EVELYN WAUGH NEWSLETTER AND
Evelyn Waugh’s Central London: A Gazetteer
Smith’s parallelogram (Mayfair) is of course only a tiny section of “Greater London.” Waugh’s London also includes outlying areas such as Mortlake, where Virginia Troy and Uncle Peregrine were buried, and East Finchley, site of Lord Copper’s frightful mansion. The ancient “City of London,” founded in Roman times, lies to the east of Mayfair. The City of Westminster began much later, in the eleventh century, when King Edward the Confessor decided to build, on the marshy bank of the Thames, the abbey called the “west minster” (the “east minster” being St Paul’s in the old City, still the cathedral of the diocese of London). Though it is known as “the West End,” innumerable Londoners have to travel east to see a popular show. It is still the center of British government, society, and the arts. The old “City” (of London) is devoted almost exclusively to business and finance, and did not hold much interest for Waugh. Many of the names of districts (“Soho,” “Pimlico,” “Belgravia”) are simply popular ones with no official standing, and some belong to governmental entities other than Westminster, such as “The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea” (“royal” because the royal palace of Kensington stands on the western edge of Kensington Gardens).
The gazetteer confines itself, for the most part, to streets and edifices mentioned in Waugh’s writings. Some special notes:
Railway Stations. Unlike many modern American cities, whose expansion did not take place until after the development of great railway networks, the older London does not have stations in the middle of the built-up area, but on its periphery. Various privately owned companies served various parts of Britain. The Great Western Railway, serving the West of England, terminated at Paddington Station, and carried undergraduates such as Waugh to Oxford University. The London, Midland, and Western, terminating at Euston, took him to his job at Arnold House, Llanddulas, North Wales. It is important in British novels that the various London stations be correctly identified: in a letter to Nancy Mitford, 1952, Waugh writes of replying to a friendly critic who complained of his having “made a character go to Salisbury from Paddington” with “Many thanks for your valuable suggestion.” The correct station would have been Waterloo. See below: Charing Cross, Euston, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria.
Hotels. See below: Claridge’s, Dorchester, Ritz, Savoy. Oddly perhaps, Waugh doesn’t mention in his fiction the hotel where he most often stayed in London, the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge, run by his army friends Basil Bennett and Brian Franks, where he once thought his son Auberon might have a career in hotel management (Letters 441). See also “Casanova” and “Shepheard’s.”
Clubland. Chiefly centered on Pall Mall and St James’s Street. English clubs originated in the seventeenth century primarily as places for drinking and gambling, and were named after the innkeepers who founded them. The oldest surviving one is White’s (established 1693), which became recognized as the “Tory Club” (see below: Brown’s and Bellamy’s). The great “Whig Club” was Brooks’s, founded 1764, of which Charles James Fox was a member and where he gambled heavily. They came to have much social prestige; generally they are still exclusively male. See Athenaeum, Beefsteak, Bratt’s, Carlton, Garrick, Greville, Senior, Travellers’, Turtle’s, Wimpole.
It is pleasant to follow Ludovic’s route from Westminster Abbey, along Victoria Street, to Sir Ralph Brompton’s flat in Ebury Street to the front of Buckingham Palace, where the guards on duty saluted Peter Pastmaster in his officer’s uniform (POMF 1:6); to smile at old Ryder’s jape in pretending that Jorkins is a visitor from America, when he lives only a few steps away in Sussex Square (Brideshead 1:3). The best thing is to make such expeditions on the actual sites. But if this is not possible, the links may be a useful substitute. Please note that once you have linked to a map, you can zoom in or out, or move in any of four directions.
asterisk (*) indicates a fictitious name. All the rest are real.
of other works are given in full. Where available, a chapter (or book)
number is given, followed by the number of the section within it.
Athenaeum Club. Founded 1824. Members in “Literature, Science, Public Service, and the Arts.” Prestigious, though stuffy. At the southwest corner of Pall Mall and Waterloo Place. Charles Ryder’s father (BR 1:1) and John Plant’s (WS 2) are members. Philbrick (DF 1:1) pretends to be one.
Bayswater. A somewhat stodgy middle-class residential district north of Hyde Park; readers may remember it from Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga. Charles Ryder’s father lives there (BR 1:3).
Square. An elegantly preserved eighteenth-century square in
Bloomsbury, chiefly occupied by offices of publishers and expensive
lawyers. Waugh satirically reports a contribution of three unused penny
stamps to the leftist cause in Ishmaelia by “a little worker’s daughter”
living there (Sc 2:1). The site of the elegant office of Mr. Bentley,
the publisher (POMF 1:7).
Along with Mayfair, the most expensive and fashionable residential district
in London. There are references to it in many novels, as in “Interlude
in Belgravia” (DF 2:2). In the seventeenth century the property came
into the hands of the Grosvenors, later Dukes of Westminster, and many of the
names of streets and squares are associated with that family. Engineer
Garcia calls the Duke “a man of great propriety.… London is his propriety”
Bethnal Green. A working-class district. Mrs. Stitch is frustrated by the traffic in her attempt to drive to a carpet shop there (Sc 1:1).
*Blight Street. Off Edgware Road. “A place of lodging houses and mean tobacconists.” The name is clearly symbolic; Virginia Troy goes in search of an abortionist there. The site of the office of Dr. Akonanga, the witch-doctor, where he casts spells on Hitler and Ribbentrop (US 2:4).
Bloomsbury. The “intellectual” and not very fashionable district, site of the British Museum and many branches of the University of London. Adam Fenwick-Symes, as “Mr. Chatterbox,” unsuccessfully attempts to make temperance hotels there fashionable (VB 7). Dr. Kakophilos lives at an “obscure address” there (“Out of Depth”). Ambrose Silk and Mr. Bentley are employed in the Ministry of Information, housed in the University of London’s Senate House, also frequented by Basil Seal and the mad bomber (POMF 1:7).
Bond Street. The fashionable main shopping street of Mayfair. “Our Lily” is a manicurist there and meets a rich protector (VB 9).
Street. A small street on the north edge of Berkeley Square.
Site of Simon Balcairn’s flat, where he commits suicide (VB 6).
Bow Street. Site of the London Metropolitan Magistrates’ Court. Charles Ryder, Sebastian Flyte, and Boy Mulcaster appear there on a charge of drunken driving (BR 1:5), as did Waugh himself.
*Bratt’s Club. No doubt Pratt’s Club, founded 1841, on Park Place, just off St James’s Street. Tony Last, Jock Grant-Menzies, and John Beaver are members (HD 3:1), as is Peter Pastmaster (POMF Epilogue). Boy Mulcaster is a member, and Charles Ryder becomes one (BR 1:8).
Brook Street. Virginia Troy seeks an abortionist there, but his place has been bombed. Dr. Akonanga, the witch-doctor, having come up in the world, moves there from *Blight Street (US 2:4).
Brooks’s Club. On St James’s Street. Founded 1764; traditionally the Whig club, as White’s was the Tory club. Mrs. Stitch, in her small car, drives a young man up its steps (Sc 1:1).
*Brown’s Club. No doubt stands for White’s. On St James’s Street. It is more exclusive than *Bratt’s. Lord St Cloud, Tony Last, and Jock Grant-Menzies are members, but John Beaver is blackballed (HD 4:3, 5:3).
