22. 15 August 1988 [ES] (Dieter Schamp; Shakespeare essays)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs.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

Dear Hayat,

   Thank you for your letter. How kind of you to be concerned about my mother, whom I'm now en route to visit. She has a rather touching frailty, far different from her previous rather sharp tongued vigour. She's increasingly confused, too. But there's nowhere she'd rather be than in her own home; so the home help service and I are managing to provide some sort of life. And, yes, I do have to confront uncongenial tasks, not always as cheerfully as I should.

   Yes too to our tantalisingly separated threesome. Sad that so potentially resonant a triangle should stay unstruck, with hardly a tingle. You, Christopher and I could have tintinnabulated as in the Akademische Fest-Ouvertüre, and made the occasion as brightly memorable as before. [...]

   Yesterday I had my other Italian correspondent on an all-day visit; he's the 19 years old Wunderjüngling Erik Battaglia, composer, pianist, musicologist, linguist etc., from Turin. We share a birthday and a passion for Hugo Wolf: great joy as my treasured postcard in that master's own hand was duly displayed. We were joined for the afternoon, after much duetting, by the great Shakespearean Dieter Schamp, who was motoring across England on holiday with his wife, and paid us a quick visit. He's greatly devoted to Ironside and Edward III, and plans to translate them.

   As you seem, rightly, to have intuited, I'm lying fairly fallow at the moment. There are a couple of pieces in various pipelines (EncounterNotes and Queries, etc.). And I've been stimulated, not to say maddened, by rumours of an essay prize for some thoughts about Marlowe's influence on Shakespeare. So I've been working on that. But I seem to lack appetite. Pray waft me the latest aroma of Bacon sizzling in the pan.

   Best wishes, as ever

   yours Eric