DEAR TINY HEART THE LETTERS OF JANE HEAP AND FLORENCE REYNOLDS
Note on the Text
About the Editor
Jane Purse and the late Florence Mack Treseder of Hollywood, California, deserve the credit for bringing to light the story of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds. Over sixty years ago, Jane Purse read My Thirty Years War, an autobiography by Margaret Anderson, the flamboyant founder of an avant-garde literary journal, the Little Review (1914-1929). The Little Review was a revolutionary journal espousing feminism, anarchism, and the international avant-garde. Jane Purse was entranced by Anderson’s life in the radical artistic circles that ranged from Chicago to New York to Paris during the heyday of twentieth-century bohemia. From that moment on, Purse haunted bookstores looking for original copies of the Little Review, inevitably to be disappointed.
Years later, in the i950s, she became friends with Florence Mack Treseder, the niece and namesake of Florence Reynolds. When Purse told Treseder of her passion for the Little Review and Margaret Anderson, Treseder told Purse that her aunt, Florence Reynolds, had been a great friend of Anderson’s coeditor, Jane Heap. Treseder had inherited from Reynolds boxes of letters, pictures, memorabilia, and even original Little Reviews. One day, while Purse was in the back room of her business, a local dog-grooming shop, Treseder stopped by and left several boxes of the Reynolds-Heap material. Purse was overwhelmed with excitement as she read the letters between the two women.
Purse believed the friendship of Florence Reynolds and Jane Heap was part of the untold story of the Little Review. The scrappy journal’s survival for over fifteen years as other “little magazines” fell by the wayside was far more understandable given Reynolds’s financial and emotional support. With the encouragement of Treseder, Purse undertook in the i970s to write a book about the two women. She did extensive research concerning the Heap family, including trips to Heap’s hometown of Topeka, Kansas. Time passed, and the project eventually died a quiet death.
Twenty years later, Purse’s efforts bore fruit. I was researching my dissertation on Margaret Anderson and the Little Review at the University of Delaware. As my project developed, Jane Heap intrigued me more than Margaret Anderson. But unlike Anderson, who had written three autobiographies and left significant collections of letters around the country, Heap seemed to have left no material. The only information available came from Anderson, and it is highly biased since the two had an intense affair. Also available are brief descriptions of Heap in the memoirs of Paris expatriates. After the Little Review years, Heap seemed to have disappeared. This I knew was deliberate on her part—like Anderson, Heap had converted to believing the theories of the Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff. She held Gurdjieff study groups in London from the 1930s until her death in 1964. For Heap, her past life was no longer “real.” She rebuffed any queries from scholars concerning her career and did not publish any autobiographical material. The search for any Heap letters or sources became an increasingly desperate gambit for me. In the summer of 1989, I wrote to another scholar, Susan Noyes Platt, who had written an excellent article about Heap’s career and I asked if she had any suggestions in tracking down Heap’s primary sources. On June 14, 1989, she responded to my questions with the depressing remark “Welcome to the elite group of scholars in search of papers and executors of Jane Heap. We spread from shore to shore and internationally even to Europe. Seriously, it is the great dead end.”1
One of the few things known about Heap (from a rare autobiographical remark in the Little Review) was that her father, George, had worked in an insane asylum in Topeka and her family’s house was next door to it. I wrote to the still-existing library of the Kansas State Hospital in Topeka requesting the employment records of George Heap. I also inquired if there were any additional records of the Heap family. The librarian responded with the information that a woman named Jane Purse had been there ten years ago researching a book on Jane Heap. The address was Hollywood, California. Not recognizing Purse’s name as a historian or literary scholar and faced with an address in Hollywood that was over a decade old, I doubted any success in pursuing this course. Nevertheless, I sent a letter off, and received a reply from Purse telling me her story. She also indicated that she was worried about the Heap material; it was possibly endangered by the various natural disasters plaguing her home in the Hollywood Hills.
Anne Boylan, my dissertation adviser, envisioned a solution. The Special Collections Department of the Morris Library at the University of Delaware had started an interesting collection of modernist writers, and Alice Schreyer, then Head of Special Collections, immediately recognized their value when she was presented with the Heap letters. Jane Purse turned the letters over to the Morris Library, where they have been safely stored ever since. I owe a debt of gratitude to Florence Treseder, Jane Purse, Anne Boylan, and Alice Schreyer for safely saving the story of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds.
Since then, I have owed thanks to several other people. Rebecca Johnson Melvin in Special Collections at the Morris Library has patiently cooperated with my various requests over the years. Karen Clark, a great- niece of Jane Heap, has been of special importance; her cooperation was crucial in the publication of the letters, and she was a valuable source of information concerning the Heap family.
I would like to thank Southwest Missouri State University for the Summer Faculty Fellowship Grant that enabled me to travel to London and Paris to talk with Heap’s Gurdjieff students, Nesta Brookings and Eleanor Hudson, who graciously shared their memories of Heap.
James Moore, author of Gurdjieff: Anatomy of a Myth, kindly took time out of his schedule to sit down with me and share his perspectives on Heap and Gurdjieff.
Betty Evans, reference librarian at Southwest Missouri State University, consistently astonished me with her research skills. Claire Momot, a graduate student at SMSU, proved herself to be a great researcher and future historian.
Crucial in the long, tedious process of transcribing has been Deb Shoss of Lexington, Kentucky, and the staff and students of the History Department at SMSU: Margie von der Heide, Lyn Young, Susan Licher, Liz Swaters, Teresa Nell, and Matthew Vaughn. Thank you to Commerce Graphics for permission to reproduce the Berenice Abbot photograph of Jane Heap in Paris.
A special thanks to Niko Pfund of New York University Press for his tremendous patience. Karla Jay’s comments on the first draft of the manuscript were exceptionally helpful. Alice Calaprice did a superb job copy- editing the manuscript.
The friendship and support of Patricia Thatcher was crucial during the very early and very late stages of this project, as has been the encouragement of my friends Shaku Bhaya, Lynette Eastland, Elise Fullmer, Cathy Hamill, and Janet Willams.
The single most important person in the completion of this project is Shelley L. Vaugine. My debt to her is forever.
Note on the Text
The letters of Jane Heap were handwritten and rife with ink smudges, spelling errors, illegible words, and missing punctuation. I have edited the letters with an emphasis on easy readability: I have inserted proper spelling as well as left some misspellings with the accompanying identifying “sic.” I have left Heap’s frequent use of “pomes,” “thot,” and “thro” uncorrected, as well as a few other deliberate misspellings where it is clear to the reader what she means. Brackets indicate editorial insertions or explanations of hard-to-decipher passages. In places where the handwriting has been impossible to read, I have inserted “illegible.”
The sheer volume of letters from both Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds made it necessary to cut them down from their original length. The majority of the cuts were inconsequential remarks concerning daily tasks that do not illuminate much about the life of either woman. The basic thrust of the editing is to tell a story of two women and their social and cultural milieu.
In many of the letters there are names of or allusions to individuals who proved impossible to identify. Those who could be identified are noted in the running commentary or footnotes.
Jane Heap in appearance was as formidable as her literary reputa- tion—a handsome heavy-set American with dark cropped hair, that revealed the size and sculpture of a remarkable cranium. Her warm brown eyes softened the austerity of her masculine countenance, as well as the bright lipstick she wore on her generous mouth. Her personal magnetism was almost visible.
—Katherine Hulme, Undiscovered Country
Jane Heap and Mina Loy were both talking brilliantly . . . Jane her breezy, travelling-salesman-of the world tosh which was impossible to recall later. But neither of these ladies needed to make sense. Conversation is an art with them, something entirely unrelated to sense or reality or logic.
—Robert McAlmon, Being Geniuses Together
There is no one in the modern world whose conversation I haven’t sampled, I believe, except Picasso’s. So I can’t say it isn’t better than Jane Heap’s. But I doubt it in spite of his reputation.
—Margaret Anderson, My Thirty Years War
Jane was her name and Jane her station and Jane her nation and Jane her situation. Thank you for thinking of how do you do how do you like your two percent. Thank you for thinking how do you do thank you Jane thank you too thank you for thinking thank you for thank you. Thank you how do you. Thank you Jane thank you how do you do.
—Gertrude Stein, “An Appreciation of Jane,” Little Review, 1929
The letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, dating from 1908 to i945, illuminate a brief love affair and lifelong friendship between two women whose bond demonstrates the nexus of sexuality, art, and spirituality for members of the international bohemia during the in- terwar period.
Jane Heap (1883-1964) is one of the most neglected contributors to the transmission of modernism between America and Europe during the early twentieth century. As coeditor with Margaret C. Anderson of the Little Review (1914-1929), one of the most important “little magazines” of the era, Heap was a promoter of nearly every international avant-garde movement, from dada to surrealism, constructivism, Bauhaus, and “Machine Age” esthetics. At the same time, she advanced the work of the literary giants of modernism, including James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein. She was a blatant cross-dresser with closely cropped hair who favored men’s hats and capes. Known for her droll wit and incisive editor’s pen, Heap was a woman prone to both humorous insights and dark moods.
Florence Reynolds (1879-1949) was a diminutive, self-effacing counselor at a girls’ boarding school who steadfastly supported Heap emotionally and financially for forty-one years. A sweet and intellectually curious woman, her love for Heap was adulatory and unfailing.
Their letters bring us into the world of horse and buggy days on the Kansas prairie, Greenwich Village during World War I, the Paris expatriate community of the twenties, and finally the London blitz. They tell us much about lesbian love and identity during this era, the struggle to support radical art and literature, and, perhaps most of all, the joys and trepidations of a community of friends that withstood the test of time.
Jane Heap was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1883. After graduating from high school she traveled to Chicago, where she enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago. Heap won a number of student awards and continued taking night classes after she was employed as an art teacher at the Lewis Institute. She also became a member of Maurice Browne’s groundbreaking Chicago Little Theater. Florence Reynolds was the daughter of a prosperous Chicago insurance businessman and a student at Lewis. The two women most likely met in 1908, the year the letters began, and quickly formed an intense bond.
Heap was forced by her perilous finances to return to her parents’ Topeka home in the summers of 1908 and 1909. Her letters to Reynolds during these two summers reveal the depth of their longing for each other, as well as an early indications of Heap’s intellectual, artistic, and spiritual interests. During those years, Heap was a young, Midwestern woman dreaming of “big things” and fretting that time was passing her by as she juggled her art and poetry with washing and ironing. Reynolds was clearly in many respects playing the part of Heap’s “muse.” “I could talk to you for hours, if only I had you. I have so many thoughts that want developing and you are the only one who can do it,” Heap wrote in July of 1909.
In i9i0, Heap and Reynolds traveled for a year to Germany, where Heap studied tapestry weaving. When they returned to Chicago their relationship was transformed into a friendship that endured for the rest of their lives. Indeed, it is safe to say that in spite of Heap’s various lovers, Reynolds remained the most important connection in her life.
Heap met Margaret Anderson, a beautiful and spirited advocate of the arts, in i9i6. Anderson moved to Chicago from Indiana five years earlier and began the Little Review in March i9i4. The journal’s motto was “Making No Compromise with the Public Taste.” The Little Review was a radical magazine that promoted anarchism, feminism, Nietzsche, sexual freedom, and the “new” in art and literature. Anderson made it a crucial part of the blossoming Chicago Renaissance—early contributors were Midwesterners such as Sherwood Anderson, Floyd Dell, and Ben Hecht, as well as future international figures such as Gertrude Stein, H.D., and Amy Lowell. In 1915, Anderson wrote the first known editorial by a lesbian in favor of gay rights. In “Mrs. Ellis’s Failure” she took Edith Ellis (wife of Havelock Ellis and a lesbian herself) to task for ignoring the subject of homosexual rights in a Chicago talk. “With us,” Anderson wrote with angry vigor, “love is just as punishable as murder or robbery.”1
Anderson became obsessed with Heap’s far-ranging intellect and enigmatic personality and convinced her to become coeditor of the Little Review. She was mesmerized by Heap’s conversation and claimed she was “inflamed by Heap’s ideas.”2 Their meeting, wrote Anderson, brought forth “a new unexpected life that to me was like a second birth.”3 Although Heap agreed to coedit the Little Review, she wanted to keep a low profile and signed her contributions “jh.” Her articles quickly became known for their penetrating criticism and dry commentary.
Heap and Anderson moved to New York to make the Little Review, in Anderson’s words, “an international organ.” The letters from Heap to Reynolds, which pick up again in i9i7, clearly indicate they maintained a close relationship. The bulk of the i9i7-i9i8 letters is full of Heap’s bitterness over Anderson’s affairs with other women and her own increasing burden in the work of editing the magazine.
The New York letters paint a fascinating portrait of Greenwich Village during the Great War. Heap attended Emma Goldman’s 1917
Conscription Trial, described a particularly hysterical anarchist Christmas celebration, and referred to Village regulars of the period with humorous detachment. “Jack Reed dropped in very glum,” she wrote Reynolds in 1917. “I had a vision of his looking much like Byron—he really looks like a fat forty version of your chauffeur Sam.”
During this period the Little Review utilized local New York talent such as Djuna Barnes, William Carlos Williams, and Hart Crane. They soon acquired Ezra Pound, who lived in London, as the Little Review’s foreign editor. Along with his own work, he sent the fiction of Wyndham Lewis, Ford Madox Ford, and James Joyce. In March 1918, Pound mailed Anderson and Heap the first chapters of Joyce’s Ulysses, which they serialized in the Little Review until 1920. That year they found themselves in legal trouble when the Society for the Suppression of Vice brought formal charges of obscenity against the magazine. Although John Quinn, a noted New York attorney and patron of modern art, defended them, they were found guilty in a 1921 trial, fined one hundred dollars, and forced to discontinue the serialization.4
The Ulysses trial was the final blow in the personal, financial, and creative tensions between Anderson and Heap. Both women had had affairs (Heap most notably with Djuna Barnes), which further stretched their capacity to keep their professional partnership intact. In 1920, Anderson met Georgette Leblanc, a noted opera singer and former companion of Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck, and for the most part, she then left the editing of the Little Review to Heap. As Heap’s role grew, the look and emphasis of the journal changed—plain brown covers were transformed into brightly colored designs. The Little Review became increasingly daring and inventive, publishing dada poetry, surrealist essays, and accentuating the visual arts as Heap reproduced the works of such artists as Leger, Ernst, Picabia, and Kandinsky.
The gap in the letters from 1918 to 1922 can be explained by Reynolds’s own move to New York. The references in the 1918 letters to “Weavie” or Weaver was Lillian C. Weaver, an Iowa native who had started a school called Andrebrook for Midwestern girls in New York City and moved it to Tarrytown, New York. Weaver employed Reynolds as a private secretary and counselor for the school, a position she kept until Andrebrook closed in 1942. It is not clear whether Weaver and Reynolds were ever a couple, though Heap makes the observation in one letter, “She hangs on you like death.”
The letters pick up in 1922 to 1926, the majority of them dealing with Heap’s trips to Europe and her immersion in the expatriate community of France. Thanks to the favorable rate of exchange and the increasing political conservatism of the 1920s, Europe was a magnet for financially challenged members of the avant-garde. For Heap there was another at- traction—her introduction to the philosophy of a controversial mystic who lived outside of Paris, George Gurdjieff. He was a mysterious figure somewhat in vogue with American intellectuals and artists at the time. When he first came to America in 1924, both Heap and Anderson were instantly attracted to the man and his philosophy. Gurdjieff claimed that, as a youth, he traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe in search of esoteric knowledge. He later told his students he had discovered secret knowledge from an ancient brotherhood that was transmitted orally through the generations to a select bond of spiritual seekers. In 1922 he settled in France, outside Paris, where he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man.
Heap’s life was forever changed by Gurdjieff and his ideas. He came to New York in early 1924 to hold public performances of his dances, and later that spring Heap, Anderson, and Leblanc sailed to Paris to study at his Institute.
In spite of the fact that Anderson and Heap had broken up as a couple, they were still bound by an unorthodox legal arrangement. Anderson’s sister, Lois Peters, had a series of nervous breakdowns, leaving the care of her two sons, Tom and Fritz, in question. Anderson eschewed any interest in becoming a surrogate mother, but Heap adopted the two boys and took them to France.
Heap’s letters to Reynolds from France give us some insight into the Institute and her stewardship of two young children. But mostly they lead us into the whirlwind life of cafes and parties of the famous expatriate community that included Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Tristan Tzara, and Constantin Brancusi. Heap’s letters indicate a number of flirtations and affairs she had as she flitted from Lady Rothermere to Edith Taylor (former lover of fellow Gurdjieff disciple Jean Toomer), to Oligi- vana Ivanova Hinzenberg, who would later marry Frank Lloyd Wright and help him organize Taliesin in Wisconsin along Gurdjieffian lines. Heap struck up a particularly close friendship with Gertrude Stein and worked tirelessly but unsuccessfully to help Stein find an American publisher for The Making of Americans.
She returned to New York in the fall of 1924 to continue the Little Review as well as to establish the Little Review Gallery. She frequently exhibited artists in the gallery—including Man Ray, Joseph Stella, Charles Demuth, Naum Gabo, and Hans Arp—and then gave them an international audience by reproducing their work in the Little Review.