Buckingham Palace. The principal London residence of the sovereign. Peter Pastmaster, in officer’s uniform, is saluted by its guards when he passes it (POMF 1:5). The guards have been moved inside its gates, to protect them from being harassed by tourists.
Café Royal, Regent Street. Famous as a haunt of Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and other late nineteenth-century “aesthetes.” Charles Ryder and his fellow strike-breakers dine there during the General Strike of 1926 (BR 1:8). Basil Seal meets Ambrose Silk and Mr. Benfleet there, as an agent provocateur (POMF 3:4). De Souza and his girl have supper there (MA 1:4).
Carlisle Place. Where Peregrine Crouchback has a flat in *Bourne Mansions. Toward the end of the war, it and its inhabitants are blown up by a “doodle bug”—a V1 pilotless bomb (US 3:3). Waugh’s friend Douglas Woodruff lived there in Evelyn Mansions, still extant.
Club, St James’s Street. The official club of the Conservative
Party, founded 1832. Lord Chasm was a member (VB 2).
*Casanova Hotel. Somewhere in Bloomsbury. An absurd name for a “temperance hotel,” which refuses to serve liquor on its premises. Ginger Littlejohn is disillusioned when Adam Fenwick-Symes, as “Mr. Chatterbox,” recommends it as a lively center of night life (VB 7).
The Cenotaph, Whitehall. The national memorial to the servicemen killed in World Wars I and II; the site of an annual service on November 11, when the Queen or King lays a wreath on it. Not mentioned by name, but it is the “strange, purposeless obstruction of stone” which puzzles Miles Plastic when “a very old man, walking by, removed his hat as though saluting an acquaintance” (Love Among the Ruins 5).
Charing Cross Road. A somewhat scruffy street, containing pornographic as well as highly respectable bookshops, pornographic movie houses, amusement arcades, and the like. Mr. Macassor is not “some mere tradesman in Charing Cross Road” (“The Balance”). Sam Clutterbuck deplores the presence of black men there, with “the women just hanging on to ‘em” (DF 1:9).
Charing Cross Station. Terminus for trains to the southeast and some Channel ports. Charles and Sebastian return to it from Venice (BR 1:4). Guy and Apthorpe travel from it to Halberdier headquarters (MA 1:1, OG 1:2), actually Royal Marine headquarters at Chatham, Kent.
Charles Street. Runs west from Berkeley Square, south of Hill Street. Home of Brenda Champion (BR 1:7).
Charlotte Street. One of Alastair and Sonia Trumpington’s many residences (POMF 1:7).
Walk, Chelsea. Everard Spruce’s “fine house” is there (US 1:2), as
Cyril Connolly’s was.
Commercial Road. Working class and commercial. Scene of violence during the General Strike of 1926 (BR 1:8).
Curzon Street. Fashionable residential and upper-class commercial street. Lady Metroland’s *Pastmaster House, originally in Hill Street, seems later to have moved there (BM 3). Angela Lyne patronized a cinema there (POMF 2:9). One of its shops is the hairdresser Trumper’s, which Waugh patronized. A barber from Trumper’s shaved Sebastian and Charles before their appearance at Bow Street (BR 1:5). Their hair lotion, Eucris, is one of the things Tony Box-Bender would like sent to his prisoner-of-war camp (OG 1:3).
Devonshire House. On Piccadilly, opposite the Ritz Hotel. The great town mansion of the Dukes of Devonshire was torn down in the 1920s, and a new block of offices built on the site, retaining the name. Probably the original of *Marchmain House.
Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane. Kerstie Kilbannock and Virginia Troy meet each other there during an air raid (OG 2:2). “Old Ruby” moves there from Belgrave Square during the war (US 2:4), as her original, Emerald, Lady Cunard did from Grosvenor Square. Its basement was supposed to be bomb-proof.
Dover Street. Site of the Maison Basque restaurant (DF 2:5). *Shepheard’s Hotel stands at its intersection with Hay Hill (VB 2).
Downing Street. The official residence of the Prime Minister is at No. 10. Scene of the youngest Miss Brown’s midnight party for the Bright Young People, and the shock the Prime Minister, Sir James Brown, receives at the sight of Agatha Runcible the next morning (VB 4). Scene of official discussions of a knighthood for John Courteney Boot or William Boot (Sc 3:1:4). Sir Joseph Mainwaring goes there at the beginning of the war in hope of “some advisory capacity to the War Cabinet” (POMF 1:2).
Duke Street. A short street running south from Piccadilly. Where Lucy Simmonds sees a picture by John Plant’s father (WS 2:1).
Duke of York’s Steps. A wide stone staircase leading up from the Mall to Waterloo Place, at the top of which stands a tall column surmounted by a statue of Frederick, Duke of York, George III’s second son, commander-in-chief of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars. Hungry officers ascend them on their way from the War Office to the “Senior” club in search of lunch (OG 1:5).
Earls Court. West of South Kensington. A somewhat sleazy district, with some pretensions to artiness. Two members of the audience, Gladys and Ada, are “the cook and house-parlourmaid from a small house” there (“The Balance”). De Souza’s girl has a flat there (MA 1:4).
Eaton Terrace. Lord and Lady Kilbannock live there, together with Virginia Troy, Brenda, and Zita (OG 2:2; US 1:3). One of several streets in Belgravia named after Eaton Hall, the country seat of the Dukes of Westminster in Cheshire. Readers will recollect 165 Eaton Place in Upstairs, Downstairs.
Ebury Street. John Plant has rooms there (WS 2:1). So does Sir Ralph Brompton (US 1:2). In fact, Sir Harold Nicolson, suggested as the original of Brompton, had a residence at 182 Ebury Street. Lord Ebury is one of the titles of the Grosvenor family.
Edgware Road. Not unlike Charing Cross Road. A pal of Philbrick’s was bumped off by “a Chink” on Saturday night there; “might have happened to any of us” (DF 1:9). Site of the headquarters (one room) of the National Academy of Cinematographic Art (VB 9). See *Blight Street, which runs off it.
Edinburgh Gate. One of the pedestrian entrances to Hyde Park. At the end of Basil Seal’s “revelation” about the paternity of Charles Albright, Barbara Seal runs off through it (BSRA 4).
Egerton Gardens. Home of Angela Trench-Troubridge (“Love in the Slump”).
Embankment (or Victoria Embankment). Atwater threatens to sleep there, as homeless people sometimes still do (WS 2:3).
Eros. Famous statue in Piccadilly Circus. In the twenty-fifth century, it has gone, but “the pedestal rose above the reeds, moss grown and dilapidated” (“Out of Depth”).
Euston Station. The terminus of trains to the northwest, Wales, and Ireland. Imogen Quest leaves it to go to Thatch (“The Balance”), and Paul Pennyfeather leaves it to go to Llanabba (DF 1:1). Agatha Runcible, after her crash in the auto race, is found in its waiting room, staring at a model train (VB 10). Ambrose Silk, disguised as a Jesuit priest, sits there on a leaking crate of fish, waiting for the early-morning train on which he flees to Ireland (POMF 3:5). Gilbert Pinfold’s fateful journey begins here, since the S.S. Caliban sails from Liverpool (OGP 3). The station’s imposing “classic columns” of POMF were demolished after Waugh’s time and a highly modern “functional” structure erected in its stead.
Farm Street. The site of the famous Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception. Julia Flyte consults a priest there about marriage; Father Mowbray takes on the task of converting Rex Mottram (BR 1:7).
