21. 6 August 1998 [NM] ("Your name made for posterity"; La Celestina)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs.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

Dear Eric,

   'Me supo a poco' - it tasted of too little, this brief flash of you across the summer screen, above all, since the times were not propitious to any other meeting, the failure of dear Diana's effort to get us together. By us I mean you, Christopher and me, because you and I can dialogue by letter, but the trialogue we had was something special. [...]

   I do hope your mother is better, Eric? And you are not facing too many uncongenial tasks on your return from such enjoyable travels?

   In due course, when the moment comes, I hope you will write to me some of the things I had hoped to talk, and listen of, with you. I am deeply interested in, and excited about all you can possibly tell me, not only of American successes – who you said what to and why, and how much they understood and what echoed back to you from it all – but more still in the ideas you have now.

   Of course you know – providing you have enough to live on, and occasionally travel with – it just doesn't matter if you best-sell or not. With all the new Shakespeares you are giving us your name is made for posterity, they must just come out now, somehow, but above all be studied and written. Please tell me as much as you feel able to (I know ideas, like seeds, must be kept in the dark, but real sympathisers can be allowed a glimpse?) – about the work ahead. You know it interests me too for mine. Upon which I hope to start before Xmas, deo volente.

   And the music? I wonder if you can tell me anything about this new opera, by an English-cum Frenchman of Spanish origin (Maurice Ohana), based on the greatest drama in the Spanish language, La Celestina, which I should so much like to see and hear. It sounds as if it could be very good – although one can never tell from words about music. And La Celestina is so close to my heart. It was like so many Spanish creations (including the discovery of America) the work of a Spanish Jew, and Spanish children, I believe, are still taught to look upon it as by two authors, because 'we do not recognize in this wanton woman (part 2, after the love scene) the chaste Melibea. Poor old Spain, why did they not create their Melibea, why is it not a grand production of what is one of the greatest works in the Spanish language, in Madrid? Instead they go on producing La Vida es Sueno, of which, it is true, we cannot tire, but little else. (My father wrote an essay on La Celestina as good as his Hamlet).

   Enough for today, Eric? Specially as I don't know when this will reach you.

   I look forward to hearing from you, whenever the right moment comes.

   With every good wish