Heap’s lifelong interest in the theater was enhanced by her introduction to Tzara and Frederick Kiesler in Paris. After exchanging ideas with the poet and director, she returned to New York to organize the brilliant International Theater Exposition. As the twenties progressed, Heap became interested in “Machine Age” esthetics; in 1927, she organized the Machine Age Exposition, which was praised as an ambitious and masterful project. The catalogs for both the International Theater and Machine Age exhibits were, according to one art historian, “major documents in the introduction of modern art theory in America.” Heap played a “crucial role in presenting the raw data of international modernism to America.”5
By the end of the decade, Heap was ready to give up the Little Review in order to pursue her spiritual studies. She and Anderson reunited in Paris, where they put together the final issue of the journal in the Hotel Bonaparte rooms of Janet Flanner and her lover, Solita Solano.
In the thirties, Heap, Anderson, Solano (who had a brief affair with Anderson), and Katherine Hulme, author of The Nun’s Story, formed a women-only Gurdjieff study group, which Gurdjieff agreed to teach, and called themselves the “Rope.” Heap became the secondary teacher of the Rope; Gurdjieff was sufficiently impressed with her mastery of his ideas that he instructed her to move to London to begin her own study group. She left for London with Elspeth Champcommunal, a woman she met in Paris who was a designer for British Vogue and Worth’s, a house of haute couture.
From 1929 to 1939, Reynolds went to Europe every summer to travel with Heap and Champcommunal. They were together with Flanner and Solano in the Bavarian Alps when World War II broke out, and escaped via Switzerland to London. Heap remained in London and, with the financial support of Champcommunal and Reynolds, continued her work as a Gurdjieff teacher. Reynolds returned to the United States and the An- drebrook School in Tarrytown, New York.
It is during the years 1940-1945 that we hear Reynolds’s voice for the first time. While Heap’s letters were handwritten in a big scrawl, usually lasting two or three pages, Reynolds’s letters were four or five pages of single-spaced type. The themes of Reynolds’s letters include her daily tasks, catching up with old friends, the wartime political scene, but, most of all, fear for Heap. There were real reasons to be concerned about Heap: she was living in London during the blitz and was by then suffering greatly from diabetes. Nevertheless, Reynolds’s letters illustrate the uneven nature of their relationship even after the decades of friendship. Reynolds was constantly making arrangements for money, expressing concern not only for Heap’s safety and health, but also of her ability to get the peace and quiet she needed for her spiritual pursuit. When Heap temporarily moved to the Isle of Wight during the blitz, Reynolds wrote her,
And shall you be going to town soon and where? You won’t be alone, will you? I can’t bear to think of you without someone to whom you can call in an emergency. I hope it will be somewhere without the awful burden of too much work on a household. I have always minded that for you as you know. It is a waste that you shouldn’t allow. Free evenings, a free space of each time around you, should be the first and most important arrangement of your day.
Next to Reynolds’s anxiety for Heap was concern about Anderson and Leblanc, who had waited until 1942 to try to escape France. Their plight was made worse by the discovery that Leblanc was dying from breast cancer. Reynolds kept Heap informed through Solano, who was trying to assist the couple in their escape. Leblanc died in October 1942, before they could leave, and the worry now focused upon the dangerous situation for Anderson. After many difficult trials, Anderson made it to America, her passage on the SS Drottingholm paid for by Ernest Hemingway. On the ship, Anderson met Dorothy Caruso, the widow of Enrico Caruso, who became her companion for over the next decade.
In the meantime, Reynolds’s world was turned upside down when An- drebrook closed in 1942; she had been at the school for over twenty years. After a brief move to New York City, where she tried her hand at odd jobs, Reynolds decided to move in with her sister, Harriet Mack, in Hollywood, California.
In the postwar years, Heap gathered numerous dedicated Gurdjieff students in her London home at Hamilton Terrace. They included the renowned director Peter Brook, who wrote in his autobiography, “When she spoke, taking as her starting point any simple question, she would open great vistas of understanding, linking the tiniest detail of everyday life to the laws and the forces that condition humanity.”6
The last time Florence Reynolds and Jane Heap saw each other was in 1947, when Reynolds traveled to London. She died in 1949 of cancer and left Heap the interest from her family trust for the rest of Heap’s life. Heap died from complications due to diabetes in 1964.
We do not have Reynolds’s letters before 1940, most likely because Heap did not save them. With the exception of incomplete and edited fragments from Heap in 1939, 1940, and 1941, the final section contains only the letters from Reynolds.
Although it is clear from Reynolds’s letters that Heap is writing, albeit far too infrequently for Reynolds’s liking, the Heap letters are missing. We also do not have letters between either woman after 1945, though Reynolds did not die until four years later.
The nature of the relationship between Heap and Reynolds was of concern to people who held the letters on both sides. Reynolds’s niece Florence Treseder wrote to Michael Currer-Briggs, a Gurdjieff student of Heap’s who had the Reynolds wartime letters, that, of the proposed Purse biography, “it was decided at the outset that no living person would be embarrassed in any way, and that all the material would be selected solely on the basis of its importance to the story of the magazine.”7
Currer-Briggs wrote to Purse before he turned over the Reynolds letters: “I have never read the letters that are in my safekeeping because I know that during the last period when she was so ill that she used to write Jane frequently and the exchanges were of the deepest meaning as they were so close to the imminence of your aunt’s death. This level of human relationship has to be held in the greatest respect.”8 Yet when the letters were turned over to Purse, they did not include the last four years of Reynolds’s life. It is of course possible that Heap herself destroyed those letters after her friend’s death.
In my interviews with Nesta Brookings and Eleanor Hudson, Heap’s Gurdjieff students during the war and postwar period, it was clear to me that they felt that any mention, let alone emphasis, of Heap’s sexuality would trivialize someone they held in great esteem as a spiritual teacher.
Nevertheless, Heap was a lesbian who was a member of a particularly brilliant charismatic group of free-spirited women who threw themselves into the sexual, cultural, and social maelstrom of the avant-garde. Her sexuality was not incidental to her presentation of self, her editorial decisions, and certainly not to her own sense of personal happiness.
Heap’s sexuality as it comes through in these letters may shed some light on the formation of lesbian identity from the early to mid-twentieth century. At each stage in the letters, we could select evidence to argue any number of theories advanced by historians embroiled in the debate over when the lesbian appeared on the sexual radar of modern times.
Her early letters to Reynolds may be seen as the quintessential example of romantic friendship—an intense bond between two women that included declarations of devotion and passion. Heap objects to Reynolds’s use of the word “friendship” in 1908, writing, “You called our love— Friendship—it has not got to that has it? Isn’t it very like the Love our friends the poets sing about? I think it very strange and different from friendship or just love with a little letter—don’t you?”
One could seize upon Heap’s use of “strange and different” to mean she knew they were lesbians—or she just knew they were different. Letters of the following year indicate she was cognizant of their difference to the point where she felt self-conscious when they were with others. “It seems to me as if I did not ‘love you up’ often enough when we were together. Why did I always feel conscious when there were people present— as if it were not fair to you or something to love you publicly or what was it? I think we felt a difference, that others did not suspect.” This seems to be a woman grappling for some explication or terminology to describe her self-conscious difference.
Yet in those same two years, evidence could be found for Heap’s identification as a lesbian. The desire for physical contact is specific, as shown in the July 21, 1909, letter when she wrote, “Sometimes I lie quite still at night and imagine you close, touching me all along—until it becomes so real I nearly cry of the emptiness.”
The 1908-1909 letters also reveal Heap’s awareness of her sexuality through her discussion of what she was reading during those summers. Three of the authors she mentions—Mary Robinson, Arthur Symons, and Ernest Dowson—were noted for their translations of Sappho.
Yet the most convincing evidence is photographs from the same period that show Heap was cross-dressing. Heap and Reynolds had a circle of friends in Chicago who cross-dressed and appropriated male names—the “James,” “Jim,” or “Jimmy” referred to in the letters was their friend Marie Blanke. On July 25, 1908, Heap reports, “I have just written to James. She has been visiting at some very ‘swell’ houses. She says she has been doing some of my stunts dressing up in men’s clothes and making love to girls—I wonder how near a representation she could give of me.”
Marie “James” Blanke and Heap taught together at the Lewis Institute and organized, along with their friends Elsa Koop (sometimes referred to as “Bob”) and Olive Garnett, the Blanke-Heap Theater, for which they wrote their own plays and in which Heap invariably played a male part.
Esther Newton has argued that cross-dressing was a tool for women to divorce themselves from the asexual past of romantic friendship and a way to make themselves known to one another. Hence, Newton would argue we see in Heap the creation of the “mythic mannish lesbian.”9
However, in the letters of 1917-1918 there is a new directness that contrasts with the earlier letters and perhaps suggests a radical shift in Heap’s sense of self. By now she is not addressing her relationship with Reynolds, but her anguish over Anderson’s affair with another woman, referring to it as a “bar room atmosphere of love.” There is no question that Heap was a woman devastated by the unfaithfulness of her lover. The author of these letters is not the same romantic, gushing person, leaving us to doubt her early 1908-1909 letters are evidence of a fully formed lesbian self-identity.
In addition to her seething over Anderson’s behavior in these letters, we know that by 1917 Heap was aware of the work of a number of sexologists such at Otto Weininger and Havelock Ellis, who had written extensively about “sexual inversion.” In the early stages of medical discourse, the term “homosexuality” meant an erotic attraction to the same sex, but “inversion” denoted a desire to assume the gender behaviors and characteristics of the opposite sex.
In her New York letters, Heap first mentions the Austrian neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, author of Sexual Psychopathia, who argued that “sexual inversion” was caused by generations of biological degeneration. Krafft-Ebing particularly focused on cross-dressing as a sign of an extreme form of inversion, and most people who recorded their impressions of Heap in the New York years noted her masculine countenance. Malcolm Cowley, a contributor to the Little Review, wrote in one letter, “M.A. was beautiful, the woman of the couple: Jane Heap wore tailored clothes and had savagely bobbed hair.”10
Because of her knowledge of the scientific literature of the time, the fact that she was embroiled in a triangle with Anderson and another woman, and her steadfast self-presentation of herself as masculine in everyday life (as opposed to her earlier occasional or theatrical cross- dressing), we can argue that the Jane Heap of 1917-1918 in New York had probably understood herself to be an invert.
There is also a fascinating new development in the letters that adds credence to Heap’s acceptance of the theory of inversion by 1917. Reynolds is no longer “Tiny Heart” but “Mother.” Heap had fashioned herself as the “son” of Reynolds, sometimes signing her letters “Richard.” It was a form of role playing that Margaret Anderson went along with—in her own correspondence she mockingly complains to Reynolds about the bad behavior of her “son,” Heap.
This relationship has a fascinating if problematic potential for psychoanalytical interpretation. In Nancy Chodorow’s feminist reinterpretation of Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, the female child’s pre- oedipal bond with her mother remains longer than a male child’s—and the bond remains primary. Where Chodorow argues that women then “reproduce mothering,” Heap’s behavior may seem like “reproducing being mothered.” One scholar has commented on Chodorow’s work as meaning that “only a lesbian can herself experience the primary love with another woman that is implanted in the female psyche by the relational process of early childhood.”11 While Chodorow’s examination of lesbianism is brief—”lesbian relationships do tend to recreate mother- daughter emotional connections”—the problem here is that Heap casts herself as Reynolds’s son.12 We can find evidence of this type of familial reproduction within other relationships, most notably with Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. As Shari Benstock notes, “Stein, who at first was ‘husband,’ also played ‘Baby’ to Toklas’s role as ‘Mama.'”13 In addition, as with Stein and Toklas, the Heap-Reynolds relationship was clearly one sided. After years of sending Heap money, collecting Little Review subscriptions, listening to Heap complain about her new lovers, and receiving letters in which Heap’s exploits are center stage, Reynolds wrote, “I should have had no existence whatsoever except of the most conventional bug if I hadn’t found you” (November 1940). Within the power dynamics of the relationship, Heap called the shots. She was like Stein, whose “interrogation of cultural and linguistic structures was carried on from a position of household power (as ‘baby’ Stein was the male child, a ‘he,’ with all the charms and autocratic powers of the disruptive adored infant).”14 As unflattering as this is, it does give us some insight into Heap’s evolving self-image. Although she accepted the verdict of sexologists, to Heap this was anything but a tragedy. There is a lot of despair in Heap’s letters over the years, but she did not see herself as a tortured invert wailing against the cruelties inflicted by nature. While her early letters are full of questions and angst about how to create and keep a life with Reynolds, in her later letters she no longer struggles with such doubts about carving out a niche for herself. By then she lived in a place and a time, World War I in Greenwich Village, where there were others like her—and plenty of other contemporaries who were knowledgeable about inversion and homosexuality.
In this sense, Heap had much in common with Radclyffe Hall, who also saw herself as an invert, yet who, according to the editor of her letters, simply believed she was “born that way,” created by God, hence she was not suspect or inferior in any way.15
By the time we get to the mid-twenties, we see another extension in Heap’s evolving identity. Her immersion into the expatriate community of Paris led to specific references of flirtations with various women, and for the first time to the word “lesbian.” She is clearly ecstatic when she tells Reynolds of her meeting with Natalie Barney. “It’s all women this year,” she wrote Reynolds in the summer of 1924, “young and pretty and naughty and we have seen the Queen of Lesba—the woman to whom Remy de Gourmont dedicated L’Amazon . . . The descriptions of the Lesbian home must wait . . . too delicious.” Obviously, by this point in her life she was identifying herself as a lesbian.
An examination of the pages of the Little Review during this period also demonstrates significant evidence of Heap’s new representation of self. We see the appearance of female modernists, including Dorothy Richardson, Mina Loy, Mary Butts, Gertrude Stein, and Djuna Barnes, whose work contained covert or even overt lesbian themes. One of the most overt lesbian pieces was by Heap herself; a short story entitled “Karen,” which Heap signed with the pseudonym “Os-Anders,” led at least one scholar to assume the author was Anderson.16 It is clear from Heap’s letters that she did not want her family to know she was the author of the story. She instructed Reynolds, “Don’t tell anyone that I wrote Karen until later—never anyone who could tell my family.” She was particularly concerned about her sister Wilda, with whom Heap had always had a difficult relationship. “Don’t leave a copy of the L.R. about if she should come out to the house. The trouble she could make about ‘Karen’!!”
All of these possible explanations for various periods of her life—romantic friendship, inversion, and the use of lesbian themes in both the letters and the Little Review by the 1920s—demonstrate the need for more elasticity in discussing the formation of lesbian identity, even within a single individual’s life.
Recent scholarship has called for an investigation into the historical evolution of differing subjectivities as we attempt to pin down the sexual self-knowledge of those who lived in the past. As Judith Halber- stam has argued in Female Masculinity, “lesbian” may not be an appropriate term for women who were tribades, inverts, female husbands, tommies, or those who felt they were men trapped in women’s bodies. Halberstam points out that even within the single category “inversion” as defined by Havelock Ellis in his study, there is a “diversity of desire” that was revealed by a spectrum of behavior engaged in by his small sample. I agree with Halberstam that the task of the modern researcher is to construct a more “finely calibrated” system of categorization.17
Nevertheless, I would take issue with Halberstam’s claim that we cannot realistically use the term “lesbian” before the middle of the twentieth century. I think Heap’s life indicates we can see the evolution of self-identified categories within a single lifetime in the first two decades of the century. A romantic friend on the Kansas prairie, Heap became a New York invert and later a Parisian lesbian.
Halberstam, along with other historians of sexuality such as Martha Vicinus, Lisa Duggan, and Estelle Freedman, has called for the breaking down of rigid categories, a cautious approach to imposing present notions of sexuality upon the past, or, as Freedman writes, acceptance of “the historical identity of elusive personal identities.”18
We can make a clear connection between Heap’s experience of multiple subjectivities in sexual identity with her journey as an artist, critic, and editor. The intellectual progression from her interest in Symbolist authors such as Arthur Symons and Ernest Dowson in the 1908-1909 letters not only influenced her own attempts at writing poetry, but her entire view of her own life. Heap’s early letters and poems are full of mythical figures of knights and ladies cavorting with death and loveless exile. Her brooding sense of romance with Reynolds, the cold indifference of the outside world, the sanctuary of their dark and misunderstood love, all indicate her use of Symbolist reverie to escape the drudgery of life during the hot Kansas summers.
Although based in a late-nineteenth-century movement, Heap’s Symbolist inspirations later matured into her fascination with the main themes of modernism—the alienation of the artist, the creation of a “religion” of art divorced from bourgeois morality, and the search for an unseen reality through an inner perception.
While the language of the 1908-1909 Kansas letters was somewhat sophomoric and sentimental, the critic and editor who emerges in wartime Greenwich Village is a sharp-tongued iconoclast diving headfirst into the maelstrom of avant-garde modernism. Pushing the envelope, Heap forms a pronounced interest in evermore difficult and unapproachable forms of art. The most famous example of her effort to promote work that to others seemed incomprehensible—the one work she stated was the only real masterpiece of the age—was the serialization of Joyce’s Ulysses, which forced her to explain the story to bewildered Little Review readers and blast the legal and cultural establishment that saw it as obscene.
