25 February (1953): Truman Capote to Andrew Lyndon

Here, Truman Capote writes to Andrew Lyndon from Ravello, Italy, where he was working on the film Beat the Devil. He offers Lyndon temporary lodging in his soon-to-be-vacated New York apartment, and tells him of his “peculiar adventures” in Ravello, including a run-in with a dancing Egyptian king. Capote’s hazy recollection and financial troubles touch upon the struggle with drug and alcohol abuse that accompanied his fame. 


Andrew darling

Your letter caught me in the midst of an article (for Bazaar, about Constance Collier) which I finished twenty minutes ago and so now hasten to write my own true sorella. It is JUST awful about the apartments…Jack has written his tenant and his sister to see what can be done about storing our junk. By the way, the apartment at 1060 is still there. This is between us: but I have been paying the rent of that apartment, and it is paid through April 1st—not for myself, but Joe, in case his business in Cuba didn’t work out; but I can’t go on doing it, I’m rock-bottom poor, and no joke, for reason you perhaps can guess. What all this boiled down to is, I don’t see why you can’t go and stay at 1060 as long as it’s empty. If you want to, please write Nina (PO. Box 536, Havana) saying you would like to take refuge there a month or so. Do you think I should try and keep that apartment? Most of all, do you think it’s really true about Feb 27 and 232…isn’t there a possibility of its dragging on a few months? If only there were some place to go when we get off the boat. Because I don’t see how we can come home before the first of May. I haven’t finished the play, and it would be ace-stupid of me to go there before doing so.

The last few weeks here have been filled with peculiar adventures, all involving John Huston and Humphrey Bogart, who’ve nearly killed me with their dissipations…half-drunk all day and dead-drunk all night, and once, believe it or not, I came to around six in the morning to find King Farouk doing the hula-hula in the middle of Bogart’s bedroom. Jack was disgusted with the whole thing; and I must say I breathed a sigh when they went off to Naples.

There is a wonderful thunderstorm going on outside. All the buildings are a beautiful color…

I was interested in what you wrote about Eartha Kitt. I was never too serious about her, and anyway I think she is much too old for the part.

You didn’t tell me…is Rita back with her boyfriend or not? Did you see Eudora at the Poetry Center…what was it like?

I feel so sorry about Tiny. What a rotten thing. She ought long ago to have tried to recreate her life….well, no sense going into that. 

Had a letter from Newton…very happy about his life at Harvard.

Lola is over here trying to yank the paper out of the typewriter. God, she’s tough. You can brain her with a rolled-up newspaper and faze her not the slightest.

Precious heart, write me at once about all our problems. Jack sends his love. I miss you all the time.

   dearest love


From Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote. Capote, Truman, and Gerald Clarke. New York: Random House, 2004.

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