter were waiting [at the Hotel Lindberg]—we ran out and gorged ourselves with food and mail.  Thanks so much.  Daddy, have no fear—the new medicine was abandoned the first day—glad you liked the photos.
       We've seen some quite interesting theatre, ranging from the history of Harlequin to the Casino de Paris.  Tonight Grand Guignol (horror theatre)—tomorrow Barrault***.  Are planning a trip to Versailles Wednesday.  Also went to the American Art Exhibition yesterday.  Rest of the time is devoted to sleeping and eating.
       John sends his regards and thanks for the card and I send
       All my love, Jean
       [P.S.]  Hate to see the travelers checks gone!

Apr. 30—May 2, 1955

[typewritten to her parents]

       Almost May 1st, 1955
       Back home again in Bristol:
       Before I get too bogged down, I arrived here on the 11:15 AM train from London (getting in Bristol about 1:45) Friday (yesterday) with something like two shillings in my pocket and very bitter about the whole thing.  Monday, the day I wrote you from Paris, I also (on John's instigation) wrote Rod and June asking them to send me a couple of pounds to the St. George Hotel for me, to get to me no later than Friday morning.  It seems that June, being the overactive thyroid type, sent a registered letter to the hotel the moment she got my letter, and IT arrived before my letter to the St. George, so they sent it back to BRISTOL upon receiving it
—hence, old Mila J. lived in London with next to no money and left with same, after shelling out enough to get to the Old Vic Thursday night—promised the hotel that I would send them their money when I got to the bank in Bristol.
       Thursday is still too painful for me to relate at this point, but I'm sure after several days I will be able to tell all with a laugh.  Suffice it to say I left Paris, all sunny and gay, after a hysterical morning at the Lindberg, begun when John knocked on my door at 10:30 with some bitter comment about the femme de chambre having to get my room cleaned up by the time she left for lunch at 11:30—seems she had wakened him to tell him all of this and you know how he can be in the morning.  I managed to pack completely and stagger out to the Biard for breakfast—got back and seems she had moved all my stuff upstairs to John's room.  In paying, found out Madame had had to charge me for two extra days in retaining the room before we got back on the 20th or I wouldn't have been able to get the room—THIS was a terrible shock and took every cent of French money I had, including 1000 francs I had been saving to convert into British money and 300 for the bus from Gare D'Orsay to the Airport.  At this point (I was still groggy from sleep) I stormed into Numero 16 saying in a Francis Smith tone: "Now we're REALLY in trouble" but surprisingly enough John was perfectly calm and even laughed at me.  Luckily, usually when one of us gets hysterical the other immediately becomes calm.  NOTE: Not always!  Between us we had 200 francs in small change and John [was] laughing—out he went and borrowed back 100 francs from the femme de chambre of what I had already tipped her.  Chuckled he: "Get me, wealthy American tourist, borrowing from the femme de chambre."  At this point I laughed also and went into the "closet" as John calls it and washed my teeth.  Then after much stipulation about whether my luggage weighed 44 lbs or not we walked over to the station (on the Left Bank), I got checked in (baggage only weighed 36 lbs) and sat on the wall by the Seine for a half hour.  He saw me off on the bus and I, per usual, felt wretched leaving Paris.  Nice plane trip (but never again, too expensive), had lunch on it: cold chicken and ham, oeuf mayonnaise (hard boiled egg), some sort of cold salad, hard roll, cheese, devil's food cake and small bottle of wine (for which I had to pay 100 francs extra.  I was VERY bitter about this).  NATURALLY, it was raining in London.  Everyone has been telling me since I got back that they had lovely weather for a month in England but I don't believe them.
       Well, you can imagine how it was lugging that heavy suitcase and straw basket around in the subway stations, but who could afford a taxi?  Arrived at the St. George when they informed me about the letter they had sent back, frantic trip to post office to see what had happened to it, frantic call to Bristol to Rod and June (also hysterical) telling them to HOLD the letter when it was sent back because I was giving up the ghost and going back to Bristol.  Frantic call to the Old Vic, once more on subway to Waterloo, getting lost hunting for theatre, arriving at 7:00.  Luckily, there were a few seats left, in the slums of the gallery but only 1/6 and the show was terrific even if I was hungry.  Did, however, buy a coke and sandwich and ten cigarettes.  The cast got an ovation and about a dozen curtain calls so it was well worth the effort, it was Henry IV, Part II by the way.  Back to the St. George and a hot bath, my first in God knows when, and to bed.  Next morning, usual big breakfast in bed from the little French maid, a few trips across Paddington to check on trains and finally leaving, saying good riddance.  Got all of your charming letters, including one from my bank, saying I was overdraw
n £8 but all is well (?) [sic] now.
       Went over to the Browns yesterday afternoon, had dinner and distributed my little gifts to the various members of the family and promptly got involved in a current scheme of Jack's of directing Strindberg's Miss Julie, to be performed June 10th with JUNE in the title role.  She used to act, you know, but now is terrified about doing it again.  I am once more stage manager.  Well, at least it keeps me from this dreadful loneliness I keep drifting into.  I don't know why it is, because half the time with John we're arguing about something, but after four weeks one gets awfully used to it and misses the other person, even to fight with.  Tonight, I went to see a Western movie with Kirk Douglas in it, with Jack and Jim Douglas.
       Let's see, think I wrote Monday, right?  That night we saw Grand Guignol
—rotten, just like American B movies with added excitement of pouring gasoline on a man, dragging him outside, and setting fire to him . . . great Paris tradition, ha.  Walked around the Pigalle, bumping into prostitutes, staring at the Moulin Rouge fascinated, but John, the puritan, dragged us into the subway and we went back to Montparnasse for our drink.  I now drink pernods.  This may not mean anything to you, but is significant to me since everyone in Hemingway always drinks them . . . just like concentrated licorice and non-potent.
       Next day we took a boat trip (two hours) down the Seine, unfortunately was raining, but I liked it.  That night we had our expensive "exotic" dinner.  I had snails for an hors d'ouevre with white wine, then lobster and mushroom baked in a dish sprinkled with breadcrumbs and melted cheese, lettuce salad with oil and vinegar dressing, some sort of strong cheese with poppy seeds, ending up with a cassata (Italian ice cream with fruit), and coffee . . . all glorious, including the snails which John had to teach me to eat (everyone in the cafe thought it so sweet, and at my age)—they are strong (flavored with garlic) and "muscular" as John says.  The various foods kept fighting [me?] rhythmically all during Barrault's production of The Enchanted that night . . . a completely misproduced show.  Had beer that night at our regular place, Le Flore, on St. Germain.
       Next day we went to Versailles, about a thirty minute train ride out of Montparnasse station . . . we walked so much that day that John said all of the fluid had drained out if his knees and ankles and we could only stomp back, getting lost on the way back to the station . . . must have walked a dozen miles.  Most tourists use the bus service but not we!  Natch, Versailles was overwhelming, any kind of architecture you'd want from Baroque to Rococo—parts, like the Hall of Mirrors, just too too much for my taste.  Preferred the more delicate style of Marie Antoinette's boudoir and her "country place" the Trianon, but about a mile from the main Chateau.  More about this later.  We arrived back exhausted, and took thirty minutes to pull ourselves together, then out to dinner.  Our show that night was on a barge on the Seine, done by a group of Belgian actors who floated down to Paris . . . really excellent and so enjoyable . . . did a Sartre farce and a pantomime of a post office clerk who joins a circus.
       That night it was warm so all of Paris was out in force (Wednesday night is BIG night out) spilling out so far in the sidewalk cafes as to prevent people from walking at all.  We went to the Flore for Dubonnet for a couple of hours.  This session started out happily enough with us giggling about all of the funny things that had happened on the trip, but eventually got around to next year and the inevitable arguments and terse silences.
       Which brings me up to date with you, I believe.  Have laughed so over all the letters, and am glad you got to talk to Mort and Dr. Pat*.  Got a letter from the latter, very kind but natch no decision yet . . . supposedly Monday.  I'm about to say evil words . . . letter from Bonnie*, etc.  Plum's letter was his MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENT early April in Carnegie Hall—why send an invite to me, says I?  Enjoyed your letter, Papa, and glad you liked the pic.  Have a few more birthday things for you I'll send on later.
       Received both boxes happily . . . so grateful you packed them so well, shall just zip an iron over them . . . think the new ensemble is lovely . . . am still wondering about black socks but will probably wow them on the Left Bank.
       Dread the summer since the traveler's checks are gone . . . have $41 in American cash and John is going to pay me about $20 for books, but that's hardly enough for three months . . . and poor dear, I am such a financial drain on him when I'm in Paris—bet I owe him near to $15 by now, but he sighs and says he's resigned to his fate.  Guess you'll have to send some of the money in my bank account, provided there is any.  Don't know where I'll go except for Paris for as long as I can live for the Theatre festival . . . certainly not England.  I just don't vibrate with it, I'm afraid.
       By the way, in case Bonnie or anyone broaches the subject again you can inform them firmly (and I don't know where they ever got the idea) that John has no intention of returning to KC, and never had it . . . I thought that was made clear from the beginning.  As a matter of fact, he may not come back to the States until Xmas—since all job offers have been rejections, and as he says "If I'm going to be poor I might as well be in Europe" . . . Rome is certainly cheaper than Baltimore.  This is another point of violent argument so I won't go into it further.
       Also, I'm going to inform McIlrath (by the time you get this probably the fellowship will not have gone through) I will be dubious if not downright opposed to accepting a fellowship with the costuming again.  It is not my field and I simply could not stand it.  By the way, McIlrath told me that Sue Dinges** was in the hospital with pneumonia, no details.
       Everything is as mad as ever here . . . Jack and Gerry hitchhiked to and through Spain over Easter, evidently had a good if tiring time.  They too had diarrhea from food.  Gerry is now in London doing some work.  The Wickham baby is due next week, God.  You'd never know it to talk to him, he's busier than ever and calm for him.  George Brandt has boils but more enthusiastic by the moment (not about the boils)—Rowell*, no comment.
       Two of my friends from Bristol Old Vic School made the touring Old Vic London Company—eighteen month contracts, six months of it touring the U.S.!
       All but one of my photos (aside from the roll I exposed accidentally) came out, mostly fairly well, some not so good.  Have (or had) thirty-one done in Paris, and eight more in the shop here now to be done Wednesday—will send them on when they're ready.
       Will fill in with some more news and views tomorrow before I go to rehearsal, but am terribly tired now and think I will turn in.  Cheers.