Fleet Street. The eastern extension of the Strand. The site of many newspaper offices, such as those of the Daily Beast and the Daily Brute (Sc 1:2).
Garrick Club. Founded 1831. On Garrick Street, near Covent Garden. Theatrical and literary. Sir James Macrae, the film producer, summons Simon Lent there (“Excursion in Reality”).
Gerrard Street. Parallel to Shaftesbury Avenue. Site of the notorious “No. 43,” the disreputable night club operated by Mrs. Kate Meyrick in the 1920s, which Tom Watch and his friends used to patronize as undergraduates (“Love in the Slump”). Later transformed by Waugh into *100 Sink Street or the *“Old Hundredth.” Tony Last and Jock Grant-Menzies spend an evening there (HD 3:1), as do Sebastian Flyte, Charles Ryder, and Boy Mulcaster (BR 1:5).
Gloucester Terrace. A stodgily respectable middle-class street near Paddington Station. Adam Fenwick-Symes, as “Mr. Chatterbox,” is reduced to reporting tea dances that take place there (VB 7).
Golden Square. Tony and Jock pass through it on their way to the *Old Hundredth (HD 3:1).
Great College Street. A short street leading from Millbank to Westminster Abbey. Crowds line up along it to view the Sword of Stalingrad (US 1:1).
Great Portland Street. Site of many automobile showrooms. Atwater’s nearby *Wimpole Club is “handy for chaps in the motor business” (WS 2:3).
Green Park. *Marchmain House has windows opening on it. Charles Ryder and Cordelia Flyte walk through it to have dinner at the Ritz (BR 1:8).
Square. Angela Lyne has an expensive flat there (POMF 2:8).
Maud (later Emerald), Lady Cunard—“old Ruby” of US—entertained literary
celebrities in her home at No.
7 (LO 1).
Hanover Gate. The residence of Professor and Mrs. Doure, Adam’s parents (“The Balance”).
Hanover Square. Adam Fenwick-Symes watches Nina buying hats there (VB 7).
Hanover Terrace. A street of posh residences. No. 17 was occupied by Waugh’s despised cousin, Sir Edmund Gosse, where Sir Francis Hinsley attended literary teas (LO 1). Another was occupied by Sir Ralph Brompton, when not entertaining dubious young men in Ebury Street (US 1:2).
Harley Street. Largely occupied by offices and residences of high-priced medical men. Adam Fenwick-Symes, as “Mr. Chatterbox,” is reduced to narrating anecdotes from it (VB 7).
Hatton Garden. East along Holborn. Center of the wholesale jewelry trade. Rex Mottram buys Julia’s engagement ring there (BR 1:7).
Hay Hill. Paul Pennyfeather and Margot pass a hatter’s van bearing the royal arms, and a very great lady in her landaulette (perhaps Queen Mary?) bows to Margot there. “All Mayfair seemed to throb with the heart of Mr. Arlen” (DF 1:5). *Shepheard’s Hotel is at the corner of it and Dover Street (VB 2). During the blackout in World War II, footpads beat old gentlemen to jelly in it (POMF 1:6), and someone is “sandbagged” and “robbed of his poker-winnings” there (MA Prologue, 2).
Haymarket. In the twenty-fifth century, there is a grass mound at its corner (“Out of Depth”).
Henrietta Street. The office of Adam Fenwick-Symes’s publishers, Rampole and Benfleet (VB 2). In fact, the address in the 1920s of both of Waugh’s publishers, Duckworth and Chapman & Hall.
Hertford Street. Site of Edward, Lord Throbbing’s “perfectly sheepish house” (VB 2).
Hill Street. Earlier site of *Pastmaster House, Margot’s town residence (VB 5). Waugh later moved it to Curzon Street. Mrs. Tipping, who invites John Beaver to luncheon, faute de mieux, lives there (HD 1). Angela and Basil Seal live there after their marriage (BSRA 1).
Houses of Parliament. Box-Bender and his crony Elderberry are members of the House of Commons until the Labour Party sweep of 1945. Guy and the Loot dine with Box-Bender there (US 1:1, Epilogue).
Hyde Park. Its northeast corner, near Marble Arch, is “Speaker’s Corner,” where William Boot hears the Ishmaelite “patriot” consul-general haranguing an audience (Sc 4:1). Brenda and Marjorie walk the Pekinese Djinn in it, past Watts’s statue, Physical Energy (HD 2:2).
Hyde Park Gardens. The residence of Mr. Ryder senior in Bayswater. Charles returns to it from *Marchmain House, when he returns from Venice (BR 1:4).
Jermyn Street. South of and parallel to Piccadilly. Mrs. Rosenbaum’s establishment (i.e., brothel) is on it (DF 1:5). The actual site of Rosa Lewis’s Cavendish Hotel, the original of Lottie Crump’s *Shepheard’s (VB 3). Uncle Theodore Boot wants to see a chap there about some business (no doubt a loan) (Sc 2:2). The scene of Angela Lyne’s drunken debacle at a cinema (POMF 3:3). Where money lenders offer “advances on note of hand only,” although Charles Ryder is unlikely to obtain one (BR 1:3).
Kensington Gardens. The westward extension of Hyde Park. Mrs. Stitch tries to capture a baboon escaped from the Zoo and up a tree in it (Sc 4:1).
King’s Road, Chelsea. Arty and trendy. Basil Seal finds himself in it after a “racket” (BM 3). Everard Spruce’s secretaries wear long hair in the style of King’s Road (US 1:2).
Knightsbridge. Important shopping street in Kensington and Belgravia; also the residential district south of it. Miss Brown’s invitation to 10 Downing Street forestalls her guests’ returning to their homes there (VB 4).
Law Courts (the Royal Courts of Justice). A huge and hideous Victorian Gothic pile on the Strand. Chiefly for civil actions and appeals. The libel actions after Simon Balcairn’s report of Mrs. Ape’s revival meeting are tried there (VB 7).
Leicester Square. Sleazy center of the “entertainment” district. *St Christopher’s Social Club is nearby (VB 8). In the twenty-fifth century, Rip Van Winkle walks through its ruins (“Out of Depth”).
Liverpool Street Station. In “the City,” not Westminster. Terminus for trains to the northeast. Many commuter trains to the eastern rural suburbs, one of which Mr. Salter takes (Sc 2:3).
Lowndes Square. Residence of Lady Seal, Basil’s mother (BM 3), and of Arthur Box-Bender (MA Prologue, 2).
Maida Vale. Middle-class suburb. The “patriot” Ishmaelite legation is there (Sc 4:2).
*Marchmain House. The site of this imaginary mansion, based on one or more of the famous old town houses of the nobility, such as Stafford House and Devonshire House, demolished or converted in the 1920s, can be fairly closely pinned down. The long drawing room has two bays of windows opening onto Green Park, and it is within easy walking distance of the Ritz Hotel (BR 1:8). The “block of flats” which it becomes, and which houses HOO HQ, is a quarter mile from “the Senior” (United Service) Club (OG 1:5).
Mayfair. With Belgravia, the most expensive and fashionable residential district in London. Possibly frequented by more of Waugh’s characters than any other.
Millbank. Runs along the bank of the Thames. Crowds queue in it to see the Sword of Stalingrad in Westminster Abbey (US 1:1).
Montagu Square. One of the many successive residences of Alastair and Sonia Trumpington (VB 3).
National Gallery. Adam Doure studies Poussin there (“The Balance”).
