Part 8 out of 9
because it is one of the curiosities of the world. ...
Write me as often as your Quaker spirit moves you to utterance.
Your dinner got quite a send-off in these papers, which is
something, for New York to recognize Boston! Terribly tough job
though. Poor babies! Hard to believe in a good God and a kind God,
I hear talk of shoving Hoover outside the breastworks. Fools!
Fools! Best for him but worse for the country. Whole question of
Republican success turns on the largeness of Harding. I don't ask
a Lincoln--much less will do. If he is only a smooth-footed
politician he will fail. So far he has been the gentleman. ...
My love to your whole circle, from Grandmother down.
F. K. L.
To John G. Gehring
Rochester, Minnesota, December 31, 
MY DEAR PADRE,--It is the last night of an unhappy year. Never do
I wish for such another. No joy--defeat, dreary waiting. These
words describe not merely my personal history and attitude but
fairly picture those of the world. It took guts to live through
such an unillumined, non-productive, soul-depressing year. Did
any good come out of it? Yes, to me just one thing good--I came to
know you, your Lady and the beauteousness of Bethel. And after all
a man does not do any better in any year than make a friend. No
man makes seventy friends in a life-time, does he? So I must not
repine nor let the year go out in bitterness. On the credit side
of my account book I have something that can be carried over into
1921, whereas most people can only carry over Hope.
I hope there is something significant and more than suggestive in
my turning up here on the last day of the year for examination--
"Getting a ready on" for a New Year--that's what you would
optimistically shout if you were here, I know. And that is my
Goodbye word to 1920--"You haven't beaten me, and I have lived to
take your brush."
I am being ground and wound and twisted and fed into and out of
the Mayo mill, and a great mill it is. Of course they are giving
me a private view, so to speak. Distinguished consideration is a
modest word for the way in which I am treated--not because of my
worth but because of my friends--. Those men are greater as
organizers, I believe, than as workmen, which is saying much
indeed, for they are the surgeons supreme. ... Two to three
hundred people, new people, a day pass through [their shop]. Sixty
to seventy thousand a year received, examined, diagnosed, treated
perhaps, operated on (fifty per cent), and cared for. The
machinery for this is colossal and superbly arranged.
Dr. Mayo told me to come over at two o'clock and register. ... I
stood in line and was duly registered, telling name, and other
such facts, non-medical. Then a special guide took me to Dr. Mayo,
who had already heard my story at the hotel but who, wished it in
writing. Accordingly, I was presented to a group of the staff and
one man assigned as my escort. I answered him a thousand
questions, touching my physical life for fifty-six years. Then to
the tonsil man, who saw a distinct "focus," now there, a focus in
the tonsils! Nose and ears without focus or focii or focuses. Down
an elevator, through a labyrinth of halls, down an inclined plane,
up a flight of steps, two turns to the left and then a group of
the grumpiest girls I ever saw or heard or felt. They were good
looking, too, but they didn't care to win favor with mere males.
They had a higher purpose, no doubt. They openly sneered at my
doctor escort. They lifted their eyebrows at my good-looking young
son, and they told me precisely where to sit down. I was not
spoken to further. My ear was punched and blood was taken in tubes
and on slides by young ladies who did not care how much of my
blood they spilled or extracted. They were so business-like, so
mechanical, so dehumanized, these young ladies with microscopes!
One said cryptically "57," another said "53." I was full of
curiosity but I did not ask a question. They tapped me as if I
were a spring--a fountain filled with blood--and gave me neither
information, gaiety or entertainment in exchange. Each one I am
convinced has by this life of near-crime, which she pursues for a
living, become capable of actual murder.
Thus has my first day gone. It is cold here--slushy underfoot,
snow dirty, sky dark. How different from a place we know!
There are one hundred and fifty physicians and surgeons in the
clinic, and Heaven knows how many hundred employees. No hospitals
are owned and run by the Mayos; all these are private, outside
affairs. The side tracks are filled with private cars of the
wealthy. Scores of residences, large, small, fine, and shabby are
little hospitals. The town has grown 5,000 in five years, all on
account of the Mayos, these two sons of a great country doctor who
without a college education have gathered the world's talent to
I am tomorrow to be medically examined further, to the revealing
of my terrible past, my perturbed present, and pacific future. The
result of which necromancy I shall duly report. I am afraid that
they will not find that an operation will do good, if so I shall
truly despair. And if they decide for the knife, I shall go to the
guillotine like the gayest Marquis of the ancient regime. Yes, I
should do better for I have my chance, and he, poor chap, had
I received your Christmas present in the spirit that sent it. I
can't say "No! No!"--for I preach mixing pleasure with business.
Things are all wrong when we don't. I will never repay you. If I
could, or did, you would receive none of the blessings that come
from giving gifts. The truth is, we knew each other years ago,
perhaps centuries ago, and you have done a good turn to an old
friend for which the old friend is glad, because it makes the tie
I told you I would send Wells' history to you, and to it I have
added one of the greatest of human documents, William James'
Letters. I hope you love the largeness of the man, to be large and
playful and useful, I say, man, can you beat that combination? I
believe I know another beside James who meets the specifications.
And strangely enough he, too, evolved from physician to
psychologist, to philosopher.
Well, here's hoping that he and his High-Souled Partner meet with
many joys and few sorrows in 1921.
F. K. L.
LETTERS TO ELIZABETH 1919-1920
To Mrs. Ralph Ellis
[Camden, North Carolina, March, 1919]
MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--And so they call you a Bolshevik! a parlor
Bolshevik! Well, I am not surprised for your talk gives
justification for calling you almost anything, except a dull
person. When one is adventurous in mind and in speech--perfectly
willing to pioneer into all sorts of mountains and morasses--the
stay-at-homes always furnish them with purposes that they never
had and throw them into all kinds of loose company. I have
forgotten whether or no there was a Mrs. Columbus, but if the Old
Man on his return spoke an admiring word of the Indian girls he
saw on Santo Domingo you may be sure that he was at once regarded
as having outdone that Biblical hero who exclaimed, "Vanity of
Vanities, all is Vanity!," after having run his personal attachees
up into the thousand.
Yes, the very solemn truth is that adventuring is dangerous
business, and mental adventuring most dangerous of all. We forgive
those who do things that are strange, really more readily than
those who talk of doing them. People are really afraid of talk,
and rightly so, I believe. The mind that goes reaching out and up
and around and through is a disturber, it bumps into every kind of
fixed notion and takes off a chip here and there, it probes into
all sorts of mysteries and opens them to find that they are hollow
wind-bag affairs, tho' always held as holy of holies heretofore.
To think, to speculate, to wonder, to query--these imply
imagination, and the Devil has just one function in this Universe
--to destroy, to kill, or suppress or to divert or prevent the
imagination. Imagination is the Divine Spark, and old Beelzebub
has had his hands full ever since that spark was born. "As you
were," is his one military command. His diabolical energy is
challenged to its utmost when he hears the words "Forward March!"
There is not much--ANYTHING--of beauty or nobility or achievement
in the world that he has not fought, and all of it has been the
fruit of imagination, the working of the creative mind. You see I
come very near to believing in that old personal Devil which my
Presbyterian father saw so vividly, and which our friend Wells has
recently discovered, Satan is smart, and that is a very dreadful
thing to be, I never like to hear the Yankee called smart, it is a
term of reproach. I don't like to think of a Smart Set. And my
refuge is in the knowledge that there is just one thing that
destroys smartness and that is, to put it in a very high-sounding
word, Nobility. There is the test we can all put to ourselves--and
it really is conscience and ethics and religion all in one--is the
idea smart or is it noble? I'd take my chances of going to Heaven
on the conformity of conduct to that criterion.
But all this seems a far way from Parlor Bolshevism--yet it is
not so far. For it all comes down to this. The Lord he prompts us
to think and to advance, and the Devil he urges us to be smart, to
switch our thinkings, our very right thinkings, our progressive
impulses, to side tracks that will serve his ends.
And that is just what is happening to a lot of the finest minds.
Men and women who see clearly that things are wrong, who have
enough insight and knowledge to get a glimpse into the unnecessary
suffering of the world and who mentally come down with a slap-bang
declaration that this must stop, are allowing themselves to be
called by a name that history will execrate, and to smooth over
and palliate and defend things that are bad, out of which good
will not come.
You have no love for Czarism any more than you have for Kaiserism.
You do not care to make the world righteous by dictatorship,
because you know that it is not growth or the basis of growth, but
the foundation of hate. Now the very cornerstone of Bolshevism is
smartness--the get-even spirit. Because the Czars and the Dukes
have oppressed the poor, because when this land was divided among
the serfs the division was not what it pretended to be, and
because the German business managers of Russian industry made
wages and conditions that were brutal and brutalizing, the
peasants and workmen have said, "Let us have done with the whole
crew, and take all land and industry into our own hands, killing
those who were our masters under the old economic system. Let us
turn the whole world topsy-turvy in a night, and bring all down to
where we are. In our aspiration for Beauty, let us kill what has
been created. In our hunt for Justice, let us disregard fair
dealing. In our purpose to level down, let us do it with the knife
ruthlessly and logically," Thus disregarding the teachings of
time, that men are not the creatures of logic, of passionless or
passionate theses, but are the expression of an unfaltering
Spirit. Whenever men have been the victims of logicalness they
have been wrong. For instance, read the story of the Inquisition.
They saw what they wanted clearly, those old Fathers of the
Church. They knew their objective, which was to save men's souls.
And they thought they knew the way. Logic told them that those who
preached heresies were bringing men's eternal souls to everlasting
hell fire. And they set about to stop the preaching. Had I
believed as they did, I doubtless would have done as they did. But
to be infallibly right is to be hopelessly smart. Thus it is with
all who take a paper system and apply it to that strange thing
This is the defect of the Intellectuals, the "parlor" Bolsheviks.