       Sunday [May 1st]—noon
       You'll never guess what the weather is doing out—of course, it's been raining the three days I've been back . . . no, I don't like England.
       Before I go on, the enclosed clipping [not preserved] is one John selected from the New York Herald Tribune—he thinks it's riotous and a perfect illustration of me, which I think is nasty of him.
       Well, I'm still too involved in unpacking, paying bills, calming nerves, and sifting through all of the past experiences to make coherent sense—I remember last time it took me awhile to get oriented again, so I imagine my subsequent letters will be of more interest to you than this rather wild, rambling one.
       Our first day out of the trip from Paris [to] Geneva was nice, traveled with a very pleasant French couple.  (By the way, we had to get up to catch the 8:30 train) but somewhere along the line we had to change trains which caused me no end of worrying and nagging John, but we eventually completed the change somewhere in the mountains of France, just before Switzerland.  Geneva was gorgeous, most of the time sunny.  It was there that I hurt my ankle and kept staggering up and down the hills and dales, and there that John "recaught" the flu.  I spent most of the mornings down around the boats—and the afternoons just strolling around (limping, that is).  Told you about having the fondue again for dinner and seeing Of Mice and Men, excellent production, but I was reading it at the same time and nearly drove John mad saying, "George, tell me about the rabbits" etc. etc.  Of course, in French it was "Georges" and "Lennee" but they managed to get the mood across.
       Milan was a disappointment to me, rather dingy and industrial and both of us were feeing too rocky to be sociable—bickered most of the time.  Did notice the gorgeous clothes—Italian styles are far superior to those of Paris.  We stayed in a rather depressing hotel, getting there by streetcar at 10:00 at night, with me screaming "This is NOT our hotel, this is the Albergo."  It seems that Albergo is the word synonymous with hotel in Italian.  I had to do most of my sightseeing by myself there, and it was sheer bitterness which drove me on since I didn't really feel like sightseeing either.
       It was either from Milan to Venice or Venice to Florence, I think it was the former, where we began to run into the enormous crowds.  Standing waiting for the train, huge swarms of people, priests with shaven heads, sandals and brown robes, nuns, Italian peasants with all sorts of crazy packages, food, bottles, etc. all began collecting—and also the tourists.  When the train started coming in there was a dull roar which began among the waiting throng . . . I glanced terrified at John who screamed "Just push, push, PUSH."  From then on, it was like one of those Civil War battles, the screams, smoke, noise, and human bodies thudding to the ground.  When all the smoke cleared away, all the Italians were squeezed onto the train and all of the tourists were standing outside, waiting, breathing hard while the trainmen hitched on a few more cars to the back of the train, so we did get on the train, after all.  It was like that all through Italy.  How they can push!  One time, I don't remember where, the train was coming in fast and people just LEAPED on as it passed.  Even little old me had a try after it slowed down to a mere 20 mph and [I] swung on, laughing hysterically, expect[ing] to never see John again but he was doing the same, with the baggage too, no less.  Have found out that one never gets anywhere unless one pushes, which proves that I'll never get anywhere.  Another time, on the way to Nice we were doing our usual stint of walking up and down the aisles, peering into compartments and miming "Any seats?"  John claims that I said (I don't remember it) after some woman replied to me in French, "But you're speaking French and I don't understand French"—this may not seem funny to you but we have had many a hearty laugh over it since.  The point was that the poor woman couldn't understand me either—I was being completely irrational per usual.
       In Florence, after two hours of trying to get moved in our pensione and getting baths, we finally settled on a big room upstairs, with a double bed, couch, chairs, etc., and a tiny little nook next door to it with two cots (John said we could have taken in boarders).  I got the big room, he got the little one.  Well, one had to go through the big one to get to the little one and there was only one key to the whole setup and one to the outside door.  Since I get up first I was being very helpful one morning, by carefully locking the door of my room so the maids wouldn't disturb John, but the catch about the whole thing was that I HAD LOCKED HIM IN.  He claims that he waited all morning to get out before I got back, and the maids kept screaming from the outer door for him to let them in.  It all sounds hilarious but I doubt if it was quite that bad.
       Another time in Nice, I was buying a box of Kleenex in a store and John wanted to get to the bank to get a traveler's check cashed before it closed (we had just got to Nice) so I was to meet him there, never having been there, of course, but that it was on the main street.  Naturally, I couldn't find it and walked up and down the street several times, gave up and went back to the hotel.  About a half an hour later there was a knock at my door and John in a deadly calm voice said, "Where have you been?" between clenched teeth.  Well, I chattered my explanations and found out I had been past it (it was across the street) twice.  John said, "You remember it?  Well, the tall many in the grey suit standing outside was me!"  He got over that quicker than being locked in the hotel room in Florence.
       In Genoa we were really considered the eccentrics since John has a thing about heights, as you recall, and refused to ride on the elevator, since it had open sides you could see through and down—so every time I went up on the elevator he would climb up and down the six flights of steps.  Actually no one really cares much what you do or don't do in either Italy or France.  Only England.  Once in Paris, I saw a couple taking their pet poodle across St. Germain, each had a paw and it was walking on its hind legs.  At almost every restaurant you run into little family groups sitting at the tables, Papa, Mama, and baby, baby being the dog with its own special plate.
       I was especially gifted in the stupid remarks, like at the Casino, during a strip act—they used incense during the scene, evidently to enhance and heighten the "mood."  But I guess I wasn't in the "mood" to begin with and kept sniffing and yelling loudly "Do you smell incense?" etc.  John merely giggled.  But such was life . . . we did enjoy ourselves.  I guess it adds something to the aura of the thing to be young and innocent.
       I know these are the type of incidents that one usually talks about in connecting with a trip abroad, especially to Italy.  One would rather talk about the magnificent boat ride down the Grand Canal (or main street) of Venice, or the view of the Spanish Steps flanked by gobs of azaleas in Rome, but all of that takes time to sink in and evaluate and right now the funny little anecdotes are first in my mind.
       So for now, I will close with a description of our Le Flore, next to the Deux Maggots [sic]—hangout of the existentialists, literary crowd, etc.  Haunted by East Africans selling fur rugs, little boys selling peanuts, kids selling paintings, and me!  Luv

