I think that only one contributor to my first two numbers did not tell me that the English Review was ruined by the inclusion of all the other contributors. James said: `Poor old Meredith, he writes these mysterious nonsenses and heaven alone knows what they all mean.' — Meredith had contributed merely a very short account of his dislike for Rossetti's breakfast manners. It was as comprehensible as a seedsman's catalogue.
Meredith said, on looking at James's Jolly Corner, which led off the prose of the Review:
`Poor old James, he sets down on paper these mysterious rumblings in his bowels—but who could be expected to understand them? '
Ford Madox Ford, Return to Yesterday (1931), p. 16.
DURING the day time, Ford's office was perpetually inundated with visitors, so that it was chiefly at night that the actual job of editing the English Review could be carried on. But even at night callers dropped in casually to see how the work was going forward. In order to avoid them, at least for an hour or two, it was Ford's singular practice to attend the `second house' at the local music hall. At least once a week my first task, on arriving at Holland Park Avenue, was to secure a box or two stalls at the Shepherd's Bush Empire. After dinner I went out and stopped a hansom, and editor and `sub' drove down to Shepherd's Bush with the MSS. which had accumulated during the day. During the performance, or rather during the duller turns, Ford made his decisions and I duly recorded them. But when someone really worth listening to—the late Victoria Monks for example, or `Little Tich' or Vesta Victoria—appeared on the stage, the cares of editorship were for the moment laid aside. After the show, we went back to the flat and worked on, sometimes until two in the morning. There may have been a good deal to be said for the Shepherd's Bush Empire, from Ford's standpoint. The atmosphere was conducive, there was no one to worry him and he could think undisturbed. When he stayed at home, on the other hand, there was always the prospect of some illuminated friend arriving to drink his whisky and proffer advice, suggestions, or complaints. By contrast, the music-hall must have seemed a haven of peace.
Douglas Goldring, South Lodge (1943), p. 32.
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