Natural History Museum. The natural-history branch of the British Museum. Waugh gives it the name of the “Royal Victorian Institute,” but no other building in London answers the description of being “a Venetian-Gothic brick edifice in the parish of Brompton,” and containing a plaster reconstruction of a megalosaurus and (in its annex, the Science Museum) a Victorian locomotive engine. During World War II, it houses HOO HQ (US 1:1).
North Audley Street. Its unconverted mews shelter impecunious former bachelor lovers of Margot Beste-Chetwynde (DF 1:6). A mews, in the nineteenth century, was the stabling for horses of the owners of large houses. Like the garages to which many of them were later converted, they opened on to the lanes behind the houses.
Odenino’s (Imperial Restaurant). Formerly in Regent Street. After the film, the young man from Cambridge drinks a glass of Pilsen there (“The Balance”).
Old Bailey. East along Holborn. The Central Criminal Courts, where Paul Pennyfeather is tried for white slavery and sentenced to seven years hard labor (DF 2:1).
*Old Hundredth. See Gerrard Street. The nickname comes from the old tune for Psalm 100, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
Onslow Square. In mildly upper-middle-class South Kensington. Home of Paul Pennyfeather’s solicitor guardian and his daughter (DF 1:2).
Paddington Station. Terminus for trains to the west of England. Brenda Last and others use it to travel from London to Hetton (HD 1:2:2). William Boot travels from it to Boot Magna (Sc 3:3). Tom Watch and Angela Trench-Troubridge leave it for their honeymoon in Devonshire (“Love in the Slump”). Guy and Box-Bender leave it to attend Mr. Crouchback’s funeral at Matchet (US 2:3). Charles and Julia leave it for Brideshead (BR 2:2)—though, since Brideshead Castle is in Wiltshire, perhaps it should have been Waterloo.
House. See Hill
Street and Curzon
Street. The town mansion of the Earls of Pastmaster, presumably
inherited by Peter Beste-Chetwynde when he succeeds as Earl, though his
mother Margot seems to regard it as her property.
Piccadilly Circus (i.e., circle). At the junction of Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue, and other streets. In the twenty-fifth century, Rip Van Winkle sees “a herd of sheep, peacefully cropping the sedge” near there (“Out of Depth”). Traffic is jammed from Hyde Park to it when Mrs. Stitch tries to make her way to Bethnal Green in her small car (Sc 1:1).
Pont Street. Symbolizes what is conventionally fashionable. No. 158 is the London house of Mr. Charles and Lady Rosemary Quest, Imogen’s parents (“The Balance”). There is a brief account of it in BR 1:7. Roger and Lucy Simmonds meet at a ball there (WS 2:1).
Portman Square. Home of Lady Marjorie (nee Rex) and Allen (last name not given) (HD 2:2). Waugh married She-Evelyn at St Paul’s, Portman Square in June 1928.
Praed Street. Where Mr. Plant buys his “academy cake” (WS 1:2).
Regent’s Park. Many expensive residences on its periphery, at one of which there is a party for Florence Mills and the Blackbirds (BR 1:8). See also Hanover Terrace.
Ritz Hotel. On the south side of Piccadilly, at the junction with Arlington Street. The original Ritz, founded by the hotelier Cesar Ritz, was in Paris. That in London was second, and later Ritz Hotels are found in various large cities throughout the world. Margot Beste-Chetwynde’s appearance, dress, and voice would be recognized in any of them from New York to Budapest (DF 1:8). Paul lives there before his marriage to Margot, and is arrested there at breakfast (DF 2:6). The social climber Archie Schwert lives there (VB 2). Rip Van Winkle stays there (“Out of Depth”). John Plant gives Roger and Lucy a lunch at the Ritz (WS 2:1). Lady Cordelia Flyte goes to dinner there, her first in public (BR 1:8). The scene of the dinner in honor of Ambrose Silk’s OM (BSRA 1). Margot moves there during World War II, and lives there after *Pastmaster House is bombed (BSRA 1).
Rotten Row. An equestrian thoroughfare in Hyde Park (the name is said to be a corruption of “Route de Roi”). Barbara Seal crosses it at the end of BSRA.
Royal Academy. On the north side of Piccadilly. In full, the Royal Academy of Arts, founded by George III in 1768, with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first President. It holds an annual exhibition of recent work of its members. In recent decades, more enterprising artists and critics have tended to look down on its “traditionalism.” John Plant’s father is a Royal Academician and exhibits there regularly (WS 1:2).
Royal Albert Hall. A large, circular auditorium, one of numerous memorials of Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort. Mrs. Ape plans a revival meeting in it (VB 2).
*Royal Victorian Institute. See Natural History Museum.
Ryder Street. Off St James’s Street. Gilmour, Ginger’s friend, has a bed-sitting room there (VB 8).
St Bride’s Church. Off Fleet Street. Its bells punctuate William Boot’s visits to the headquarters of the Daily Beast (Sc 1:3:2, 4).
St James’s Palace. The rambling old brick palace of British monarchs, now the site of government offices and residences of lesser royalty. Mrs. Stitch’s superb house, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, is near it (Sc 1:1).
St James’s Square. Sir Ralph Brompton first meets Ludovic at a reception there following a fashionable wedding in St Margaret’s (US 1:2). Since the bridegroom’s father has made “great jugs of special brew” for the occasion, he is probably one of “the great brewing families which rule London” (VB 4). The wedding may be based on that of Bryan Guinness and Diana Mitford—see the dedication of VB.
St James’s Street. See note above on Clubland. During the Blitz, *Turtle’s in it is set on fire. “From Piccadilly to the Palace the whole jumble of incongruous facades was caricatured by the blaze” (OG 1:1). “A well-known St James’s Street hatter”—no doubt Lock’s—denies the existence of bottle-green bowler hats (VB 7).
St John’s Wood. Fairly upper-middle-class suburb. Home of John Plant’s father (WS 1:5). In Victorian and Edwardian times supposedly the site of clandestine residences of well-to-do men’s mistresses.
St Margaret’s Church. Small, elegant, medieval Anglican church beside Westminster Abbey. The official church of Parliament, and a favorite site for fashionable weddings. That of Paul and Margot was scheduled to take place there (DF 2:6). Tom Watch and Angela Trench-Troubridge were married there (“Love in the Slump”), as were Alastair and Sonia Digby-Vane-Trumpington (BSRA 4). Ludovic was in the guard of honor at Lady Perdita’s first wedding there (US 1:2).
St Martin-in-the-Fields. Adam Doure leaves the National Gallery when its clock strikes one (“The Balance”).
*St Sepulchre’s, Egg Street. Where Dr. Johnson once attended matins and which Jack Spire (i.e., Sir John Squire) plans a campaign to preserve (DF 2:1). There is no Egg Street in London, though there are Bread Street and Milk Street, both fairly close to Johnson’s residence and St Sepulchre’s-without-Newgate.
Savoy Chapel. A small historic Anglican royal chapel, formerly part of the medieval Savoy Palace. It has a reputation for theological “Liberalism”; hence Julia Flyte and the divorced Rex Mottram are married there (BR 1:7).
Savoy Hotel. The closest posh hotel to Fleet Street, hence patronized by journalists who can afford it. Mr. Salter gives William Boot dinner in its famous “grill room” (Sc 2:3). It is probably the *Braganza Hotel, the scene of Lord Copper’s dinner in honor of “Boot of the Beast” (Sc 3:4). Wenlock Jakes dines there on the evening of Edward VIII’s abdication (Sc 2:2). Trimmer is interviewed there by three American reporters (OG 2:6).