       I was going to end on that page, but will extend it one more.
       Have had a raging headache today, but had to do a washing since all my lingerie was dirty.  Tomorrow down to the cleaners with the rest of the reeking stuff.  I spilled cognac all over Mrs. Reinhardt's*** taffeta dress in Rome, but so much has been spilled on it so far and it never shows, I rarely wear it, and cleaning it is so bad here I hesitate to send it out . . . besides I had the accident in the Excelsior Hotel, THE hotel of Rome, where Ava Gardner and Clare Booth Luce stay, so that should mean something.
       Did I tell you we ran into two other Fulbrights in Venice the day before Easter?  What a shock, and they're both rather squares . . . luckily we had an excuse to get back since "Grandma," our landlady, was heating up hot water so we could wash . . . the first morning we were there she knocked on John's door about 9:30 in the morning . . . after about three knocks he appeared, clutching a towel strategically and she said in muddled Italian and French something to the effect of "WHEN you get up could I have your passport?"  He was bitter.
       All hotels and pensiones must have your passport to check and fill out forms, it seems.  We had no hot water in Venice, Florence, Genoa, or Versailles . . . only at odd hours (3:00 in the morning, etc.) in Rome . . . I know because I was up at all hours one night with my "complaint."  Nicest rooms were Nice, gorgeous room with a little balcony, Rome and Geneva, small but with good views and nice decor, and the expensive one in Venice.  It still gets me how all the guidebooks talk about how quiet Venice is—they claim because there are no autos and traffic, but Lord how do they account for the racket the people themselves make?  Didn't really bother me, though, I slept through it all, but realized how noisy it was when Paris seemed practically quiet in silence in comparison.  By the way, your article on the silent trash cans in Paris is way off . . . every morning about 5:30 it sounds as if they throw the cans and milk bottles at each other.
       My head is giving me fits, so think I will turn in with a hot water bottle (guess what my trouble is).
       Glad to be in one place for awhile.  Much luv, [smiley face]

