Publication Date


Document Type



9 April, 1919

Dearest Dada:

Your letter written on the "Chic" nursing
paper just came, and while my mother and sister
are chattering with some friends at tea, I am taking
this opportunity to write you, for really your letter
needs an immediate answer. You old dear, I should
so like to see you! Without a doubt your physical
weakness was caused by the "flu," and I only wished
you had taken time to recover before plunging
into such strenuous work as the Army nursing
course. Your mental state seemed at the time of
your writing to border on the hysterical, and for one
so well balanced and sane as you usually are,
such a state indicates that there is a great deal more the matter
with you than for instance a similar state in P. Burke. I hope
you have had your furlough, and that you have
enjoyed it. Incidentally as my younger brother
is starting for America in June, I am sending you a
little reminder by him, - that I always love you, and
understand you in spite of the distance separat-
ing us.

I know how you must revolt against
the drabness of uniform, and I too wished [page break]
that you could go to a "Sophomore Play," although
I fancy that such an event would not be so
thrilling to us now. The same conventional "every
dayness" of life, I know, seems at times al-
most too oppressive to be borne. And it's all
very well for people to say that if one had an
intense and vital "interest" in life, life becomes
transfigured etc. I say, all this is pure
sentimental bosh, simple and unassumed.
What really counts in life, ah, Dada, what
is it? Have you found it? This touchstone
of life? Frankly I think I know what it is,
but so far I have not yet attained it.

It is a pity in some ways that we
lose the power to be thrilled at certain events
in our lives, is it not? For instance, if I
were to go back to college now, I would
see things in different lights than I did,
but still I would not be capable of the same
emotions now. It is silly to talk about
feeling old, but I fancy that most of
us who have been out a couple of years
do feel the lack of spontaneous feelings and [page break]

You will not be angry if I say something to
you? It is just this. I think women lose
interest in life, at least they feel a distinct
lack, as though they have been cheated
out of life, if they do not marry. Now
many would deny this roundly, but from
my observations, I find my theory to be
true. And then too, really what has one
to look forward to if one does not have
children? Life would then end with the
death of that one person. She has no hopes,
no ambition, no desires save those within
her life time. Oh, I know, some people
argue that being interested in the growth
of one's work is of more importance than
feeling that one's son or daughter will continue
with it after one's death, but I simply
cannot believe it. For instance, some of
my friends feel that China may acquire
the international feeling without first
going through the stage of patriotic feeling,
whereas I myself do not believe this is
possible. In my club work too, I notice [page break]
that when I talked of being upright and honest
for the sake of honesty or for the good of
the world at large, the girls all look blank;
but that when I show them that to
be honest means a China without corrupt
officials, they are instantly all attention.
But then of course this is only an example,
& as such is of limited value.

But let me go back to my theory,
I think what you ought to do is to
get married. I know I sound brutal,
as though marriage were to be entered
into lightly or with such cold-bloodedness,
or as a panacea. Nor do I mean for you
to get married to anyone who happens to come
along. What I do mean is that if you
fall in love, marry the man, provided
there are no unsurpassable obstacles in
the way. You will then stop being discontented,
for there will be at least two individu-
alities in which you are interested. Oh, I
know what you are now thinking of "Better
to have single blessedness than double
cussedness." But are you feeling happy as [page break]
as[stet] you are now, and does marriage
mean necessarily a petty life of small
annoyances? I think not! Especially
for a person with as much power
for sympathy as you have.
You understand, what I am trying
to get you [stet] do now is to give your
men friends a chance to know the
real you, the you who loves good-looking
clothes, and has an appreciation of
real good fun. Push the self who
doted on Henry James a little more to one
side. You had enough of that in college.

You are wondering why since I
believe as I do, I do not marry? Well,
as I told you once before I was a damn
fool enough to have fallen in love with
a man I could not marry without giving
sorrow to many people concerned in this.
Sometimes, very often sometimes, I am
tempted to chuck over everything and marry
him. I have even thought of going into
the wilds and live a primitive life. But
I know these are but temptations and [page break]
while matters are as they stand, I can
only do what I am now doing -
do nothing. I noticed that my mother
looked at me very queerly last night when
I remarked to her that my idea of
happiness is to go off to the wilderness
to live a primitive life with the only
man I care about. Today I am regretting
my outburst.

Well, Dada, this is not helping you
to solve your problem. If the girls seem to
want to find out what is in your "brain
pan" (this is an Arthurian Romance term a
la Miss Scudder) let them try and see if
they succeed. You will get a great deal
of enjoyment out of leading them on by
the wrong tracks.

Goodnight, I do wish I wish I
could send you a gorgeous bunch of
golden heart roses!