The Bell Inn,
Aston Clinton, Bucks.
November 29th, 1944
I have your letters of October 22nd, October 31st and November 7th. I am glad to hear that you are on something new and I hope that this time it will turn up trumps. I have told Miss Taylor what you say about your address.
I will look at Mrs Lowthorpt’s figure, and when this letter comes back from being typed may be able to make a few comments. I note what you say about McMurtry.
I am asking the binder to send you invoices for the copies that he is sending out to you. In the meanwhile the quarto bound cost 17/6d. per copy, and the half-bound, 27/6d. I have already written you about the blocks, but you could perfectly well get out an edition without them — in fact you had much better do so if your are hoping to sell the book at any reasonable sort of price. Roughly speaking, the cost of a set of blocks for one card is from £10 to £15.
I am very glad that you are having copies made of “Liber Aleph”. I certainly hope you can get it printed, and I am sure that I can trust you to see that the style is as good as that of the Tarot. It was my intention to have one chapter on one page. I also regard it as number One of what I may call classic publications, although the book I am now working on, “Aleister Explains Everything” is likely to come first, because that can be got out in a large edition cheaply, and I think will do a great deal to sell the other books.
I am not sure whether I sent a copy to Frederick. I certainly did to Jack and Georgia. I did not send one to Jane’s sister. I thought she was dead.
I feel that I am treating you very badly, but you must realise that I am working in the most impossible conditions. I can only afford one day a week for dictation. My secretary comes out here and takes back the shorthand, sends me the typescript for revision and signature. She has filed everything very neatly and nicely, but as you know from experience it is from my point of view almost like throwing them into the ashcan. I tremble when I think of trying to find everything. Nor can I grasp any business matters at all with my mind. I do my best to answer your letters, but I never feel sure that I have done so satisfactorily. The result is that you ask me to do some perfectly simple thing which any idiot could do in five minutes, and it is completely beyond my understanding, far more-so beyond my ability to execute. Things will never go right until I have a full-time secretary who will have all the business details in her head, and that means doubling the monthly transfer at the least.
I am sending you six prospectuses. But you must send by return of post 60 cents in payment for them. This is to keep on the right side of the ‘paper control’ people, who have been making trouble for me. They have no standing in the matter because the Equinox Vol. 3, no.5, of which “The Book of Thoth” is a part, is a periodical and not subject to their jurisdiction.
Wonders will never cease about that material. I went to a local woman in Aston Clinton, and she made me perfectly good shirts. I suspect that the London man was simply making an excuse for not doing the work. You have no idea how strangely people act these days.
What you say about Jack appears very complicated. I had an extremely nice letter from him, and then I had a letter from Helen to say that Smith had started his retirement on satisfactory lines, but of course for all I know this may be a pack of lies. Honestly, I don’t know where I am.
You suddenly shoot off from the question of Jack to your health. Of course what you say is very obscure to me. I can only hope that everything will go well.
I have not a Book 4 Part II. I managed to borrow a copy for a month about three weeks ago, but have to return it. I have a copy of Part I. If this is any good to you I will send it along.
I am very glad to hear that Sascha is better, and that her proposed visit to California will be an outstanding success.
It would be perfectly senseless for me to go back to London. I am thinking of winter quarters somewhere on the borders of Kent and Sussex, but the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know, and there are so many advantages in remaining here that I shall take quite a lot of shifting.
Georgia’s letter is very interesting, but I must say that I don’t get very much out of it. All this business about auras gets on my nerves. I don’t know what she means by this taint which she mentions in her penultimate paragraph.
I am probably rather peevish this afternoon. I appreciate Georgia immensely in every way, and realise how wonderful her support has been; but I do not want to know about various misadventures and calamities unless there is something I can do about them. I don’t know why she has to write a letter like that.