“The Senior.” Popular name for the United Service Club, whose members were high-ranking military and naval officers, to distinguish it from the junior Army and Navy Club, both no longer in existence. On the southeast corner of the intersection of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall. Scene of a stampede for lunch by hungry generals and admirals (OG 1:5).
The Serpentine. Large lake in Hyde Park. Basil and Barbara Seal talk beside it (BSRA 4).
Shaftesbury Avenue. Center of “the entertainment world.” “You can see ‘em”—black men—“any night of the week,” Sam Clutterbuck complains. “The women just hanging on to ‘em” (DF 1:9). Rip Van Winkle and Alastair Trumpington run into “a mail van that was thundering down Shaftesbury Avenue at forty-five miles an hour” (“Out of Depth”).
*Shepheard’s Hotel. At the corner of Dover Street and Hay Hill (VB 3). Named after the world-famous hotel in Cairo. Its original was Rosa Lewis’s Cavendish Hotel on Jermyn Street, which was demolished; a newly built Cavendish Hotel occupies its site).
Shepherd Market. A small shopping center off Curzon Street. Young bachelors, Margot’s former lovers, live in unconverted mews there (DF 2:6).
*Sink Street. See Gerrard Street.
Sloane Square. Paul Pennyfeather and Arthur Potts have a highly intellectual discussion there (DF 2:2).
Sloane Street. Mrs. Stitch drives her small car into the men’s public lavatory there (Sc 1:3:2). Site of the office of Dr. Puttock, the Kilbannocks’ family doctor (US 2:1).
Soho. The Restaurant de la Tour de Force is not actually there, but it is “half cosmopolitan, half theatrical.” Adam Doure contemplates dinner “by himself at some very cheap restaurant” there (“The Balance”).
South Kensington. Middle-class residential district; many museums. The fascist Ishmaelite consulate is there (Sc 1:4:3).
Southampton Row. Miss Philbrick, the secretary, took night classes in script writing there (“The Balance”). Waugh himself studied carpentry at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, now Central St Martins College of Art and Design.
Stanhope Gate. A walk in Hyde Park, where only upper-class nannies wheel their small charges (WS 2:3).
The Strand. In the twenty-fifth century, it is covered by “great flats of mud” (“Out of Depth”).
Sussex Gardens. Middle class. Home of Mrs. Beaver and her son John (HD 1:1).
Trafalgar Square. In the twenty-fifth century, Rip Van Winkle walks through its ruins (“Out of Depth”).
Travellers’ Club (founded 1819). On Pall Mall, next to the Athenaeum.
*Turtle’s Club. Half-way down St James’s Street (perhaps Boodle’s Club, founded 1762—the address is about right). Set on fire during the Blitz (OG 1:1).
University of London. Ambrose Silk sees its “vast bulk … insulting the autumn sky” (POMF 1:7). The reference is to the “Senate House,” the administrative headquarters of the University (which has dozens of other units scattered throughout London). In 1939 it was reputed the tallest building in London (some eighteen stories) and much criticized for its severe, “modernistic” design. During the war it housed the Ministry of Information and so figures prominently in POMF.
Victoria Square. Home of Roger and Lucy Simmonds (WS 1:1).
Victoria Station. Terminus for rail lines to the south and the main Channel ports. Adam and other passengers from the Channel ferry pass through it (VB 2). Tony Last and Milly (and Milly’s daughter) leave it for Tony’s pseudo-adultery (HD 4:1); William Boot arrives at it from Ishmaelia (Sc 3:1:3) and Guy Crouchback from Italy (MA Prologue, 2). Uncle Peregrine and Virginia have dinner at a famous fish restaurant (Overton’s) opposite it (US 2:7).
War Office (familiarly “War House”). Headquarters of the high command of the British Army (now Ministry of Defence). Where Basil Seal is employed by the Assistant Deputy Director Internal Security, and the mad bomber blows up the Deputy Assistant Chaplain General (POMF 3:2). Jumbo Trotter gets his and Guy’s lorry parked in a space reserved for its head, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (OG 1:5). A fateful meeting of high-ranking staff officers takes place there to decide the destiny of General Whale and Hazardous Offensive Operations (OG 2:1).
Westminster Abbey. The great Gothic Anglican shrine, begun by St Edmund the Confessor, King of England, in the eleventh century: “the sacring place of the kings of England” (i.e., they are crowned there). The Sword of Stalingrad is on display there, and is visited by Ludovic (US 1:1).
Westminster Cathedral. The cathedral of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, established in 1850, when Roman Catholic dioceses with English geographical names were first permitted after the Reformation. The cathedral was built 1895-1903 in a Byzantine style. Uncle Peregrine lives near it (see Carlisle Place) and takes part in its activities (US 2:6).
Whitehall. Many major government offices are there (OG 1:5). See also Cenotaph.
Wigmore Street. Adam Fenwick-Symes buys flowers for Agatha Runcible at the corner of it and Wimpole Street (VB 12).
Wimpole Street. Like Harley Street, largely occupied by doctors’ offices, although Adam Fenwick-Symes’s publisher, Sam Benfleet, has a residence there (VB 2). Agatha Runcible, after her car crash, dies in a nursing home there (VB 12).
*Wimpole Club. Atwater’s sleazy club, in a mews off Wimpole Street (WS 1:5).
Zoo (officially “the Zoological Society of London”). When the moon is full, in his room in his parents’ house in Hanover Gate, Adam Doure can hear the animals (“The Balance”). Mrs. Stitch tries to capture a baboon that has escaped from it (Sc 1:4:1). Atwater has a ticket of admission to it, which he maintains makes him a Fellow of the Zoological Society; John Plant contemplates a Humboldt’s gibbon on exhibition in it (WS 2:4). Mr. Ryder senior spends an enjoyable day at it (BR 1:3).
Editor’s Note: Donald Greene (1914-1997) was a distinguished professor of eighteenth-century literature and a specialist in Samuel Johnson. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, he published several essays on Evelyn Waugh, including “Evelyn Waugh’s Hollywood,” Evelyn Waugh Newsletter 16 (Winter 1982): 1-4, reprinted in Paul A. Doyle, A Reader’s Companion to the Novels and Short Stories of Evelyn Waugh (Norman, OK: Pilgrim, 1988), 209-12. The gazetteer above seems not to have been published. It is based on an uncorrected typescript Professor Greene sent to Robert Murray Davis, Associate Editor of the Newsletter. Professor Greene drew a map that has been lost; instead, each location is linked to a map of the area. The editor has added references to Waugh’s stories “The Balance” and “Out of Depth.”
I am very conscious that many Waughians, perhaps the majority, believe that Colonel Robert (Bob) Laycock had to place a guard over Evelyn Waugh’s sleeping quarters to prevent his men shooting him; and that, if he went into action, he was liable to be murdered. But both beliefs are entirely baseless. In response to my essay "I am Trimmer, you know" (see EWNS 41.2), Michael Barber, author of Anthony Powell: A Life, cites Noel Annan as an “authority” on this matter, but Noel Annan is an extremely intelligent critic who places Waugh’s oeuvre within a meaningful twentieth-century context; he has no independent knowledge of the detail of Waugh’s life. On the matter under review, he merely quotes Christopher Sykes. And as the evidence presented below will demonstrate, Sykes is a most unreliable guide.