(Better by far be an outdoor Bolshevik, a Red Guard, if you
please, one who is in and of the fighting, who acts, who lives the
theory!) They do not think in terms of human nature, of natural
progress, of real facts. They say, "all men are born free and
equal," and at once conclude that the stable boy can step from the
stable door to the management of a factory or into the
legislature. Now experience teaches that this is a most dangerous
experiment, both for stable boy and society. The true philosophy
of Democracy teaches that the stable boy shall have, through
school and the step-ladder of free institutions, the chance to
rise to the management of industry or the leadership of the
Senate. That is why the foundation of Democracy is political. For
out of political freedom will come social and economic freedom.
That is why I favor woman suffrage, it gives women a chance to
grow, to think along new lines and grow into new capacities.
To feel acutely that things are badly ordered, and to feel that
you know what opportunities men and women and boys and girls
should have, is not a program of salvation, it is only the impulse
toward finding one. Why then, because we do feel so, should we
harness ourselves to a word that implies methods that we would not
countenance, and give character to a movement that is at absolute
defiance with America's spirit and purpose? There is danger, grave
danger, in doing this. For we can upset our own apple-cart very
easily these days. I have no more of this world's goods than the
humblest workingman. No man is poorer than I am, measured by bank
account standards. The education that I have, I fought for.
Therefore I do not speak for a class. To defend the methods by
which some men have made their money is not at all to my fancy. I
see as clearly, I think, as one can, the necessity for the strong
arm of society asserting itself, thrusting itself in where it has
not been supposed to have any business. Yet I know that a
Bolshevik movement, a capturing of what others have gained under
the system which has obtained, and the brutal satisfaction of
"getting even with the wage-masters" and making them feel to the
depths of their souls and in the pain of their flesh every
humiliation and torture, will permanently set nothing right.
America is fair play. Is it a failure? Have you tried it long
enough to know that it will not serve the world, as you think the
world should be served? Is there any experiment that we cannot
make? Are our hands tied? True, our feet may lag, our eyes may not
see far ahead, but who should say that for this reason man should
throw aside all the firmness and strength and solidity of order,
forget all that he has passed through, and start afresh from the
bottom rung of the ladder--from the muck of the primitive brute?
There are things that we would not hold, that we think unworthy of
our philosophy, that must be changed or else our sympathies and
abiding hopes will be forever offended. And this would be to live
right on under the pointing finger of shame. So we know it cannot
last, this thing that offends, the badness and brutality of
injustice, of unfairness to the weak, their inability to get a
Yet this does not compel us to forsake the hopeful thing we have,
for which all men have striven, these centuries through. Must we
confess that revolution is still necessary? Are we no further
ahead for all that Pym and Hampden and Sam Adams and Washington
and all the rest of the glorified ones have done? This land is
truly a land of promise because it may be a land of fulfilment. It
shows the way by which without murder and robbery and class hatred
and the burning up of what has been, men may go right on making
experiments, and failing, making others and failing, and learning
something all the time.
So, I'm for America, because, if nationalization of land and
industry are wise experiments to make, no one can stop us from
making them, if partial nationalization of either, or both,
appeals to us as something that will right manifest wrongs, we can
try that solution. And to cry quits on the best that civilization
has done, because all that is wished for may not be realized or
realizable today, is to lose perspective and balance, and jump out
the window because the stairs go round and round.
There is really no use, and therefore no sanity, in being too gay
or too grave over this old world of ours. That smart Devil, who is
for the static life, is just now particularly active in his
favorite old line of propaganda. He knows that the fruit of the
tree will bring the millennium. Eat it and you will be happy. He
knows the short cuts to freedom and justice. He knows that the
curses that are promised for the breaking of the laws of the hunt
will be turned into songs. So he is urging and urging, telling
you, with your imagination and sensitiveness, that all is so bad
that it is best to take the great risk, telling the poor sightless
ones that their very primitive feelings and powers are the only
safe guides, their last ultimate reliance and hope. And out of
despair comes the bitter fruit we find in Russia, where they have
wrought what they call an economic revolution, but have in fact
produced nothing, for chaos is nothing. The wise Tinker who wrote
of the Pilgrim's Progress was too true a Christian Scientist, a
Christian and a Scientist, if you please, to picture his hero
reaching the gate of gold by adopting Despair as his guide.
Progress means the discovery of the capable. They are our natural
masters. They lead because they have the right. And everything
done to keep them from rising is a blow to what we call
civilization. Bolshevism is the supremacy of the least capable who
have the most power, most physical power. The thing Democracy will
do is to breed capacity, give capacity its "show." The premiums,
the distinctions, must go to capacity to promote it, to bring it
forth, to make it grow, to be its sunshine. A chance at the
sunshine, that's the motto. Sincerely yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
Washington, 20 [March, 1919]
You said, you will remember, that you did not mind such
unconventional things as penciled letters--so here goes, Mrs.
This is to be a conventional letter, too, one of the bread and
butter variety, the quail and dove, pigeon pie, creamed macaroni
variety, for all of which much thanks, likewise for much
stimulating talk, your help in planting my garden, many motor
flights through brown woods, and some most charming company,
including a man named Ellis and his celebrated son, the pigeon
We left you in the best possible hands, a lion and lioness
[Footnote: Mr. and Mrs. John Galsworthy.] who through long years
of civilized captivity came tamely to your bars to be tickled and
patted, and, no doubt, when properly fed, purred back. If I were
you, I would loot their typewriter. Therein are the secrets of the
British government, copies of all unknown treaties, plans for the
extermination of Bolsheviki generally and the female kind in
particular; likewise, therein you will find, narrated with
particularity, the details of all loose conversations had with
hotel clerks, commercial travelers, teachers, chauffeurs, and
others of the illuminati, in which "impressions" are given to
foreign authors hunting for "copy." Mr. George Creel has these
aforesaid gents of the illuminati staked out, so to speak, for
this very purpose. Your dear friend Vera, the political Vamp, is
no doubt conducting these sweet Innocents abroad, tho' not in
person of course, being much too crafty and cunning for that. She
has directed them by the wireless magic of her mind to Horsebranch
on the Hill, there to discover a radiating and luminous Lady,
hidden in the pine woods, who will reveal among other things the
following: (1) The nature of Woodrow Wilson's personal character;
(2) The full reasons for his conduct; (3) His occult international
designs; (4) How he purposes to free Ireland; (5) The value of
being House-broken; (6) The real name of the Man in the Iron Mask.
And much, much more--for she is a well, a fountain, a geyser, a
Niagara, reversed, of information, misinformation, knowledge,
ignorance, modesty, audacity, in captivating breeches or in modest
demure caps or in flowing evening robe. Wise Vera, wise Creel--
they know their business! The English snooper, with typewriter in
hand, will have a generous swig of the Scotch whiskey of the
vintage of '56, and his tied tongue will loosen, a confiding and
tender and sympathetic hand will softly clasp his, and the Dark
Flower will open to the world--rather mixed that figure! eh, what?
Now, of course, this is not what I took my pen in hand to write,
not at all. I had intended after the formalities had been duly
observed to tell you a few words about my wife. Excellent woman,
that! But very jealous! very! No sense of her own place! Unwilling
to subordinate herself. Since she "came into my life" she has
walked around in it and otherwise behaved familiarly and at home.
Never, never I beg of you, permit anyone to come into your life.
It decidedly makes for clutter and disturbance. However, as I was
saying, she is an excellent woman and has been to the Doctor who
says that she has suffered much. (Charge for same $10.) As he
wishes to make the same charge for many days the excellent wife
will not go to Charleston but remain here, that the charge may
lawfully be imposed. (This is where the Christian Scientists are
more Scientific for they could make the charge in absentia.)
However and notwithstanding, the Peace Conference still lives. By
wireless I have the news that Lloyd George is still doing
politics, that Orlando is Fiuming (give that one to the
Englisher), that Colonel House has not told all he knows to
Lansing, and that Henry White dined last night with a Duchess who
held his hand four minutes while telling him terrible things.
But this is too frivolous altogether for a statesman to be writing
to one whose mind is interested only in serious things! I can see
her steady, cold, stern eye of reproach. "And this to me," she
says, "And 'twere not for thy hoary beard, etc., etc."
I tell you frankly, tho' you may not believe it, that I am not
entirely in a sober mood. Yesterday I planted bulbs with a lady
who was not bulbous. The day before I shot pigeons for a lark. And
I am boastful! fair boastful, my Lady! My secretary and my
confidential clerk and my many dark-hued messengers are solemnly
impressed with my prowess with gun and spade. The truth shall not
be heard in the land. I am my own talebearer and my own censor. I
know more about agriculture than the Secretary of Agriculture, and
I know more of Labor than the Secretary of the same. And for this,
this glorious bursting into fruitfulness at so advanced an age--
you and your good man are responsible and to be credited in the
Golden Book in which is written, What the Plain People Do for Each
Thanking you for the Bread and Butter, believe me yours for Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
F. K L.
Washington, Saturday, [January 19, 1980]
I am clothed in sackcloth and sitting in ashes. My head is bowed
in humility and I am beating my breast in contrition. There is no
joy in my face and my eyes look downward. Truly I am full of
regret. Did she not write long, joyous, inquiring, curious,
inviting pages to me? and I have not answered! And now will she
ever make her face to shine upon me and give me peace?
I would fly to her--yes, fly to her in monoplane, biplane, or
triplane--but many things deter me. A wife, who is busy with the
Gods of the Elder Days; a daughter, who is busy with the God of
the present day--to wit, a young man named Philip, surnamed
Kauffmann, son of "The Star" six feet two in stockings or
otherwise, late of His Majesty's Navy, Princeton, Football, etc.,
etc. The marriage is to be tied in April, God willing, Nancy
ordering, Philip consenting, Father paying.
As if this were not enough to hinder, the desk must be cleared for
exit--the office desk; for the place that knew me through seven
long years of trouble, anxiety, insult, joy, humiliation,
satisfaction, achievement, companionship, hope, shall soon know me
no more, forever.
