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This article is taken from PN Review 242, Volume 44 Number 6, July - August 2018.

on The Waste Land

Some Investigation and Digression
into Lines 139 – 167 of The Waste Land
John Clegg
JIM MCCUE’S recent article on ‘Vivien Eliot in the Words of TSE’ contained – among a great deal of interesting supplementary information – a fragment from an unpublished memoir of T.S. Eliot by Mary Trevelyan. ‘Several times, when I was driving about London with him, he brought out memories of that time,’ she writes. ‘In Paddington, as we passed the dingy flats of Crawford Mansions: “We lived there – I was very unhappy. There is the pub – I used to watch the people coming out at Closing Time – that’s the origin of ‘Hurry up Ladies – it’s time’.”’

It hadn’t struck me before I read this that the particular pub for which time is called in The Waste Land might be tracked down. It took me a few minutes of Googling building records. It’s the Larrik on Crawford Place, in Eliot’s time the Laurie Arms. The present owners are, I believe, unaware that they occupy what might be the most famous licenced premises in English literature. I went there one evening with the poet James Brookes, with the intention of staying until closing time and hearing them call last orders. We arrived just before the kitchen closed, shared a rack of ribs and a piece of key lime pie, got in a couple more drinks and ‘fell to talking of this’s and that’s’. At twenty to eleven, Jim had a delve in his substantial rucksack and withdrew Valerie Eliot’s facsimile edition of The Waste Land and asked whether anything else in the poem might be similarly pinpointed.

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