Christopher Sykes began the myth that Evelyn
Waugh was so “extremely disliked” by his men that “Bob Laycock [had to] set a
special guard on Evelyn’s sleeping quarters”; and
he went on to suggest that Waugh would have been shot by his own troops if he
had gone into action (Sykes 229). Since then, respected biographers and commentators as diverse as Simon Frazer,
Lord (“Shimi”) Lovat and Noel Annan have
repeated Sykes. But Sykes rests his claim on such bizarre misreadings
of simple sources that he lacks all credibility. Sykes “proves” that
Laycock “set a guard” as follows: “In Crete an officer of No. 8 Commando had
been killed in action, but the circumstances were odd and it was widely
suspected that this intensely unpopular man had in fact been murdered by one
of his subordinates. (Certainly this was Evelyn’s opinion.) Bob
was taking no chances” (Sykes 228). It would be difficult for
one paragraph to contain more errors. First, No. 8 Commando was never
“in Crete”; at the time of the Battle of Crete, one part was engaged at
Tobruk, the other was in camp in
But what possible parallel can there be between Lt Colonel Pedder and Waugh? Pedder was a very brave officer who ruled his Commando with notoriously ruthless discipline. The private diary of Lt Colonel Geoffrey Keyes VC, who took over No. 11 Scottish Commando after Pedder’s death, testifies that Pedder’s punishments were so harsh and unjust that certain troops had an understandable motive for seeking revenge. Waugh’s case was entirely different. In the Royal Marines early in the war, he was recognized as “keen” and capable and quickly won command of a company; but senior officers came to realize that he “was no good with the men” (as they say). Selina Hastings explains that Colonel Lushington (who had a high opinion of Waugh’s abilities) overheard Waugh publicly berating a quartermaster sergeant. This brought to a head growing uneasiness that he and other senior officers had been feeling about the way Waugh handled troops. Major (later General) Houghton, whom Waugh describes as “very decent” (Diaries 463), happily shared a flat with Evelyn and Laura; and he admired Waugh’s lectures to the men as the best he had ever heard. And yet he came to the conclusion that Waugh should not be left in direct command of a company. Another friend, John St John, writes: “[Evelyn] was the only temporary officer at that early period to be made a captain and given command of a company, but he handled its members with contempt relieved only by avuncular patronage. A petty offence could make him apoplectic.” Lushington and his colleagues therefore decided that Waugh “must be removed from his command” (Hastings 404). Consequently, Captain Waugh, while retaining his rank, was moved sideways to Battalion Intelligence Officer. Realistically, any talk of Waugh’s being shot by his men if he went into action would have to relate to this period, when he had command of a company and when his manner might have created serious resentment. On the other hand, there is no evidence to suggest that he inflicted harsh or unjust punishments. Indeed, if his letters to Laura are to be believed, he could bend the rules to accommodate his men, for example by giving leave to a ballroom dancer to attend a competition final (which he won) when the Colonel had confined all ranks to camp (qtd. in Stannard 12). Moreover, Waugh’s Marine batman, Corporal William Irvine, after seeing Auberon Waugh on television, wrote, unprompted, to recount happy memories of Evelyn. Irvine’s letter casts serious doubt on Selina Hastings’s claim that Waugh “was arrogant when giving orders to the soldier-servants … who were not slow to resent it” (399). In short, it is possible to wound with speech but to be just, even kind, in action, to bark but not bite. The evidence suggests that Captain Waugh RM did not create the degree of ill feeling among his men that would have stirred them to thoughts of murder.
Once Waugh joined the Commandos, he worked exclusively in headquarters units at GSO3 level in No. 8 Commando, Layforce, the Special Service Brigade and Combined Operations Headquarters. In this period Waugh had two soldier-servants and half a dozen or so subordinates in Intelligence or Brigade Signals. The only first-hand evidence about his behaviour ranges from very favourable to satisfactory. Private Ralph Tanner, MM (later Captain, then Doctor) was Waugh’s soldier servant in No. 8 Commando and Layforce HQ from December 1940 to July 1941. Dr Tanner praises Waugh as “a model employer to a servant” who did not deserve the “reputation for rudeness.” Asked whether he was “so unpopular he had to be protected from other soldiers,” Tanner replied: “Absolute rubbish…. He was everything you’d expect an officer to be, if you were an ordinary soldier.”
In 1942 Waugh served in the Special Service Brigade headquarters at Sherborne. His Sergeant, P. V. Harris, kept a diary, some sections of which relate to Waugh. Harris, a veteran of the First War and the author of military manuals, gives an illuminating but not uncritical appraisal of Waugh: “I like Evelyn Waugh much better now that he has dropped his Royal Marines manner. [Waugh had been addressing colleagues by title instead of Christian name.] He wants to know everything.” On the positive side, Waugh successfully defended Harris against Lord Lovat when Lovat incorrectly claimed that Harris had failed to supply maps his Commando had requested. And Waugh “readily agreed” to a trip Harris wanted to make in connection with a publication. In mixed mode, we find, “Capt. W. behaved impatiently …” and soon after, “He has been very pleasant ….” Then there was a misunderstanding about Harris taking some maps from Waugh’s desk, which seemed annoyingly over-conscientious. And as a final comment Harris wrote: “I well remember [Waugh’s] sickly smile when he was trying to be pleasant.” The faults set out here—especially when balanced against favours done—are, again, not the kind for which men kill their officers.
When Lovat savaged Waugh in his memoir, March Past, many reviewers gleefully repeated the abuse. But some soldiers who had served with Waugh wrote to Auberon Waugh to express their indignation at Lovat’s and the reviewers’ baseless vitriol. To take only one example, Lt Colonel A. F. Austen became “increasingly annoyed … on reading the adverse comments on [Waugh].” In the ranks of the Brigade Signal Troop in 1943, Austen was “in a position to see, hear and form an opinion on … the social and working life of that HQ and you can believe me when I tell you that one is often able to make more realistic judgements on people when looking up rather than down!” Austen strongly favoured Waugh over Lovat. Waugh’s batman at this time, known only as Hall, accompanied Waugh to Oxford, had a guided tour of the colleges arranged by Waugh and “asked for instruction about the Faith” (Diaries 538).
When I asked Lady Laycock whether Sir Robert would have told her if he had been compelled to set a guard on Waugh’s sleeping quarters, she was adamant that it was exactly the kind of thing he would have passed on to her; and her close friendship with many of the leading members of No. 8 Commando, Layforce and the Special Service Brigade made her equally adamant that no such situation had ever, or could ever, have arisen without her knowledge. She found the suggestion pure shining nonsense.
