The first month of fall, roughly between their birthdays, is an important one for Eliot and Hale’s relationship. In anticipation of her birthday (October 27), Eliot writes on October 13, 1931, that he was happier than in previous years on his most recent birthday (September 26), and wishes her the same. He has felt much more alive over the past year, entirely because of her. She is the most important person in the world for him, and he hopes it will please her to know this. (His birthday present to her will be the volume of the Shaw-Terry correspondence, sent around November 24). At the end of the month (October 31), he commemorates her response to his first letter a year before as well as his own writing of it. He does not regret anything that he has said to her since; his devotion has only increased.
The resumption and deepening of his relationship with Hale has led Eliot to revisit other memories (of St. Louis and Boston, of London in the twenties), and at the end of the year such reflections intensify. On December 29, 1931, he is deeply moved by St. Paul’s epistles, whose words, known passively since childhood, now acquire their full significance (as he will later put it in “The Dry Salvages,” he had “had the experience but missed the meaning”). Two days later, Eliot meditates on the moments of insight that show a pattern in his life, both past and future and their meeting in a present “unattended / Moment” of illumination (“Dry Salvages” again). This letter seems to contain seeds of Four Quartets, especially “Burnt Norton” V and “Dry Salvages” II and V.