       Monday [May 2nd]
       And another wonderful letter from you today!  You put me to shame, but I will get this off today . . . right now I'm sitting in the sun, believe it or not, and am I reveling in it.
       Remembered a few more things I wanted to tell you . . . was so thrilled and impressed with the Italian policemen called caribinieri and their "costumes" as I called them (really just uniforms), wore black jackets and riding breeches with a fuchsia stripe down the side, high black boots, riding crops, long black capes, and either Napoleonic type hats or regular caps with bills . . . always stood in pairs or rode on horseback . . . did they ever look magnificent!
       Also remember our femme de chambre at the Rome hotel named "Maria" who weighed all of 250 lbs and was very helpful . . . knocked on my door one morning at 6:30 saying "bagno, bagno?" and I muttered feebly that I wanted no bath and she could jolly well leave me alone . . . she stood there quizzically for a few moments and left.  Someone must have taken it . . . certainly not I.
       We also had trouble with the elevators there.  Once John pushed the number of his floor . . . and zoomed on past it upwards, then came back down to [the] ground floor where Maria and a gang of floor washers crowded on . . . they were going to the same floor as he so when the elevator stopped they all ploughed off first, then he attempted to get off.  Maria, sensing that all Americans are just overgrown children apt to make mistakes, assured him this wasn't the floor he wanted, and threw him back in the elevator . . . this is just the trick Maria could do well, outweighing him by some 120 lbs—he kept pleading with her that it was too his floor but she kept throwing him back on the elevator till someone intervened.
       The day we left I was going up to my room when the "bellboy," a lad of some seventy years, got on, and down we went . . . I screamed I wanted to go up, [but] by this time the elevator had landed and waiting just outside was Maria and her crew . . . I shrieked, the "boy" fought off their hands about to open the elevator, and up we went with him nodding and smiling "bagno, bagno."  I didn't get the bath, but I got to my floor and out of the hotel.



[click on the > at the end of each Note to return to its source above]

  Halfway between Leeds and Manchester in what was then the West Riding of Yorkshire, Huddersfield is known for its Victorian architecture and neo-classical railway station.  >
  Derbyshire (pronounced "Darby-shurr") is just south of West Yorkshire.  >
  Actual rationing in the United Kingdom had only ended the previous July, nearly a decade after V-E Day.  >
  Hippolytus, a tragedy by Euripedes, was performed from Feb. 28 to Mar. 5, 1955 by the Oxford University Dramatic Society, as its 100th major production and the first OUDS play to be staged in the Divinity School.  >
  The Oxford Divinity School was built in the 15th Century and is the oldest surviving "purpose-built" structure still in use at Oxford.  >
  Huddersfield's "Queen's Head Hotel in King Street" was later called the Royal Unico
rn—possibly because it was difficult to find.  >
  On Mar. 10, John Douty wrote:

Ah, ma' wee, bonnie lass!  While you have been gathering heather while you may, I have dragged myself from the feeble glow of my radiator to trek across the wind-swept steppes to Thomas Cook & Sons.  There a very charming little man—obviously a gourmand, and I should say something of a sot, to boot—has outlined the following train schedule: Paris - Geneva - Lausanne - Milan - Venice - Florence - Rome - Nice - Paris.  This should give you three days in Rome, two each in Venice and Florence, one each in all the other places and get you back to your starting place within two weeks.  I say you for two reasons: 1) little gourmie (he was French, incidentally) was obviously in no condition to work out prices, and 2) I haven't heard from either my sister** or my bank for two very crucial weeks in the financial whirl so I don't know whether I am still able to maintain myself in my traditional genteel poverty or whether I'm selling what I used to give away.

I haven't spoken to either Madame [or ——?] about your coming yet because a vague date would only make them hysterical.  Let me know about a week in advance to warn them—and also to get tickets for that weekend when the Centre Dramatique de l'Ouest is playing Merchant of Venice in town...

