New Canaan, Connecticut
7. October. 1927
Margaret. I do love you. Sometimes I am only a little
child almost afraid of life, and not assertive at all,
only gentle and often wistful, just as I used to be,
with no heart for facing the contest of the world. And
sometimes I am very old and wise and understanding and
tolerant, not asking anything for self, just as I am
going to be some day. In either case, adorable Margaret,
it can do you no harm to be loved by such a creature.
of all though, you most dear, I must tell you how deeply
I appreciate all you told me of your own most private
life, and of your happy years with our great wise friend.1
I only knew in the most casual way that you had been
friends, and when I heard I was glad for him, before
I knew you, that he should have had such a one. And
as soon as I began to hear from you I was glad you had
had him in your life. And it never occurred to me to
wonder whether the relation was thus and so, or this
and that. I only knew it was all right, whatever way.
And when you say how he cared for your youth,—that would
be like him, dear man. To have you hurt on such a point
by a body blow from a low cad was horrible to me. I
want to forget, and I wished you could have come to
me to cry in your pain.
my dear, the later wisdom was right too. The spirit
is of no age, and the greatest love is inclusive of
all things. I understand so well. When there is disparity
of years, it is all so confusing, but really no more
confusing than all this incarnation of spirit is. The
Soul must condescend, to live. And the governance of
the creature impulses is the dilemma of humanity. Whether
you outrage them or give way to them, you are lost.
In either case the Son of Man is crucified afresh—almost
it seems so. Yet we have our day to day life; that is
all we are asked to face at a time; and the door opens
as we near the entrance. Never to be wholly pestiferous
is some thing.
That is the first thing.
Rational or mental guidance!
that is the second.
that is the third requisite.
All three equal and all three absolutely necessary.
That is the secret of all, that is the secret of success
in making personality
Spirit, mind, body.
Love, wisdom, action.
Goodness, truth, beauty.
Yes, my dear dear, I know.
I dare say we were sent together, and for some transcendent
end. It is all so veracious and beyond the ordinary,
I don’t dare think otherwise, although as I told you
I have never had any obvious patent deliberate revelation
come to me. But this—I
feel obedient and serious. If you have any definite
intimations about it you must tell me. I hardly feel
equal to managing it alone, and neither do I want to
shirk all the responsibility.
Your letters are all safe. Let me keep
them a while longer.3
I like to go over them. They are of Shamballah,4
I am sure.
Poor Fairy Prince5
in his desperation. I don’t pity him, fortunate and
fine lad. Rather do I greatly esteem. Only I vaguely
recall the agonies of my own youth, with its love and
temerities and agitations,—which maybe have to go to
the making of a true artist. Compared with this era
and decade, that far youthful time was a harmless comedy—though
it felt so tragic then. So is life, maybe.
So, my dear, I must embrace you and all
your loves and dreams—for a moment at least—in these
gigantic arms, and in this (fleeting) mood of celestial
I love you dearly, and all I have to
say is—whatever you do, don’t love any man out of pity
for his helplessness. Oh, my Lord! So many do that.
The mother instinct. Just because women are so unselfish,
and must sacrifice themselves! That is who [sic] so
many fine, wise, adorable women are mated [to] little
shrimps, insufferable boors, and incompetent boobs.
T[o] have such lamentable results. Lives, ruined, and
neither God nor nature served.
Oh, darling, your gift came this morning.
So frail and significant. Thousand loving thanks. Strange
you should have thought of it for me. For several days
I have thought of sending you an Indian Medicine charm
from the southwest—where I felt so strangely at home.
You must know more of the Indians and their lore and
life. We must visit New Mexico as well as the Kootenay
and Blackfeet country of our own West. It is ravishing—the
This time is stolen for your sake. Now
I must run to work.
The blessing of Allah and the Great Ones
be with you, loving and beloved.
Durrant Watson. [back]
schema is a succinct version of the Delsartean or
unitrinian theory of mind-body-spirit harmonization
that became central to Carman’s thought and work
in the mid-nineties. As Odell Shepard (see Letter
51 n.6) explains, "Carman first came into contact
with [François] Delsarte’s ideas during the summer
of 1893, when Richard Hovey and his wife [Henrietta
Russell] were with him in Nova Scotia. Mrs. Hovey
had been a pupil of Delsarte in France and spent
many years of her life teaching his methods in America.
In order to make his fundamental meaning clear she
once drew a triangle on a bit of paper, and wrote
along the three sides the words ‘Body, Mind, Soul,’
and then threw the paper on the ground so as to
show that the isosceles triangle had no bottom,
that there is no gradation of rank or dignity in
the three phases of man’s nature. . . . Richard
Hovey . . . systematized and
extended the idea and greatly increased its ramifications.
Gradually it was interwoven with all of . . . Carman’s
thought and writing" (Bliss Carman [Toronto:
McClelland and Stewart, 1923] 127). See also Letter
6 n.5, John Sorfleet, "Transcendentalist, Mystic,
Evolutionary Idealist: Bliss Carman, 1886-1894"
in Colony and Confederation: Early Canadian Poets
and Their Background, ed. George Woodcock (Vancouver:
U of British Columbia P, 1974), 189-210 and Bentley
"Carman and Mind Cure: Theory and Technique"
in Bliss Carman: a Reappraisal, 85-110. [back]
her first letter of October 3, Lawrence makes the
suggestion that Carman might destroy her more personal
letters to him. [back]
Letter 5 n.4 and Letter 8 n.13. [back]
Caesar George Finn (see Letter 4 n.6). [back]