August sees Graves spending a good deal of time with his children. All four visit the house at Ewhurst, and three of them - David, Sam and Catherine - stay for several days, camping in the back field. Graves practises archery with the boys, takes long walks with Catherine, and talks with David about his education plans. While he is clearly exasperated by Jenny's poor money-management skills, Graves helps her work out an "anti-debt plan" and agrees to make her a yearly allowance of £50. Throughout the month, the diary reflects what is clearly Graves' delight in his deepening relationship with his children.
The weather is hot, and afternoons are spent in the garden with family and friends. The lazy calm of summer is only slightly marred by news of conflict abroad. The first few weeks of August are quiet in Spain, but Graves writes briefly of the war in China and of the bombardment of Shanghai.
Work on Belisarius continues throughout the month. Graves also begins drafting the poem "Red Dog." While Riding finishes Part I of the "Letter Book" (The World and Ourselves), Graves reads and comments on the introduction. When Graves complains of eye strain, Alan Hodge makes him a gift of a magnifying glass.
Riding finishes the preface to her poetry collection, which is now ready for publication. Harry Kemp, Graves and Riding write a letter to the Daily Telegraph on Mussolini and Augustus. Towards the end of the month, Graves and Riding begin collaborating on The Smuggler (a screenplay commissioned by Korda). The month is busy enough that Random House's demand that Graves return the $1000 advance for the Claudius film version warrants only passing commentary in the diary.
Riding's kitten, Solace (previously "Celia"), has become a household mascot. With some pride, Graves notes her first hunting success. When she disappears for a night, Graves and Riding spend much of the next day looking for her, even offering a reward for her return. To everyone's relief, she is found late that night, hungry and confused, but safe.
Graves continues to practise archery, and the rabbits are duly afraid; the poet writes that he must now stalk them in neighbouring fields. Alice Mace (the maid) proves unreliable, and Riding and Graves engage another maid, Marie. August includes a visit from John Aldridge and and Lucie Brown, and a family outing to the McCormacks' house. They give Graves another bow (this one from New Zealand) and Riding a necklace that had once belonged to Violet's mother. Later, a trip to Chichester with Norman Cameron and David, Sam and Catherine turns into a day at the beach at Bognor, with Alix and Harry joining the group. Writes Graves: "Health, good looks, backless bathing dresses, remarkably garage accents."
But the month ends on a sad note, as Alix receives word that her father is dying. She leaves for Germany to be with him.
There are five enclosures this month:
  • 1. A letter to Graves from Jenny
  • 2. A cutting from the Daily Telegraph: "History's Parallels" by H. V. Kemp
  • 3. A note to Graves from Sam
  • 4. Graves' handwritten "Lost Cat" notice
  • 5. Part of a letter to Graves from son David

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Ewhurst

    Ewhurst, Surrey, England
    Highcroft, the house RG and LR rented with Harry and Alix Kemp between July and November 1937, was located there. eds.
  • Chichester

    Sussex, England

People Mentioned

  • Robert

    Graves, Robert
    [1st person]. (1895-1985). Poet, novelist, essayist, critic, and author of his diary. eds.
  • David

    Graves, David
    R.G.'s second child [by Nancy Nicholson]. W.G. In RAF; killed in the war. The only one of Graves' children who might have become a poet had he lived. K.G., eds.
  • Sam

    Graves, Samuel
    R.G.'s youngest child by Nancy Nicholson. C.P.& WG
  • Catherine

    Nicholson, Catherine
    Catherine Nicholson: (1922- ) third of four children of Robert Graves and Nancy Nicholson. eds.
  • Laura

    Riding, Laura
    (1901-91) American poet. Laura Riding (née Reichenthal; then Laura Gottschalk).
  • Alan

    Hodge, Alan
    Oxford history graduate. Became close friends with LR & RG. First husband of Beryl Graves. CP & WG
  • Harry Kemp

    Kemp, Harry
    Poet. Met Graves and Riding through James Reeves in August 1936, just after their arrival in England. In their previous correspondence, Riding had been intrigued by his falling-out with Communism. He became associated with their circle, collaborating on various projects. (RPG 248-49)
  • Korda

    Korda, Alexander
    Director of the film version of I Claudius.
  • Marie

    Goldschmidt, Marie
    Karl Goldschmidt's first wife. RPG 280-81. The couple met when Marie was employed as domestic help at Ewhurst (summer 1937). eds.
  • Aldridge

    Aldridge, John
    (1905-1983), painter and close friend and collaborator. WG m. to Lucie Brown 1940 eds.
  • Lucie

    Brown, Lucie
    Married artist John Aldridge. eds.
  • McCormacks

    McCormack, Walter & Violet
    Tenants of Ca'n Torrent. Had two daughters: Jennifer, a dancer, & Betty. Continued their friendship with Robert and Laura in England. eds.
  • Norman Cameron

    Cameron, Norman
    Poet. Built Can Torrent in 1932-1933. W.G.; m. to Elfriede, then to Catherine Vandervelde; friend and contributor to LR and RG's work eds.
  • Alix Kemp

    Kemp, Alix
    Married to poet Harry Kemp. The couple shared a house with Graves and Riding in Ewhurst, Surrey (1937). eds (RPG 277); also referred to as Frau Eierman by RG eds. see Diary August 30, 1936
  • Jenny

    Nicholson, Jenny
    Jenny Nicholson: oldest daughter of Robert by Nancy Nicholson.
  • Graves, William
    Son of Robert and Beryl Graves. Helped to identify names, places and titles in Deya (1935-1936) and with translations and other references in three ways. He left an annotated printout of the first six months of the diary in the Graves Trust Room at St. John's College, Oxford. He also sent Chris Petter an Excel file with a list identifying names and places, principally in the Majorcan sections of the diary, and a glossary of Spanish terms. Finally he has sent the editors answers in response to reference questions. Notes by William Graves are identified with the initials WG.

Organizations Mentioned

  • Random House

    American publishers (New York) eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Count Belisarius [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A47
    • Date: 1937-07-21
    • Title: Red Dog [poem] [Not traced. Apparently not published. DW]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • Date: 1937-08-22
    • Title: Letter Book [became The World and Ourselves]
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • Title: The World and Ourselves [former title: Letter Book]
    • Author: Riding, Laura [contributor; with Sally Graves, Sir Edward Marsh et al]
    • Editor: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Chatto & Windus
    • Date: 1938-11
    • Title: Daily Telegraph
    • PubPlace: London
    • Date: 1856-1936
    • Title: Smuggler Scenario [projected screenplay for a Korda film RPG]
    • Author: Graves, Robert/ Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1937-08-26
    • Title: Claudius Film Version [The Fool of Rome] [a condensed novel based on I, Claudius]
    • Author: Graves, Robert