The Centre Dramatique de l'Ouest was created as a national drama center in Brittany in 1949.  It merged with the Maison de la Culture of Rennes in 1990 to become the Théâtre National de Bretagne >
  Mila Jean's mother Ada Louise was born Apr. 7, 1907, but her birthdate got mis-entered as Mar. 17th in a Butler County OH Probate Court ledger.  These dual DOBs persisted till her death in 201
1—miraculously without causing a bureaucratic logjam in later years—and her own assessment, made  in 2006, was that "They're both accurate."  >
  Mila Jean's father Francis See (Frank) Smith was born Apr. 17, 1896.  >
  The Morris Ten mid-size automobile was produced from 1932 to 1948.  >
  The Gorbals (a name of uncertain etymology) was notoriously dangerous, and host to warfare between Glasgow razor gangs such as the Beehive Boys and the South Side Stickers.  >
  "13/6" = thirteen shillings and sixpence, referred to as "thirteen and six."  >
  Colin Chandler was the first director of Glasgow's College of Dramatic Art when it opened as part of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in 1950.  The College trained actors, directors, and technicians for the professional theatre "with a Scottish emphasis."  The present-day Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's studio theatre is named in Chandler's honor.  >
  The Colditz Story was a POWs-contend-with-their-Nazi-captors movie released in Jan. 1955, starring John Mills and Eric Portman.  >
  Sporting a suave aristocratic manner, Eric Portman (1903-1969) was adept at playing both British and Nazi officers, heroes and villains.  >
  Mila Jean never learned to drive a car; she was admittedly unmechanical, attributing this on at least one occasion to having been born entangled in her umbilical cord.  > 
  Mila Jean's brother-in-law Pete Nash* was employed by Mobil from 1946 on, first as a commission agent and then a marketing salesman.  >
  James Douglas played Sosthenes, Prime Minister of Thessaly, in A God in the states he also appeared in the Bristol Old Vic's 1954-55 productions of The Winter's Tale and Getting Married, and as an orderly in the 1956 Bristol Hippodrome production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.  >
  Demetrius and the Gladiators,  a sequel to The Robe, was released in 1954 with Victor Mature as Demetrius and Susan Hayward as Messalina.  >
  Paignton is a seaside town in south Devon; its inhabitants are known as "pudden eaters" due to the locale's famous baked puddings.  >
  Act, the Drama Magazine was published from Jan. 1955 to Winter 1956/57 as the "official journal of the Drama Association, National Union of Students, England, Wales and Northern Ireland" and the University of Leeds Theatre Group.  On June 6th Act rejected Mila Jean's submission.
     "Amateur Drama in the United States and England" was also submitted to Drama: a British Drama League Publication, which rejected it on June 7th "because I do not think that we could use this before our Winter number at the earliest...  Being a quarterly we are unfortunately apt to have to keep articles rather a long time before we can use them."  On this rejection letter Mila Jean wrote: "What do I do now?  It's rather embarrassing, since I told the authorities at home that part of this was to be published.  Shall I forget the whole thing?"  On a scrap of Bristol Drama Department stationery Glynne Wickham replied:

1.  As far as "The Authorities" are concerned, this letter is proof that it was to be published.
2.  If you care to return it to
Drama it probably still will be.
3.  I should return it and give "the authorities" this letter.  You are then covered both ways.  GW 

  On Mar. 20 John Douty wrote:

At the end of an almost lost weekend[:]  I was sitting in the Biard near L'Opera ... quietly discussing some aesthetic problem with myself, when I noticed that the clients were looking around.  So I turned and looked, too, and discovered that the discussion had gotten out of hand and that I was creating something of a scene...  My sister finally broke down and sent me a report of my financial condition and it turns out that I do have money—not as much as I hoped, but more than I deserve no doubt.  And Thomas Cook worked out an intelligible estimate of rail costs—24,000 Frs—which is more than it should be, but in reason, I suppose, so I am more or less planning on the Italian tour.  Incidentally, I don't get the connection in your letter between my birthday and my having money.  I was going to write something bitter about birthdays being rarely observed in our family.  Then yesterday morning I was awakened by a furious pounding on the door and the femme de chambre screaming that I had a package with curious charges.  This turned out to be true—a birthday present from my sister for which I had to pay 1000 frs.  Utterly ridiculous—this was about half her declared valuation on the package and I have never had to pay customs before.  I think it had something to do with the nasty remarks made about the French at Yalta.  Anyway, I paid and threw the package in a corner—it looks like another shirt....  As for a "really dirty show in the Pigalle," if you can find one, I would be delighted to have you take me.  But we French do not go in for that sort of thing.  However, check with your British friends.  If there are any such shows "in the Pigalle" or elsewhere, they would know about it....  I have a copy of the current Holiday which should prove at least as useful as your Women's Guide to Europe and far less bulky.  It also has a great selection of Italian phrases for you to amuse yourself with while I meditate on the train.

But enough of this  Madame has decided that the sun being out is enough excuse to turn off the heat so I think I shall go to bed until dinner time.  One pleasant thought, Holiday says that both Milan and Rome are warmer than Paris at this time of year.  [signed] The cold one  >

  On Mar. 26 John Douty wrote:

Spring has sprung—All the Americans have wriggled out of the woodwork.  I have developed a nasty cold...  Money came in the same mail with your letter, so will zip over to Thomas Cook tomorrow and order tickets...  Madame can let you have Numero Onze [at the Hotel Lindberg] through the 4th but is booked solid after that...  As for meeting you, I shall come to wherever in town your airline drops you...  This is France—remember?—11:30 is only second intermission.  If it were England, of course, I could go to the theatre, home for a nap, up and drunk at some bar while waiting for 11:30 to finally roll around...  >

  An Apr. 1955 ad for Rexall's Tranquilex calls it "the modern relief for nervous tension: for the alleviation of Ragged Nerves, Frayed Temper, Irritability, Tenseness, Anxiety and Worry, and to calm the nerves and physical symptoms associated with tension.  Tranquilex tablets are completely harmless and non-habit forming."  (No list of ingredients was included.)  >
  On Mar. 21, Dean John Barnett wrote:

Dear Mila Jean, Your letter was more than welcome and I was delighted to know all that you'd been doing and seeing.  I'm sorry to have been almost six weeks in answering, but this was in part the pressure of registration (you remember registration?) and partly that I wanted to do a little research on the questions you raised.

