11th July 1983
Dear Mr Jager
Many apologies for not having replied to your letter earlier - but I have had to be away on business, and I am also trying to finish a second book which is overdue. For one reason and another we do not come to London so frequently these days, but we would very much like to call for a few moments sometime. We would ring you first of course. I think your drawing will be a very good one. Lowry was at the height of his powers at that time.
Oh yes, I can well understand that you and your wife will be very occupied in keeping in touch with your family...Hoylake, Lake District and West country sounds delightful. Just after I had replied to your first letter I received a 'phone call from the daughter of Louis Dufty who was Mr Lowry's landlord at Pendlebury. It was splendid to hear from two people who had known him then. She happened to say that as she read my book she kept exclaiming 'Oh yes, that's Mr Lowry!' And she confirmed that he had not really changed much over the years.
Mrs Rohde's book came out in Sept:'79 I thinks mine in Feb:'81. I certainly saw three reviews of hers. Perhaps because mine was published at a less popular time of year it received (to my surprise), reviews in almost all the major press. The Guardian and Punch did not like it - and quoted bits completely out of context. But the remainder were more than kind on the whole. Even the Morning Star! Despite, as it said, my occasional swipe at the Marxists! Eight months after it was out of print Richard Baker chose it as his book of the year on a radio programme which I didn't hear - but was told about by friends, and Simon happened to hear it. Rather breathtaking so far as I was concerned. Yes, the TLS did mention the Rohde book in conjunction with mine...rather interestingly. Nevertheless I think your comment that the Lord cares for each of us was very, very true. I recall my mother once saying quite early in our friendship with Mr Lowry, 'Darling, I don't think you and Micky will manage to see him through to the end.' And that was an immense challenge which I never forgot. I guess without my parents' example we might not have managed it.
With very best wishes,