Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Postcard from Evelyn Waugh

Some time ago, I referred to a rude postcard I received years ago from Evelyn Waugh. Someone wanted to know what it was about. Well, I've just unearthed it (I'm in the middle of clearing out a revoltingly dusty cupboard) and the card goes thus (I had written to asking him to speak to the Reading University Catholic Society):

Thank you for your kind invitiation to Reading. I must, alas, refuse as I have nothing whatever to say. E.W.

Well not rude perhaps so much as abrupt. Any offers? I don't know what to do with it.

I was telling my daughter about this when she phoned half-an-hour ago, and "who's Evelyn Waugh" says she. With her English A level, too.

I despair.


  1. Not having an English A-level is maybe working to my advantage here, because I know who Evelyn Waugh is... Put it on Ebay!

  2. I've just looked him up and discovered he died in 1966. So you must have been very young when you approached him.

    I'd take it along to the next antiques road show.

  3. My father loved Waugh... and Belloc and Chesterton.. Everyone must remember Brideshead? It was one of Dad's favourites and poignantly the theme music played on Classic FM as we lost him.
    Frances, I would be interested in the postcard if you had an idea of its value?

  4. I agree with Maggie May, you could get a valuation on Antiques Road Show.
    It is certainly worth something, to Sarah or to someone else.
    And I think you're right, abrupt rather than rude. Very possible that he had nothing to say, too. Maybe he was unwell.

  5. Librarian, eBay is a brilliant idea!

    No, Maggie, I wasn't that young, it's just that now, I'm very old!

    Hi, Sarah - it's been a long time! Yes. I'll let you know.

    Thanks, Kay. Not sure if there is an antiques road sure coming this way, but it's a good idea.

  6. That was to the point! It might be worth letting a literary society know about it (don't which one though).

  7. Quite to the point, but not rude. I admire that, and also think that eBay is your best shot if you don't want to keep it. On the other hand, you could frame it!

  8. Thanks, Rosemary. Good idea. There might even be an Evelyn Waugh society??

    Deborah, I probably overreacted! And it's certainly more polite than the (similar) one sent to a friend of my mother's who had asked George Bernard Shaw to speak. The reply said (something like) "I'm afriad I shall be uable to come, as I have dyed my beard green, and am not fit to be seen".

  9. What a lovely thing to have even if he was a little abrupt. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it turned out to be worth a fortune x

  10. Teresa, if it is, I'll throw a huge party and invite you all!

  11. Could be that eminent writers etc get all-too-many such requests and from time to time react in a way they might later regret.
    Is the postcard signed, even initialed? If so you should set a reserve of several hundreds!

  12. Doc FTSE - it's initialled (and not in very good conditon as I've been carting around with me for years).