Of all the “isms,” as Heap put it, that she published—imagism, cubism, constructivism, and futurism—Heap’s main enthusiasm was for dada and surrealism, two movements based on the unconscious that flirted with insanity. She loved the rudeness of them both. “Dada,” Heap wrote, was excellent because it introduced “ridicule into too churchy a game. Dada has flung its bridge to a new consciousness.” She proclaimed the Little Review was not “limiting itself to the Seven Arts. No one has yet done much about the art of madness.”19 One of the most prominent figures in her letters from Paris in the twenties was Tristan Tzara, the French poet who is considered the founder of dada. When dada was supplanted by surrealism, Heap was again on the crest of the new wave. During the twenties, she published the writings and art work of Andre Breton, Louis Aragon, Joan Miro, and Juan Gris.
That Heap’s interest in modernism coincided with a crystallized and more assertive understanding of her sexuality should not seem surprising. The postwar “crisis” of representation in the arts was characterized by changing and different subjectivities that can be seen to parallel the transformation of personal identity, particularly sexual identity, in the emerging modern era. Yet for all the abstraction and even chaos, artists and writers of the avant-garde felt they found a clearer picture of human reality. In Heap’s case, art did mirror life.
The search for an answer to the mysteries of human experience and its creative expression eventually led Heap to a spiritual quest. In addition to an artistic avant-garde in Paris during the interwar period, there was a spiritual one as well, and unfortunately the connection between the two has not been adequately scrutinized.
It was in the early twenties that Heap became a lifelong follower of the philosopher George Gurdjieff. When Anderson and Heap attended a presentation by Gurdjieff in the early winter of 1924, the impact was profound. Anderson later wrote of her first glimpse of Gurdjieff that he was “a dark man with an oriental face, whose life seemed to reside in his eyes. He had a presence impossible to describe because I had never encountered another with which to compare it.” Both she and Heap, Anderson wrote, “immediately recognized Gurdjieff as the kind of man we had never seen—a seer, a prophet, a messiah?”20
Anderson and Heap were not alone in this fascination with Gurdjieff. Many writers, artists, and social critics in the twenties shared—with varying degrees—Heap’s and Anderson’s interest. Heap wrote in a letter to Reynolds “the intelligentsia is koo-koo and dazed— . . . people go about with their eyes fried and their tongues out—trying to get an invitation.” Among the mesmerized and dazed were Hart Crane, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Jean Toomer, Muriel Draper, Waldo Frank, Gorhum Munson, Herbert Croly, Katherine Mansfield, and, later, Frank Lloyd Wright. With few exceptions, however, the biographers and critics of those listed above fail to deal with this aspect of their subject’s experience.21
We can see a larger historical context in which political despair overcame many radicals by the twenties. As one historian wrote, “The Great War, that crowning futility, had just ended, and intellectuals everywhere were feeling their way in a vacuum.”22 Indeed, the war, the postwar era with the Red Scare, the rule of Wall Street, the rise of the Klan, rural fundamentalism, and the reemergence of a Republican ascendancy left many intellectuals and artists with a feeling of absolute gloom. As Malcolm Cowley noted in his memoir, Exiles Return, even the serious politicos of the era were searching somewhere else for relief. Cowley writes, “Most radicals who became converted to psychoanalysts or glands or Gurdjieff gradually abandoned their political radicalism.”23 The reason for this, as Cowley saw it, was that such a psychological or spiritual quest did not call for changing one’s environment. For those who did not go abroad, an “inner emigration” was the key. As James Webb has noted, there was a correlation between the isolationism of the nation in the twenties and the inward turn of American intellectuals. Webb concludes, “An entire milieu was introverting.”24
Perhaps the first attraction for Anderson and Heap was Gurdjieff’s dissection of the human personality. His belief system is an intertwining of universal cosmology and individual psychology. Human beings, he argued, in normal everyday life were in a state of “waking sleep” or sleepwalking. Exercising no real freedom, human beings operate as automatons throughout their existence. Crucial to Gurdjieff’s language is the metaphor of the machine. Individuals use “mechanical” responses to hide their authentic selves—what Gurdjieff called “essence.” Human personality is the false character we show to the world—essence is who we really are. The difficulty of achieving essence over personality is that each individual is made up of different “centers.” There is no one unified “I,” only dozens of likes and dislikes dependent upon the ever-fleeting moment. Through intense work, the individual can become a unified being, possess will and consciousness, and achieve an inner balance in the midst of everyday life.
Like most of their contemporaries in Greenwich Village in the teens and twenties, Heap and Anderson were interested in psychoanalysis. They engaged in marathon conversations examining their own personalities as well as those of their friends and acquaintances. Gurdjieffian principles served as another tool in their search for self-knowledge. Furthermore, the multiple “I’s” of his system underscored the modernist sensibility of the manifold perspectives of artistic representation, and, we could argue in Heap’s case, the formation of a sexual identity as she evolved from romantic friendship to lesbian love.
This “system,” however, was not confined to psychology but included a metaphysical bent as well. Gurdjieff viewed the cosmos as similar in makeup to human beings—mechanistic, but able to change. He believed in a hierarchy of the universe similar to a musical scale, or what he called the “Law of Octaves,” where shocks at potential deviations can alter a return to the prescribed course. Human psychology and cosmology come together in the assertion that there are basic “types” of human beings influenced by the planets. The interconnection of human types and the circulation of the planets link the individual to the universe. The human being is a cosmos—a being that contains in seminal form all the processes of the complete universe. Humanity participates in a hierarchy of cosmoses and is therefore governed by the universal laws that inform everything.
Gurdjieff’s philosophy is much more extremely complex than outlined here, but for Heap the beauty of Gurdjieff’s system was the attempt to blend Eastern mysticism and Western science, which she sought to appropriate with her own developing concepts of modern art.
Heap was a great enthusiast of “Machine Age” esthetics, and Gurdji- eff’s mechanical metaphors corresponded with her new views. Even before she met Gurdjieff, Heap was influenced by Ferdinand Leger’s “The Esthetics of the Machine,” which she reprinted in the Little Review in the spring of 1923.
Gurdjieff’s machine analogies extended beyond the individual to a cosmology of the universe complete with technical terms such as the “ennegram” and “hydrogen 24.” He maintained that it was as important to understand the mechanical operation of the universe as it was to understand one’s own soul. To Heap this not only made spiritual and psychological sense, but it had implications for new directions in art. One year after her exposure to Gurdjieff, Heap wrote an essay in the Little Review which showed how completely the marriage of the machine and art had captured her imagination. “There is,” wrote Heap, a great new race of men in America; the Engineer. He has created a new mechanical world, he is segregated from men in other activities . . . it is inevitable and important to the civilization of today that he make a union with the artist. The affiliation of the Artist and Engineer will benefit each in his own domain, it will end the immense waste in each domain and will become a new creative force.
“The Machine,” Heap marveled, “is the religious expression of today.”25 Heap was searching for a reconciliation of art and science, an effort in which she was not alone. Much of the revolution in modern art and literature coincided with new theories of physics, particularly revisions of quantum theory and relativity, which questioned traditional viewpoints of time, space, and Nature. But scientists, like artists, were not simply interested in reproducing a fragmented subjective view of reality, but rather, as in the case of Einstein’s quest for a unified field theory, looking for a unity in Nature and Nature’s laws. The point of the new science was to find an underlying structure of reality that, in spite of its inconstancy and irregularity, performs with absolute uniformity and even harmony. In art and in life, Heap was searching for a way to bring order out of natural chaos.
Particularly interesting was the coalescence of a group of lesbians (the “Rope”) surrounding Gurdjieff and his teaching. Interesting and in fact problematic—given some of his views on women and homosexuality. Gurdjieff taught gender and sexuality were divided into male and female as a reflection of nature’s symmetry. It was one example of cosmological balance that could be seen in every level of the universe. In Gurdjieff’s scheme of human creation, the male is active and positive, the female negative and passive, and homosexuality an aberration in the natural order of the universe.
Why would Heap, Anderson, Reynolds, Leblanc, Solano, and Hulme embrace such a philosophy? In none of their accounts of Gurdjieff, whether in autobiographies, in Anderson’s book The Unknowable Gur- djieff, in Heap’s study-group notes, or in their personal correspondence, is there a reference to issues of sexuality in his teaching. They all continued to live openly lesbian lives, Anderson even attempting to publish a lesbian novel entitled Forbidden Fires in the fifties.26
I think we can find a similar explanation to the way Heap and her contemporaries handled the views of the sexologists—perhaps they were by nature congenitally different, meaning they were blameless for who they were. This was the attitude assumed by Radclyffe Hall, and the same argument has been used to explain her conversion to Catholicism in spite of the Church’s reactionary views on homosexuality. It was God, or in Heap’s case Nature, which made her who she was—there was no basis for shame.27 As she did with the works of Krafft-Ebing, Heap embraced aspects of Gurdjieff’s philosophy she found personally empowering and ignored the rest.28
From the mid to late twenties, Heap traveled back and forth from New York to Paris, established the Little Review Gallery and became increasingly focused on her Gurdjieff studies. By 1929 she gave up her profession as an editor and critic, believing such exercises were increasingly futile in her struggle for answers. In her Little Review farewell editorial, Heap wrote: “I do not believe that the conditions of our life can produce men who can give us masterpieces. Masterpieces are not made from chaos. If there is confusion in life there will be a confusion of art.” She continued:
Self-expression is not enough; experiment is not enough; the recording of special cases is not enough. All the arts have broken faith or lost connection with their origin and function. Perhaps the situation is not so hopeless as I have described it. Perhaps it does not matter. Or perhaps it would be more than an intellectual adventure to give up our obsessions about art, hopelessness, and Little Reviews, and take on pursuits more becoming to human beings.”29
Although she dedicated the rest of her life to teaching the ideas of Gur- djieff, her students have recorded their memories of her use of art, theater, dance, and music as tools in instructing them in the value of his ideas.
By the time she left for London, Heap was estranged from the two young boys she had adopted. In spite of the clear affection that comes through in her letters, it is also apparent that she was having problems with one of them, Fritz Peters, comparing him to Loeb of the Leopold and Loeb case, and writing in one instance that she was “distressed” by his behavior. We do have an account from Peters in two memoirs of his childhood, which mostly deal with the impact of Gurdjieff upon his life. These books are not flattering to Heap. Peters essentially states that Heap dumped him and his brother at Gurdjieff’s institute and had little contact with them afterward. When Peters decided he wanted to return to his mother in the United States, Heap broke the adoption, claiming Peters had molested other children at the institute. When he arrived back in the United States, his mother had another nervous breakdown and his unsympathetic stepfather turned him out. In his later years, Peters published several novels that dealt with the subjects of psychological collapse and homosexual relationships. He did not seem to maintain much of a relationship with his brother, Tom, who at one point moved to Kansas to be near Heap’s relatives. The last we know of Tom is that he married and worked in an airplane factory during World War II.
Why are the letters of Jane Heap important? They bring to light a personality that has been obscured in literary and art history. A mystery figure to many scholars interested in this extraordinary vital period, Heap reveals her intimate self as well as her more public creative relationships with some of the legends of modernism. Uninterested in public recognition, Heap deliberately sought a low profile, thereby frustrating scholars interested in her personal life and obscuring her work as an editor, artist, and promoter. This correspondence highlights the boldness of her esthetics, and life, despite her antagonism toward notoriety.
Equally important is that Florence Reynolds has her long-unacknowledged place in the sun. Without Reynolds, the Little Review might have suffered the same fate as the long list of short-lived little magazines in the 1910s and ’20s. Her role in advancing the international avant-garde deserves recognition.
The letters are not just the story of Heap’s historical identity but of the continuity and migration of a community of women in the first half of the twentieth century. The Chicago friends Heap wrote about in the 19081909 and 1917-1918 letters—Jim, Esther, Olive, Bessie, and Elsa— appeared in Reynolds’s letters in the forties. As new friends and lovers entered their lives—Anderson, Leblanc, Solano, Flanner, Hulme, and
Champcommunal—they were interconnected across continents and decades. Heap, who was once bitter about Anderson and Leblanc, wrote solicitous and even tender letters to Leblanc as she was dying. When Anderson finally made it to the United States after Leblanc’s death in 1942, Flanner, Hulme, and Solano were there to meet her at the dock. The story of these friendships goes on past the deaths of Reynolds and Heap into the 1970s (again often through lengthy and detailed correspondence), when Anderson, Flanner, and Solano died.30
Heap’s life and work, I would argue, was a long search for synthesis, an effort to reconcile the competing interests of creativity, mysticism, and sexuality.
Unlike many of her contemporaries—wealthy female tastemakers and male cultural leaders—Heap’s modernism sprang from a radical personal vision that attempted to unite art, love, and life in a search for the transcendent.
Whether she achieved it or not, only she—and possibly Tiny Heart— knew for sure.
Many individuals are mentioned in the 1908-1909 letters, friends of Heap, Reynolds, and both their families who cannot be identified. Where this is the case, they are simply not footnoted. Names that are repeated include Harriet Mack, who was Reynolds’s sister; Wilda and Edna Heap, Heap’s sisters; and “James,” who was their mutual friend, Marie Blanke. All the 1908 letters are from Heap in Topeka to Reynolds in Chicago.
[Postmarked August 18, 1908]
Dear Tiny Heart:
After trying to write to you times and times—knowing I couldn’t—I find I can’t. But I feel I must at least let you know that I came home all safe— and thank you for the dear letter. I was waiting for it on the steps when it came. I hope you will understand why I cannot write—coming home always upsets me. Here it is the Real. In Chicago it is Love and Art and Play. As soon as I find time to start a composition or to read a lot of poetry the Real will lose some of its power to stir one’s soul. Now I can neither think nor feel that is why I wanted to wait, and not write until I could feel that I was yours again absolutely—but I was afraid you might not want to wait without knowing why you were waiting.
My father and mother seem glad I am home. My mother never scolded me at all for being broke which helps some. I showed the little Spring to Mrs. Turner she said “You ought to get a good deal of money for that.”1 O! Well!
There won’t be any exhibition here because the lady who was interested is moving to Omaha.
Tiny Heart—your name keeps on singing in my heart. Dear little De- light—the days are passing—soon we will have each other again—we will do so many things together. We will love so that we will never, at any time to come, regret not having loved enough. Next time I hope I may be more.
yyy your Jane.
[Postmarked August 21, 1908]
Today I feel so alive and happy, I know you must have been loving me very much, your letter and a postal from my lady came just before noon. Was I almost too happy then? O! no my very Tiny Heart—if you say you did not know how much you needed me, before I went away—I am glad—because I tho’t I knew my need of you, and as much as I knew, and with an instinct towards self-preservation, I took and made it so much of myself and life while I was with you that I tho’t I would always feel you with me—but it is so different and I did not know. But it helps me to stay here quiet and happy. You shall have your little spring again—and if she symbolizes our spring she may be able to bring a fall that will richly fill all her promises.
Something of you did indeed go into her. Your love and the creative power of spring made our soul and spring.2 If I could spend a whole year with you, alone, free from the tho’t of a living to be made. What could you and the creative power not make? My mother was moved if somewhat puzzled by the failure of our Soul—she wondered how it came to be.
This is my pleasantest vacation at home. My family are so good to me that it sticks me in the heart. No knocks at Art or at me for belonging to It. No knocks on my finances or on my somewhat freakish conduct. I have to work very hard but I don’t mind that as long as they are kind, as the Wolf is gone from the door and as long as some idea is not crying to be out—when I have not the time to go to it. Sometimes I play a little. My large scrap-book is almost full. I have some Harpers to go thro’ and that will be all for that one—it is a dream. I am dying to show it to you. This morning I made a sketch of mother and a study of a flower and it’s parts—that is all I have done. I read some of Ernest Dowson and some of Mary Robinson they write rather in the same key.3
I like them fine. Isn’t this a frequent tho’t I found it in Mary Robinson. “What shall we do, my dear, with things that perish, Memory, roses, love we feel and Cherish?” I also send a little song that sounds like you.
You did not see “The Servant in the House” with Harriet did you?4
It sounds like something really interesting doesn’t it? I wish we could see it together. Thanks for the review . . .
I hope the machine will be all right for your father’s sake. I don’t like to have fathers disappointed—do you? Mothers were made for it. Give my regard to your parents please.
. . . Tiny Heart you are sweet to write to me when I am such a selfish dog and only make an effort and give up because I am oppressed by so many things. Tiny Heart I wish I could be near you tonight. Close Close— or near enough to that a look or touch would let either into the other’s heart—or to feel the heart stagger under the added load of a kiss—since it can not be—we can wait and waiting love the more—then as now I am, with all love, yours Jane—
Forgive the writing. I ironed three whole days and my hand acts badly—
[Postmarked August 25, 1908]
My little love:
I am in no mood for writing this evening but as I am going to “squash” moods out after this, I am writing in spite of it.
