The Letters of Franklin K. Lane
by Franklin K. Lane
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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 them.

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 none.

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 more binding.

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.



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 called Life.

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 squarer chance.

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,


Washington, 20 [March, 1919]

You said, you will remember, that you did not mind such unconventional things as penciled letters—so here goes, Mrs. Radium.

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 shooter.

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 Other.

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, Amen!

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 the way.

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 happy!"

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 unexplainable?

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 forgotten me.

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 given you.

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 become one.


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 indifferent?

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 into strength.

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.




Need for Democratic Program—Religious Faith—Men who have Influenced Thought—A Sounder Industrial Life —A Super-University for Ideas —"I Accept"—Fragment

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 little one.


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 the rest!

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 species.

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, [1921]

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 out. ...

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, [1921]

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 affectionately,

F. K. L.

To Mrs. William Phillips

Rochester, Minnesota, January 11, [1921]

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.


To James H. Barry

San Francisco Star

Rochester, Minnesota, January 12, [1921]

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 like. ...

F. K. L.

To Michael A. Spellacy

Rochester, Minnesota, January 12, [1921]

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 as fortune.

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 Marshall.

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 rebirth.

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 Tim.

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,


To William R. Wheeler

Rochester, Minnesota, January 13, [1921]

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, [1921]

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. Cordially yours,


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 now.

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, [1921]

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 arriving here.

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, [1921]

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 something.)

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, [1921]

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, but start.

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, [1921]

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 individually.

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, [1921]

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 Millbrook hillside.

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 can.

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. Wonderful land!

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. ...

March 31

... 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, [1921]

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 on this.

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 Saturday.


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 Reds.

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 ours.

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, [1921]

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, [1921]

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, [1921]

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, [1921]

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 Burleson, too.

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, [1921]

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 hand, willingness to listen to the victim-patient! ...

I am going to Rochester, ... my brother is going with me. Bless him! He'd be glad to take you back, and he can give you wood to chop, and a black-headed grosbeak to sing for you. Ever hear one? Better than Caruso.

May the Lord make his light to shine upon you and give you peace.

F. K. L.

To John H. Wigmore

Los Angeles, March 25, 1921

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