Haines Falls, N.Y.
11. July. 1928
is a glorious mountain morning, dry sweet light cool-warm
air in my own heavenly Catskills. I have just had my
luxurious breakfast lemonade and black coffee (but plenty
of coffee, as you say) not to meantion melon and dry
toast, all alone at the table. Now what to do with such
a paradisal morning? Well, Willie, how would you like
to go up to Bloor Street and have your head fussed over
by the Exquisite fair Kathryn?1
(Blond Catherines are always spelled that way with a
K. and a y.) That would be pretty nice I guess. Only
she is in Europe. Too bad. Or how would you like to
take the precious Madeleine2
out in a canoe in Muskoka. Wouldn’t that be grand? Yes,
it would, but she is in Carolina, and anyhow we never
were in Muskoka at the same time, so that isn’t even
an accurate memory. But I would love
a paddle. Well then, Willie,3
there are adorable creatures in Winnipeg most enchanting
prairie-mild and lovable and no doubt consuming as a
prairie fire, but that also is too far. And of course
Vancouver is out of the question for a simple morning
jaunt, with its blessed and faithful family. "But
I tell you what we could do," says Willie, "Sit
down a[nd] have a nice little letter to Margaret."
This from the flighty and wayward Willie is a concession.
He does not love writing. He loves only what is near
and easy and lazy to do. Miserable sinner[.] (When the
Litany was composed, and they put in that dolorous refrain
"Have mercy upon us miserable sinners," I
know they had Willie in mind,—all the Willies of the
Idea, Willie, we will do just that. But I do
wish our darling Margaret was here to entice (Entice
I said, Willie, not seduce) us to go out for
a walk on the trails. We might invite her to "come
on down", but when you tell a lady that, you should
send a car for her or send her a railway ticket at least.
And you realize, Willie, we cannot afford it at this
juncture. "Juncture be damned," says Willie,
"Hell, we couldn’t ever
now, Willie, you lie down under the chair and keep still
while I write to Margaret.
letter of June 26 & July 9th is most welcome and
lovely as ever. Many
happy returns of your Day.4
Thanks too for the reviews5
which I am delighted to see. Keep up the good scribbling
and all success!
see Pierce’s picture in the clipping too. Good old L.P.6
But for God Almighty’s sake don’t let him have any of
my letters! He is like all biographers and collectors,
consumed with an unholy lust of acquisitiveness. Their
greed is voracious. Don’t
let the wolf in the door. He would gobble us up hide
and hair. Lord, it’s too much, this peeking and
keyholing and gumshoeing. Damned if I like it. I propose
to live my biography first. And nobody
aint goin’ to know nothing about that
no how, but Margaret and Madeleine, and Kathryn, and
Katie, and Kay, and Clare7
and a few more Daughters of Shamballah.8
And they don’t all no [sic] everything, don’t even all
know the same thing. ("Thank God," says Willie-under-the-Chair.
"Hush, Willie; hush, dear, you musn’t shock Margaret!["])
us have letters, says you, lots of letters. Now see
what a landslide or letterslide you have let loose!
ahead with the essay9
which my fatuous gab in your old studio of blessed memory
may have started. And where is the essay about me?10
Not that I am anxious, but
only eager to see what you do.
job or a husband!
the love of the dear Lord, Margaret, don’t say it! Husbands!
Husbands are awful things[.] There are men, women and
husbands. They are a sub species of homo-sapiens
or insapiens. They have no place in our world.
Believe me, I know all
about husbands. They are a domestic pest and public
general nuisance. Dull, thick, ignorant, petty jealous,
tyrannic, and pestiverous. Kiss me on the brow in fond
farewell, when you commit husbandry. O horrible! All
the honeymoons you will, but no wedding march!
say you interviewed my Cousin11
again with Pierce.12
You mean Charles? He is well acquainted with Willie.
And by the way you should have his ideas on Modern Women
when you compile your essays on her.13
His knowledge on that engrossing theme is wide and large
of immense variety authentic veracious and incredible.