. . . I was much interested in your interview with Jesse. I think I know what is the matter with her but perhaps more with Giddings.5 It is the flight of the Artist before the advance of Commerce, Materialism and Science, into his domain and life—they seek, seek, seek and think they will find relief—therefore C.S. as it seems farthest from all these.61 think they will find it all three combined—If they would seek within their own souls and create in their work a new beauty and a new idealism—one far and away beyond the reach of our contemporary life—they would find their relief and not in religion. I don’t believe there is relief. There! I am talking again about what I think. How do I know? I am not one and never will be. O: I had such a bad night last night—such doubt and despair. All the glorious years going and I doing nothing because I never can and was never meant to. I never did see things as they are, so I know I have deluded myself into thinking I could do something big even. Please, don’t you ever make me think I can again—I think that too easily—I am going to stop playing at Art and live the real life.
You called our love—Friendship—it has not got to that has it? Isn’t it very like the Love our friends the poets sing about? I think it very strange and different from friendship or just love with a little letter—don’t you? Didn’t some of Lawrence Hope’s poems give you a start?7 They did me— I would love to have the love songs but it would be spoiling all my new resolutions to be done with that sort of thing—except that if it would please you to have me take them I would be even that much more glad to have them. O Tiny Heart—when I think of your love for me I can only say my one prayer “Der Grosse Herr Gott”—with thanks, too great for words, understood.8
. . . Good-night my Tiny Heart—with all love from your,
[Postmarked August 26, 1908]
Tiny Heart mine—
Late yesterday your letter came it was not just a letter it was so much to me I can not tell—what your love, your faith and your understanding are to me I can never tell you. I do not believe that I myself know, how much they mean to me now. No one ever understood before as you have done and do. Perhaps we all fell like foreigners and long for someone to talk our language. How I have longed for someone to understand. Now somehow I feel that whatever my message maybe—if I bear out you will always understand.
If half of what you think me true, I might do something, even big. If there be any fire in me it will burn brighter for you. Your faith deserves it all.
The songs came today—was I happy? Wilda tried them with fair success, while I sang and sang regardless of the piano. You got them in the right key for my voice so it wasn’t half bad. I will not thank you for them (in words) but hope some day to sing them to your satisfaction. If I could sing them the way I can hear them. I would sing them to you and they would sound as if our sunlight was in them—or on them only it would be sound instead of light—you understand? Your voice comes the nearest to pleasing me of any sound. It has that quality that cannot be named. I love things that cannot be named—that is why I objected to the word friendship. Love just means Love all things and nothing—but friendship means something.
In some Italian fantasies by our friend Zangwill—which you must read—there is a little thing about language which states our case very well, it seems to me.9 Language is a net which catches the fish and lets the ocean of our thots and feelings thro. Can we keep our love as it is? Like our knight and lady on the white horse, forever riding in a flowered meadow, in the sunlight, never arriving. We can. I know a way. Sometimes a feeling of such great loss comes to me that it seems that the time I must be without you is forever. It oppresses and makes breathing difficult and sight dim. All yesterday I played with you, as leading lady, in a little tragedy. Said tragedy running this—Lover in distant country dying—writes many letters to be sent one at time after his death, to said lady love. So that she may not know until the proper time. Said letters to be read over again found to contain a full account of last days—funeral etc. Plain as day only said lady had not read that into them. It was a good stunt. I wish I had those letters written out. It was so real that when I came to I was crying almost to think how lonesome James would be without one. You strange to say were highly pleased because it was such a good play. Sometimes I have plays in which you die—or are fickle. I had such a gloomy terrible one over some initials. The O.J. in one of your books—such jealousy—I can’t stand those initials even now.
I had a nice letter from James today—the kind she used to write before our love fell sick—I think it will recover. . . . I had a lot more to say but my paper is all gone—I will write more tomorrow.
Best love from Jane [Postmarked September 2, 1908]
Dear little Love—dear little Starlight—
If this letter does not sound very cheerful to you just be thankful you don’t have to see the writer this evening.
Edna and I walked out towards the Asylum this afternoon, looking for things to sketch. We found a clump of trees & a disconnected stream with a ripe millet field all around. I made two notes. We went over to see Faddy at the Asylum—talked to a man patient—who had known us when we were little things—he had such beautiful, clear, sad eyes. It hurt to think about his life there. Later we a little bit of life that is hard to forget. A man, once handsome and robust—a leader of men—now a shrunken diddering idiot—being led from an outing back into his ward. His white haired wife standing with eyes shaded, from the setting sun, watching him go. She comes every day at this time and follows him about, hoping he may sometime recognize her, but he only curses and jabbers at her.
It always makes me sad to go to the Asylum, there I was little and dreams were true there. Your letter and the clippings finished what the visit to the Asylum began. I am not deep in whatever it is—blues is not the word.
Mr. Symons “Escape from Life” is an old habit of mine only the way is different and the thing is different.10 He believes in deadening and blinding and dulling. I believe in living a little more than necessary, seeing and believing life to be as one wished it to be, creating beauty where it doesn’t happen to exist, but as he says in his case the blinding light breaks thro’. So it does with me the web breaks now and then and things are seen in their real terrifying aspect. But as one grows older and learns more the web breaks less often—if one spins a strong web. There is no real escape from life but Life and none from death but Death.
You say I will see Audra again and pick it up. No we die by broadening or narrowing away from each other—and dead and risen again has no charm for me. What an early ego worshipped a later one will spurn. O I have no faith. I have felt the weight of the saying “Woe to the orphans of living parents.” Change is death. Have you never heard me decorating my Lady’s grave?
I wonder if you know what Esther’s absence will mean to us? I certainly shall love to have James alone again—but it also means I must take Esther’s place in many many ways and times. I must stay with Mrs. B when James goes out, etc.11 Where will our times for joy go?
. . . I won’t write any more of this sort it sounds too much like—nose up, toes up, Boquet in hand. All the reasons I have given for “this thus- ness” can be thrown away and the truth told—I need some one, very dear and very small and very necessary to me, I am lonesome and hungry for her love—Do you know her?
[Postmarked September 10, 1908]
Can you imagine my joy today—two letters and a postal from my own
Tiny Heart. But I can’t understand how they came as they did—one written Monday came this morning while the Sunday letter came this evening—the little letter sounded weary to me or something. Is my (love it) weary sometimes? Don’t ever say I might get tired of hearing how much you love me. I will punish you. Oh so hard. No, I’ll punish myself, then you’ll feel sorry. I won’t let you ever kiss me when I come back. Two weeks from Friday I start.
The lyrics are beautiful. Thank you for the clippings. They mean more to me than you think—anything of that sort usually gets here after every one else knows about them for a year. (I mean theatre notes.)
. . . Mother and I went to Ringlings Show last night. It was a good show. I wished for you. I should have enjoyed it so much more. One thing hurt my feelings terribly. I hated to see great dignified elephants making fools of themselves—there are enough humans to do that.
Tomorrow I must go to the State Fair with the family. Oh joy. It is so Hot and dusty.
The bookplate is coming slowly. I love it so, it is the best thing I have ever done excepting The Soul and that’s only better in things that have no name even in art.
Now if you will forgive the different kind of paper I will tell you a little bit of how much I love you. The little picture was kissed almost to destruction—partly for itself and partly because it had so lately left your dear little hand. But mostly because I played it was really you. Do you look at the moon these nights when it seems to sail so far out from the sky? I have been playing that the moon was you—my bed is right up against a south window. I put the pillow in the window and go to sleep looking at you to wake up from time to time to see you. Mother bandaged up my eyes last night so I lay thinking—wondering if there were any symbolism in it. But no, we won’t let anything spoil it except Death, will we. But there are so many kinds of Death are there not.
I am living the days out as hard as I can. I try not to think too much. If you did not write to me as often O with what would it be to live. I hold my breath over from one day until the next so when you fail me I am very near gone. The next two weeks will have to go fast and then I will show you how I love you. If I may?
Good night little life I love—your Jane
One common theme of the 1909 letters is the upcoming marriage of Heap’s sister Edna to Herbert Clark. Heap compares her love for Reynolds with what she views as the entirely unsatisfactory relationship of her sister and prospective brother-in-law. In this section we see some examples of Heap’s attempts at poetry and the influence of the Symbolists. In 1909 she starts signing her letters “Lancelot.” In July, Reynolds travels to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit with relatives.
[Postmarked June 29, 1909]
Dear S.B.T.H. and Love12
I did not write last evening because everything looked so gloomy and hopeless and long that I was afraid to make you unhappy. But this morning I feel better every morning will mean one day less. And then there is such a vastness for me to do here. There is absolute chaos in regard to the wedding. I sew-sew-sew for your little friend. This morning I have a large sized washing on my hands and another one Wednesday. But Art shall not suffer. When I woke up and found I was really up against it I woke up again to the fact that families are only meant to do penance to and that anything they may be to one is for what the past has been. I mean the past of childhood. In memory we care for them. I don’t mean everyone I am speaking for myself. I am going to be good and may the Little gods be generous next year. Last evening I had a sickness about my heart which told me that the world was cruel to you and me but it gave us each other. There are only two things in this world and they are love and art—give them full sway and you have life—but without them what is life. I want my Love and my Art. Can’t you come out—I will send you a poem in a few days. My heart and my soul and my body are so lonesome. Dear I love you Love you
[Postmarked July 5, 1909]
How I am longing for you today. Sometimes I feel that I must weep to ease the pain a little. You have been pulling and tugging at all of me today. My very body seems to by trying to escape the tyranny of the mind and fly back to you—were it not so sick with obeying I know it would.
Tiny Heart—dear—we must never have it—happiness again. It is too great a loss. I don’t like to see peevish at my family, they are all right. Only my heart is not here. I can not be alone in peace a minute. They are always talking to me or talking where I am. So I just go out into the yard to work. Then there is no beauty here. They don’t think beautiful thoughts nor to or say loving things. And when one has been used to so much love and sympathy and has had a place to be alone in. Life it seems difficult without. Yesterday I tried to write my poem—but it was a failure. I am sending it to you tho’ because I promised. It was one of those whose music vanished when put on paper. I haven’t studied my books enough yet to have been helped any. Please send me my poems and my Allegory please (copies). So I may re-make them.
. . . I don’t want to write any more. I want to hold you close, close. It is raining and the church bell is tolling which all help to make life joyous.
Oh. I want you. I want you. I want to come to you now. To take to in my arms and hold you always. For all the Aunts in Christendom don’t go away this winter. I’ll never come home again without you. O! I can’t say what I feel. I am just sick of it all.
Love—Love and Longing Your L [Postmarked July 7, 1909]
Dear Tiny Heart Mine
Were you surprised to receive letters from posted in Holliday and Leav- enworth? Monday morning at half past seven Ed, Wilda, and I went over to Edna’s Herbert, it is sixty-seven miles and takes four hours to get there. After we did get there it was another case of James’ surprise party only this was not a surprise Herbert knew we were coming but made no arrangements to entertain us. He was fussed and we were silly all except Ed. And she was she sore. It was the hottest day we have had in Kansas in seven years. It was 100 in the weather bureau, which means about 115 in the sun down on the street. I was nearly overcome. We stuck to the seats in the car and had a miserable time. It would make one tired to see Ed. and Herb. They don’t know the first idea of love. They never even look at one another. Tiny Heart when all the records of Love are in I thinks that we will find that we have had all the great ecstasy of Love.
And many of those, most, or even all of those whose way is so smooth have missed the fullness we have had.
Dear One your little forlorn letter was here when I came home. I slept with it in my pocket right over my heart to cheer it up a little. If anything can be cheered as something as unhappy as itself. I believe only the unhappy can because you don’t understand. Remember We are Young. And have a Right to our Happiness. And if you should have to go to Salt Lake come back—so we may have the winter together.
. . . The world is very beautiful here, so many trees and flowers and such beautiful skies. But were the grave not more ornamental were we together there? You are in my every thought. Never was I so half myself as now.
I am yours—for all time with all love
[Postmarked July 11, 1909]
When I have rewritten Youth—if you think this is improved and Youth worthwhile—let’s send them to Abbie and ask her to jump on them hard. I want criticism with a capital C don’t you? This one sounds so sing song to me. I had to fight every inch to keep out rhymes even double ones.
A youth and a maid forever ride in the beautiful flowered Fields of Love. It is always morning for them—it is always fair. They never are weary but ride and ride nor ever sigh that they never proceed to arrive. Their pure white horse whose name is Life, without a rein without a spur Is contented thus to wander. The youth and the maid never lookout ore the Fields of Love. They never look up to the smiling heaven But gaze and gaze into each others eyes.
There are no people in this land No Life except the flowers and These But far from the South flies
A Dove snow white with a breast of
Fire. The youth and the maid did not see this Dove
But few know not of its power.
Poets who know—all things—know It
And call It. The White Dove of Desire.
As over the heads of Youth
And maid it swiftly It takes It’s
Flight. A flaming feather from out
It’s breast floats down on the riders
The Feather falls. The white horse starts And trembles and dashes away over the Fields of Love. With averted eyes and Burning cheeks wildly They clutch for a strong firm rein Where reins have never been. Now all aflame from the fiery Feather like a comet they come into A tall young forest at the end of Fields of Love. Before and behind The trees crash and fall. The Forest is burning away—For This is the forest of what they were Before the Feather fell. The horse goes on at an awful Pace and their hearts beat time With his pounding hoofs. And Madly they cling in his wild embrace Hot lip on hot lip pressed—They can Not slacken they cannot stay This terrible flowing of steed Powerless of the beginning powerless As to the end. They can only ride, ride, Ride this ride.
Now they come to a cliff out over A troubled sea. The mad horse Pauses not; but leaps far out, And horse and riders plunge into The Sea—The Sea of Unknown Things
On another day in another Land—Two riders rise from the Known Satiety sea—Their horse is Black as burnt out coal The riders are listless and pale But they ride and ride and Hope someday to reach again The beautiful Fields of Love.
All of the following letters were written from Topeka to Reynolds in Salt Lake City.
[Postmarked July 15, 1909]
I am so desolate. I lost you last night. I couldn’t realize you try ever so hard. I cannot sleep until way into the night ever. The unconscious longing is stronger than the really truly kind. Then I fear I am homesick for the going, the noise, and the life. If I could only draw or work almost work every day even for a few moments it would be easier. But all day long every day I have been sewing, this week and my family are so gloomily and unhappy and cross—I could scarcely eat my breakfast because I wanted to cry but instead I acted silly. Shame on me! I should be writing other things to you. When you have a difficult way yourself. How does it go?
It was a sweet game you played on the train. I would to the little Gods it were true and we were going to Paris or to the Forever lands.
Last evening I went up to the Turner’s to show your book plate. They were mildly interested, I wish you could have been there. The street as dark as a jacket. Everyone out on porches, down at the end of the street about one hundred feet away they were having a lantern party—and not a sound from front-porches or from the party. Not a laugh or a murmur in the whole dead street. At ten thirty the party broke up and went silently home. Some one put out the Japanese lanterns and closed the house. I went up the street towards home feeling as if I were walking thro’ a dead city. O! it’s a gay life! Think [illegible] while life will be over for all of us. It makes me mad to think how people don’t live.
. . . I hope I get a letter from you today I am so forlorn. Dear dear heart I love you.
Y …………. J
[Postmarked July 19, 1909]
Dear D.B. Septimus Love.13
I did not have time nor opportunity to write to you this week as often as I wished. I miss writing to you as much as I missed your letters on it.
But you have been so good that I have not had to suffer much on your account.
I had a dream about F.B. last night which has put me all to the bad— and today I am dying to see her.14 One of those funny, unexplainable spells when I become a one-stringed instrument—saying I want to see F.B. I dreamed that she came to me took my hand and put her face against my shoulder and wept and wept finally she whispered that I must tell her that I loved her or she couldn’t live, that I belonged to her by psysic (?) [sic] laws of souls (having the same soul). I was very much Tommy—but I could not comfort her. At last she went away down the road her shoulders rising and falling with weeping and saying I must love her. It was so real her very voice, etc. I am ashamed to add I laughed a T.S. laugh and awoke dying to see her. Wouldn’t our friend enjoy the idea of her strong soul in that position even in a dream? However, I am very uncomfortable. I want to see Florence Bradley—I am going to write to her soon.
I am trying to write another stunt. I fear it is some what bigger than I can manage just now. The idea is personal. I (a vagabond) telling what I do and feel and how I wish to live. The idea is ripe because I have lived it so long. Some of the rhythm is good some missing. I quote indiscriminately as to form so you may get the idea.
Over my shoulder I bear my pack
Fancies and dreams and memories
Love of women and beauty
A wonderful crowded pack
But never a crust of realities
Or a drop of the wine of [illegible]
That is bad but it will come.
At my heels the weary wolf
He can not linger at my door.
I care not for the gods, for these
If they like not my song of Joy
A song that may linger—
That some tired toiler or mute mourner
May hear and be comforted.
I draw on the sands of time. One symbol of Beauty that the sea Of men’s sadness may not efface.
I won’t try to write any more until the form is there. I only wanted you to see the idea. I loved that poem you sent. Thanks for the words of encouragement. If the allegory is of any good it is you who are responsible for the thot, I would not have had, had been not our love.
. . . Should you care to know what I have done this week—then see if
I am tired. Made that d_____ satin dress for Wilda. Empire effect (with net
underwaist), washed, ironed, went to the dentist, mowed the grass, finished the ring and started to finish the fork, helped with the housework, and taught three hours and a half Saturday afternoon. I have one pupil, another one coming—at twenty-five cents the afternoon—Oh yes. I started that other ‘pome’ etc.