Verily, I say unto you, that if ever mortal man or mortal mind
needed rest, recreation, recuperation, and other alliterative
things, that same man is now writing to the Lady Elizabeth Ellis,
of Terraced Garden, in Camden, by the Wateree. And he is writing
without hope that he will see the Lady and her Lord and the
Princeling, for moons and moons. This is a sad, sad word for him
to write. But the whole world is skew-jee, awry, distorted and
altogether perverse. The President is broken in body, and
obstinate in spirit. Clemenceau is beaten for an office he did not
want. Einstein has declared the law of gravitation outgrown and
decadent. Drink, consoling friend of a Perturbed World, is shut
off; and all goes merry as a dance in hell!
Oh God, I pray, give me peace and a quiet chop. I do not ask for
power, nor for fame, nor yet for wealth. Lift me on the magic
carpet of the Infinite Wish and lay me down on a grassy slope,
looking out on a quiet sunny sea, and make me to dream that men
are gentle and women reasonable. And forgive us our trespasses,
And again I pray--Give me patience. Let me not ask for today what
may not come until tomorrow. Let mine eyes not be filled with
visions of things as they would be in a world wherein men were
Gods. Let mine ears be closed to Siren calls which lure to the
rocks. Stiffen my soul to make the climb. Keep from my heart
cynical despair. Make my mouth to speak slow words, and curb my
tongue that it may not outrun the Wisdom taught by the years. Give
surety to my steps, O Lord, and lead me by the hand for I know not
Your telegram lures as your letter did. But such pleasures are not
for us, because of our sins. "And those that are GOOD shall be
Work. Work. Work. It is the order of the One Supreme. It keeps us
from being foolish, and doing as fools do. It is needed for the
mastery of a world that has its Destiny written, as surely as
we have ours. It is a chain and a pair of wings; it binds and it
releases. It is the master of the creature and the tool of the
Creator. It is hell, and it lifts us out of hell into heaven. It
was not known in Paradise, but there could be no Paradise without
it. A curse and a Savior! Our life-term sentence and the one plan
of salvation! Work for the weary, the wasted, and the worn. Work--
for the joyous, the hopeful, the serene. Work--for the benevolent
and the malevolent, the just and the cruel, the thoughtful and the
unheeding. Work--for things that life needs, for things that are
illusions, for dead-sea fruit, for ashes; and work for a look at
the stars, for the sense of things made happier for many men, for
the lifting of loads from tired backs, for the smile of a tender
girl, for the soft touch of a grateful mother, for the promise it
brings to the boy of one's hopes.
Work! Why work? It is the order of the One Supreme.
So saying, at one o'clock of Sunday morning, he lifted up his hand
and waved three times to the Southward--once for the Lady of the
Troubled Heart, who flirts with the Angel of Destruction, thinking
he may turn out to be a God, and once for the Lord of the Lady,
serenely fatalistic, and the third, and this a very big one, for
the Princeling who is making a manly battle, cheerfully,
confidently. The Friend of the Three.
F. K L.
Washington, [February 5, 1920]
And so, again the Boy has been attacked by a strange enemy, and
you are fighting. That is what you have been doing for years,
fighting for that bit of life you love more than your own self.
You did not think you could do it when you were a girl, did you?
You have wondered at yourself many, many times. And wondered at
the Fate which brought this long challenge to you. But it has been
a splendid fight, hasn't it? A glorious fight against odds. There
has been no justice in it. No justice, and our souls do so want
justice, an even chance, something in front of us that we can see
and know and fight. God knows why such tortures come to some,
while others sail on such smooth seas. Can it be that there is no
soul excepting the one we make for ourselves by fighting? Are
those really blest who have such challenges given to their
spirits? Or is this all by way of excusing God, or Nature, for the
There is no way to make the fight excepting to believe that the
fight is the thing--the one, only, greatest thing. (To deny this
is to leave all in a welter, and drift into purposeless cynicism,
--blackness.) To determine that this is the way, the truth, and the
life, is to get serenity. Then the winds may howl and the seas
roll, but there can be no wreck.
I know you don't like to be coddled. You are not of the cotton-
batting school. You can take and give. But "may I not" say a word
of appreciation and perhaps of stimulation--give you a good
masculine thump on the shoulder by way of saying that for one who
lives in a mist you have lots of gimp. To love something better
than oneself is the first step, I guess, toward making that soul.
Please read the note, in special envelop, to Ralphie, when he will
be interested. By Jove, how fortunate that we could not leave. All
my force is sick. Three of my assistants are laid up. Six hundred
and eighty people in my Department are in bed. And I am struggling
to get out and leave my job up to date. Good fortune!
F. K. L.
[Katonah, August, 1920]
... You know that I love you--yes, just as much as Ralph Ellis,
who is a tough sailor man, and Anne Lane, who is a citizen of two
worlds, will let me. But I would love you more, much more, if you
did not have to be induced by my wife to write to me. Your love
letter was all right, but it was procured. Do you get that word--
procured--and my wife was the procuress. This may be de rigueur
and comme il faut and umslopogass on Long Island, but it does not
go in Katonah--peaceful, pure Katonah!
Here, in this sweet centre, if a lady wishes "for to make eyes" at
a man, by way of a letter, she does it without being told to do it
by the said man's wife. And then to open, "Dear Mr. Lane,"--Gosh
Lizzie! isn't that pretty warm!
My anger is so great that I am now sitting up in bed at the weary
hour of two to relieve myself--for otherwise I cannot sleep.
Your remarks upon the distraught condition of the public mind, the
unfortunate fix into which the Polacks have fixed themselves, the
heart-breaking cry that you send out for men to get together and
be sensible, before they are sadder,--these things have no
lodgement in my soul-center. For I am loved by a lady who speaks
much of free speech and courage and candor and other virtues of
prehistoric existence, but who talks of herself all through her
letter and never of me at all. How can the fire be kept burning
with a cold back-log like that? Talk about me! That's the first
principle of all conversation--even not amorous. Well, you are a
good woman, Mrs. Ellis, and I hope Mr. Ellis is well, and that you
are not having trouble with the help. Goodbye, Mrs. Ellis!
Come, sweet Elizabeth, let us join hands and go for a gay climb
over the piney hills--you can sing your minor note of sad
distress--your miserere, if you can, in the face of the puffy
clouds, and I will laugh at you for having too much of world
concern in your heart. The blessings do not come to those who are
"troubled about many things." The soul is an individual, you know.
We are saved by units not en masse. Every individual is a species
--isn't that what splendid Bergson says? So come away from
responsibilities and let your poor heart, which is so unselfish
that it cannot rest, indulge itself in the luxury of a peaceful
forgetting, for a few days.
Practically, this seems like a good place--the process is to
reduce you to a pulp and then gradually restore you to form. I am
just emerging from the mash.
Do give my greetings--graduated calorically as your judgment
suggests--to the many friends in your neighborhood who have
Devotedly, yet very sore,
F. K. L.
This is a sentimental letter from a sentimentalist to a sent--,
for a sent--. It is by way of atonement, chiefly. I want to be
forgiven for all the hard things I have said to you. I feel that I
owe you much, at least a good word, for all the bad ones I have
You are a health-giver. That's not such a bad name, is it? In fact
I don't know a better. It doesn't sound sentimental, no husband
would be alarmed by it, and yet it carries in it implications of
gaiety and tenderness and rompishness with a touch of mysterious
adoration. Altogether it is a very real large word that does not
signify virtues but rather attractivenesses. Mind, I don't say
that you have not the virtues--all of them, offensive and
defensive, but the attractivenesses make life, don't they? And to
be a health-giver is not merely to have charm. That is the spell-
casting power, to be filled with witchery, to be a witch. Yes, I
believe it is something like that--very much in fact, but the
witchery must be balsamic, it must be radiant, it must go out in
rays or circles or waves, because it can't help going out, not
purposefully and selfishly, like the casting of a net--it must be
balsamic and radiant, the outbreathing of pines.
Now this is a very nice name I have called you--you can put it
into Latin or Greek or French and make it sound much better to the
unimaginative. But you deserve it, and I hope my little girl will
FRANKLIN K. LANE
Katonah, Sunday, [September 25, 1920]
... We leave here on Wednesday (D. V.) for Bethel because you said
to. Now how soon will you follow--a day--a week? Not more!
You made up your mind that you would go there, and there is now to
be proof given whether your mind is weak or riding strong.
Anne is to have H. Beale there, and they move in circles barred to
me. So I shall sorely need someone who knows my language. And I am
not frivolous when I say that you and I need nothing more than a
religious faith of some kind. Mohammedan, Christian Science, or
what you will. We are both religious--deeply. We pray--we do
things for the good of men and women,--but we do not relate
ourselves properly to the Great Enveloping, Permeating Spirit. I
have sought to, vainly, for many years, and yet I have not been
persistent. "Seek and ye shall find!" I want to believe that the
God of Things as They Are is not wilfully cruel. Is He
Are we mastering something? Tell me! Do you know? What philosophy
have you come to?
Well, all this we can talk over when we reach Bethel. Say, do you
ever answer letters or is it your Queenly prerogative to drop your
sweethearts down the public oubliette?
F. K. L.
Washington, 27 [December, 1920]
My wife won't let me call on you, "not now, anyhow," she says. Oh,
you have so many enemies! Adolph and Mary, Senator and Mrs.
Kellogg, Chief Justice and Mrs. White, Dr. and Mrs. Gehring. All
are against you, and against me--all plotting, planning, and
conspiring with my wife to keep us apart. They know the hold you
have on me, that I had rather have you as my doctor than any one
else in the whole vasty Universe--but why sigh? I am to be torn
away on Wednesday and rushed to Rochester, where the Mayos will
take me in hand, and do their worst. I have great hope that they
may cut me into happiness, and carve me into health, and slice me
So, as Anne wired, we shall not see you in Camden, nor Ralph nor
the Junior nor anything that is Ellis--not for some moons anyway.
... The reason for going to Mayos? To see if it is true that my
stomach and my gall bladder have become too intimate. Rochester is
the Reno where such divorces are granted.
I'd like to say I love you and the whole kit and caboodle, but my
wife won't let me.