In summary, the evidence of the men who served directly under Waugh—Dr Tanner, Cpl Irvine, Lt Col. Austen, Sgt Harris—reveals that he got on very well, or at least sufficiently well, with Other Ranks. On the other hand, well-disposed senior officers found his handling of his Royal Marine company worrying enough to move him into headquarters. But there is no hint that Waugh was so disliked by the men as to be a target for murder. A very different story emerges when one turns to Waugh’s officer colleagues. A few, most notably Lovat, were rabidly hostile; and it is here I believe that an explanation of the “would be shot by his men” story might be found. In his memoir March Past, Lovat makes plain that he and some grandee friends resented the middle-class novelist’s intrusion into No. 8 (Royal Horse Guards) Commando; and he claims that he and some friends played a very disturbing practical joke on the disliked outsider. In 1943 Lovat engineered an acrimonious resignation from the Special Service Brigade by ordering Waugh to the Commando Depot at Achnacarry, a feared “trial-by-ordeal” (as Lovat himself calls it) training centre that most headquarters staff had never been near. Lovat was a friend of Sykes, and Sykes angrily denounces Laycock for employing Waugh. It is quite possible that Lovat and his friends either invented the story of Waugh’s being placed under protective custody as a joke, or picked up some tale that grew in the telling until it became accepted as fact, a “fact” that Sykes quoted. But that is mere guesswork. All one can say with certainty is that none of the evidence cited above supports Sykes’s story that Waugh’s men hated him so intensely that Laycock had to place a guard on his sleeping quarters and prevent him going into action.
Not like a lunatic
Out of Depth
The people debased,
Only the Catholic
Bella Fleace Gave a Party
After all her
Only gatecrashers turned up on the night.
Begam, Richard, and Michael Valdez Moses, eds. Modernism and Colonialism
(2007). Reviewed by Shannon McRae, Modern Fiction Studies 55.4
(Winter 2009): 859-63.
Abstracts of Japanese Essays on Evelyn Waugh,
Tetsuya. “Evelyn Waugh: The Loved One, Sono Fuushiteki Sokumen ni
Tsuite [An Aspect of its Satire].” Kassui Review 34 (1991): 15-30.
Yasuharu. “Evurin Wo Ichiaku No Chiri” [“Evelyn Waugh A
Handful of Dust”].
Waseda Daigaku Hogakkai Jinbunronshu [Humanitas of Waseda
University Society of Law] 30 (1992): 219-25.
Yoshihiro. “Evurin Wo no Suibo ni tsuite―Shi to saisei no
monogatari” [“On Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall: The Story of Death
and Revival”]. Hiroshima
Shudai ronshui [Studies in the Humanities and Sciences of Hiroshima
Shudo University]. 32.2 (1992): 65-78.
Hikaru. “A Handful of Dust: Introduction of Tragic Aspects.” Hiyoshi
Kiyo Eigo Eibei Bungaku [Hiyoshi Review of English Studies ] 21
Takanori. “Evurin Wo no shousetsu―Futatsu no muzukashisa”
[“Evelyn Waugh’s Novels―Two Impediments”]. Eibei Bunka [British and American Culture] 28
Diana Mosley (1910-2003) was one of a number of attractive women who were close friends and confidantes of Evelyn Waugh at one time or another. Waugh’s friendship with Diana Mosley (then Guinness) flourished in the months following the break-up of his first marriage, when she was nineteen, married to his Oxford friend Bryan Guinness, and pregnant with her first child. During this period (1929-30), Waugh was virtually a member of her households in London, Paris, and Sussex. They had a falling out after she gave birth to her first son in March 1930. According to later correspondence, she wanted to re-establish contacts with other friends after confinement, and he resented the reduced attention. She was annoyed by his possessiveness, and he was more and more taken up with his unsuccessful courtship of Teresa Jungman. Their friendship began to recover in 1966 shortly before Waugh’s death, when they exchanged letters and each accepted some responsibility for the rupture.
had an eventful and controversial life. She left Bryan Guinness to
become the mistress and later the wife of Oswald Mosley, leader of the
British fascist movement. Through him, she met leaders of the Nazi
party in Germany and, although her husband and Hitler never got along, she
was closely acquainted with the Fuhrer. Diana and Oswald both believed
that England’s war with Germany was a mistake and would destroy Britain’s
economy and Empire. They felt that the real enemy was the
the war, Diana lived with her husband in virtual exile in Paris, where both
were unrepentant for opposition to Britain’s war policies. They
published a privately circulated journal, The European: she edited and
contributed, and they both found an outlet for views rejected by the popular
press. Several of these articles, collected here, present the
continuing decline of the British Empire and economic austerity in England as
proof that their prewar positions were correct. Diana became a close
friend of the Duchess of Windsor, and she published a memoir of her in
1980. Diana also began to publish reviews and articles in the popular
press on less controversial topics, such as literature and art, most
frequently in Books and Bookmen and the Evening Standard, where
A. N. Wilson was literary editor. In 1977, she published her
autobiography, A Life of Contrasts, and offered no apology for her
political views. In 1985, she published a memoir entitled Loved
Ones, including a piece on Waugh. The new volume contains
selections from all these sources (including the Waugh memoir). She
continued to live in In Diana’s memoir of Waugh, from her 1985 collection Loved Ones (obviously
a Wavian allusion), she defends Waugh against charges of bad behavior: “He
liked people, I suppose as most of us do, because they amused him, or he was
fond of them or he found them stimulating company…. He disliked those
who bored or irritated him.” She cites Tom Driberg, a socialist
politician and notorious homosexual, as the sort of person whose friendship
could hardly have advanced Waugh’s standing.
In Diana’s memoir of Waugh, from her 1985 collection Loved Ones (obviously
a Wavian allusion), she defends Waugh against charges of bad behavior: “He
liked people, I suppose as most of us do, because they amused him, or he was
fond of them or he found them stimulating company…. He disliked those
who bored or irritated him.” She cites Tom Driberg, a socialist
politician and notorious homosexual, as the sort of person whose friendship
could hardly have advanced Waugh’s standing.
Although, on James R. Lothian’s showing, Hilaire Belloc gave a voice to Roman Catholic aspirations and through his influence on a first generation of followers—G. K. Chesterton, Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P., and Eric Gill—and a younger and more diverse group that included Douglas Jerrold, Christopher Hollis, Douglas Woodruff, Arnold Lunn, Tom Burns, and Evelyn Waugh—he argues toward the end of the book that that influence lasted well beyond its usefulness as political and economic theory and implies throughout that, except in comparison with Belloc’s Catholic contemporaries, he hardly deserved to be called an intellectual.
After Belloc moved from political radicalism to political Catholicism, he established three main tenets. The first was monarchism, or rather the desire for a strong leader. Belloc’s distaste for parliamentary democracy led to philo-Fascist support for Mussolini and Franco. Distributism encouraged back-to-the-land smallness and localism, which may be a pretty idea. But as Mustapha Mond points out, in favor of industrialism’s ability to produce the masses of goods necessary to support a wildly increasing population, a million million people are hard to bury. The last, “triumphalist Catholic history,” turned history into a means of demonstrating that England was essentially Roman Catholic, that the Reformation destroyed a vital economic and cultural world far superior to everything that had replaced it, and, by definition, that the triumphalist Whig historians lauding the age of Elizabeth were partisan and mistaken. The common denominator was a distaste for most aspects of the modern world.
Lothian traces Belloc’s historiography to the fortress mentality of English Catholics, understandable after centuries of repression, which had its last gasp in the edict, established by Cardinal Wiseman and continued by Cardinal Manning, that Catholic students could not attend Oxford or Cambridge. Ironically, Belloc and many of his followers of the second generation attended Oxford. All, like Waugh in Edmund Campion and Waugh in Abyssinia, to an extent in Robbery Under Law/Mexico: An Object Lesson, and implicitly in Sword of Honour, looked backward to the early sixteenth century and beyond for social models. Some were more distributist than others, Waugh, who, as far as I can tell, had no interest in economic theory or policy except to try to avoid taxes, perhaps least of all.