May shut their ears as they please. I ever seek new roads to travel. I sicken and faint of the old Hereditary Way. I would not go down the swath
monotonous path— First son, then father then gray grand sire.
I haven’t found good rhyme for that yet. How do you spell rime?
I would not ask a tender woman To bring a child the perilous painful path of Brutal birth—
I would have no Attainment. Attainment is like the grape pressed dry.
Just to love and wander and to sing with my half articulate tongue.
Forgive me, if you can, that I do not copy my letters neatly—but I have to economize my time and paper. You may have suspected I am not always flush in the good old summer time as I am in the winter. Gee that was bad, wasn’t it?
I wish I could tell you of the thrill I got when reading that you wished my hands on ‘My Home.’ I wonder if it will ever die away. I wonder if the old hereditary way pulls us all whether we want it to or not. I wonder have you wanted me this week. You must have. I only mean want as we mean it—without attainment perhaps but want and thrills.
I love you and want, want, want you (without attainment of the want).
I love you Your L.
[Postmarked July 20, 1909]
Dear Heart. My Own—
Your little letter sounded just like Tommy’s little bird that was so glad for the sunshine, that he broke his little heart singing. After all wasn’t he a foolish little bird, who was the sunshine made for, if for him? My dear dear Tiny Heart, why shouldn’t you have all that love that Hattie and I can give you? And don’t get frightened over the little we can express. Think of the vast unsaid. I have always felt that I was a good Lover, but since I have loved you, I feel how utterly impossible it is to convey an idea of my love to you. Except, perhaps, by some symbol of Beauty, of which great Love is a part, it is nearly impossible. If I ever write a “pome” or paint a picture that approaches the absolute Beauty then you may see my love for you.
I thank you for entrusting your sister’s letter to me. I have read it with interest and much feeling. I had to fight the tears towards the end. I am so happy in her appreciation of you and your feeling and understanding for and of people and life. I am glad you mean to her and her child what she feels you do. You know the little sentiment I have in regard to your mother I always have tenderness and a feeling of pity for her because you are not really hers.
It seems as if her love for you and her fear of losing you had made a bond between us. It seems to me that all the Gods are enemies, I trust none. Oh if I should have to lose you! I feel such hate at the very tho’t that I could crush the earth and pull down the heavens and destroy the little and big gods (I wonder what first barbaric Lover felt thusly?)
Now you two are to see one another. You can talk things over and over and over. Settle all the great designs of Life to suit yourselves, etc. Maybe you can tell her a little of our Love? I should like to see her. I know I should like her. And she would like me. No fear! If I wanted her to, wouldn’t she? I could have made Ernie and your mother like me, had my heart been in the mood but what Joy in them when you were there. My poor Heart was very busy.
Get Hattie to move to Chicago. She seems to have the right idea about children and just think how interesting we could make life for Little Niece. I hope Hattie does not bring her up a Christian. If we could get a chance at her, we would have her know no God but Beauty, would we?
I have been thinking very much these days of Beauty (poor name is it not for anything so Holy). I know that if everyone felt Beauty strongly, felt that everything beautiful was god and all things not beautiful not God. That woman was the nearest Symbol for Beauty. If one could see this—there would be no sin, or squalor, or unhappiness in the whole world.
I wonder what you do these beautiful starry nights. I long for you, to sit with me and watch them—to see if they were sneering at our little day and fire and helplessness or whether in their impotent aloofness they do not long for even little Human Love and would exchange all their calm bright coldness for one warm young kiss. I was going to write that in a “pome” to you but it is not long enough.
I have a little pantomime I play sometimes. Reason in green on a throne. My Heart is a red suit kneeling pleading to go to you. By the side of the Heart, My Soul, erect, arms folded high on its breast, stands looking on Reason with sad beseeching eyes. Reason looks on the Heart and sternly shakes its head but when Reason looks into the eyes of the Soul Poor Reason drops his head into his hands and weeps (curtain). Isn’t that a nice play?
Dear little wind-bell voice I pine to hear you. Good night Loved so well. I wish you were here tonight and every night to go to sleep on my arm.
Your J L Y…..
[Postmarked July 26, 1909]
Dear Love—My own,
I took out my things last evening to write to you, but decided that I was too upset and pessimistic to write then. As I am still in that condition I shall write anyway.
I wish you would write very Tiny Heart letters instead of Miss Reynolds letters. I love any that you write, I want you to know, but your last letters have been so society or something that you seem gone farther and farther. You know my poor hold on things. It will be alright in the end but now I do suffer. If your little Soul should listen I think it could hear the great cry that is in my heart tonight. I can’t attempt anything like telling you about it all but it is something like this with losing the feeling that you were always with me. I have lost art and “pomes” and everything—Life seems hum drum and unlovely (except a sunset the other night when the very centre of the top heaven (dome) had the same color in as in my picture of the Amor Umbratilis.15 Then the financial condition here makes me rather weak. I am not jealous, selfish, nor do I want any of it; but when I see the amount of money that the kids have to throw around and how many things they have—I think of art and how the money spent for cosmetics would pay my tuition, two quarters. I could study in Paris a year on what William has paid for him at medical school—and he does not care, is a spendthrift and a bully—I work every minute I am here for everyone who asks—because It seems I must earn my “keep” and the rest of them. O! Well!
Now this last will make you smile perhaps, but I know you will understand that it is not religious motives that prompt me, but family tradition, etc. Mother and I are just sick about the wedding. Father, mother, William and I asked that the service be Episcopalian—that service is a work of art, it is beautiful and can make one feel its beauty. Herbert told Edna to do as she pleased. She has a sweet little way of finding out what people want and then going as far from that mark as possible. So in this case she is going to have a man by the name of Sheldon (author of “In His Steps”)—a Congregationalist. I am not going to be present at the ceremony. I suppose that sounds very ungracious to you and hard, but I have not the feeling for my sisters that I should have. I never have any stronger feeling than curiosity as to how we are sisters and why—
The above are a few of the things that are worrying “weh!” Edna and Wilda went to Leavenworth yesterday. William is out of town for ten days. So mother and I have the place to ourselves.
It is quite cold today and is raining. I made some drawings of flowers this forenoon—all the rest of the day I worked on Flossy Mack’s book plate, to be near you. I think it will be very dear when finished. It will have to rest now until after the wedding.
I have just written to James. She has been visiting at some very “swell” homes. She said she had been doing some of my stunts—dressing up in men’s clothes and making love to girls—I wonder how near a representation she could give of me. Did I tell you that the Kolhsaat baby arrived safely. Edna and Herb talk about their children to be, and have named them. How is that for a scene out of Lady Frederick?16
They don’t even know different names to call one another—only Dearest, My friend, of undying love. Henry is to be married this fall, thank the Lord, but I don’t believe I would be bothered anyway. My mother is kind enough to hold my point of view. Indeed my mother said she never expected me to marry—that when all the kids are gone—she and father would come to live with me—and I could go to school—Isn’t that awful— go to school! When I am not young—
I will send Little Niece’s picture back. Do you want Harriet’s letter, your mother’s and father’s yellow letter, back? Too bad about your fa- ther—I hope the woods may do him good.
Auntie and Uncle sent Edna a dozen soup spoons—Adam’s design— they are beautiful. I wish you would write me a long sweet letter, as if you were putting your hand on my forehead—Let’s never talk about families, nor weddings, nor anything like these—only how much we love one another, how beautiful things are, and art and “pomes” and imaginary people and psychology and music—
How are we going to have more time together? You said we would. Dear I am so tired of “boiling and seething” I must try to sleep now. Good night Sweet—I love you
P.S. Little Niece is just sweet, isn’t she?
[Postmarked July 29, 1909]
I am so sore at you tonight I could take you in my arms and kiss you until you called for help. Just think how you have spoiled me by writing every day for a while, and then making one wait two whole days now. O! I am very sore. Last evening I took my poetry book and began to study the sonnet—See how very good I am—You advised sonnets so sonnets it is. How do you like using the idea of the Stars as one set of Beings. That is not it— Can I say the stars come into the vast Gardens of the Night or Ballroom and dance in chilly distant state or stand aloof or promenade the Milky Way—and I look down on mans brief fret? Is that too fancy? I sang my pantomime last evening in very bad verse. I love it—because it is so true.
Sunday—guess what I did. I stole some of my dad’s tobacco, made a cigarette of tracing paper and smoked it in the bathroom. I had a lot of gloomy joy out of it. When we have our own flat—may I smoke often?
I was very bad yesterday. I “sassed” Edna and made her cry. But she is so “pesky.” Do you love me anyway?
I had a letter from James—She had the blues—I had to write to cheer her up—Blues because I won’t let her see my “pomes.” I won’t either until I do something that I can be proud of. Sometimes I wonder what I shall do with James next year.
0 it is blistering hot here tonight. I wish we were where we could walk alone by the lake.
1 don’t care anything about Florence Bradley now. I am very alive tonight. Very naughty, and would look at you upwards if you were here— Very much just Lancelot—I wanted you all night, sleeping and waking, last night. Is the moon very beautiful now where you are? Look at it, I will too. Here’s holding you close and kissing you forever.
[Postmarked August 22, 1909]
Dear Little One,
. . . O you dear little little thing—I sat “feeling” just now and I could feel just how small you were in my arms. It seems to me as if I did not “love you up” often enough when we were together. Why did I always feel conscious when there were people present—as if it were not fair to you or something to love you publicly or what was it? I think we felt a difference, that others did not suspect. Or you know the saying, “He that loveth his life shall lose it?” I know what the significance of that is now. In loving you I have become so afraid that something may happen, when we are apart that may put an end to it all; that I may never see you again that I am afraid—I—of lightening, I lay with my heart all covered, when it storms it seems the lightening will strike it. I am a little bit afraid of some other things so that I think in that sense I have lost it.
I hear the people talking here. They seem “gemein.”18 Their manners (habits) are far from what I care for; their point of view so different. But it all goes now. It is outside and away from me—Their plans look to me like a drawing—some drawings have possibilities, some none. I can live in it and with it and have it neither disturb nor offend me. I have grown very much in the years I have been away. To see me you would think I loved it—and I am not being hypocritical—I feel that I can be a part of everything and that nothing can be a part of me. Don’t you think that is growth? Being so different, and having had so many more advantages than these people I know. They never feel the difference in any way. I am the only one here who knows the difference—that is what makes the distance stretch out so far on all sides and leaves me all alone. Except that distance between you and me—everything seems to shorten it, if possible, making the need of you almost unbearable.
Never have I felt the need to work to do things, almost conscious stricken at times over my not doing—Never has life been so close, so urgent, so fleeting, so sweet as this summer and it is just you—who have done it all. [Illegible] believe in myself—and it seems as if nothing were impossible.
I have so much to say to you—that is not to be said in a mere letter— and that time does not permit. I will wait until some of this excitement is over. But I am very full of feeling now. Which always makes writing so irritating. Dear heart—I love you every minute every day, beyond belief.
You always make seven, don’t you?
In 1915 Margaret Anderson met Emma Goldman in Chicago and became an enthusiast of anarchism. Her Little Review editorials on behalf of Goldman attracted the attention of federal authorities. In 1916, shortly after Heap and Anderson met, they traveled to San Francisco, where they encountered Goldman. When Anderson and Heap moved the Little Review to New York City in 1917, they became fervent defenders of Goldman and Alexander Berkman, both of whom were on trial for violating the Conscription Law.
According to Anderson’s first autobiography, My Thirty Years War, the move to New York was not an easy one for Heap. She became subject to prolonged bouts of depression and homesickness for Chicago. It is during these years that Heap starts referring to Reynolds as “Mother” and turns to her for everything from emotional support to money. She signs her name with a number of pseudonyms, including Richard, Jatty, and Dagfmir. Anderson is referred to by her nickname “Mart” or “Martie.”
The first letter contains a copy of a formal letter of protest against the Goldman-Berkman trial that was distributed in New York City. Although it was signed by Anderson, Heap was the author.
Dear American Citizens!
Next Wednesday Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman face trial on a charge of conspiracy against the conscription bill. THEY face trial: there are millions of other people in this country who are against this bill. Protesting became a crime overnight. They kept on protesting.
Emma Goldman and Berkman are not conciliators, nor will they be conciliated.
The Government will have its way with them unless something is done at once. This is not an anarchist issue: it is the fight of every individual. But they will be tried as anarchists, with all that means of justice and intelligence.
We know that you will feel about this as we all felt about the Dreiser suppression and other such atrocities: but remember that this means prison and deportation and other delicacies of the law for the hideous crime of free speech.1
They should be saved if for no other reason than for the conservation of courage in this country.
Margaret C. Anderson.
Telegraph before Wednesday to:
Harold A. Content, Assistant District Attorney, Second floor, Post Office Building, New York City
Judge Julius M. Mayer, Post Office Building, New York City.
Mother—Do all you can about this. . . . They are railroading them. I wrote this letter but we thought it better to have Martie sign it. . . .
If it didn’t only take away the possibility of even crying—God how Berkman broke our hearts and how Emma held and frustrated their hell stupid souls—
But—prison for them—
[c. July 1917]
If I were not so mad I’d cry—but I am not mad—I am resigned. They have taken our studio away from us because of the letter—which was published in all the New York papers. I went to see John Quinn this morning—of course there is nothing to do.2 I have just returned from the agents. No—we must go. The owners are good Americans and won’t have that kind of publicity about their building. Mart is so crazy about the trial. I can’t even get her attention. So it goes—We were to have gone to Woodstock over the fourth—the first thing I have asked—but.
It has been so hot and excited that I am worn out. We went to the trial when they were getting the jury. E.G. made the first speech, telling the judge that he knew as well as she that the whole thing would be a farce and for him to go ahead and sentence them. Then Berkman said the same thing but the judge said they must have a trial. Then they said they would be their own lawyer and jury under protest. Well it was fun to hear Berkman go to it—So simple, so lovable—so childish. He leaned on his crutches and asked questions that would never have occurred to ten lawyers. At least they have aired all the propaganda to the world. He was so simple he fooled even stool pigeons—made them answer before they knew what they had answered. Once the judge laughed and said “Mr. Berkman, that was too clever.” Then explained to the court that he didn’t mean that B. had intended to be funny but that it had just been that way. He made a “bought and paid” for juror, one who has served for 40 years admit that he hated anarchists and that it would take amazing evidence to prove them innocent, etc. E.G. would go up and touch his arm, just like a wife—A trained mind is fun even if it is trained only to anarchism in their sense. Yesterday the real trial began. We got into a fight. Far away down in the street somewhere a band played star-spangled. Mart, David Hochstein and I refused to stand—the Marshall yelled out—”Stand up everybody”.3 And when we wouldn’t, he grabbed David by the arm and threw him into the hall. Mart went up and told the District Attorney, Mr. Content, what had happened and he said, “Well, that was too good for him—I think he should be shot.” And I made a speech to the bystanders who had sneered. I said, “You poor fools—Must a man cheer at his relative’s funeral?”, etc. Well David got in again—and the judge reprimanded Content at Fitzie’s request.4
Today Jack Reed and Alexander Harvey and perhaps Frank Harris are going to tell what they think of the affair.5 Called by E.G. Max Eastman won’t do anything—makes excuses. Ida Rauh came in Saturday afternoon. We all went to the trial together yesterday—God love her—She was glad to hear about Flodie.6 J.Q. said that although even the Federal authorities considered were going to send her up—And he said he would do the same because he feels that the ideal here will be money—and getting money—until they are bled white and made to pay in cash and sons—He means the rich and the general run of people. He never criticized. Mart just took it as a matter of course. Dear old thing too—he’s coming here late today to see if I can take my shelves.
Deansie never went near the court—is off for a week up the river. Turned artist and cautious overnight.7
Mart was enthusiastic over Elsa’s telegram. Damn everyone who is scared—Morris Ward and his friends won’t come to the trial. A bunch of wild-looking little fools come and are chased away but God, I even fight my way in—We go to lunch with them about a block away and the hod carriers working in the street yell out to us—”I hope you are deported.” “I hope you hang.” You know, the working men, the wolves that E.G. is trying to keep out of wolves clothing.
Here is a good joke—two of them in fact—I went up to register and when I got there I turned around on this woman trembling with rage and said, “I don’t live—not here in this God forsaken country even—I’m Norwegian and British and thank God I wasn’t born on any of your cities but in a cursed and pitiful and outlawed spot—in no city and in no jurisdic- tion.”—Virginia registered and had a fight and the woman said the government was glad to have her name because it would help to have a list of anti-government people. Then V. wanted back her card—said she would rather be an out and outer—but no—Deansie came and because I did—but she is afraid—to go around without a card—So here comes the second joke—The little kid who wrote those stories “The [illegible],” etc. the one who spoke so excitedly at our meeting in the church that Sunday was at the trial—She said E.G. told her she better stay away because they would ask her to show her card—but she said “Ah—I might as well be just a person as to stay away every time. When anything was done “Say, if they ask me, I’m going to say I’m only 15—and if that won’t do—then I’m going to say I live in New Jersey—and then—well then I gotta a card” Said she pulling one out of her pocket. I said where did you get it, you monkey—She said, “Ah—pshaw—we got lots of them—pulling out about 75. Said one of their friends offered her services to the state and then lifted all the cards needed in New York City—I ask you! Don’t tell this about too much. Everyone is squealing.8
We were so desperate that I wrote two letters—one to Joanna Fortune and one to Roy George’s friend asking for $500.00 each.9 Thanks for the check and cash. If we do get some money you’d get yours right away—Lois Peters wrote just a note.10 She is coming down it seems next week. Send part or all of this letter on to Jimmy—I can’t find time to write and now it will be worse.11 . . . We are thinking of giving up our room on 16th street.