F. K. L.
FRIENDS AND THE GREAT HOPE
Need for Democratic Program--Religious Faith--Men who have Influenced
Thought--A Sounder Industrial Life --A Super-University for Ideas
To Mrs. Philip C. Kaujfmann
Rochester, Minnesota, January 1,1921
To that little Fairy with whom a young fellow named Frank Lane
used to wander in the woods, hunting the homes of the Fairies,--
Greetings on her birthday! Has she found where they live? I
believe she has. They live where eyes are bright with love, and
hands are gentle and kind, where feelings are not hurt and there
is song hummed, and Play, a very real God, still lives,
... I think that we have got to see each other some how,
somewhere, because life is passing awfully fast and there is one
best thing in it--supremely, overwhelmingly best--and that is
affection. I've chased around after fame and work for others, but
I just wish I had spent pretty much all my time loving you and
Mother and Ned, and let everything else come way down on the list.
The people who really love us are so few, aren't they? Lots of
them like us, lots of them are glad to be with us, but few can be
counted on "world without end, Amen."
... This is surely a very uncertain and unsatisfactory world for
me right now. How much we all do like definiteness and how few are
willing to trust the future to the Great Spirit. We fuss and fume
as if it would do good rather than ill. Happiness is the thing we
all desire and it is to be had easily through a most simple
philosophy; do your best and then have faith that things will come
right. Happy people are those who live with happy thoughts; those
who see good in people and by brave and cheerful thinking are
superior to depression and bitterness.
The longer I live the more I am convinced that it is our duty to
be gay; not reckless, never that; not boisterous, but light-
hearted. It saves doctor's bills, brings success, and is the one
method, the natural method, by which we become really big, and by
that I mean superior to the evil forces that try to break us down.
... To be gay one must see how very little some things are, and
how very big other things are. And the big things are things like
love and goodness and unselfishness; and the little things are the
selfish mean things, self-indulgent things, things generally that
come out of one's vanity, one's love of one's self. Get rid of
that and life becomes a pretty good place. Envy, vanity, self-
indulgence--these are devils.
... I wish you would really sink yourself into some religion. To
start right is so important. You will miss much joy in life, I am
convinced, by not having a faith; something to live by, something
that explains the questions that rise each hour. Buddhism does not
claim to be supernatural, is not founded on miracles, and yet
Buddha taught the philosophy of Christ five hundred years before
He came. The central note is getting above self--real self-
mastery. Possessing, mastering your body and mind so that you do
not allow envy or hatred to possess you, and do not hanker after
"things," possessions, or fame or popularity, and keep strong hold
on wilfulness and anger and your passions. Its fundamental maxim
is that unhappiness and sorrow come from ignorance of Truth--and
Truth is found by submerging self. The body is not bad, the lusts
of the body and the mind are not bad, but the body is no more than
an envelop for the soul, its master.
Good-night to you both, you are fast asleep by now. ... In my long
days and nights I think so much about you, wondering what the Gods
have in store for her who has been so much to me. Much, much love
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler
Rochester, Minnesota, January I, 19L1
To the Wheelers with the warmest greetings of the Lanes! A bonny
year be this to you--a year of sunny faces--may you live
surrounded by those whom you love and damned indifferent to all
I, Franklin K. Lane, am trying to find out if the last doctor in
New York was right. He said my trouble came from an improper
alliance between my gall-bladder and my pyloric orifice, and that
here in Rochester they could be summarily divorced. (If you don't
know where the pylorus is you may locate it as the N. W. 1/4 of
the N. W. 1/4 of the stomach. Until you reach fame you never have
a pylorus--and then it is most costly.) So here I am in a real
Reno, hoping that a knife will be able to "put me to work anew,"
... and writing this as a proof of "love and affection," whatever
the legally great may mean by the distinction. ...
And talking of language, have you read what Wells has to say in
his Outline of History on this subject? I found it very
interesting; probably all old stuff to you, however. Can there be
a science of language, or of anything that a human creates? I am
rather Bergsonian in my idea of the individual man--each is a
Miller is very unhappy because [Governor] Harding may leave the
Board. He [Miller] will go if the new man is not satisfactory. But
I think he will be. For Harding will be conservative and a great
respecter of wealth. And Miller while a radical in many things is
a classicist as to Finance.
If Harding leaves out Hoover he will do himself and the country
harm, and Hoover good. At last the sun shines!
F. K. L.
To Lathrop Brown
Rochester, Minnesota, January 3, 
Well, my dear young Spirit of the Renaissance, I am not yet dead,
not even dying. Slowly I am doing the stations of the Cross in
this most thorough institution. I am delighted with my experience.
Here is concentrated every form of torture and annoyance to which
one can be legally subjected. Cruel and unusual punishments are
forbidden by the Constitution, but I take it that one may yet take
torture and punishment, if he pays for it. All that I have ever
done, been or thought has been revealed--probed for, and found
Truly, this is the most scientifically organized organization of
scientists that ever was. Henry Ford could not improve upon it.
Combine him with M. Pasteur, add a touch of one Edison, and a dose
of your friend, Charlie Schwab, and you have the Mayo Clinic, big,
systematized, modernized, machinized, doctorial plant, run by a
couple of master workmen. I am seeing it all, and am prepared for
any fate. Thus far I am no more than twenty-one years of age. My
organs seem to be working union hours and to react with proper
promptitude, self-respect and authority. Tomorrow I am to be
photographed and fluoroscoped--and then will come the verdict. If
it is the guillotine I shall go gaily, like one of your ancestors
in those tumbril days of France. What I fear is an order to
"rest," on a new diet. But I guess whatever is said will be the
last word--the Supreme Court decision. Fine reputation, that, for
two young chaps who never went to Harvard, eh, what?
Well, tell me the news. You have been silent too long. I long to
know of your further adventures in politics with one G. White. ...
And now, my dear Lathrop, may I extend to you the greetings of the
New Year. May you have a continuous and abiding and keen sense
that you are doing good, likewise doing well.
F. K. L.
To Mrs. George Ehle
Rochester, Minnesota, January, 
It is only a little below freezing. The sky is grey. Snow, hard
and frozen over, covers the ground, sleighs go through the
streets, jingling their merry way. Boys throw each other down upon
the encrusted snow. Girls in red woolen caps pick their way
cautiously. Farm horses drawing sleds make their heavy way. And in
these sleds, families sitting on the heaped straw in the bed of
the wooden box, smiling mothers and happy babies, lined up
together, warm, protected from the wind. Trees outlined against
the sky, looking like dark coral rising out of a sea of snow into
the dull light. An old man, gaunt, bewhiskered, trudges along
confidently although he looks over eighty. A younger man,
evidently a stranger, feels his cautious way over the slippery
walk, covered with furs, hands, head, and body. After him a still
younger man, without an overcoat--a postman.
Can you see it all? Do you recognize the picture? Was it once part
of your life? This world is not so very bad when nature challenges
every one to fight for life. Nothing doing for me now! That's the
word. Too much risk. ...
Bless you, Lady Dear of the Understanding Eye. May we yet meet
upon the gentle banks of the Shepaug and there make medicine for
our poetic souls.
Anne has been a trump through these ten days of anxiety. Yours
F. K. L.
To Mrs. William Phillips
Rochester, Minnesota, January 11, 
The black cat, yellow-eyes, came, dear Lady Caroline--came to me
here in a hospital and I put him on my table alongside my tiny
bust of Lincoln, which is the sacred place. I wish indeed those
eyes could see within this shell of mine and tell what it is that
twists my heart, physically turns it on its axis, so that its
polarity is changed. From mystery to mystery we have traveled the
past year, Anne, with her unfaltering trust, and I, a doubting
Thomas. We came here for an operation, but the doctors somewhat
doubt its wisdom at all, certainly not now, when pneumonia might
befall. So after ten hard days of closest examination I go forth
from this, the Supreme Court of Surgery in the Land, with no
decision. "Wait and see what good it has done to live without
tonsils, and in the California sunshine until spring." ... But
they live in the Land of Guess!
And so another baby has come to bless you and William! Truly you
are a confident couple! Age would hesitate to bring into a world,
so filled with shadow, an increasing number of our species. What a
supreme act of faith the continuance of the race is. ... Oh, the
cunning of Nature--how empty the heart of man or woman who has
not felt the clutch of a baby's hand, or drunk deep of the heaven-
made perfume of a baby's breath. And the impulse that babies give
to life, the challenge that they make to the father is always a
noble one. It is not so as to women; less, as to ourselves. We are
urged to courses that are petty, unworthy, selfish, debasing,
supine, and brutal by our own natures or those of our mates. But
for the child we act nobly, its call to us is always to our finer
side, and so gradually we are lifted higher. Did any man in
history ever do a cruel or wicked thing because of the appeal made
to him by the smile of his child? He may have accredited his
action to the prompting of love for his baby, but I believe it
would be found that there was another motive, generally an
overwhelming personal vanity; so great a lust for power, perhaps,
that it would carry across the gulf of death.
I hardly believe that you need fear immediate expulsion from your
new-found Eden. My expectation is that you will be treated with
kindness by the new Administration, which will act most cautiously
on all things. I shall know how to get a word, any word you wish,
to the new President, I think, and my services as you know are at
your order at any time. But if you are sent into the Limbo of
private life you will be welcomed by a host who have preceded you
and who will selfishly rejoice.
My gayest greetings to Sir William and, in cloudy Holland, may the
sun shine in your hearts always.
FRANKLIN K. LANE
To James H. Barry
San Francisco Star
Rochester, Minnesota, January 12, 
DEAR JIM,--The Star has set--it goes the way of Nature--the
circle must be completed. The only question one may ask is, "Was
it useful?" I think it was, Jim, it held many to the true course,
it was an honest guide in a bewildering world.
