Mr. Sidney Stark, Publisher
Stephens & Stark Ltd
21 St James’s Place
8th January 1946
Susan Scott is a wonder. We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint, was the food. Susan managed to get hold of ration coupons for icing sugar and real eggs for the meringue. If all her literary luncheons are going to achieve these heights, I won’t mind touring the country. Do you suppose that a lavish bonus could spur her on to “butter”? Let’s try it – you may deduct the money from my royalties.
Now for my grim news. You asked me how work in my new book is progressing. Sidney, it isn’t. English Foibles seemed so promising at first. After all, one should be able to write reams about the Society to Protest Against the Glorification of the English Bunny. I unearthed a photograph of the Vermin Exterminators’ Trade Union, marching down an Oxford street with placards screaming “Down with Beatrix Potter!” But what is there to write about after a caption? Nothing that’s what.
I no longer want to write this book – my head and my heart just aren’t in it. Dear as Izzy Bickerstaff is – and was – to me, I don’t want to be considered a light-hearted journalist anymore. I do acknowledge that making readers laugh – or at least chuckle – during the war was no mean feat, but I don’t want to do it anymore. I can’t seem to dredge up any sense of proportion or balance these days, and God knows one can’t write humour without them.....