Just for a change you understand. Just for a change. Will you go after the Kopper-Frank bunch for subscriptions and Tillie and Olive and Bessie ought to renew subscribe—Thanks for Elsa’s.12 Call up Wm. please and find out what he is going to do about the war. If he does not want to go— tell him to come out strong as a conscientious objector—Jack Reed brings secret word from Wilson’s own lips that they are to be exempted. Wilson called him—to an interview because of his Mexican articles and because he has just returned from Russia—You should have these talks not me.13 E.G. says very prettily to the jury—”America is the first of the British colonies to have conscription—Why Gentlemen, she is a disgrace to England. It took 18 months after England was actually engaged in the war to get conscription there. If you are on the south side in your car ever—look up Bodenheim and tell him the news. He is at Saphiers—620, I think, 53 rd Place, or 660—14
I wish you could put me in my B. tonight. I am wet to the skin-feet and all and so tired and have to eat and go home with a crazy woman.
Love to you from Dagfmir— alias Richard –
Greetings to Olive and Bernice and Elsa
(Setting) I am sitting at my table on the side where the swing hangs—It is Sunday afternoon and a heavy, heavy rain is falling—This morning and the whole week has been fiery—But now—We have just been up to the attic rooms to “get the atmosphere.”15 The rain on the glass of the skylight and on the lead roof . . . My comrade is in her little room—read- ing—because she “can’t waste this rain—it’s so wonderful to read while the rain is falling.” . . .
I don’t know how long it is since you were here. I don’t know how many times I have written to you. I just know that we are two lonely little things some times and wonder why more mail does not come to the trenches from Mother Norway—I can’t go way back now and tell you all about the trial—now that they are to be freed there is much graver trouble. They have indicted Berkman on three charges of murder in San Fran- cisco.16 If he comes back here he may be taken right at the prison doors and be spirited away for trial in S.F. The vile, dirty-little district attorney here, Mr. Content, sent word to S.F. that they had found out facts that would be valuable. He intends to hound them to death. The last day of the trial they shut out all of Emma’s friends because they said they had not stood up where the “Stars”, etc. were played—that day and other days. But Martie and I were in, sitting at the prisoners’ table. Berkman had an air and quality about him that I shall never forget—sometimes I think he’s got it in prison and an “I sort of purified of the world atmosphere” and when he gave his reasons for not telling boys—that they should not register—he in fact always—spoke to the judge and to the jury as if—why you yourselves would not do these things—for the same reasons—is, “How could I tell these young “men” not to register?” he asked. “I am 49 years old, I don’t come under that law, so I would not tell a man or any person to do anything in which he takes a risk of life or liberty unless I also shared his danger, etc.” A goodness that made your cynical side say, No men are not like that—and if you were a little less so you would not be persecuted—but another side wept to wonder why he didn’t leave it all and forget men—And when the jury had given its verdict—Content got up and began to tell how the country had no place for such people. Told of E.G.’s arrest and alluded to the McKinley’s assassination as her work—Then he said, “This Alex . . . Berkman—who doesn’t believe in violence. This man here went into the office of Frick and tried to shoot him down. Your honor and gentleman of the courtroom tried to shoot him down like a dog (only rhetorically) and served 14 years etc. Then Berkman said from his chair quite simply and friendly—”No, No. I sent in my card first.”17 We stayed around—got them some sandwiches and fruit and reading matter and were going to wait until they were taken but they asked us to go to see Frank Harris and ask him to see the Russian Communion. We dashed up to his house and had a long talk with him. He lives on the square—East of 5th in one of those big old houses like Mrs. Lydig’s (your house at the corner). It is a reproduction in decoration of Oscar’s house in London.18 There are so many things to tell—two photographs of paintings of Heine—that you should see—Well I went home dazed, aching in every nerve and bone and so many emotions.19 We couldn’t cry—one has to focus one’s attention on one’s self before one can cry— but this was you know—as if your whole life were horses being lashed into stampeding fury. I could only say to Marty—sometime I am going to take a whole night to weep for this—but not now. They are to have another trial—I wish they had stayed. I have a premonition that this war will cost them their lives yet.
We moved Monday. Now Barnes says that he doesn’t believe the landlord (owner) will want another business in the building. We’ll see about that. Such a week as we have had—up about 7:30 and at it until one and one thirty. We addressed, wrapped and mailed the magazine here in my room—besides we got out 480 letters to prospective subscribers and pleas for renewals. The morning we were to move we only had 54 cents but there was a letter from Deansie in the mail with $5.00 in it for books. Well we moved—we wrote to Mrs. Gardener of Boston (Jack you know) and she sent us $50.00.20 We got out the magazine. We are going to do business with an agency about subs and circulation. We’ll make this thing go—Mart had tantrums and almost “hystics” with heat and weariness— and rage because we have to do the labour. And I had one of my fits of fatal patience—and we walked out hand in hand to our dinners and were good little things—I hear Mart wrote you some fairy tales about trips, etc.—well. Didn’t you know that Lois was down and spent two days with us right after the fourth. Took the kids back to school.21 She gave us lots of parties. And did Deansie call you up and tell you about Randall going off his head over training camps.
Jack Reed dropped in very glum—I had a vision of his looking much like Byron. He really looks like a fat forty version of your chauffeur Sam Trinsons. We have been invited to all the press suppression dinners and fights but have been too fagged to go.
. . . Why didn’t you keep the pictures of me. Didn’t you like them? I think I look so nice and Lapp-like and so died-for-love.
. . . I have been working—working hard to find a way to let out this pent up feeling that has been tugging for so long—It has to burst—I am too athletic to write. Too mentally lazy—I am lazy! But a new thing has come to me. I can use my physical force and love of beauty with no fool stuff to tangle me—Clay! thrills me—(later) I am working on my own hook—without a teacher—I am working on the spirit of the Babylonian Wars. Now I ask you could Shaw have done it? The Spirit of the Babylonian war in clay. No—but isn’t it amazing to have it so right—Gods—
I had a letter from Olive. Well I am going to try for a place for her in the Greenwich Village Theatre. First I have to ask her a few things about why she tries to conceal the fact that she is an actress—and how much dividend respectability and convention pays. God, they don’t even give you good clean suffering. Also I had a letter from Mary McLane—So pathetic and hurt and forlorn—said she had loved my first criticism and valued every word, but the answer in the Reader Critic (June) had made her feel as if she had been hit with a barbed stick.” See! Couldn’t be impersonal after all her books and books.22 I wrote her a personal letter and am now waiting—Oh and such a letter from Aldington—we just sat and cried. He said, “I am afraid of the war—I have no heart for it—I have been overcome with shell shock twice—once a piece of serapnell [sic] went through my collar—once through the top of my boot and once through my helmet. And once I was overcome with gas” and oh so much more—about 7 pages.23
There is a new man who comes to see us. A Bohemian—oh you should hear him rave on. He is dying of cancer and he warns us, in a loud voice, of failure—old age poverty and such slight ailments. If you can see Jack Holt in the movies do—he makes me think of William a little. I shall try to put Weaver’s letters in this. Say she is so repressed that she has to flow over when loosened?241 suppose you realize that you are valuable. By this time without the fact that she hangs on to you—like death—There are all kinds. But I think some other kind would be just as well and more enjoyable to please. Don’t work too hard. Don’t do too good a job. All the men may be killed in the war—and you may have to be a Senator or something. Greet the girls for me—read Jim any part of this you care to—and enjoy the country for me. . . .
[December 1917] John Wanamaker [Stationery]
I hope this will arrive as a New Year’s greeting of our love for you. I mean mine—but Martie is hollering for hers to go too.
Before I tell you the long story of our Christmas, I want to give you a present setting. It is cold at home because Betty has no coal and we don’t want to waste any on the day time. We decided to come over to Wana- maker’s to write and use their heat. Mart to edit and I to write to you. We are here but the heat is absent. And there we had to laff [sic]—Cause there ain’t no coal nowhere except “cole” outside.
I shall begin our Christmas with an emotion—and art emotion in fact the theatre. . . . Scene: Christmas eve—9:00 a.m.—no money, no presents, no coal, no breakfast, no tree, no—. Mart goes down for the mail in silence. I go fast way down to meet her—one package—opened in silence. A catalogue (our beautiful plate paper) of tomb-stones and mausoleums. Mart dashes out to the Village to collect our ads. I stay at home preparing the house for the tree. Mart returns with a small bunch which I am forced to take and go for my shopping. Mart again on the job of collecting all the time we are waiting for a letter from Topeka—holding perhaps money. After dark Mart returns unsuccessful—not one penny—Letter from Topeka arrives I am absent. She sits and prays for a miracle. Bell rings—two comrades arrive from the hinterlands to subscribe. Mart dashes out with the money. I return. Open letter from Topeka—Mama and Ed both say we send money—but there is no money enclosed. I sit down and howl. Mart returns with one small package. Bell rings as I am showing the empty letter from Topeka—Caesar enters with pine boughs and other greens.25 He has one dollar with him. Despair and silence reign. It is 6:30 p.m. and no hope—I remember your last message on the train. Dash for your box and—We are saved—Yello and cheers for Mother! Exit all for dinner and shopping—I borrow $5.00 from the Washington Square on our ad account with them and the night is on. We separate— to meet at the tree—Caesar brings violets—for me and a huge poinsettia for Mart (who now has cramps). “Ye sui farmi poinsettia”—Ha, Ha. At 2 a.m. the room is transformed. We all go to B. Caesar stays with us. a.m. we have breakfast of bacon-eggs, grapefruit, etc. Then to work—one more stage setting at 4:00 p.m. We give up the idea of dinner and dash to the Brevoort for a lunch. The place is deserted and everything is perfect. Mart has asked E.G. and Berkman in for a few quiet moments to see our tree and sit by the fire. I made a background for the tree—rather three trees—one big and two little ones in red pots with church candles on the floor in front of each little tree. The whole thing looks unreal with balloons and pine and rhododendron and candles. There is the table covered with food—ginger and raisins and fruit and nuts and candy and wine and
cigs, etc. Just at dark E.G. arrives—with———————- . Berkman and Saxe
and Teddy and a great big fat Jew comrade from Topeka.26 Did you ever see cattle break down bars and stampede a cow field? They turned the furniture around, swung violently on the swing and ate everything and drank everything right to bedrock—they begged for a tree to take home and did take some balloons. (E.G.) didn’t even know that any of it was a decoration. No they didn’t spit on the floor—but when they were gone Caesar and I swept out the place and Mart recovered under a cig. The next afternoon about 3:30 we were waiting for Weavie to come for tea— when a lad came up to buy a copy of Prufrock after stammering around for a few moments he said, can I make a little contribution to the L.R. Mart thanked him. He left. She came over and handed the money out to me to put in my pocket. We glimpsed it for the first time straight in the face. Instead of a $1.00 it was a $100 bill. We ran and called him back. He was so fussed he nearly collapsed under Mart’s excitement. Then Weaver came and there was more excitement.
We had one of our talks with Weavie. I’ll have to tell you that later. From 4 until 11:30 without one break. Since then we have deliriously shopping—for things we need. Hat and shoes, etc. Oh it is too too good. I got me some beautiful patent leather shoes with the money from you. O’ we will show you. It was all such fun. Jimmy sent me eats too and Bessie 5 lbs. of candy and—
Aren’t you rich? But we said we should rather have one bird in the hand than 8 in the bush—How you saved the day and bought the miracle. No one ever had such grateful—you know drunkenly grateful children as you. But we want you to see the room—We will try to save it just so—God loves you and gives you what you most imagine you want. . . . Give my love to Jim—but not to Olive.
Love and love from all the boys.
P.S. I did not get even a card from ————.
Mart says read this to her if you see her. Mart is writing about Lois’s present. It was charming!
The letters of 1918 dealt largely with the unraveling of Heap’s and Anderson’s relationship. Anderson was seeing Gladys Tilden, the niece of Broadway actress Josephine Plows-Day. Another point of interest in these letters is Heap’s concern about the influenza epidemic that was affecting those near her. The “Spanish flu” of 1917-1918 was responsible for half a million deaths worldwide. Some of the New York letters are actually from Brookhaven, Long Island, where Anderson had found a house as a refuge from the city.
[Postmarked March 17, 1918]
She says she “can’t see you” “I am very busy.” “Yes, too busy to have lunch.”
I have wept much. Suffered much. Written many letters.
Am full of a smothered terror about my return. In fact, I seem to have again entered my inheritance
—fully. Yours, Richard Yea!
The rest is stagnation Yea! Monotony Yea! Olive is queer.
Carolyn satisfactory, but restricting. James—tragic.
Bessie—voluptuously redeemed. Martie—more my blessed antagonistic complement and antitheses.
[Postmarked August 18, 1918] [Brookhaven]
The pictures came—I sent one bunch to Topeka. They are bully I think— the box came to at the same time, thanks, but I don’t believe I want any pictures of this place. Gladys came and has been here for two days. I have not seen them. Mart won’t look at the magazine—so I read proof and made the cover etc and went back and forth to the post office with it all. No meals, no practicing. Such a mockery—such sickening pretensions. . . . I don’t think much of the James number—Style and all he is lily-livered.27 The old fiery fountains are far off and every day there is less heavy blood—Pound, Eliot, all of them. . . .
Love —— jh
[Postmarked August 26, 1918] [Brookhaven]
Everything came. The box with the spoons, etc. and the grate. Thanks. We couldn’t use the grate because of the dampness. The season changes. No wind. Still, warm, dripping days.
The films we sent the other day of us in the tree and in much negligee. Please do not show them or give any away before we see them. Not to anyone. . . . I hope those in the tree will be good of Mart. They look it. We mailed last week. Went in Wed. morning and I came back Thursday morning on the 9:10 train. Pretty good? The bunch in the house. Dizzy in my room and Gladys and Jane Konray in Mart’s.28 All live together, eat and dress and mess. They wanted to make a social affair of our visit. I looked down on that. Didn’t lay eye on one of them, scarcely did Mart. She went straight to the apartment and stayed. Meal and the night and until the next p.m. I did all the work up until 5:30 when Caesar came. We had everything mailed and the rest in the bag by 10:00 p.m. Then we went out to dinner at the Lafayette—sparkling Burgundy, etc. and Caesar told of his Chicago trip. I went back and worked some and then went to sleep on the studio floor. It was hot and hard but I was glad to be out of the mess downstairs. Gladys doesn’t seem to get that is final. Was calling Mart up to say that Jane Konray would sleep with Dizzy so there would be beds enough and that we’d all have fun. Imagine Mart—willingly going into that. Dizzy was dazed because I wouldn’t let anyone come to the studio, nor see any. So I wrote her a note thanking her for the use of her camera and explaining the situation with Mart. I said, I have never been able to accept hospitality or any basis of intimacy founded on the other person’s conception of his relation to me, etc., also that widely different species did not interest me when viewed domestically.
Allan is doing a “walk on” in Constant Collier’s—Some Kind of a Husband, by O. Wilde, $15.00 per week and all day to practice.29
Hyle came Sat. Stephen appears for a glimpse. Some connection with Bloom—through the daughter.30
It’s very gruesome around here at night. Yesterday it sounded as if there were a bird in the chimney, but at night when we were eating in Mart’s room we heard a strange noise as if some dead were rising, in the kitchen, and some green misty thing passed through the door towards and fluttered down behind the music on Mart’s piano—We have hunted all morning but nothing rises—Was it a ghost—Was it a bat? Sometimes Mart thinks she will see a ghost in the doorway, in the night. We are afraid to be out alone at night. Not afraid of human or animal or element. It’s terror—We go in the water and stand and then shiver and look at each other. Maybe dive once and then go in shore. Once there was something on the bottom. Big and rough like a dead body. In tweed. Mart screamed and grabbed me and pulled me so that one foot was partly under it and the other off the ground. We were in water up to our arm pits. I shouted for her to give me a push backwards for I was afraid I would fall on my face—right on the thing! Horror curdled my brain—She at last understood enough to push me and we got away. What if it had been in the night. As our great horror was—two weeks ago tomorrow night and the place has a different aspect you should have been in on some of this.
. . . I must now get to business. Love to you and thanks for the things.
[Postmarked August 28, 1918] [Brookhaven]
Tomorrow, Aline Barnsdall comes out and expects to spend the night— We are going to talk more about you—Mart had a note from her in which she said that she would talk to you when she got ready to do things. Now here is a little chance for an ecstasy—she says—that she expects to do something with Mrs. Fisk.31 How does that sound to you? You can have fun thinking about it any way. We’ll do our best. Mart will probably go back with her to help her buy her piano—She has her apartment and her car—Coming out in the car tomorrow. Never saw R.G. he has gone back home again.32 Suffering—
I wonder if you have the September number yet? We just got that out by the skin of our teeth. Tell you about it later—don’t know in God’s world how we’ll make the October number. Didn’t get an answer to my subsidy letter.