Do let us meet when I am West, and talk of Henry George and John
Marble and Arthur McEwen, who have gone on, and left not their
F. K. L.
To Michael A. Spellacy
Rochester, Minnesota, January 12, 
MY DEAR MIKE,-- ... I shall await your re-coming with great
interest. Truly you should write up what you see. Get good
pictures and I will get it all in the National Geographic
Magazine, and then we'll see what the Cosmos Club will say! I am
in earnest about this--keep a diary in which you write, in your
own gay style, what you see, and you will soon have fame as well
The news from Mexico is not very encouraging. Obregon is sick so
much, and without policy, without dependable friends. Cardinal
Gibbons came near dying, but, thank God, pulled through! A very
wonderful man. I am very fond of him and he likes me I know, for I
handled the Indians for seven years and had no trouble, because he
and I had a flat understanding that I should take my church
troubles, if any arose, to him.
The old Chief Justice called on us in Washington. He is seventy-
five and almost totally blind. And the greatest Chief since John
De Valera has landed and I expect things to be doing pretty soon.
The British are greatly mystified as to how he got over and back.
You see you are not the only adventurer on the face of the globe.
We used to think that these were prosey, stoggy, flat-footed days,
but there is any amount of adventure--from the fields of Flanders
to the mountains of Colombia--even the Spanish main has had its
Mrs. Lane wants me to thank you for your thought of her. As you
know no one holds a deeper, surer place in her heart than you and
Well, old chap, I am sitting in bed--four in the morning--with a
devilish sore throat and without anything to eat or much sleep for
thirty-six hours, so if this screed is not one of great
illumination or information you will know that it was only a
message of cheer and good-will from one who is fond of you, but
who warns you to be careful for all of our sakes. As always,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
To William R. Wheeler
Rochester, Minnesota, January 13, 
DEAR BILL,--Off to see you eventually, I trust, tomorrow. Had my
tonsils out, won't do anything else till Spring. Meantime I want
to see no doctors. Having tried twenty, and come "out by that same
door wherein I went." An osteopath, yes. Faith cure--Indian
Medicine men--anything else, but no doctors! I turn from
Esculapius to Zoroaster, from medicine to the sun. I want to "lie
down for an aeon or two." (Alice knows where that comes from.)
With much love to you both.
To V. C. Scott O'Connor
[Rochester, Minnesota], January 13, 
MY DEAR SCOTT O'CONNOR,--It is a joy to get your letter and to
know of your new book which I have not seen, for the very good
reason that for five months I have been in hospitals. Angina
pectoris they call it, but where it comes from they don't say,
they don't know. Am off to California for a couple of months, then
probably back to New York.
I have read Wells' History, which seems to me the most remarkable
thing of the historical essay kind ever hit off; and therein I
discovered your friend Asoka, but I have been able to learn little
else about him.
Buddhism attracts me greatly, as perhaps the most perfect attitude
on the negative side that has ever been developed and largely
lived. It is not complete for a temperate zone people, who are and
must be aggressive. Nor does it reveal, so far as I know, the
spiritual possibilities that Christianity does. The constructive
seems to be lacking. But it is so far ahead of the purely
opportunist attitude that Christianity takes that I should like to
be a Buddhist, I verily believe.
I see that Lord Reading goes to India. He is the greatest of
diplomats, an oriental by nature, and will do good, if good can be
done in that unhappy situation. I admire the cheerful way Lloyd
George keeps. He is a great man. Each six months I have looked to
see him fall, but he keeps up, even with Ireland, India, Egypt,
South Africa on his back.
Tell me what you are doing now, anything beside writing, and
writing what next? I wish that I had the literary endowment--
ideas, plus style, plus energy. Good fortune to you always.
FRANKLIN K. LANE
Letter sent to several friends
Rochester, Minnesota, January 10, 1921
"And when they came upon the Snark, they found it was a Boojum--or
words to that effect--and so, my dear Jack, they couldn't operate
There is the whole story. Details there are, of course. But
Meissonier's style never did appeal to me. After peering into, and
probing, all known and unknown parts of the Mortal Man, they found
that the heart in one part changed its polarity,--turned over, by
George, or tried to,--hence the Devil's clutch. But why did it do
this vaudevillian act? Bugs, bugs, of course. But where? So they
chased them to their lair in that wicked, nasty-named and most
vulgar organ known as the gall-bladder. Damn the gall-bladder! Out
it must come! On with the knifing! But soft, not so swift. Suppose
the heart should try to play its funny stunt in the midst of the
operation? Or suppose again in this icy weather, pneumonia should
ensue and the naughty heart should take to turning? Eh, what then,
my brave Bucko? "No," they said, "We are experts in eliminating
this same appropriately named organ from the system--eight
thousand times have we done it. It is a twenty-five minute job, A
mere turn of the wrist and out the viper comes. And it never comes
back! This is positively its last appearance, save as a memento
for the morbid-minded in a bottle of alcohol. But hearts that do
somersaults and lungs that choke up, fill us with fear. So out
with the tonsils where bugs accumulate and men decay, and then off
with you to California where bugs degenerate and men rejuvenate.
Then come back when the sun shines and the trees begin to burgeon
and the trick will be done. Hold yourself where you are, grow
better if you can, and we'll have to take the risk of the tumbling
heart, but the pneumonia risk will be gone."
Thus saith the Prophets! And this day, therefore, will be spent
with the Master of the mysterious fluoroscope, who reverses Edward
Everett Hale and looks "in and not out," and with the dentist who
must fill a pesky tooth, and then with the surgeon who tears out
tonsils. Rather a full day, eh? And after two days in hospital, or
three, over the hills to 8 Chester Place, Los Angeles,--by no
means a poor-house,--but alas! carrying the malevolent bugs and
their nesting place with me. Then I shall rest, "and faith I shall
need it, lie down for an aeon or two, till the Master of all good
workmen shall put me to work anew."
I am disappointed. I would take the risk if it were left to me.
But I shall go West--why did those soldier boys ever use that
phrase with such sinister meaning, or did it signify a better land
to them? I shall go West in good hope that I shall return, and
meantime will try to develop a strong propaganda in favor of race
suicide in the land of the bothering bacteria, Adios.
F. K. L.
To John G. Gehring
Rochester, Minnesota, January 13, 
MY DEAR PADRE,--I wrote you an impressionistic sketch of what the
politicians call the "local situation," a couple of days since.
... It is subject to attack on every possible ground as to
details, for no man can know from it what these doctors found. But
it is a perfect picture from the artist's standpoint, because it
produces the result on the viewer or reader that is truth, and
that result is a large, purple befuddlement. I am whole, but I
have a pain. ...
After I had practically been declared one hundred per cent
pluperfect I gave the electric cardiograph man a picture or
exhibition performance under an attack. This revealed to him a
change in polarity in the current passing through, which signified
something, but what that something was, other than that I was
having a spasm, I don't know. ...
The smug, mysterious gentleman who made this picture was much
pleased, apparently at nothing more than that he had proved that I
had a clutch of the heart, which I had announced, by wire, before
Am I impatient or am I a damn fool?
Well, with my tonsils out I am in Royal Baking Powder condition
and tomorrow we start for California. I cannot hope to be out
there till May or June, when you would come. But Heaven knows I'd
like to introduce you to the Yosemite! ...
Do you know I am beginning to admire myself. Now many have thought
that that was my favorite sport. But I can assure you that no one
ever felt more humble than I have, any appearance to the contrary
being a bluff for success--effect. But now that I have been wisely
and scrupulously and unscrupulously examined by the most exalted
rulers of the Inner Temple, and they pronounce me all that man
should be, why shouldn't I strut some? But, damn it, strutting
brings that Devil's clutch--and a man cannot be anything more
strutty than a dish-rag then. In William James you will find a
questionnaire, "Why do I believe in immortality? 'Because I think
I'm just about ready to begin to live.'" There speaks self-
justifying age--I'm there, too.
I'd love to look on Bethel this morning, and see what your poet-
partner calls the hills in their wine bath. Good luck.
To Lathrop Brown
Los Angeles, [January] 15, 
MY DEAR LATHROP,--I have yours of the eleventh. First question, as
to men and women for the Executive Committee,
Answer: Get men who can make a program, something that the party
can push, outside Congress, if too cowardly in. People who don't
want anything, if possible.
Think of these! (I don't say they will do, but they stand for
Charles W. Eliot. Benjamin Ide Wheeler. (Ex-President of the
University of California. Ex-Chairman, Democratic Committee,
Elmira, New York.) E. M. House. Frank L Cobb. John W. Davis.
Robert Lansing. R. Walton Moore. (Congressman from Virginia, big
fellow.) Gavin McNab. Governor Parker, of Louisiana. James D.
Phelan. Van-Lear Black.
For solid thought I'd choose out of that bunch--Eliot and Moore.
For cleverness--Black and McNab. For diplomacy--House and Davis.
For progressiveness--House and Parker. For Conservative Democracy
--Wheeler and Lansing. For writing ability--Cobb and Eliot.
I know no women who think, particularly. ...
The kind of publicity we need is the advocacy by the National
Committee, and by Democrats in Congress of first class measures,
known to be Democratic measures, part of a program.
I'll tell you how to get all the publicity you want when I see
you--or White--a new kind, cheap, but requiring brains. ...
F. K L.
To Lathrop Brown
Los Angeles, January, 
DEAR LATHROP,--(1) You are right as to standardization. The Devil
devised it as a highway to socialism. It is the Bible of the great
Tribe of Flatfoot, not for artists like you and myself. And
speaking of programs, please read what Wells says in his first
volume of Outline of History, on David, Solomon, Moses. It will
delight your anti-semitic soul. ...
Yes, standardization is like all else, good--for a distance. The
whole bally outfit of life is a matter of balance, maintained by
war among the unintelligent bacilli and other primitives, and by
will among men (goat feed for men, eh?) But do you get my point?
Something to it!
(2) George White will be eaten up first thing he knows, unless he
moves. Your friend McAdoo is here declining the next nomination
daily, speaking much, and, I understand, well. ... Why doesn't G.
W. get Frank Cobb and Hooker, of the Springfield Republican, and
Van-Lear Black, and Senator Walsh, and Phelan, and Congressman
Walton Moore together, or any other group, and put up his plan and
ask them what they think of it tentatively,--just a quiet chat,
He doesn't need to resign, if he can get someone as a quiet
organizer "who will give all his time" to take up that job under
him, with sub-organizers. Who is this genius who can organize
inorganic matter, and give it life? Thought He was dead sometime!
