(1) For example, when Williams expressed a wish to own slaves [p.220], was he serious? Or should this be put down to the extravagant babble he sometimes resorts to to fill the page of yet another letter home?* I wd say the latter, were it not for not one but two poems in his Taliessin series idealizing the master-slave relationship. And certainly Roy Campbell, who memorably visited the Inklings, was ardently pro-slavery long after the point when everyone else abandoned such positions.
*(of which he wrote almost seven hundred during their wartime separation -- and that's even though he and his wife got together in London most weekends)
(2) Speaking of Campbell, we know that Williams was present when Campbell gate-crashed a Tuesday Eagle-and-Child Inklings meeting [Tues. Oct 4th, 1944], yet he makes no mention of it in his letters home [cf. p. 225]. This is odd, because Williams devotes a good deal of space in the letters to mentioning important people he's met and what they had to say about his work. He does avoid topics that he knows are likely to upset his wife, so perhaps she shared some of Lewis's suspicion and dislike of Campbell.** Perhaps he did mention it, and the editor omitted this passage from these selected letters (King mentions having made "a judicious selection" from among the 680 letter total). Still, the omission seems odd; a bit of a mystery there -- a good reminder that even when we have a lot of evidence, we still don't have everything we'd like; things fall through the gaps.
**it's one of the few times I can recall CSL using the word loathe
(3) Towards the end of his time in Oxford, he muses about how few Oxford people he's met during his five years there, aside from the people who are boarding him and his fellow Oxf.Univ.Pr. workers at the (temporary, wartime) office:
"4 at Magdalen (whom I knew before),"
Miss Morrison & Miss [Helen] Gardner
Of these, "Magdalen" is Williams' name throughout these letters for The Inklings, but it's interesting to see that he doesn't think of Lord David Cecil or Gervase Mathew as members of the group. Lampert and Ovenden appear only this one time in the entire correspondence, with brief descriptors of who they are. Morrison and Gardner are the ones who arranged for Williams to give tutorials at the women's colleges, which also seem to have made up the main audience for his lectures.
The intriguing question remains re. the four Inklings whom he knew before the war. We know three of them must be CSL, Tolkien, and Warnie, but who's the fourth? Coghill, Wrenn, and Fox are all possibilities, but I'd say it's overwhelmingly likely to have been Havard.
(4) And finally, the whole business of Williams' thinking he was going to get the Professorship of Poetry [p. 227, 252]. I've seen this referred to before, but I've never seen any sign that it was more of a pipe-dream on Williams' part, like his wistfully hoping to become Poet Laureate [p. 125, 193]. But apparently he thought it was a serious possibility, and that he wouldn't even have to stay in Oxford to hold the post but could commute back and forth from London. It all seems wildly improbable to me. He seems on much more solid ground in his hope that he'd get a Readership (though I'm not familiar enough with the Oxford system to know whether this would make him a Fellow as well), but his reasoning for this was odd:
I found myself this morning thinking how admirable
it would be if I could get a Readership here when I retire.
I know it may be only a dream; on the other hand, CSL
& Tolkien are only human, and are likely to take more
trouble over a project which would enable them to see
a good deal more of me than over anything that didn't.
And I think, in the future, they may take steps. Let
me know your reaction . . . O I know; a thousand
things may go wrong. Still . . . we have not altogether
failed to put ourselves over Oxford. And Oxford
might . . . it just might . . . want me
--when I first read this, I took it as saying that Lewis and Tolkien were "only human" and so might fail in their attempt to secure Williams the post. But going back and rereading it, I see that he's actually saying that, being only human, they won't be able to resist taking any steps which will secure for them the pleasure of his company. Which seems a bit much.
current reading: TO MICHAL FROM SERGE (just finishing), CHARLES WILLIAMS: AN EXPLORATION OF HIS LIFE AND WORK by Hadfield (just started re-reading)
current music, from the haven't-listened-to-in-a-long-long-time: MODERN TIMES by Jefferson Starship, STATE OF CONFUSION by The Kinks