dear, here is another so welcome letter from you. I
am thankful you stand up so nicely under my fault-findings
with your work. I was a little afraid to write. But
you are so richly worth candor—even if it be rather
ignorant criticism. I know so little of historic writing
or methods, old or new. I only know that you can write,
that you have the gift, and also the divine illumination.
That is why I was so frank.
you will hardly ever find any
criticism of your work that will be worth a tinker’s
dam to you. Also never forget that I cannot possibly
think of you with kindly superior amused toleration
as a "young person". You are not. And I am
not old in the sense of being sour and opinionated.
I am as romantic as you—more confirmed on the idealism
of the universe than modern youth is generally supposed
to be—perhaps. But I don’t believe that modern youth
is fundamentally cynical. It is only disgusted with
the tom-fool twaddle of the churches and the lying greed
of politics, and jeering it all. Quite properly. I agree
wholly with the point of view.
is only one thing worse than the falsehood and humbug
of diplomacy of old men. And that is the sorry truth
that most men like
to fight. Now I believe that eventually
we will have a real League of Nations.1
But—when you think of the innumerable blessed souls
in Canada who think it is all wrong to love the Americans—what
can you say? Like Mr. Briand2
I want brotherhood—not the silly violence and hatred
of the Internationale.3
my! I did have to smile at your George4
losing the letter before he posted it. It was so
like me. Only yesterday I got an important business
letter in my mail box at the post-office, started home
with my mail, and have never seen the thing since!
one of yours. NEVERRRRR!
am awfully sorry it happened. I would have managed some
how to get down there—even to walking—if I had been
sure he was there. But not hearing, I thought it might
have been Woodstock, Vermont, or even New Brunswick,
though I did not know at that time your very liberal
views as to geography!
is only the giants I care about" says she on one
page. And on the next "Write me a love letter."
Allah, woman, what would you? Margaret Queen of Afar,
with a Fairy Prince in her court, wants a love letter
from a poor minstrel! Margaret darling, pray exercise
that cool post-war (or post-bellum sounds better) temperament,
and do not fan this subtle tinder-tender heart to flame.
"Have a heart!" Remember the incurable romantic
youths of the Victorian and Edwardian age, and deal
gently with the almost-only one in captivity, the last
lemon on the tree!
I am summoned to your service O most gracious Majesty,
I only proffer one humble request,—that I be not asked
to speed to your presence by air.
To telegraph or telephone I am ever ready at need, but
to travel on the witches broom-stick—I cannot. I would
thing, do I not love you good and plenty already? Almost
plenty enough? Can I take Leviathan in a net,5
or put my rope over the neck of Orion?6
And who shall turn a woman from her course, or persuade
her into a way whither she will not? Alas for Merlin
in the toils of Vivien!7
X X X X X
mind the jest, dear person. It is only your incorrigible,
but incorrigibly your
League of Nations was established by a covenant
in 1919 and superseded by the United Nations in
Briand (1862-1932), a French statesman who was eleven
times premier of France, was awarded the Nobel peace
prize in 1926 for his role in negotiating the Locarno
agreements of 1925, whereby Germany, Belgium, France,
Italy, and Great Britain mutually guaranteed the
peace of western Europe and Germany undertook to
arbitrate disputes with Belgium, France, Poland,
and Czechoslovakia. The antiwar treaty that was
signed in Paris on August 27, 1928 is known as the
Kellogg or Kellogg-Briand pact. [back]
the international communist anthem, composed in
France in 1871. [back]
Caesar George Finn (see Letter 4 n.6). [back]
is the huge sea-monster of Job 41. Carman may have
been thinking specifically of Job 41.1: "Canst
thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue
with a cord which thou lettest down?" [back]
Greek mythology, Orion is a giant and a hunter.
Tennyson’s Merlin and Vivien (1859), the
aged enchanter Merlin is induced by the wily and
malignant Vivien to tell her the secret of her power,
which she then uses against him. Toils: nets, snares.