"Wanted--A Miracle Man who can overcome a majority of seven
million votes with a hearty handshake and a warm brown eye. Need
have no program, no money. Must be a hypnotist who can make the
people forget a few things and believe a few things that are not
true. Must be able by reciting poetry to make the cunning
capitalist see that he is safer in the hands of the Democrats than
elsewhere, and at the same time educate the worker by a pass of
the hand to know that it is decent to stay bought. Must have
received the Gift of Tongues on the Day of Pentecost, so as to
talk Yiddish, in New York; Portuguese and Gaelic, in
Massachusetts; Russian and German, in Chicago; Scandinavian, in
the Northwest; Cotton and Calhoun, in the South; John Brown and
wheat, in Kansas; gold and Murphy, on 14th Street; and translate
Jesus Christ into Bolshevism, Individualism, Capitalism, Lodgeism,
Wilsonism! Must be as honest as old Cleveland and as clear of
purpose as Abraham Lincoln."
Put this want ad. in the papers and send me, by freight car, the
replies. With my warmest,
F. K. L.
To Adolph C. Miller
Los Angeles, January 26, 
DEAR ADOLPH,--I see that Harding [Footnote: Governor Harding of
the Federal Reserve Board--a rumor of resignation.] is to leave
you, and this is a note of sympathy. What will you do? Poor chap!
I know the satisfaction you have had out of working with him and
now he follows Warburg, Delano, and Strauss. By Jove, that's why
we can't make things go as other countries do--because we can't
give our people enough to live on. This is at once the meanest and
most generous of Republics. Mean collectively, generous
He will wait until after March 4th. "Right oh!" I expect you to
have some say as to his successor, especially as to the new
Governor. And if you can't work with the new man you can lift your
skirts and skip! Freedom of movement, assured as to all by Adam
Smith, is exclusively the prerogative of the fortunate few. Don't
be downhearted! You can't be as badly off as you were for several
years. Just think how unlucky I am as compared with you, and pat
yourself on the back and take one of the old time struts. Good
belly! Good brains! Good pocket-book! Good friends near you! Good
dog to walk with in the woods--and woods in which you can walk!
Good house, with your own books to look at you friendly-like. Oh
boy, rejoice and be glad!
February 17, 
We are most terribly disappointed. Your promised visit was a
bright spot,--a sunshiny place--to which we have looked forward as
to nothing else since we came here. Well, life is a series of such
jars, and child-like I submit, but am not reconciled.
... Are you coming later? How is Mary? We really seem far away
from our friends. The land is beautiful, but friends convert a
shack into a palace, a desert into a heaven.
F. K. L.
To John G. Gehring
Pasadena, near Paradise, February 18
Before breakfast this morning, indeed before dressing, I sent you
a message which was a combined confession, apologia, report, and
appeal. I said, "I have done wrong, I apologize, I am slightly
better, and I hope and pray you will not become downhearted." I
also promised to write and here I am at it. But you would have had
this letter just as early anyway, for this morning was to be yours
and mine. All other mornings for two weeks and more have belonged
to someone else. I have been pretending to work, by going to the
office each day. And last night I said good-bye to the Napoleon of
our institution, who took his private car and rolled away to
Mexico, to Galyeston first, thence by private yacht to Tampico,
there to see his properties and spend two or three weeks.
... They desired us to go greatly, and ours would have been every
possible comfort that one can have while traveling, ... but the
tyrant Anne thought that as I was picking up a bit it was wrong to
change conditions, and I yielded, hardly against my judgment, but
strongly against my desire.
So here I am, the first hour after release, sitting on the porch
of a villa, looking across a valley at amethyst mountains, crowned
with a sprinkling of blue and white snow. The noises that come to
me are not raucous;--the twitter of birds, a rooster crowing, a
well-pump throbbing its heart out, the shouts of some children at
play, a distant school bell, with no silver in its alloy, however,
the swish of a wood-sawing machine in some back-yard. So my ears
are not lonesome. Immediately before me is the gray-lavender bole
of a tall eucalyptus, not a leaf or branch for fifty feet, and
then a drooping cascade of blue-green feathers. Beyond it a few
feet a red-blue eucalyptus, sturdy, branching almost at the ground
and in blossom. These stand near the border of a drive which is
marked by a cypress hedge, trimmed and proper, and beyond the
drive, on the front of the terrace are magnolia and iron-wood and
avocado and palm and spruce, rising up out of beds of carnations
and geraniums, jasmine and pansies (all violet), and cherokee
roses, five-petaled, white with golden centers, and rose colored--
(the wild rose with a university education, a year or two in
Italy, and the care of a good maid). While beyond this terrace are
orange, and tangerine, and lemon, and grapefruit with their green,
yellow, and deep red-golden fruit pendant; and still further on, a
fringe of blossoming pear trees tell you that this is not the
tropics after all. The breeze is a gentle woman's hand, a soft
touch, kindly, tender, emotional, but not disturbing. It is not
lotus-eating time. I don't know that that time ever comes here.
Autos whisk through the woods, buildings are going up, the air is
dry and has tang; it has challenge in it, but it does not give off
the heady champagne of the air that the snow breathes out on your
I remember as I looked from my window at the sunset at Bethel
saying to myself, "Can there be any fairer spot than this?" And
this morning as I saw the sun rise into the pink and blue of the
sky, empurpling the shadowed hills and splashing rose leaves on
the snowy mountains, I again said "Is there anything lovelier,
anywhere?" Great blessing, these catholic eyes! Should the heart
be equally catholic? There is a real problem in philosophy and
sociology for you!
And now that you know how happily circumstanced I am as to
environment your doctorial demand is for something as to the
behavior of the organs and nerves which we call the physical man.
Well, I can't tell you much. I do not rise and walk half a block
without that trigger being pulled, but the explosion is not
dynamite, rather poor black powder, I should say. If I walk half a
dozen blocks I stop a half a dozen times, and once or twice nibble
at a precious pellet of nitro. At night I am wakened as of yore,
but the agonizing, crushing pains do not come every night. ... I
eat prunes and bran biscuit and coffee for breakfast; a bit of
cooked fruit (and that in this land of oranges and alligator pears
and ripe raspberries!), chicken and green peas, and bran biscuit
and tea for lunch; a couple of green vegetables and bran biscuit
and a small black, for dinner. And all this I write with a supreme
sense of virtue, which Simon Stylites or St. Benedict could not
more than parallel. As to smoking--a pipe, generous in size but of
the mildest possible tobacco, after breakfast. A mild, large cigar
after lunch, and pause here and worship--no cigar after dinner.
(But this latter is a Lenten innovation. I would not have you
think I am preparing for immediate ascension.)
As to treatment, an osteopath and a Christian Scientist are my
present complement. Each morning the former, and each evening the
latter. The former to gratify myself, the latter to gratify a dear
friend who "believed and was saved." The osteo is rational, the C.
S., with limitations and reservations. ...
The C. S. is a woman, the sister of an artist I used to know. If
she did not ask or expect that I believe certain things, we would
get on better. I can believe in God as the Principle of Life, that
seems scientific. I am willing to call Him Spirit, that is
Christian. That He is Supreme in the Universe, I admit. That sin
and sickness may with further light be overmastered I do not deny;
physical death, of course, seems to me a thing not worth bothering
about. But that God is all good, I cannot asseverate in the living
presence of a few Devils whom I know, unless I deny that He is
omnipresent and omnipotent, or unless I say that Bad is Good. God
cannot be good and all powerful without being also responsible for
Bad, and therefore be both Good and Bad. This I can believe, and
it brings me to Emerson's transcendentalism, which is set forth in
the Sphinx--"Deep Love lieth under these pictures of Time, which
fade in the light of their meaning sublime." In a word we are
growing into the Good. The Bad is not the ultimate, but is none
the less real. This is better than Manicheism, the Miltonian
contest between the Good Spirit and the Bad, which Wells also in
his Invisible King presents; a simple theory, understandable but
not to my mind subject to careful scrutiny. There is but one God,
one Force, one Principle, one Spirit, and it is working its way
through, expressing itself as best it can. And Evil is a partial
view, one phase of undevelopment, the muck through which, by God's
own law, we must come; and indeed He could not have sent us any
other way. This means that He is bound, too. Is this supposable?
Omnipresent? Yes! All pervading! In all! But Omnipotent? No, not
in the sense that He could change the Order of Things, for He is
the Order of Things Himself. Is there even in Him complete Freedom
of Will, freedom to make a world other than this? One wishes, in a
sense, to say so, but the horror of it! for then He is responsible
for the cruelty of the ant-heap, the feeding of the carnivorous
upon the vegetable eaters, the preying and persecution of the
malevolent upon the kindly--and He could have made it all
otherwise! With a Free Will He could have brought growth without
pain, being omnipotent. Here we see God as a monster,--responsible
for sweat shops and the Marne, in the sense that His will could
have averted these things. So I say God is not Good, save in the
sense that He is that sunrise this morning. But night cometh, when
thieves break through and steal. More sunlight--that is the
meaning of the phrase "God is Good"--a belief in a tendency, in
the temporality of darkness, of night, a sureness that the day
will come and "There will be no night there."
This is a long disquisition, but I just had to get it out of my
system; yet I can't, it bothers, and confuses, and perplexes, and
hinders, I believe. Better brush it away for practical purposes
and have the Will to Believe, for thence cometh strength.
Pragmatically C. S. works out with certain people; and to them it
is Truth. I wish it were so with my doubting mind, that I could
believe. I am willing to be cured tho' I do not understand and
cannot believe, and this they say they can do. But it has not been
done with me.
