"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
A Waugh vignette inspires this site to lift its ban on mentioning Dorothy Day:
Wrote Waugh in a letter home: "To the slums to see Dorothy Day, an autocratic ascetic who wants us all to be poor, and her young men who are poor already and have a paper called The Catholic Worker." Waugh wanted to take the simple-living Worker volunteers to lunch at Le Chambord, which, he told Laura, was the "best restaurant in the world."
Day demurred. So "I gave a great party of them luncheon in an Italian restaurant in the district & Mrs. Day didn't at all approve of their having cocktails or wine but they had them and we talked till four o'clock."
Day's version is that she received a telegram from Life magazine at the Catholic Worker house on Mott Street with a request to meet Waugh at the Chambord that week. Jack English, a Catholic Worker member, laughed heartily at this, she wrote, and told her: "People like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor eat there. The place is famous for its wines. If you go there Life might very well carry a picture of the breadline next to one of you and Evelyn Waugh feasting, with the caption 'No soup for her.'"
Said Day, "We would impute no such malice to Life magazine, but Jack's devilish imagination had painted a picture that caused me concern. Out of politeness I telegraphed hastily: 'Forgive my class consciousness but the Chambord appalls me as Mott Street does you.'"
The crack about Mott Street "evoked an immediate response from Mr. Waugh, who telephoned personally. He would meet me anywhere I suggested. So he came first to Mott Street, and then we went on to an Italian restaurant on Mulberry Street, where I am afraid the prices were way too high and the food not too good.
"But Mr. Waugh was kind," wrote Day, and said to her, "'It's the austerity regime in England. I just wanted a good meal, which was why I suggested the Chambord.'"
Day wrote that since that dinner "he sends us checks every now and then, always made out to 'Dorothy Day's Soup Kitchen.'" Mr. Waugh, she said, "does not recognize the anarchist-pacifist Catholic Worker as anything other than a movement that has to do with feeding people. And perhaps he is right. Food and the land, and the work which coordinates them, are indeed fundamental."
Waugh was determined to overlook the anarchist-pacifist element in favor of the soup kitchen. In a postcard to Ammon Hennacy at the Catholic Worker he wrote: "Many thanks for your card. I shall explain that I am an old fashioned Tory without any sympathy for your political views. I greatly admire the corporal works of charity you do among the destitute of New York. E.W."