Wykeham House.

Alresford. Hants.

14 February 1935

Dear Mr Dennis Wheatley : The Devil Rides Out is directly responsible for delay in the proofs of Playhouse of Pepys. I was tempted to begin your book, and I could not leave it, so it is quite superfluous for me to pay tribute in mere words to your power of narration. In a day or two I shall re-read your pages – more slowly but not with any less zest or appetite. I was intensely interested in what you say – and how you say it.

Ars est celare artem, and you have the happy art of so mingling fact and fiction that one stops now and again to ask oneself where the first ends and the latter begins, which is a very subtle achievement.

For example, whilst the description of the Satanic Temple in the Borghese Palace is scrupulously Correct, I always understood Hope Hodgson

to say he had invented that mysterious and most effective name “The Sussamma Ritual”. By the way, you speak of Prince Borghese’s “Venetian Palazzo”. The Palazzo is in Rome, not in Venice. I actually saw the Templum Palladicum and naturally at the time the thing caused a resounding scandal.

You have much to say of things Oriental, and of these I confess I know practically nothing at all. Forgive me for being finical but there is a trifling misprint on p.123: read ‘osculum infame’. Myself I fear I am a terribly bad proof- reader -, and I go through my proofs again and again. The reviewers never fail to remind me very pointedly if they come across a slip. I am just nearing completion of a book which I call The Black Mass. [...]

NB Ars est celare artem : art is to conceal art