Lunch broke into this discourse, and then a walk. This time on the
other side of the house, the other side of the hill. There I found
a new world. Palms, huge ones, thirty feet across, with their dead
branches strewing the ground, making a coarse woven carpet; and
pines, large ones, yet not so gigantic as yours on the road beyond
the creek; and acacia in full golden bloom, glorious, yet modest
tree, a very rare, non-self-assertive tree, a truly Christian
tree, beautiful but not prideful. Bamboo in great clumps, erect,
yielding but not to be broken--wise, tenacious orientals! And I
walked on the off-cast seed of the pepper, and beside cacti higher
than my head with spears of crimson, and across a sweep of lawn
over which oranges had been dropped, by the generosity of an up-
hill row of trees that were saying, "We must make room for the
next generation." The flowers (oxalis) and leaves I enclose made a
mat, close clinging to the earth, a mat of white, red, and
lavender resting on these clover-like leaves that rested in turn
directly on the ground. And all about, a hundred plants I did not
know, into which my footsteps sent quail and rabbit, that did not
fear me really but could not quite say that Man is Love.
I have written you a long line, may it serve for a time as a word
also to your dear Lady, whose letter and rare bit of verse I have
also received. I do hope that you soon master whatever ails you.
Don't lose faith in yourself, above all things. Believe that you
are all that your friends believe you to be--a Civilized Medicine
Man. Be as deluded as we are. Affectionately,
To John W. Hallowell
Los Angeles, February 21, 1921 MY DEAR JACK,--It is Sunday
morning, very early; the sun is trying to get out of bed, a
mocking bird is hailing its effort with great gurgling. I am
sitting near an open window looking down into orange trees, which
are a very dark shadow, and I am just as happy in my heart as I
can be with a bum heart, and no home, and a scattered family. But
--! Bad word that "but."
Roots we all have and we must not be torn up from them and flung
about as if we were young things that could take hold in any soil.
I have been, all America has been, too indifferent to roots--home
roots, school roots, work roots. ... We should love stability and
tradition as well as love adventure and advancement.
Your new job interests me, but I wonder if you will go with the
Secretary of Commerce [Hoover], ... I guess he did right. But
unless he gets to be the leading adviser he'll have to get out.
For I'm afraid we are to see too much politics--Republican
Burlesonism in the saddle. Government by unanimous consent is not
practicable, and it looked as if this were Harding's motto until
Hoover's appointment. Hoover will be the man to whom the country
will look for some guidance along progressive lines, and the
country will expect too much, more than any man can deliver.
Please tell your dear Mother that I have her book, and last night
read two chapters. I know Bok and did not think him capable of
such a literary work, or that he had such character as his book
reveals. ... My love to the Troop, and write just as often as you
F. K. L.
To Curt G. Pfeiffer
Pasadena, 22 [February, 1921]
MY DEAR OLD PFEIFFER,--I have treated you shamefully. Yes, I have,
don't protest! But I have been pretending to be busy. Mr. Doheny
wanted me to go to Mexico, and Anne did not want me to go, and I
have had a hard time. They have gone and we have come out here
with Mrs. Severance, in the loveliest hillside spot you ever saw.
Flowers and trees all about and mountains in the distance.
To-day I celebrated G. W.'s birthday by taking on a new doctor.
... Thought I had escaped from doctors but it is not so to be. ...
This is all my news. I do wish I were there to talk politics with
you. Poor Harding! He will suffer the politicians, I fear, till
they undo him. ...
The Germans seem to have recovered their audacity. They should
have been driven into their own land and then some. I am not for
revenge nor for their paralyzing, but just reparation they should
pay. Perhaps things have been botched, I do not trust Briand. I'd
trust Hoover to get all they could pay, and he's the only one I
know who could be just and at the same time sensible in method,
but he can't be used where he should be used. ...
... You are a delight and joy to a thirsty man, a true water
carrier, you give of the water of life. For you know that men
shall not live by bread alone. Not only words of wisdom, sage
counsel, come from you, but there is a heart behind which does not
wane with the years, but on the contrary grows stronger and more
generous. I look forward to returning to New York to be able once
again to feel with you the pleasure of an intellectual
companionship, wherein the mind is so refined as to be emotionally
sympathetic. You would take the greatest joy out of the beauty in
which I am living. ... The night is fragrant (Do you remember
telling me of that Japanese criterion?) with orange, wisteria, and
jasmine. Oh, this is exquisite country, if I only had health! But
there is little beauty where pain is, and my pain holds on even
when I was with my brother on his farm, eighty acres, south of San
Jose, tucked in the foothills--raises nothing but kindliness and
a few vegetables and some hay. It is the sweetest place in its
spirit I have ever felt, and lovely physically, too. I wish I
could get you to go out there with me. Put up a comfortable adobe
on the knob of a hill with a wide prospect and then make things
grow, including our own souls. ...
I'm going back there in a week or two, then East, I hope, to Ned's
wedding. ... The girl is all a girl should be, I believe. Smaller
than he is, a tiny thing in fact, very gentle in voice and manner,
sweet natured, musical, wholesome.
... I still dream of that place on the Shepaug river, in
Connecticut, where you think I would be lonesome. A winter here
with George and a summer there with you, would quite suit me. ...
Well, write me, for books are not old friends after all, are they?
Forever and ever yours,
F. K. L.
Writing of the days of their youth Pfeiffer said later,
"Friendships are inexplicable, they defy analysis, but whatever it
was that we might be doing, we were usually in harmony about it. I
can only explain it by saying that we liked each other. We liked
each other just as we were, and we knew each other with intimacy
that deepened with the years, and never disappointed us. The magic
circle came later to include others, and they were accepted and
appreciated with the same affection and trust. ... It is a
singular and beautiful thing that such a multiple and intimate
relationship should have survived throughout all of our lives.
Perhaps it was because we were friends without capitulation. ...
"Some of us did not meet again, after that first period, for
years, but whenever we did meet, it was always in the spirit of
the early days. A few words would tell us what we knew of the
latest doings of the rest, and we would then 'carry on' just as if
there had never been a break in our intercourse. The strength of
our joint memories, based on our youthful experiences in common
and added to from time to time, grew with the years."
To John G. Gehring
Pasadena, February 24, 
MY DEAR DOCTOR-AND-MORE,--This is a note of cheer written by a
somewhat dolorous duffer who spent last night in pain, but this
morning is rather comfortable. ...
Am reading William James' Varieties of Religious Experience, and
it is really the most helpful religious or philosophical work I
have ever read. Nothing else anywhere near as good for the groping
mind that wants to be led cautiously, reasonably, suggestively to
the "Water of Life," but shown that there is water there. (Pretty
poor figure, but perhaps understandable.) I must re-read his
answer to the questionnaire in his Letters, and compare it with
his conclusions in this book. You remember my thought that
probably Emerson, William James, and Henry George had been the
greatest writing minds we had produced. Probably you can improve
Have been interested myself in thinking of a list of books that
have made great movements in the world, Darwin's Descent of Man,
for illustration. Books that have provoked the minds of men into
action of one kind or another:--The Bible, Koran, in religions, of
course! What started modern medicine? I mean in the way of a book?
What are, or have been, the great movements in history, anyway?
Wars, of course, don't count, when merely predatory.
Man's relation to God.
Man's relation to the World.
Man's relation to Man.
Man's relation to the Good.
Man's relation to the True.
Man's relation to the Beautiful.
These ought to cover Art, Science, Philosophy, Religion, Progress.
Civilization of every kind. And this progress has come in waves,
hasn't it? Did any book start, or give evidence of the starting of
these waves? That's the question. Outside religion and philosophy
books were the results not the causes of movements. How true is
that? As always and always,
F. K. L.
To D. M. Reynolds
Pasadena, [February, 1921]
I'm writing this late at night and will mail it in the morning,
for I'm going to Santa Barbara for a couple of days. Do with it
what you will. Judge for me what it is wise to say. And be as
condensed as possible.
What I've written is to be dropped in at the right places, it is
not conservative. Will see you next week, I hope, perhaps
F. K. LANE
Cooperation is the word of this century and we don't know what it
means yet. We work together most imperfectly in things political,
and we are just beginning to feel our way into the worlds of
social and industrial life. I'm not afraid of socialism. I really
don't know anyone who is. We're all afraid of blundering attempts
at getting a thing called by that name, which is a mechanical
method of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, without
changing the human spirit.
The call for socialism or communism is generally a call for more
of justice and of honesty and of fair dealing between men, rather
than a demand for any particular and organized method of carrying
on industrial life. If business is squarely conducted we won't try
experiments in mechanicalizing and sterilizing business. But a few
more years of profiteering, and Conservatives would have become
Now we should be studying and planning for a safer industrial
life, one in which there will be fewer waves, a safer and more
even sea. That we can have, if we are willing to be less greedy
now, less venturesome and predatory.
The only people who have done much in the way of substantial
thinking as to cooperative action, collective action, are those
who think in terms of immediate and large fortunes for themselves,
through plans of capitalizing combined brains and money. Their
example is a good one to follow in lesser things, where the object
is not great wealth but a more even measure of good living.
Insurance is the right word for it, business life insurance
through honest cooperation. You mark my word, that is the next big
move in business affairs. Nationalization of things is not their
socialization. Not at all. It may mean their deserialization,
their withdrawal from the use of society altogether, or their more
imperfect use. Calling things by nice names, popular alluring
names, does not solve problems. Nevertheless such names evidence
our social dreams. We all feel that there must be more of justice
in the economic world. But we don't want it at the expense of
society, that is at our own expense, for that means Bolshevism and
Bolshevism is paralysis. ...
Oil is one of the fine forms of Power that we know, for many
purposes the handiest. Industrially it is as indispensable and
staple as the soil itself. To lose faith in the future of oil--
why, that's as unthinkable as to lose faith in your hands. Oil,
coal, electricity, what are these but multiplied and more
adaptable, super-serviceable hands? They may temporarily be
unemployed but the world can't go round without them.
A slack time is always one of fear, never of confidence. And no
policies should be adopted in such an atmosphere. For the man who
can afford to take the long view these are great days. He can take
up what others cannot carry. Better still he can prepare for the
demand of to-morrow, or the day after to-morrow--find more oil, if
you please, plan for its fuller use, as we are talking of oil, but
the principle applies to everything. Take the railroads. Their car
shortage is mounting and their out-of-order equipment is way up.