Martie never called me up that time I wrote that I was going in to mail the magazine—So I went and it was Friday—She was surprised and said the magazine wouldn’t be ready until Monday—I had gone in partly because I was sick. I took a taxi from the station at that—sat around all day and slept on the studio floor—too sick to go home on first train—nausea and chills, fever and pulse and dysentery. Now remember she had dashed away to be with Gladys—when I got there she was sick of it all and stuck to me and came home with me—I was still sick when we went in on Tuesday—had no covers and caught cold sleeping on the floor. I was afraid of malaria—I’ve had this kind of illness for weeks—but it has been worse lately—I was going to send to Bellport for a doctor one night—Mart had a touch of it too—We have both had a dysentery for six weeks—and are we thin and goodlooking.
. . . We have had no frost yet—We put up the stove and moved the piano into the livingroom and changed the furniture about some and
made a winter house of the place—cozy and drawn together and snug. Mart has two kittens—the most playful little devils of course she never feeds them or cares how they live—but then that’s being responsible. We call them Mary and Minotaur.33
. . . Your letter has just come telling of the osteopath’s verdict about your nerves—I think any strong man would probably be in that condition if he had your family Aunts and all—children too. But—if we can get Aline to pull off her theatre plan I think you will be able to do without an osteopath—Don’t you? I am glad you are going to keep at it until you feel better.
Here’s hoping new things for you with Aline—Love to you and don’t worry—that will help some—you know.
—Richard & Jatty
[Postmarked September 20, 1918] [Brookhaven]
Coming in in the morning to mail the magazine—So I am writing now. It may be days before I can write again—Mart went in Tuesday on the first train, went to Gladys. It just came to a point when I made her go—
When Caesar went to the studio to get some things before coming out here—Gladys followed him upstairs yelling and cursing and telling him to stay out over Sunday that Mart wanted to come in but couldn’t leave me—then she called up on Sunday and Caesar answered, she again ordered him to stay the night etc. He had to report at Pelham at 8:00 a.m. Monday so had to go—He told me all this—After he was gone—I made Martie sit down and I told her that I had a little pride left—that she was to go—and go fast and not have her friends trying to rescue her from me—She put up a talk about being so uncomfortable in town, if she did go, thinking of this gruesome place etc. but I said you are sick to go aren’t you?—well why should I be dragged in town and creched [sic] at the Old Chelsea for a week so that you can have a free mind to play with Gladys?—I said—Go and suffer—I’d like to see you once do something that had any consideration in it in any way for another person—It’s insulting to me for you to stay when you want to be gone—I’d rather die of fright or be murdered in my bed than keep you from such a fair spirit—Go—She went—and it rained all day and night and the next day too—so dark I burned the lamp all day—towards evening a storm came up—that threatened to take the house—It rained so I could not see the bushes nearest the house—and thunder and lightening and wind—It blew the fire back out of the stove and the electric thing over the sink shot fire and fire ran down the pump until I had to go out side and stay—the trees broke and it was cold and pitch black— The telephone was put out and I was rather isolated—Last night was unearthly—so much damp that a dripping mist hung over everything and beyond that a full moon that only made things worse—I wasn’t afraid—I know that I should never have left a dog alone in the place even if he had bit me—Of course I sent her but—she had made her choice and was suffering to go and her practicing was no good—she just went around waiting for a letter—When it ends—she will hear some things from me—I am writing something for her now on values. She is a person in whom the lower values of the mind and of humanity operate naturally and with more base than the higher—If she were not born in the sex in which she was—she would go from one Gladys to another—Whenever she is thrown with those people she has an affair.
This summer she has dragged me into a situation where the lowest values of the mind have been operating. I would not rave this way and try to find the right proposition to put the thing forth—in fact would not judge her—but that she sits in judgement every day upon the world—other people like W. Lewis, on my friends.34 I want this right—and known to her.
After this—no more—better than thou—no more saying—”O, such a person.” I don’t care a damn about Gladys—she does not and will not matter—It’s a principal [sic]—I don’t want to be in an atmosphere of barroom love—and then hear how senseless and without the right values all others. . . .
Sometime I will tell you about Caesar’s week end— Stanley S. sent me some pictures—one of himself—and a letter of appreciation for myself—It is rather nice to know that once in a while some one sees that you have a meaning—I think he called it the “tragic.”35
. . . It is getting night now—I must go to the post office or it will be dark before I can get back. It’s dark at 7:00 now—Three nights—how should you like it three nights here alone— Mart is going to see Aline for you—
Ezra will have to go to war now—what ho for us—36 I wrote a subsidy letter myself the other day—I wonder if I’ll fair better than Mart—on those she did and didn’t write—Something’s got to be done—We gotta pay Gladys’ rent——
Love to you Jatty
Sometimes at night I sing Little Boy Blue—Why don’t you ever play and sing it for me,—any more?
[Postmarked October 3, 1918]
—A letter from you this a.m. giving us instructions about the “fever.” I’ll be good. . . . Gene’s concert tomorrow. I am not going—no interest—not fear of contagion—Caesar comes for the week end?
Don’t get squirrel—
Get seal—You look better with dark next your face—Seal or dark mole. No light grey stuff. Mart is crazy because you won’t take gas for your teeth—Please mother don’t sit there and suffer like a medieval saint—be modern—be gassed. Mamma and Papa are in San Diego—no use. Thanks—I send Hattie the new sash each time.
I sassed Olive a bit—may be the laugh? Mart and Joanna are having a heavy argument by letter—Joanna did the same thing to her—misinter- preted and now they’re off. I write no more. I have not written to her since you left Brookhaven—since I thanked her for the $150, until I wrote two lines thanking her for the picture money. I merely said thank you— and signed “j.” You have called yourself a mushroom so jump into the basket. I wonder if it is good to her—what she has made for herself. We wrap the magazine this afternoon—Too much Ezra—an amusing answer by Stanley to Ezra.
. . . I can’t have you feeling so rotten. But I am glad to see that you are being good about the dentist, and taking the thing in hand—When you are strong and vital we’ll have a job. Not with Aline, I hope, she is the most bankrupt human being I have ever met—just nothing. There is a secret about R.G. where and what he’s doing—adventure—and danger and all sorts of things—not gone home as we thought—but gone to help Kath- leen—Hoolihan—Secret. Don’t tell anyone. There is something charming in his kind of lost causes! Putting in electric lights for the King of Abyssinia—because he was a nigger?37
Tell me if you don’t get quite a thrill of excitement and an inner circle feeling about Joyce this time?38 Is it any fun to see Olive?
Hope you will get this on Sunday.
Don’t think I don’t care about little things—if I don’t always write of them—I got the little gourds and the licorice—and the samples of your clothes and I don’t write because I work so hard or my head hurts with thinking of all the mockeries—over and over mocking things—
Love to you and feel vital—j
[Postmarked New York City, October 21, 1918]
Saturday night back in town—3 days. Brookhaven far away—soft and still in the full moon or poignant with high wind and full of autumn colour. The Bellport side all selected each tree his individual and night deep ripens of colour—the moon yellow, brilliant. The big tree deep red, pines green-black, millions of small white and lavender, daisies, millions of lavender and blue corn flower. There is a blue violet haze over the dunes across the bay—the ocean roars all night—the circles of roars of the waves murmuring through a long continuous roar. There are places—one just stands and lets it in—without words or exclamations or comment. The brook by the post office—the green and red leaves lying on the water smooth and unbroken like a snowfall—the reflections of violet, red and yellow trees in the water. The brook by the Frayers—you remember—there where the little bridge is near the corner by the church? Looking across the way towards the river. I love the finished thing—not all finished just the promise of an end. You ask did I find any rest there? Will there be rest for me anywhere? I am too near now to say. I have said about this summer that it is the most I have ever known for mental suffering. My sensibilities: my connection with Mart was one of the last things that I had in this world. I went to California because I needed some hold on life (not human) she seemed to be the least human person I could find—I wanted my sensibilities hurt. I wanted a new hurt. I wanted some mental activity. I wanted to change the hurt and the activity from the heart. Now my sensibilities have been hurt, and my mind offended so much as my heart was hurt before. Where do I go next. This summer I have suffered—I have worked harder than I have ever suffered and worked to rid me and to live. I have written nothing made nothing but I have lost something—I cannot lose much more? I am more of an exile than it is good to tell. The last days were smoother. Since Mart left that time and we had a talk about freedom we have changed. If I loved anyone as she says she loves me, it would make me go into a long illness to be as free as she is now of me. We had two bicycles and we rode long rides. One day Mrs. Freudenthal wanted to come out to show the house to some ladies—we went on our bicycles for a whole day—talking lunch, building a fire and gathering walnuts.39 We wanted to stay until the end of the month but the F’s asked for the house the fifth—we wrote them a piece of “imperialistic prose” Marts phrase which didn’t get them at all—but a sentimental remark at the end gave us until the 16th. Mart had to be in town for the opening of the Greenwich Village Theatre tonight the 19 th so it was all up any way.
We had to give our two cats away—it was a sad parting they were too cute mine was Minotaur, a mallese and he had intelligence. Mary was just loving and very baby kitten cat. They just corresponded to our temperaments. Minotaur was keen and full of self-protection and instinct. He was fastidious too. If Mary growled at him when they were eating he moved away and sat guilty and in the evening while Mart held and petted Mary he lay stretched out on the floor alone or brooded by himself and he chose me so hard. Wouldn’t look at Mart. I miss him now. He used to show off when I came out of the house he would run up the clothes pole and sit on top or run in a wide circle with his tail bushed all up fat. He liked me that cat.
. . . Our house here—well—the atmosphere was much the same as that in Ben Hecht’s last story only all the girls were in the alley.40 It is so dirty—and everything broken or scuffed or bent and useless—and a perfect pest of mice—hordes of them. I can’t bear to look at my room, or put in order.
We came home Wednesday at six—had dinner and Mart went to Gladys. Thursday we went to Popo’s and then on some errands, came home and in the evening Gladys came here.41 Mart stayed in my room and read proof until midnight and then never showed up again until afternoon when Gladys left. Allan came—I did all the unpacking of trunk, boxes, and barrels alone. Always having to dodge and stay in hiding for fear I’d run into some semi-clad lady dashing to and from the bathroom. I am afraid of getting the influenza because of my lungs—Dr Mann scared me—I have impressed this on Mart—telling her even that it would break your heart if I should die—Jane Konray has the damn thing and I think Gladys too from the way she sneezed and coughed—and Allan too but Mart goes right into it—and brings them home.
I was so angry and frightened yesterday—angry because I never have any help and angry and frightened because of the disease being brought home, that I was ill—I was going to cut out the whole connection and go my way alone—but I had promised to go today to see about Bauer’s playing—I knew it would make a new chaos out to go—and as if it didn’t matter I went out and said nothing—she dashed away right after dinner to the theatre.42 Mrs. Moody got P Mackay to get G a job with the Coburn players who are doing a Barnes father farce at the Greenwich Village Theatre.43
I am alone—I know no one in New York City—I care for no one East except for a little cat in Brookhaven. One’s nature brings him—strange night ways?
. . . About Aline—Mart started a letter to you a long time ago—with all that in it.
And are the treatments helping you? I mean teeth treatments? You’ve got to get stronger we want you to raise us a loan like this fourth Liberty Loan. My hundred for the picture was taken to get us out of Brookhaven and to start the October issue. Shamelessly and tonight we stand fourteen dollars overdrawn. I think more—I think she went to the bank and got some to buy flowers for Gladys tonight. And so ———— O. God!
Good night Mother—Love you and I’ll write sooner next time—Get strong I may need you to take care of me.
Yes I just went and looked in the check book—$5—-$19— over drawn. O mother the six was my own. I wanted you to do some shopping for me out of it and to spend the P.O. News for the de Bosschere drawings—and now that’s gobbled up—and gone—I haven’t had a penny for so long.44
Last night when Mart came in from the theatre she brought the glad word that Allan T. was in the hospital with pneumonia. I didn’t think much about it until he came home from a trip to the hospital and told that he was quarantined and she could get no word to or from him. She said it was a nice hospital. I asked her the name and was sure it was a charity hospital when I heard it. Then Marie Berger called up in high hysterics. She been over there and couldn’t see him so she went out and got a policeman to help her force her way in etc. etc. Well then I thought it was time to do something. I called the hospital and could only smart alex [sic] replied but I found out the number of the ward. I then called Ida Rauh’s doctor. He goes there in the morning and takes the cases either to his own hospital or to a private room in the same place. Poor kid he was living at Polly’s and she just shot him off to the poor house.45
Don’t worry about me mother—I’ll look out for myself and I ask the doctor tomorrow about my lungs—You take care of yourself—See—
Reading proof Joyce tonight We got Allan into another hospital—
Collected enough this morning to make up the deficit in bank.
[Postmarked November 5, 1918]
Off for Provincetown Players. See Djuna first at green room; get work for Dec. No. Mart, guest, Gladys for dinner I made several things for M’s room for her birthday. Lamp shade, sample enclosed, crepe outside. Birthday a success everyone came across but Deansie. Lois, Bill and the kids sent packages each and Viola and Mrs. Anderson. There was plenty of candy, cig etc. Party in the evening—Sherwood, Israel, Aiken, Caesar, Gene, Dizzy, Aline, Mrs. Kneeland and Roy George—!!!46
Concert—Everyone hated Gene—Ida was lovely in a gold coloured gown—Aline a graduated wash woman and Roy distingue, apart, mysterious stranger—he is learning to fly now wants to go to Holland and rescue the Queen from the Reds. Kathleen didn’t come off—couldn’t make the get away to Holland—He said—”fly, you know, to save the flaxen queen from—you know “aria” “aria,” isn’t that it?
Fly, aria, queen, Something like that isn’t it Jane—do you know— well—its good to see—you’re looking well—the pomegranate flower keep its colour? Say I’m coming—never mind—coming and take you away—no I’ll tell Martie—I’ll take Jane away for a whole day and when she comes back she can tell you—tell you where we started for—That’s it—the greeting tonight was just right” All this with head thrown back, a drawl, a smile in the eye and a sensitive, wistful, loving laugh—Aline in speaking of him says “All I can manage to do for him is to hurt him. I go right ahead through things—and he stands besides me—looking occupied in his own far away thoughts but somehow I get to feeling that I am making a fool of myself or using the wrong stuff—I get some slight thing in the air—I always say I don’t know what he wants me to do but I calm down when I think I feel or recognize the slight brush and pressure of a butterfly wing.” Isn’t he a dear to love her—how anyone can? A clear beautiful laugh comes to me through the room—as clear and as beautiful as—Sewage—Gladys—
We have a play of Yeats for January—O Yeats of Shadowy Waters. It is a Noh play—with lines to make you weep.47
Our November issue is still with Popovich—but no use worrying it’s only the 27th of the month—Popovich gets none
William was alive on the sixth of October—no word since—He had to transfer from a motor to a mule ambulance—Dust and gasoline smells hurt his poor gassed and eaten lungs—He is a done for chap I fear.
Wilda says we all ought to be grateful to him for what he has done. My Gods! . . .48
[November 11, 1918]
. . . and we did it all differently—No fire, or candles, or dinner in my room.49 Start with the week before—some woman dragged Allan out of the hospital and here Sunday morning—fever too weak to be up—Mart gone everyday somewhere from early (8:30 a.m.) really. Subsidy campaign. “I want to return that hundred on your birthday.”
“I want also to have $2500 in the bank on that day.” I got all meals and tried to work answer doors etc. Thursday night was the end of campaign and no money. Allan got up late in the evening to have a halloween party with us. We had your candles and candy and a talk until 3:00 a.m. Friday morning we got a lunch-breakfast, on my table, fire this time, and my presents. Yours first. It was all, you understand, I had talked beauty the night before and there was a ritual and a state of beauty in the air.
We had coloured dishes and coloured linen.
Mart gave me two black bowls for potpourri on my mantel. Allan gave me a pair of brown gloves. Sharkey a lavender initial handkerchief. Jimi’s present came Monday—my family never even write. Richard, and Dagfir and Jatty enjoying the opening of packages—I am afraid they had almost too much. Mart was so excited that she ran around like wild, couldn’t think, or eat, her eyes shone and she involuntarily reached out for each package wanted to see before they were unwrapped and left exclaiming with little bursting laughter.
Allan and I were too amused—We asked her if she knew whose birthday it was, and she said O I love packages and festivity—yes I forgot.
For breakfast she and I went on a trip uptown in stores for a present with your money.