First of all, I think Miss McIlrath is writing to you shortly.  Obviously, her opinion in certain fields (possibly in all) is much better than mine; I gather that she feels that if you are to attempt to teach speech, you will need more courses in that area on your record than you presently have.  Many of these we may be giving as time goes on, but they would not be a part, I suppose, of the work for your master's.  As for the master's in theater, it will be precisely the same as the one that we had several years ago; I don't know whether you recall its provisions, but they included a number (about half) of courses in the English department.  Most of these, however, were in the field of the literature of drama (dramatic literature is what I think I mean here) so that much, if not all, of the work which you have already taken might be salvaged; I'm sure that nine of the eighteen hours would definitely count towards the degree.  This would mean, I think, that if you wished you ought to be able to complete the work for the master's even in theater in another academic year.  (I'm assuming here, as you see, that Miss McIlrath will be able to get the graduate program off the ground next fall.  This is a large assumption and it might well turn out that a good part of your work would have to be in the nature of 599 [level] courses, on some sort of special basis, but I feel reasonably sure this could be arranged.)  I don't know yet about fellowships.  I have requested that we be granted fellowships for the theater for the coming year, but the budge [sic] has not been approved and probably won't be for a couple of weeks.  This is all pretty chancy, since the University is just as poor as it ever was, and the fellowships are an obvious place to cut back.  If any are allowed in the department, you know, of course that your chances for getting one are good.  The costumes will be waiting for you.

I doubt if all this really resolves any of your problems.  You might be able to finish up your English master's a little more quickly and with a little less fuss.  Miss McIlrath should be the one to tell you what the next step is beyond that, and whether the master's in English, or one in theater, would be of greater assistance.  Clearly, at this point, you must decide what you yourself want to do, and I take it this decision might well influence which of the two degrees was more necessary to you.

We're in the midst of a fine spring snowstorm.  It started about noon and now (four-thirty) there are several inches of snow, no respite in sight, and we've called off all classes for tonight.  Inasmuch as last week was balmy, with temperatures up in the seventies, this is a fine change of pace.  I hope that it goes away as quickly as it came, but I suppose it won't.

The Playhouse has had a good season.  Artistically, if not financially.  The "Romeo and Juliet" went off very well, with only a few casualties among the swordsmen.  Mrs. Reinhardt was much annoyed, for one of the victims was one of her special pets.  However, he's recovered now, so I suppose she's forgiven them.  "Blithe Spirit," I hope, will not involve these hazards.  The Children's Theater has also been going full tilt but I haven't seen any of their productions this winter.  It's been a joint operation, you know, and I think Miss McIlrath did one production, and the other two were by Varnado and Walker.  Sue [Dinges] has been giving her creative dramatics on Saturday mornings and we're planning some sort of similar festivities for the summer.  I can hardly wait to see them all acting out little toadstools again.

The University generally, as far as I know, is calm.  Part of this calm may be immediately attributed to the fact that Dr. Waggoner** is off in Vermont, grappling with William Faulkner.  I don't know whether it's to be the best two falls out of three, but the threat is that another book will be forthcoming in any event.  His Hawthorne study appeared under the Harvard Press imprint this last month.  No other great excitement that I know of.

Give my best to John, when you see him.  Meantime, all my best to you, and let me know what you decide.  John Barnett