This has always been so in hard times. But this is the very time
when they should have plenty of money, to get road bed and
equipment in perfect shape for to-morrow's rush. No, the nation
would do no better if it had the roads. Congress doesn't think
ahead two years. It is a reflector, not a generator. The fault is
Right now the call in national affairs of every kind is for the
long view; we have use for the men who can see this nation in its
relation to other nations, next year and next generation, and for
men in business who can think in terms of 1922, and 1925, and
1945. That's what really big business can do--hold its breath
under water and watch the waves.
To Mrs. Cordenio Severance
[Pasadena, March, 1921]
DEAR MAIDIE,--It is six in the morning. The sun is a long streak
of salmon pink in a gray skirt of fog. Chanticleer is very loud
and conquering. The little birds are twittering all about, in
wisteria, in oranges; and over on the hillside, by the cherokee
roses, there was a mocking bird that hailed the dawn, or its
promise, an hour ago.
And for all this beauty, this gay cheer, this soul-lifting day-
breaking I have you to thank. It is the one most exquisite spot in
which I have ever laid my head. And pity is that I have been so
down-cast that I could not feel fully what was here, nor show what
I did feel.
Forgive me for my many ungraciousnesses and credit yourself, I
beg, with having done all and everything that human hands and
heart could do to make me "come back."
You have spent a lifetime doing good, giving out of your heart,
and the only reward you can get is the evidence of understanding
in paltry words like these.
F. K. L.
To Alexander Vogelsang Assistant Secretary of the Interior
Los Angeles, March 4, 
DEAR ALECK,--The end has come. We were identified with an historic
period, one of the great days of the world. And none can say that
our part, of relatively slight importance maybe, was not well
played. We did not strut and call the world to witness how well we
did. We did not voice indignation at injustice, and make heroes of
ourselves at the price of unity. And some things we did, and more
we tried to do, and all were good. So I look back over the eight
years with some personal satisfaction, for not a thing was done or
attempted ... that was unworthy, ignoble, unpatriotic or little.
I am glad to get news of the force, and sorry that I cannot have
them all round about me for the rest of my days. Had I been well I
would have been with you this morning, to bid you all good cheer.
It was my hope when I saw you in December that this might be.
I like your plans for the future and, by the starry belt of Orion,
I'd like to join you. ... I am stronger and look very well, but my
damn pains are about as frequent and crunching as ever. ... No one
can say that I have not fought a good fight and stood a lot of
punishment. Good luck, dear Aleck.
F. K. L.
To James S. Harlan
Pasadena, March 5, 
MY DEAR JIM,--That was a fine long letter in your old-time style,
and I am doing the unprecedented thing of answering it promptly.
To this I am prompted by the near-by presence of a very handsome
young woman formerly named Wyncoop, now Mays, who knows Mrs.
Harlan well, having been much at the Crater Club. ... Who would
have thought such a thing possible--that here as I lie on a couch
in a doctor's office with a rubber tube in my mouth, I should
attract the curiosity of a baby who came to see the "funny tube,"
and that she should be followed by a nice-looking, blue-eyed,
bright-cheeked girl who says, "I believe I saw you once at Lake
Champlain. You know Mrs. Harlan."
Well now, as George Harvey might say--"One day After!" I want to
help in any way I can to make this administration a success. ...
If Hoover can work with Harding, or the latter with him, all will
be well. But I fear the politicians--especially ... [those]
ambitious for a great political machine. The country will be
generous for a time to Harding. ... But it will turn against him
with anger unbounded if he turns the country over to the men who
want office and the men who want privilege and favor. The
politicians and the profiteers may be his undoing. I hope not!
... I cannot close without a special word to that most gracious,
tender, and charming Lady who is your "sweet-heart." As I wander
and see many, I find no limitation, no reservation, or
modification to put to that declaration of admiration and
devotion, which I made to Her now some fifteen years ago, nearly.
Tell her that this old, sick troubled man thinks nice things about
her often. My affectionate regards to you, dear Jim.
To Adolph C. Miller
Morgan Hill, March 9, 
When my eyes opened this morning they looked out upon a hillside
of vivid green, like the tops of Monterey cypress, flecked with
bits of darker green embroiderings, and behind this was green,
too, but very dark, and it had great splashes of a green so dark
that they looked black--and my heart was glad. It was a common
scene, nothing rarely beautiful about it. Fog enclosed the earth.
There was no sky. But I had known it as a boy, this same kind of a
picture, and it went to this poor tired heart of mine and was like
balsam to a wound. By Jove, it is balsam! These hills are for the
healing of men. I have been here three days and have taken more
exercise than in three months--walking and climbing; beside the
creek lined with great sycamores--alluvial soil, crumbles in your
hand, and with our friend the gopher in it; and climbed up through
a bit of manzanita--big fellows, twenty feet high some of them--
and such a rich brown, near-burgundy red! I barked a bit of the
bole to get that green beneath, spring green, great contrast!
And above the grove of manzanita was a flat top to the hill, from
which I could see three ways, and all ending in cloud-wrapped
mountains, that had shape and were blue of some kind, as far as
you could see. Ah man, this is a glorious land--even the people!
Along the road I talked to Lundgren, who used to be a ship-
carpenter, but he had a prune orchard here "since the fire." I
must "see his horses," great snuzzling monsters that he had raised
himself (sold one of them once, and sneaked off and bought it
back) and his calves, twins out of a three-year-old--and she had
had one before. Oh shades of Teddy Roosevelt, there's your ideal!
(Do you remember Kipling's line in the Mary Gloster, "And she
carried her freight each trip"?)
And next to Lungren was the Frenchman--far up on the hill
cultivating his grapes, for which he got $110 per ton last year--
and this year he puts out five acres more. The Frenchman has
indigestion and lives alone ... that hillside of vines gives him
something to love.
When we come to the turn in the road, where you cross the creek to
climb the hill, there the "Portugee" lives. He always has lived
there. He was found just there when the Padres came. And his name
was Silva. John Silva, of Stevenson's Treasure Island--born in the
Azores, of course--there are no other Portuguese in America.
And John has--how many children? Give you three guesses. All by
one wife, too, and she is in evidence, and a native daughter. I
saw her with my own eyes, black hair, dark skin, slight figure,
voluble, smiling, large-knuckled hands and a flashy eye, oh! a
long way from being uninteresting to John yet, or a merely "good
woman." Well, how many children did they have, right there by the
road?--eleven. Eight boys and three girls--and four dead, too.
Fine boys and girls, one I saw plowing or cultivating straight up
and down the vineyard, a sixty degree hill, I should say. I was
struggling with a cane to get one foot before another on the
sloping road and he was outdoing a horse, that he drove with his
neck and shoulders, while with his hands he guided the little plow
straight up toward the sky. I am not envious of such youth. I
never had it. I was always lazy. But it is a real joy for me to be
near such youth--just to know that such things can be done--by
angels from the Azores. You remember Anne's story, "In future it
is prohibited to refer to our beloved Allies as 'the God-damned
Portuguese'"? Well, I feel the same way.
Yes, this land of yours is good. (All land is good, I believe.)
And the stillness, and the birds, and the flowers! The simplicity
of these two dear hearts--George and his wife--the little they
need! A paper once a day for five minutes, a song to break day
with, and a round of songs and piano pieces to end the day, every
act one of consideration, and each word spoken with a tender look,
a gay lilt to the voice, even in asking to pass the salt. "Better
a dinner of herbs where love is," etc. Well, they have it, herbs
and all,--beet tops and mustard leaves. ... Good luck to you.
F. K. L.
P. S. You don't deserve this--you stingy, skimpy mollusk!
To Lathrop Brown
Morgan Hill, [March] 16, 
MY DEAR LATHROP,--I wish I could be with you just to laugh away
that cynical mood. I know that I do not see the world undressed,
naked, in the raw, as you youngsters do. Illusions and delusions,
let them be! I shall cherish them. For whatever it is inside of me
that I call soul seems to grow on these things that seem so
contrary to the results of experience. "If a lie works, it's the
truth," says Dooley. So say I, in my pragmatism. I have "become"
in the eyes of men and I want to "become" in the eyes of my better
self, that ego must be gratified at least by an effort. And to
"become" requires that there shall be some faith. We don't
accomplish by disbelieving. That is your Mother's religion. It is
my philosophy. She has capacity for faith which I have not,
because she climbs, while I stand still.
Of course the inauguration business was commonplace. That is Ohio
statesmanship, somehow. But good may come of it, and you and I
want to help it, so far as it wants national food, to bear fruit.
Damn all your politics and partisanship! Humbug--twaddle--fiddle-
dee-dee, made for lazy louts who want jobs and bosses who want
power. Well, we are out now for a long time, and we might as well
forget bitterness, or rather submerge it in the bigger call of the
nation. All of which you characterize as sentimentalism--so says
I am beginning to despair of doctors and to say to myself, "Better
get back to work, and go it as long as you can, then quit and live
on rolled oats and buttermilk until the light goes out." ... Well,
goodnight, dear chap.
F. K. L.
To John G. Gekring
[March] 21, 
And how are you, Padre? Do you find that there are those who can
probe into the secrets within you and tell more than you as
patient can tell yourself? Has a physician who follows the
biblical advice, "Heal thyself," a Fool for a Doctor? What has
been taught you in the ill-smelling center of darkness, dreariness
and torture, where there is more need for beauty than in any other
place, and less of it, more need for gaiety, and less of it, more
need for wholesome suggestion and less of it? ... All hospitals
should have bright paper on the walls, or bright pictures. To hell
with the microbe theory! There are worse things than microbes. All
nurses should be good-looking. They should paint and pad, if
necessary, to give an imitation of good looks. Now, honestly, do
you not agree? And they should not have doors open, nor ask
perfunctory silly questions, such as "Well, how are we today?"
On examination nurses should be rated largely for things that
don't count--looks, cheerfulness, silliness, sympathy, softness of