Of his generation, Waugh was the only writer of any stature. Douglas Jerrold, Christopher Hollis, Douglas Woodruff, and Michael de la Bedoyère were editors, more or less committed to like-minded English Bellocians. As publishers, Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward were more open to continental Catholic writers and even non-Catholics. But not until Christopher Dawson emerged as counter-theorist, maintaining the need to engage with the world and to regard history as scholarship rather than apologetics, was there a serious challenge to Belloc’s ideas. Even Dawson supported Franco for a while, but he opposed the idea, or rather hope, that a Latin Catholic Bloc consisting of France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy could join with Britain to oppose Nordic Protestant nations that Belloc had hated since the Franco-Prussian war. It is difficult in hindsight to see this as anything but willful ignorance of geopolitical realities, and it faded rapidly at the beginning of World War II.
Like Guy Crouchback in the war trilogy and Waugh in his diaries, Catholics were relieved at the Molotov-von Ribbentrop treaty that brought the enemy into one camp and full view. Hitler’s attack on Russia disturbed a number of people, including Waugh, who had hoped that Christian nations had banded together against secular and totalitarian threats and who had not yet fully accepted the view that democracy rather than Christianity needed full support during the war.
Some of these people were prodded if not into full acceptance then at least into silence by the maneuverings of Barbara Ward, who managed to turn the Dublin Review into a place where Catholics of the Left and Right could discuss the issues freely, and by Cardinal Hinsley (the name but not the character went into The Loved One), who not only supported the war effort but tirelessly maintained, on the air and in print, that Catholics not only could be but were patriotic Englishmen. Jerrold and others still fighting the Spanish Civil War on the Nationalist and therefore anti-Communist side and those who clung to the Latin Catholic Bloc fantasy until Italy’s entry on the Axis side never fully abandoned hopes of a Catholic political resurgence.
After the United States entered the war, the uneasy Catholic popular front fragmented, but after Allied victory, it became clear even to the hardest-dying Bellocian that the parliamentary democracies he detested had proven superior to the totalitarian regimes he had supported. English Catholics began to assimilate not only into the life of their country but into the intellectual life of Europe and the wider world, heavily modifying Sebastian’s view in Brideshead Revisited that Catholics are not like anyone else, “particularly in this country, where they're so few. It's not just that they're a clique--as a matter of fact, they're at least four cliques all blackguarding each other half the time--but they've got an entirely different outlook on life; everything they think important is different from other people.”
Lothian believes that the movement away from Belloc’s influence led, somewhat indirectly, to the aggiornamento of Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council—parallel to, if anticipating, Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost. Even if Lothian is right, in both cases, conservative forces have launched a counter-reformation. In more local terms, one can see the effect of contact with a broader world in David Lodge’s How Far Can You Go (in the U.S., Souls and Bodies), which traces the further fragmentation of Catholic loyalties for thirty years past the end of the period covered by Lothian’s book.
Students of Waugh will discover that the eighteen pages devoted to him give a sober, largely accurate, and somewhat judgmental view of his views of Mussolini and Franco, but these are no harsher than for other figures in the history. Since Woodruff and to a lesser extent Jerrold published some of Waugh’s more loaded political statements in the 1930s, the associations can seem guilty. More generally interesting is Lothian’s portrait of a world in which Waugh kept one foot while planting the other in that of the clever, titled, and fashionable, or sometimes all three. Like the central character in his fragmentary schoolboy novel, Waugh could keep different parts of his life in separate compartments. Of minor interest are the appearances of Alick Dru, Waugh’s brother-in-law, who learned Danish in order to translate Kierkegaard, and of Gabriel Herbert, his sister-in-law, who went to Spain with an ambulance and thus is far more likely than Lady Dorothy Lygon, Paula Byrne’s candidate in Mad World, to be the model for Cordelia Flyte.
For readers more interested in general views than in details of ancient ideological skirmishes, the epilogue gives a pointed abstract of the book as a whole. But the book is well worth reading for its own sake. Lothian writes with unobtrusive clarity—greater praise than that would have seemed thirty years ago—and has done massive amounts of research for what began as a dissertation but shows no stigmata from that genre. The fact that, with a book of this very high quality, he is at present a visiting assistant professor says a good deal about the present job market in the humanities.
Although usually considered a satirist, Waugh has developed a reputation as a parodist as well. A parody written by Waugh was included in the recent Oxford Book of Parodies. Editor John Gross gives this poem the title “The Suicide of Sir Francis Hinsley.” It first appeared in The Loved One (Penguin 69):
They told me, Francis Hinsley, they told me you were hung
With red protruding eye-balls and black protruding tongue;
I wept as I remembered how often you and I
Had laughed about
Here pickled in formaldehyde and painted like a whore,
Shrimp-pink incorruptible, not lost nor gone before.
They told me,
Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
Cory in turn based his poem on an epigram by the classical Greek poet-scholar of the Library of Alexandria, Callimachus (ca. 310-240 BC), about the philosopher Heraclitus (ca. 535-ca. 475 BC), whose work stressed the centrality of change as a guiding principle in the universe, perhaps best illustrated by his well-known saying, “You cannot step twice into the same river.”
Gross provides background notes relating to the plot of The Loved One and explaining the poem’s composition but fails to note that Waugh also quoted Cory’s poem in his later novel Officers and Gentlemen (1955). The Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), at a luncheon party at Julia Stitch’s, recalls the “best poem ever written in Alexandria” and recites the Cory poem, with first and last lines quoted. Another guest offers to recite it in Greek but is not encouraged (Penguin 130-31). Professor Paul A. Doyle provides this information in his useful Reader’s Companion. Waugh also mentions the poem in his biography of Ronald Knox. Knox recited the poem during his Romanes Lecture at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on 11 June 1957, only a few weeks before his own death. He was visibly ill and known by close friends to be near death. Waugh comments that “most of those present recognized the words as [Knox’s] own farewell to Oxford, and some with whom of old he had ‘tired the sun with talking’, did not restrain their tears” (The Life of Ronald Knox, London, 1959, 329).
In The Loved One, Dennis Barlow has been assigned the writing of an “ode” by the current President of the Cricket Club. Sir Ambrose Abercrombie directs Dennis to have the poem in his hands “at least an hour before the time so that I can run over it in front of a mirror … I shall recite it at graveside.” Dennis retreats to the Lake Island of Innisfree in the Whispering Glades cemetery, the family resting place of the great fruiterer who developed Kaiser’s Stoneless Peaches. Dennis composes these lines the day before the funeral service while “rhythms of the anthologies moved softly through his mind.” He also tries his hand at another poem, also quoted in the Oxford parody collection, based on the ode by Tennyson on the death of the Duke of Wellington:
Bury the great Knight
With the studio’s valediction.
Let us bury the great Knight
Who was once the arbiter of popular fiction …
The original ode began
Bury the Great Duke
With an empire’s lamentation,
Let us bury the Great Duke
To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation …
That parody remains a fragment, as Dennis never completed it, which is just as well, since Tennyson’s original continues for over 280 lines.
While awaiting inspiration on the Lake Island, Dennis is interrupted by Aimée Thanatogenos. Dennis makes the fatal (for her) error of promising the delivery of future poetry. We are not told what poem Sir Ambrose Abercrombie actually read at the funeral service, but it is unlikely to have been one of those composed by Dennis and quoted above.