APRIL 1939

Again this month, Graves does not begin many new projects. He continues to read over the proofs of Lives of Wives, and he and Riding finally sign a contract with Dent to publish the Dictionary. Graves does, however, draft a new poem: "Remembrance."
As in March, everyone seems to battle aches and pains: Graves has a stiff back; Riding has rheumatism; Beryl has neuralgia; and Léonie (the maid) has another whitlow on her finger, rheumatism and "a bad eye."
Despite these woes, the first few weeks of April are a whirlwind of packing and good-byes. Ethel Herdman visits, and the McCormacks stop in as well. The group makes a quick trip to Rennes to see Juan and Anita, who is in the final days of pregnancy. David Reeves confirms that he is booked on the Paris (in a cabin with Graves). In the midst of everything, Graves and Riding learn that Joän and Dolores Junyer's flat in Barcelona has been seized.
But nothing disrupts the departure from Montauban, and the friends leave early on the morning of 19 April to catch the Paris. En route they learn that the boat has suffered a fire - though the baggage they had sent on ahead is unscathed. They book passage on another ship, the Champlain.
The voyage across the Atlantic is relatively uneventful, though Graves is seasick. While on board, the friends learn that Anita has given birth and that mother and baby are healthy.
Graves and company arrive in New York on 28 April and are met by Tom and Julie Matthews and Schuyler and Katharine Jackson.
On 29 April Graves notes briefly the tenth anniversary of Riding's fall. The last few days of the month are spent unpacking.
There are eight enclosures this month:
  • 1. Letter to Graves awarding him the Prix Feminá Vie Heureuse for Count Belisarius (2 pages)
  • 2. Picture postcard of Lugano
  • 3. Handmade Christmas card
  • 4. Newspaper clipping about the Paris ocean liner fire
  • 5. Newspaper clipping about the Paris sailing schedule
  • 6. Newspaper article about the Paris fire
  • 7. Picture postcard of Hotel de Bordeaux
  • 8. Picture postcard of ocean liner Champlain

Hands Referenced

Places Mentioned

  • Rennes

    Rennes, France
    where Gelat's daughter, Anita, and son-in-law, Juan Vives live; visited by RG and LR et al in 1938 eds.
  • Barcelona

    Catalunya, Spain
    Located on the Mediterranean coast. eds.
  • Montauban

    Montauban-de-la-Bretagne, Brittany, France

People Mentioned

  • Robert

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

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

    Pritchard, Beryl
    daughter of Harry and Amy Pritchard, R.G.'s second wife. Formerly married to Alan Hodge. Robert and Beryl had four children: William, Lucia, Juan and Tomas. eds
  • Leonie

    servant at La Chevrie eds.
  • Ethel Herdman

    Herdman, Ethel
    James Reeves' sister RPG; Assistant warden of Ashbourne Hall, Manchester University KG; nicknamed "Ether" by RG and LR, Sept 1937 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.
  • Juan

    Vives, Juan
    The Doctor's brother. Married to Gelat's daughter. Lived in Rennes, France. WG
  • Anita

    Ana, Anita
    Marroig. Gelat's daughter, married to Juan Vives the Doctor's brother. Live in Rennes, France. WG
  • David Reeves

    Reeves, David
    Brother of James Reeves [and Ethel Herdman] RPG 292.
  • Joän

    Junyer, Joän
    Nephew of Sebastian Junyer. Also a good painter. W.G.; Deaf-mute Catalan painter, ex-pupil of Picasso's, who lived in his uncle's house in Lluch Alcari [Llucalcari]. K.G.; introduced Ward and Dorothy Hutchinson to RG & LR in 1935 eds.
  • Dolores

    Junyer, Delores
    m. to Joän Junyer eds
  • Tom

    Matthews, T.S.(Tom)
    American journalist. Took sabbatical from TIME and arrived in Deyá in 1930. Involved from then on with L.R. and R.G. WG
  • Julie

    Matthews, Julie
    Tom Matthews' wife. WG
  • Schuyler Jackson

    Jackson, Schuyler
    American poet who became Laura Riding's second husband. Graves and Riding stayed with Jackson, his wife Katharine ("Kit"), and his family on their farm in Pennsylvania in 1939. It was here that the partnership between R.G. and L.R. came to an end. eds
  • Katharine Jackson

    Jackson, Katharine
    m. to Schuyler Jackson eds.
  • 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

  • J.M. Dent & Sons

    Dent, J.M.
    Publishing house founded in 1888 and absorbed by Nicholson in 1988 eds.
  • Editors

    Editors of the Graves Diary Project.


    • Title: Lives of Wives [prose]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • PubPlace: London, Toronto, Melbourne & Sydney
    • Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.
    • Idno: A39
    • Date: 1939
    • Title: Dictionary [projected project; unfinished]
    • Author: Riding, Laura
    • Date: 1935
    • Title: Count Belisarius [1938]
    • Author: Graves, Robert
    • PubPlace: London
    • Publisher: Cassell
    • Idno: A47
    • Date: 1937-07-21