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29 November 1975

Extract from a letter from Nico Llewelyn Davies to Andrew Birkin, 29 November 1975

[...] I found myself boiling with fury at Alison Laurie's bollox in the New York Times Literary Supplement, which of course I'd never seen or heard of until now. Wholly untrue, and I suppose by now ridiculous even to think of remonstrating or pinning the lie. None of us five brothers EVER found Uncle Jim's games and jokes embarrassing, never gave a thought to tradesmen's bills etc, and only Jack took resentment at JMB "taking father's place". Yes, JMB wrote that bit about the Etonian household [at Eilean Shona] and being just the ladler of soup, and the young Eton hoardes "shuddering and edging away from me", all of which was written to Cynthia Asquith - someone who knew JMB's humour, better than did the sweet psychological Alison!

PS: There's a superb 4/5 pages of a sort of nightmare weekend at JMB's Adelphi flat [in Neville Cardus' Autobiography], which is vividly "true" and to me extremely funny. I in fact appear in the account though no one would realise this, but it brings back so very vividly some of the scruffy things I took absolutely for granted in those days. It's certainly an unknown side to JMB! Yet Cardus wrote me shortly before he died last year saying how right I was that Barrie was a man of great wit and humour. [...]