The KCU Playhouse presented Romeo and Juliet (staged by Mort Walker*) Feb. 28 to Mar. 5, 1955.  The Children's Theater put on Simple Simon (directed by Patricia McIlrath) Feb. 4-19 and Robin Hood (directed by Al Varnado, John Douty's successor as Associate Director and close friend of fellow KCU newcomer George Ehrlich) Mar. 18 to Apr. 2.  >
  When Mila Jean's parents moved to 6611 College in 1959, they were only a short distance from the Swope Park Zoo, and Ada Louise claimed she could hear its seals bark at night.  She would express a formal wish that "if, after death, I could come back in any other form, I would choose to be a sea otter."  Mila Jean too was very fond of seals and otters, and always delighted in hearing about when I'd see one off the Des Moines (WA) Fishing P
ier—even when a local angler called them "damned bait-snatchers."  >
  Appearing in the Bristol Old Vic's production of The Enchanted were Rosemary Harris, Sonia Fraser**, and Phyllida Law, who besides having a distinguished career on stage, screen, and television, would become Emma and Sophie Thompson's mother.  >
  Patrick Blackwell played Admetus, King of Thessaly, in A God in the Garden. lists a decade of his performances, from Dark of the Moon at the Bristol Old Vic in 1953-54 to The Importance of Being Earnest at Glasgow's Citizen's Theatre in 1962-63.  He appeared with Peter O'Toole in 1955-56 Bristol Old Vic productions of The Skin of Our Teeth and Volpone.  >
  Peter Baldwin (1933-2015) played Eumelos, son of King Ademtus, in A God in the Garden.  After training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, he toured with several companies and then had a long career on British television, most notably on Coronation Street.  In 1988 he took over Pollock's Toy Shop in Covent Garden, which Mila Jean had visited in 1971.  >
  Gina Stott, another student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, played The Woman in Hello Out There** and was in Down in the Valley's** Chorus.  >
  Mary Noonan portrayed the maidservant Lalage in A God in the Garden. says she also appeared in the Bristol Old Vic's 1954-55 production of The Winter's Tale.  >
  "Daphne" may have been Daphne Brougham (another member of Down in the Valley's Chorus) or Daphne Hart, who handled "Setting" for A God in the Garden.  (Or possibly both, after undergoing a wedding/divorce between productions.)  >
  Le Select is a Montparnasse brasserie that was frequented by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, "the irrepressible Kiki," and other notables.  >
  La fiamma (The Flame) was a 1934 opera by Ottorino Respighi about suspected withcraft.  >
  Bread, Love and Jealousy (released in the United States as Frisky) was a 1954 sequel to 1953's Bread, Love and Dreams.  >
  La petite hutte was a 1947 farce by André Roussin.  Ten years later, Nancy Mitford's 1950 translation would be adapted into The Little Hut, a film starring Ava Gardner.  >
  Les Amants de Venise (The Lovers of Venice) was "an opera in two acts and seventeen paintings" by Vincent Scotto.  >
  Precisely two years later and seventeen days overdue, Mila Jean laboriously delivered the present auth
or—not in a trunk in the KCU Playhouse wings, but down the street and around the corner at Menorah Medical Center.  >
  CinemaScope was introduced in 1953 for shooting widescreen motion pictures; it was displaced by Panavision in the mid-1960s.  >
  On Apr. 18, 1955 Frankie the Jamaican sent a picture postcard (of Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge) to "Miss Mila Jean Smith c/o J.T. Douty, Hôtel Lindb
erg ... Dear Mila—How's Paris?—I can't remember when you said you would be in London and need digs.  If you still want me to arrange the 10/-a-nite hostel, please drop me a p/c as soon as possible.  I'm going up to Scotland 23rd 30th, but my mail'll be sent air, so please write.  Love—Frankie."  Mila Jean would take up Frankie's offer in mid-June.  >
  The Gare d'Orsay railway station and hotel were opened for the 1900 Exposition Universelle World's Fair.  >
  The Printemps grand magasin ("big store") was founded in 1865 and revolutionized the retail trade with set prices instead of traditional haggling.  >
  Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (initially voiced by Harold Peary, then Willard Waterman) was a pompous-windbag character on Fibber McGee and Molly before landing his own spin-off radio show, which ran from 1941 to 1957.  His distinctive "dirty laugh" and catchphrase "You're a haaaard man, McGee!" were often imitated.  >
  Manuel de Falla's El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) began as a ballet, then a concert version for a small orchestra, then a piano suite, then a revised and expanded ballet.  >
  Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) has been part of the Opéra-Comique repertory since Bizet's centennial in 1938.  >
  Contralto Marie Powers (1902-1973) originated the role of bogus psychic Madame Flora in Gian Carlo Menotti's 1947 opera The Medium.  >
  Amahl and the Night Visitors, also composed by Menotti, was commissioned in 1951 by NBC to be the first production of The Hallmark Hall of Fame.  >
  Two months after Mila Jean's Venetian visit, the Technicolor romance Summertime was released.  Filmed on location, it starred Katherine Hepburn as a school secretary vacationing in Venice who has an adulterous affair with Rossano Braz
zi (and incidentally falls into a canal: a stunt that director David Lean insisted Hepburn do herself).  >
  The Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, connected to the Doge's Palace and originally its chapel, dates back to the 11th Century.  >
  In Geneva Mila Jean and John Douty stayed at the Hotel Touring-Balance on Place Longemalle.  In her handwritten list of stayed-at hotels, Mila Jean called it "very clean, right down street from lake."  >
  In Milan they stayed at the Albergo Margherita on Via S. Gregorio, which Mila Jean called a "fair hotel but unpleasant personnel."  It remains in business, albeit earning only two stars out of five on  >
  Florence's Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge") is lined with shops selling art, jewelry, and souvenirs.  > 
  Presumably this was a medal, a traditional object for papal blessing; but Mila Jean definitely spelled the word metal twice—giving the impression that she lugged an iron ingot around St. Peter's Square.  >
  The Pope at this time was Pius XII, who began a long illness in late 1954 that lasted till his death in 1958.  >
  There's No Business Like Show Business, released in 1954, was the first CinemaScope musical.  It starred Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor and Dan Dailey, and featured Marilyn Monroe performing a version of "Heat Wave" that Ed Sullivan called a flagrant violation of good taste.  >
  The version of Michelangelo's David on the Piazza della Signoria is a replica placed there in 1910; the original was moved to the Galleria dell'Accademia in 1873.  >
  After Queen Victoria was reportedly shocked by the "matter-of-fact"-ness of another David replica at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a detachable plaster fig leaf was created for future royal visits.  >
  Giotto's Campanile, part of Florence Cathedral, was built in the 14th Century and has been called the most beautiful bell tower in Italy.  >
  In Rome, Mila Jean and John Douty stayed at the Hotel Ariston on Via Filippo Turati: "wild but cheap and fairly clean."  Today this is rated a four-star hotel.  >
  Gladys C. Johnson lived at 3904 College in Kansas City MO, two houses down from the Smiths.  Ruby Johnson was presumably her mother, sister, or daughter, but is not found at the same address in available KCMO directories.  >
  Ward Parkway was designed by J.C. Nichols and George Kessler to be the highest-toned boulevard in Kansas City MO's Country Club district.  >
  Three Coins in the Fountain, another CinemaScope romance filmed on location, had been released the previous May; its theme song, crooned by Frank Sinatra, was an international hit.  The barber shop where Audrey Hepburn got her hair cut in 1953's Roman Holiday was just east of Trevi Fountain.  > 
  The Cimitero monumentale di Staglieno is one of Europe's largest cemeteries, and renowned for its monumental scuptures.  >
  Kirschwasser is morello cherry brandy, sometimes used in Swiss fondue.  >
  In Nice, Mila Jean and John Douty stayed at the Hotel de Bruxelles:  "lovely view and good location."  > 
  José Fernandez danced with the American Ballet Caravan and Ballet Society in the 1940s, then founded several dance studios.  >
  The previous January, Mila Jean and John had consumed salami sandwiches and traveled in a compartment outside the water closet on a train to Zurich.  >
  Frank Smith frequently worried about his youngest daughter's antics abroad: "Daddy did a lot of pacing," Mila Jean would remark.  >
  Miss Julie, an 1888 naturalistic play by August Strindberg, concerns a count's daughter who has an affair with a valet till she is convinced her only way out is suicide.  > 
  Probably Man Without a Star, released in Mar. 1955; it co-starred Jeanne Crain and Claire Trevor.  >
  The Pigalle was home to the Moulin Rouge and Grand Guignol; during World War II its red-light nature earned it the name "Pig Alley" from Allied soldiers.  >
  After absinthe was outlawed in 1915, Henri Louis Pernod deleted its wormwood and added more anise to create the liqueur bearing his name.  >
  The Café de Flore at the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue Saint-Benoît is one of Paris's oldest coffeehouses, frequented by many famed authors and intellectuals.  >
  Le T
hêatre Flottant was a Belgian company that performed on a barge that docked at the Quai d'Orsay.  >
  On Apr. 20, Dr. Patricia McIlrath calligraphically wrote:

My dear Jean, May Heaven and you, too forgive me for failing to answer you before this.  I waited for our wonderful Dean Barnett (and I mean the compliment sincerely) to write to you.  He in turn waited for all the dread budget news from the President.  The truth remains that the University is in a dreadful position financially.  Expansions and intensifications in various departments must be re-examined and curtailed.  In fact, we of the Speech Department will not know until May 2 just what plans we can make for next year.  I shall not know until then whether or not we shall be granted a Fellow.  We have not had one this year, as you probably know.

Nevertheless, all is not despair.  I myself feel that we will be granted one Fellow, and I should very much enjoy having that person be you.  I have so informed Dean Barnett.  The decision as I see it will ultimately rest with you (if we do receive this boon!) in that you alone know whether you wish to lengthen your time on this M.A. program.  Our graduate rules are as follows: (1) the candidate must have acquired twelve hours in Speech courses, on either the undergraduate or graduate level.  Do you have that?  Speech may include Theatre courses, of course.  If you do not have such, there will be the need to do some backtracking.  (2) For the M.A. in Theatre, we require 30 hours, with nine of the required hours from the following courses in English: English 500, 513, 523, 525, 531.  Required departmental courses include Speech 535, 536—History of the Theatre, 545-6—Advanced Acting Techniques, 550—Techniques of Direction and Production, and 599—Seminar in Dramaturgy.

Add it all up, and bear in mind that we shall be aware of your extensive work at Bristol—does it sound like too much and too long?  If it doesn't, and if we do receive a Fellow, rest assured that I shall apply for you.  Now this is far from much of a reassurance for you, but just any news must be better than none at all.

Forgive the scratchy pen and ink.  The secretary is off for the evening, and I did promise your charming Mother that I would stop waiting for sureties.  Please do forgive my delay.  Sue is in the hospital with pneumonia, bless her heart.  What a lovely person she is.  In fact, she is a rare joy.  As are so many around here.  Luckily, that makes great problems bearable.  I shall keep my fingers crossed.  You do the same.

Sincerely, Patty McIlrath  >

  Les Deux Magots is another famous cafe in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, once frequented by De Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, Brecht, etc.  >
  Since Dean Barnett's secretary Maurine Reinhardt was not present, we may suppose she either gave or lent Mila Jean a taffeta dress on which cognac got spilled in Rome.  >
  Rome's opulent Hotel Excelsior opened in 1906.  It would host the cast and crew of Ben-Hur in 1959, and "become synonymous" with La Dolce Vita in 1960.  >
  The smiley symbol—a circle with two dots for eyes and a U for mouth—dates back to 1900, and was used in posters advertising Lili in 1953; though it would not gain its classic yellow color till 1963, or be trademarked till 1972.  >

List of Illustrations

●  A monastery in Oxford: "those white pellets are snow"
●  "Old gate in Oxford . . . don't know which one"
●  Helena, Jerry Leider and Jack Sommers in Oxford
●  "Building in Oxford . . . don't know what.  Note I was holding finger over lens again"
●  Oxford street scene
●  Another Oxford street scene
●  One of the main streets of Edinburgh
●  Sir Walter Scott Monument and Jack Sommers with new mustache
●  "Took this out of a parapet window, Edinburgh"
●  Jerry, Jack and Suzie, with Edinburgh Castle in background
●  "Lake District, just outside Keswick"
●  Dartington Hall "in the sun"
●  Dartington Hall from the front
●  Jim Douglas, Jerry Leider, and Patrick Blackwell with John Lavender's "homemade car"
●  golden cat among crocuses in Dartington
●  Peter Baldwin, Patrick Blackwell, Gina Stott, Mary Noonan, Jerry Leider, Eileen Varley, and Daphne in Dartington
●  "Some of these actors, designers and directors eventually became 'BIG Names' in Theatre"
●  Gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice
●  View from Mila Jean's window in Venice
●  St. Mark's Clock Tower in Venice
●  A side street in Venice
●  Easter at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
●  Venetian pigeons at St. Mark's Square
●  One view of the Doge's Palace
●  Another view of the Doge's Palace
●  From atop Giotto's Bell Tower in Florence
●  Florence's Ponte Vecchio
●  Florence, with the Uffizi Gallery at right
●  Trevi Fountain in Rome
●  View from Mila Jean's "beflowered" hotel room in Rome
●  The Roman Forum
●  Hadrian's Tomb "and passing car"
●  The Spanish Steps and Keats-Shelley House in Rome
●  The Spanish Steps and "gobs of azaleas" in Rome
●  One view of St. Peter's Square in Vatican City
●  Another view of St. Peter's Square
●  St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
●  A political demonstration in Genoa
●  One view of Genoa's Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno
●  Another view of the Monumental Cemetery
●  Nice: "gorgeous sea, sky, and bodies!"
●  Nice: "sunbathers ... at 60°"
●  Nice: "the 'sounding surf'"


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A Split Infinitive Production
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