Now for yours of October 31st. I don’t remember receiving any letter from Jack to you. He cabled me 80 dollars about the same time as your 300 dollar transfer. This has put me all right with the binders. I have not had anything else from Jack since the contribution in the early summer when the Tarot was in question. I think that he owes me a letter; but I don’t like to swear to that till I am almost sure. I certainly think that he ought to contribute much more largely than he does. Your original idea of a quarter of a century ago that we should never do any good until we had a proper headquarters and a proper staff, is still the right idea. I don’t think that you should spend large sums of money on getting out reprints while this business of headquarters awaits attention, and also these books which exist only in manuscript, and some of which are in duplicate. I am living in a state of constant terror lest some more of my most important work should be destroyed without remedy.
You returned in this last letter to the question of Jack, in alternate paragraphs. It is very confusing — still more so since every paragraph seems to contradict the one which has gone before! I rather doubt Frederick’s judgement.1 If I remember correctly in my last letter to Jack I was able to congratulate him on a very fine piece of poetry, and certainly his last letter appeared to show the right spirit. But as you imply there may be some kind of plot with Smith in the foreground. The idea is2 so senseless that I can hardly imagine any human being holding out. But you know people are like that.
I will send a Tarot to Lt. Crombie through Georgia.
Max’s letter to you: there may be a spare copy of the Equinox of the Gods in storage. Until there is a proper headquarters it is no use trying to look for one.
Yours of November 7th. Thanks for the Artemis Iota. My mind is now at ease on that subject. The whole of your letter confuses me terrible. I think perhaps that you are yourself confused. Success is your proof does not seem to me to have anything to do with love.
Of course I understand very well, from the first minute that I met you, your difficulties in this outlook of yours. I have written again and again about it, and I don’t know that I can add anything useful. Your real trouble it seems to me is that you take everything so seriously, that you feel compelled to analyse in season and out of season, when there is no real occasion.
I am very glad to hear that there are hopes of a good transfer in December. If I decide to shift over, it is going to cost a lot.
You must apologise to Handel about the book. I sent that copy because I had not one of the other kind available. You can have no conception how muddled it has been. At the present moment I am having to find out from the binder how many copies have been bound, how many need binding and so on, and as to the numbering that has got all mixed up. The difficulty has been mostly that of transporting the books from London here and so on. You have got your twenty copies on the way. I cannot understand your figures at all. The actual cost of producing a copy was approximately £5, but that is allowing nothing whatever for overhead, stationery, typing, journeys and heaven knows what else, occasional secretarial assistance. I say nothing of the author, but the idea that Jack appears to have that 80 dollars should secure him ten copies is contemptible. Two copies are much more like the value. I think you must have misunderstood his cable. It is really too ridiculous.
I will try and get you a copy of the printer’s account, but it is mixed up with the costs of other books, and honestly I don’t know where I am about it. You might be able to make something.
I shall now retire from the unequal contest. It is really no good turning me upside down over all these business calculations. It simply spoils my temper.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours with great love, but not feeling well; digestion all wrong these last 3 days
P.S. I am sending you a set of six of the Letters of which there are now about 70, chosen at random so as to give you a sort of idea of the scope of the book. It is a little difficult to arrange, about the order in which they should appear, and at the moment I think the best way out of it is to classify them under various headings such as The Universe, Man, the Order, Yoga, Ethics. You might be able to get a contract with an occult periodical to issue them serially. Such people as I have honoured with the privilege of reading them are all very enthusiastic. I find that they want copies for themselves, and every one is agreed that for the first time I have been able to put things in such a way as can be understood by the ordinary intelligent person. For this and other reasons I think that you ought to be able to make a good thing out of it commercially. If you want a complete set of Letters it means that I shall have to have the whole series retyped. I want to impress upon you that people are pestering me from every quarter to supply them with various stuff published or unpublished. This means that I have to send my copies out to a firm to be typed, and this comes out rather expensive. For instance, Jean Phillips appears to be in close touch with Orson Welles and is anxious to interest him in my work. I am therefore sending here various things which might take his fancy. (You realise of course that his acceptation of one story of mine would make us for good and all). It has occurred to me that “The Three Wishes” would suit O.W. very well, not having any spare copies I had to have it retyped, 60 pages cost with two carbons, £3.13.9d. Now I have got to get Liber Aleph recopied and also the secret Documents of the 7th-9th Degress.3 A.C.
P.S. Long letter just in from Jack. Will write again on Sunday when I have had time to read and consider it. A.C.