BEECHAM, THOMAS (1879-1951, conductor)
TWO AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT WITTY POEMS AND SIX AUTOGRAPH LETTERS, signed ('Mad Hatter', 'T.B.', 'Thomas Beecham', 'Vet. PRMCS', 'His Distinguished Catship'), addressed to Phyllis Morley (b. 1889), the sixteen-year-old daughter of George Morley, founder of Morley Harps; the first poem entitled 'Ode to a Salamander Stove', 88 lines in four-line stanzas, with a twelve-line 'Publisher's note' in prose ('Here the author seems to have swooned away through sheer emotional excess...'), beginning 'What fills the room with tepid glow, / Suffusing all from head to toe / In perspiration's gentle flow? / The Salamandra!....'; the second poem, incorporated in a letter, as written by his cat [who also sends a long and whimsical invitation to tea], entitled 'Apologia pro sua vita (Cardinal Newman)', 72 lines in four-line stanzas, with a postscript in prose ('The distinguished author had originally conceived the idea of dedicating these verses to H.M. the Queen, who on one occasion had the honour of stroking him...'); together with six other letters, two correspondence cards, four postcards and an envelope, all written in a warm, playful, half-mocking style, particularly relating to plays they saw together ('...You are certainly the most awful person to think of going with...but the others are much worse...'), discussing performances ('...one of the very worst I have ever seen...') and the theatrical scene, suggesting books she might read, sending instructions about his verses ('...do not allow anyone else to see it as I do not wish to acquire a reputation for versemaking or to pose as a person who "writes"...'), ribbing her about the milk and baker's boys, 'reprimanding' her for losing things and for the nicknames she has given him ('Oddity', 'Duffer', 'ruin', 'beastly pig'), reacting to her 'stern commandment' and 'antagonistic and warlike manner', telling her how one of his clocks went into a frenzy in the middle of the night, commenting on the opera scene ('...I don't suppose you have yet been out to hear an opera. Up to the present time we have had at Covent Garden nothing but the "Ring"; now and then relieved by such masterpieces as "La Traviata" and "Don Pasquali". None of the good artists have yet arrived...'), and reflecting on his own faults, 'most conspicuous of them being "prolixity"', 38 pages, quarto and octavo, plus the cards, professional restoration, 9 Roland Gardens, Highfield, Boreham Woods, Imperial Theatre, 1905 where dated or postmarked
It's difficult to understand
How foolish folks can be;
Who do not see that cats demand
Of Life, variety...
And if you have forgotten that
A telephone have we;
- A proud distinction for a cat -
The number's 2.4.3.
And though it's placed a little high
To be employed by me.
The messages are taken by
My friend 'The Oddity'.