The envy of Willie and me, who trot along in his footsteps
like a couple of young pointers with tongues hanging
out, while Big Chief Charlie bags the Came [sic], and
we rush about franticly on cold trails working off our
excitement in the under brush. Then think of the misrepute
I will write to M.O.,14
"like a bird", and risk injuring your cause,
if you wish. And Allah prosper you. Now, Margaret, sweet
dear, how is all this for a letter?
but you are a
dear dear one and a great comfort. I can tell you anything
and no fear of being called up on the carpet. It is
an immense relief. If I can gabble away like this, I
should think I might do my own biography!
Ha, ha! Te-he! Not on your life!
go in to T.Eaton’s,15
see that nice dear handsome (says Willie) Betty Bailey
who got the 2 Sapphos16
for me. If they are still there, please send them by
mail, one at a time. And say I was sorry not to see
her on my way back from Winnipeg. Many thanks.
at present from your truly loving and horribly far off
of ladies who have a secret store of biographical data
of your favorite Canadian poet ("poet" understood)17
I might add another K.18
to the list who recently sent on a photograph to be
autographed—a polite request—and received in return
a series of semi-obscene verses. Approach her gently,
she is herself a poet.
identified (see Letter 61 n.2). [back]
Galbraith (see Letter 56 n.2). [back]
Letter 8 n.12 and Letter 28 n.3. [back]
birthday was on July 9. [back]
clippings of reviews published by Lawrence in the
"Bookshelf" column in Saturday Night:
"Travel and Place" (a review of Hilaire
Belloc’s Many Cities and J.E. Wetherell’s
Strange Corners of the World), Saturday
Night, May 19, 1928, 5; "Life and Mr. Bradford"
(a review of Gamaliel Bradford’s Life and I:
an Autobiography of Humanity), Saturday Night,
May, 26, 1928, 8-9; and "Pilate Looks On"
(a review of W.P. Crozier’s edition of the Letters
of Pontius Pilate), Saturday Night, July
7, 1928, 9-10. Between July, 1928 and July, 1929,
Lawrence published several more articles and reviews
in Saturday Night: "Morley Callaghan"
(July 14, 1928); "The Court of George III"
(July 21, 1928); "Stories of Greece" (August
25, 1928); "On a Japanese Screen" (September
1, 1928); "The World of Mr. [H.G.] Wells"
(October 6, 1928); "Marriage and Motherhood"
(December 1, 1928); "These Queens" (December
29, 1928); and "Rouge’s Gallery" (June
1, 1929). [back]
Pierce (see Letter 34 n.6). [back]
may be supplementing references to Lawrence, Galbraith,
and Kathryn with randomly chosen names, but he may
also have had in mind specific women, not least
Katherine (Kate) Eastman (1887-1979), the Toronto
teacher with whom he had a romance from 1922 to
1927 (see Letters 286-348). [back]
Letter 5 n.4 and Letter 8 n.13. [back]
identified, but see n.13, below. [back]
Letter 4 n.1. [back]
Carman presumes—Charles G.D. Roberts (see Letter
41 n.1). Roberts’s "knowledge" of women
is documented by Adams in Sir Charles God Damn.
a letter of June 26-July 9, Lawrence tells Carman
that she and Pierce have recently interviewed Charles
G.D. Roberts (see Letter 28 n.3) and that Pierce
has asked to see Carman’s letters to her. [back]
Lawrence was contemplating the essay on "The
Tradition of Marriage" that she sent to Carman
in November, 1928 (see Letter 75). [back]
Ormond Hammond (see Letter 62 n.7). In her letter
of June 26-July 9, Lawrence wonders whether a letter
from Carman to Hammond might prompt him to give
her a job. [back]
Toronto branch of T. Eaton Co. at 178, Yonge Street.
copies of Carman’s Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics
(1903) (see Letter 75 n.1). Enclosed with the
letter is a cheque for four dollars made out to
"Margaret Lawrence" and signed Bliss Carman.
It is drawn on the First National Bank, New Canaan,
Connecticut and dated "11 July 1928."
context suggests that Carman is referring to Roberts
rather than to himself. [back]