23         To C. A. Furth, Allen & Unwin


[The publishers had again been considering the possibility of publishing Mr Bliss, for which see the introductory note to no. 10.]

17 February 1938                              20 Northmoor Road, Oxford

Dear Mr Furth,

‘Mr Bliss’ returned safely. I am sorry you have had so much trouble with him. I wish you could find someone to redraw the pictures properly. I don’t believe I am capable of it. I have at any rate no time now – it is easier to write a story at odd moments than draw (though neither are easy) . . .

They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited ‘first chapters’. I have indeed written many. The Hobbit sequel is still where it was, and I have only the vaguest notions of how to proceed. Not ever intending any sequel, I fear I squandered all my favourite ‘motifs’ and characters on the original ‘Hobbit’.

I will write and get your advice on ‘Mr Bliss’ before I do anything. It will hardly be before the Long Vacation, or the end of my ‘research fellowship’.1

                            Yours sincerely,

                               J. R. R. Tolkien



1. The Long Vacation is the summer vacation at Oxford. Tolkien’s research fellowship ended in September 1938.