Vantimes and Chinese stores and to Antiques for dinner we went to Antiques as Mart calls it The “Roof tree Inn”—they had a fire in the grate and it was cozy and quiet (we ate out Alan because Alan was here and we wanted to have it “tres intime”.) In the evening we went to see Bertha Kalish—when Mart went for the tickets—she came home saying “I am afraid we’re stung—the pictures outside are terrible—coloured. I’m afraid it is a melo”—The theatres open at 8:45 p.m. We sat in there and planned things for the winter and watched the house fill—We discovered that it was a play from the Danish—Curtain up—dignified elegant set. Then Kalish’s shadow coming down the stair in the outer hall—”like” at Harriths. On. Exotic, cold, still—Lucile costumes—colour! Whiteness of skin, sadness of voice, Scandinavian interpretation. A black panther walking over water and snow. Lovely lovelier than Mary. I can’t tell you all free but I have loved Kalish and she was lovelier than I remembered.50 After the theatre, roused Alan and had a German supper, beer, boned smoke herring—Cheese etc. talked until 2:30. Saturday went to French Pastry w breakfast, then to Wanamakers then to a recital by Julia Claurseu. Scandinavian songs—another strong beautiful woman, such apartness, such I and the world—Aunt Tina on the first class deck looking off to see—from that concert with many after details, no room here to relate, we went to the Bloomingdale stores to shop—then w Chas Chaplin in Shoulder Arms. But there was the ritual in the am still and Sunday we had breakfast on the little table in front of Mart’s fire—Alan sitting up in a bath robe and Mart and he went out to a concert in the afternoon and I cleaned up the house—which had been somewhat neglected. And then——Mart went to Gladys—to Yvette Gilbert and never came home until late Monday night leaving me without a penny for food and all kinds of insistent work.51
Nothing could have been more destructive more lacerating to our mood.—I didn’t think much about Sunday night because I was too busy—but after a day of no food I was not so pleasant. I went down to Dizzy in the evening and asked who stole Aunt Tina’s silver—And
Dizzy let loose in an emotional scene about the “Girls.” Rather blamed someone. Said that the summer was coming back on her in a backwash of horror. That Martie seemed so nice and she was so intimate—that all the while she (Dizzy) thought that there must be something there that she (Dizzy) didn’t see—in spite of the grossness, the drunkenness, the language etc. When she was in she took it as an experience and it seemed like a play but now—and she covered her face with her hands and shook with horror—then she hurt me by saying “How, Jane can Martie go there and spend the night—She looks so—and smells so in the morning”—It was just like a whip on my flesh—Mart had fled to that after those beautiful days! I loathed the whole time, the mockery, the contempt! All the week of taking care of Allan all alone came to me in its useless drudgery—and all of the differences, and the talks on Beauty and “The Dance of Siva” all turned gall and I felt like Veber die Kraft.52 Everyone seems to come to me with slurs and questions. Ida was here wants to do “Exiles” looks ripping this winter—said “Is Mart born blind?”53 Mart and I have had long talks about it. I went to pieces over the Influenza one night—and talked out of my head about this summer and the situation and wanted to be done with it all. I thought I had the thing and I said I would make anything right—with you—that I wanted to be done. That I couldn’t do much about anyone else in this world but myself—but that if I could die—that you would be too hurt—because if you could—that I loved you enough I could just turn it on and sweep you right out of the suffering or the world even—that you didn’t have to be strong or courageous or have initiative—that my love filled all through places up air tight—and for her not to preach to me about strength—etc. I wanted to be done—that something had been desecrated through her. I can’t think anymore of my cost or place to remember it. It was a terrible night. She said that she had only tenderness for G—that it would pass, that life would take care of it etc.—That it was only an attraction, that her love for me was the big thing—O that’s rotten talk. Love not strong enough to make her avoid—that—Said she didn’t understand my talk about desecration, said it was because of my temperament and had no foundation in life. And then at Kalish— Kalish says to a young girl “don’t think of loving that man—for sometime you may meet a man who loves and knows love and then this thing will burn your lips and heart and each breath that your real lover draws will be a knife of remembrance and you will have nights and nights to stare at a desecration. It may therefore be Scandinavian but it has foundation. G has lost all identity—I never think of her in it—And it isn’t that Mart has this low sinister in her nature—think how funny we are—it’s because she has agreed with me so utterly about so many things, abstractly—that she has the better-than-thou attitude, because I believed she was apart from human relationships in her own intellectual way. I am not suffering because she chooses grossness, and filth, and vacancy of mind—but because she has been blind to, and criticized and repudiated decency, fastidiousness, subtlety, sophistication and just dear human foibles. I am like the people in Veber die Kraft I expected and nothing happened but this—One can fight or fail or destroy a peer or even love him—but this sort of thing makes always new abstract thinking—It is a sign I do not want to see—but must look at because I have to strip and tear away the outer simplicity to get to the naked simple thing, which is what is the matter with Mart?
Now something else—that I have suffered about. When at last I pried Dizzy away from your typewriter I ordered the man to come and get it at a certain time. I went up stairs to make a crate out of some old Brookhaven wood—trying not to disturb Allan—having no time to breathe. Dizzie brought it up from her room to the third floor and left it— when I was ready to put it into the box—I went for it and saw—well that was like the whole house—I swore and cried but I didn’t have time to touch it to clean it—I thought you would understand my part—there is no understanding Dizzy—she never offered to ship it to pay for it’s cartage or say it was dirty—but asked how to use our new one— Ohooo—People are just here to hurt each other—
. . . Caesar had liberty last night and today—looks fine Alan leaves today
Gene’s concert I’ll describe later—as Ida said so thoughtfully—I am going to bring Dan up with only one idea in my mind I don’t care if he ever does anything.54 I just want him to be sweet and won’t say—”That nasty little Jew.”
Just now all the whistles and horns are blowing. Is the war over? “And peace that grinds them like grain.”
Israel is working on fabricated ships in Newark—Dazed and sick at heart and weary of body—
Lois is moving into town—southside.
Mart’s birthday is the 24th of November—We want to have a party and loads of packages. Will you send something—not a really gift—only a package. I am writing to everyone asking for a joke—
I am enclosing some pictures—will you make some more prints please? And return these.
There are too many interruptions. I must stop. Dizzy in tears to tell me the war is over—Door, telephone etc.
Love to you and thanks for my birthday. I will tell you what I buy. I loved that pomegranate and the little pumpkin, capterns, candle sticks and all
Mother—think of it—we stuck it out didn’t we—I am so tired—
Fifth Ave is mad—papers up to your knees—horns—whistles—riot—unrestraint
Mart played piano Pellas and Melisande.
I wrote that it made a tremulous balance of mind.
Airships are flying over
Dropping slips of paper—
[Postmarked December 11, 1918]
. . . We are having a party (dutch) tomorrow night—at the Provincetown
eating house. Ben Hecht on his way to Europe wants to meet “Freaks”
etc.—Israel, Dr. Williams, Ida, Sherwood, Djuna, Phil Mueller, Wesley
etc.—to P. Muellers afterwards to hear Allan play.55 O-God—
Let us know as soon as the November issue arrives? The American
number is going to be good. Will be ready Friday I hope.56
Call up Joanna. I think she fears you are not friendly—because of us—
Go and see her and talk a lot about us and make her talk—it will do her
good—if you have the interest.
I fear I have no books—maybe one for your father—From Baseball to
Lois lives at 1325 E. 52nd—3rd floor name Card. My mother’s address is 3821 Fifth St., San Diego, Calif.
Mart has taken the day off to have lunch with Gladys—Nothing to do but address the magazine, go to Popo’ & order paper, attend to the door and telephone and dollecy and scrape money together for all this—she has just called up—its raining and she is coming home alright. No more now
Last night’s letter continued at Popos. Thanksgiving—4:00 p.m.—no dinner yet—no proposals—Home and dinner there tonight—Allan: guest. We left—Ida, Djuna, Courtney and Allan in our rooms reading plays.57 The Provincetown Players—last night—ungodly Saturday night— Right—where the above ends came a fight with Popo—alas—The third play Gee-rusalem—by F. K. Frank was rather amusing—the others were rotten.58 Thanksgiving dinner at 8:00—chicken etc—Let’s see some of the questions you have asked—The spoon—goes to Eckhardt to be soldered—We are not well; mentaley [sic] or physically—Mart has had nervous prostration and a cold—I have still the dysentery and fever blisters all over my face—And we’ve had such hell this fall—last two weeks have been impossible but—ha!—soft! Mart is really not well—has lost weight and is pale and peeked in the face—I have lost 15 lbs—”seht im (ihm) aber gut—”59 We are very good friends and take very good care of her and am tender—and don’t fret when Gladys comes or she goes there and don’t worry about the money and work hard and try my best—She says she doesn’t like to go away and leave me much because she’s afraid she would go mad counting the times she spent away from me if I should die—and she is very good too. I am alone a great part of the time but I don’t fret. I am going to do so many things—read and sew and try to write—Barnes put in a new furnace and an instantaneous heater for the bath. We roast and toast and stew. It is really more than comfortable. Of course there are hordes of mice—and—the dirt!
. . . Caesar is home tonight—looks better every time. Israel and I gossiped our heads off tonight at dinner—He’s as full of alarums as any woman—Oh I know so many unwritable things. But this kind but intrigues, etc. Here is a story that I write in exchange for the one you sent me—
They were having trouble at one of the camps: making the boys bathe—they just wouldn’t—Newton Baker came to this camp to make a speech and the Commandant asked him to bring something about the pleasure and glory of bathing into his speech—When he was well into his speech he said “boys I envy you your life here in the open—you have pure air, exercise good food each man serves his country—I at my desk you in the open—just the other day I had the opportunity of tasting your life— I inspected all day—walking miles in the open—at night I came home over and after dinner I took a glorious bath and then a cold plunge and got into bed and felt rosy all over—a voice far in the rear yelled out— How did Rosie feel?60
Sherwood said—Jane I am writing a story that will put your eye out— rent in arrears one month—Popo to pay part in advance—and such frustrations and stupidities—about the magazine and everything. Tuesday Mart began writing checks on an overdrawn bank account—$40.00 to Barnes, 16.50 for paper, fifteen to Popo—and ten and others almost $100.00 and still no check from Mason Hamlin—You can imagine a little here—Mart a nervous wreck, depressed child and I—well—I was afraid of her sanity so I let the money worry go & took care of her—: the checks began to be returned from the bank and I answered the phone to keep them off our necks—I told M. not to bank on that check for fear they might deduct her rent for the piano—. . . it came this morning Saturday mailed last night—and M. opened it relief—and it was for only $24.00—they had deducted $96.00. She owed the $24.00—but they had just turned around—Too late to try to adjust it today—We wanted the money in the bank before noon—so Mart dashed up to Aline to borrow $120.00 on the check—Aline met her at the door and when Mart had told her story she said [illegible]
We are trying to get you a certain joy—You’d like it too—Now I’ll tell you a story of how you’d like to work for Aline—
Never upon a time has there been such a panic in our finances—Mart sold a piano to Aline—$120.00 commission—This meant time—six weeks of dangling and phoning
Then luncheons at A’s when Mart couldn’t give the time—A’s making her sit in the car 45 min at a time—fittings etc on the way to the Mason Hamlin Co.—many trips, many hours—then ten days and no check from the M & H. Co. Mart goes—man serving on jury—more delay—Mart goes for check—they have mailed it—this is this Monday the 25 th—Tues- day no check—paper to buy—but I don’t want to—You lightly turned me down on the opera matinee today (she had asked M to Faust and Mart had to refuse—no suit—desperation and unhappiness)—She said—”but
Aline you don’t understand” and A. said “You don’t care how you hurt my feelings—so I won’t let you have the money—” She has only 7.000,000.00—Mart came home, crying all the way and I tried to help by suggesting that we wire to you and Joanna it—she wouldn’t & then I suggested Fritzie and Stella—we called—had the flu but she said “Come on over and we’ll see what can be done.”61 Right here we had a little discussion about the human stuff vs. the other stuff—and M had a few words to say for the human for once—the bell rang and I hid back here while M interviewed a man. After about half hour—he got up to go and said “I’d better do what I came here to do” and he handed M a $100.00 bill. And who was he—the man of last Xmas—and of this summer when we didn’t have the rent for the Fruedenthal—and Mart put her head down and cried and he said—I believe in you—I noticed you hadn’t got your November no. out and I thought I’d just be about in time with my little contribution—and when he was gone we lay back on my B and held each other and cried and laughed and cried and Allan said Aline was an oyster a fat oyster and old fat one and I said yes a “clot of phlegm” full of sand—and Israel said she was bovine and not a breeder but cow to be fed up milked & killed—We wrote to Quinn last night asking him to make those four renew their guarantee—but M says he’ll write back telling us all our faults and to go to Hell—What do you think of Aline— M said “I wish Mother were here—she’d go right up there I bet and tell her what she thought about her—”
. . . It is now midnight and I am still full of writings—Why did the Emperor go to exile—Yeats has a line like this in an old poem—”The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled in shadowy pools, when armies fled”:—Would that I could “press my heart upon the loveliness that has long faded from the world.”62 I don’t like to read of the pageantry and of the throngs—I am sick at heart—all loveliness is, fading fading—I want you to read Dr. Coomaraswamy in The Dance of Siva on the reconstruc- tion—I wrote a note for this issue on that book but there wasn’t room so next month—There may be some books about the place for you to give away. I send you some titles and mail them out for you—War books and such—
O—I can’t write any more—my love to you.
Much love, Jatty
Mart sends her love too—
Printing the December issue today—been sitting at Popo’s since 8:30 a.m. It is now 2:15. Last night Mart went to spend the night with Gladys and I went down to the Provincetown to dinner—Got in on a fight between Ida and Djuna—went to the Brevoort met Phil Mueller and then Wesley came in from the theatre—gossip and scandal and then Djuna came home with me in the rain—did I get an ear full?? Did I?
You and Olive would have loved it—Sorry I haven’t some kind of a machine that will take it down for you.
We are giving up the studio and the little room—we can’t make it— with prices and no money. I built bookcases in Mart’s room and painted them white. Her room has mine looking like the Salvation Army. You see I don’t care about mine any more. I take all the things and all the time to make hers look well. I can’t see how we don’t go to smash—there is no effort to get money. Mart came in a little while ago is now off to a con- cert—I don’t understand at all. She doesn’t even edit properly any more & never practices.
Now I must scold you. Don’t worry about a job. If you can come down for a visit and look around leisurely after Xmas it will be better than all your straining and worrying and calling your self names now—and please don’t do silly little jobs to tire you and for which you get almost no money—I should know. We haven’t seen Betty yet—I suppose she is too busy and gay—Everything will be alright for you—you couldn’t have worked this fall anyway.
We went to hear Boris—Friday night—it was like a russian ballet for colour—like those Russian fairy tale books exactly—.63
Poor old Popo—has just fallen on my neck to thank me for going out to get a piece of pie for him—3:10 and nothing to eat all day—no family to bring him any they hate him because he is not “reech.”
Letters and comments galore on the last issue. My letter C. Lemon says a stroke of journalistic genius. We didn’t know it at the time but seems to be so—
Caesar came in last night but I didn’t see him. Seems to be worrying about something. J.Q. wrote us a nice answer—no scolding—no fault finding—said he couldn’t ask the guarantors to renew because he was too busy—that Mart could. He couldn’t renew himself as he had put $2000 into the thing in the last two years—and had too many demands. Old Mr. Yeats has had the pneumonia and he had to stand expenses.64 Speaking of pneumonia Allan is so devoted and can’t do enough to help us since he was ill. He has been living in Dizzie’s room since the middle of Thanksgiving week—
Send on some kind of markings for Weaver’s bottles—I had another burst from Emily yesterday—she sounds like an ass—let us hope it is the fault of the letters.
I am so tired now I can’t write any more. I will probably be here until 7 o’clock—and O the mess the house is in at home—
Love – j
There is a gap in the letters from 1918 to 1922. During this time, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap had ended their relationship. The letters of 1922 show that Heap was extremely upset about Anderson’s new relationship with Georgette Leblanc. They also indicate Heap’s first difficulties in adopting Anderson’s nephews and her continuing problems in getting financial support from their stepfather, Bill Card.
Dear Mother:— Berman called me this a.m.
He said he had a ghastly time at Georgette’s. He loathes her.
Raved about the frightful boredom of her performances. Said he was
wrong in his pre hand diagnosis that she is not youthful but void—
had a gland known as the interest destroying gland. “Oh horrible,
horrible” said he. . . .
Am I often wrong?
[Postmarked June 28, 1922]
I am horrified at you having to go to California. Carol goes Thursday. Mart goes Friday to Brookhaven for the 4th.2 I go to town tomorrow (?) to mail the magazine!
There is too much to write and tell, wait until I am alone and then I’ll write a real letter.
Georgette came & Caesar came & Louise & Allan etc. & Mart has been in town 4 days twice. So you see—too much chaos—3 I saw Joanna & Jimmy.
Don’t tell anyone that I wrote Karen until later—never anyone who could tell my family.4
I have the ice cream parlor in the back yard ready to make into a room.
I will send you the number of the L. R. in case it should meet a bad fate.
[Postmarked July 24, 1922]
I will make every effort to keep this from being a chronicle of a cat . . . it is difficult. There is so much to write that I dare not begin. First:——I had a letter from Wilda she is going to Los Angeles this week—wants of course to see you . . . you know how I hate those family parties? Couldn’t you see her for tea in town? Mamma and Papa are at Long Beach . . . I hate to have you see them I am afraid they are looking very old . . . I can’t have even you see them at a disadvantage . . . they will be glad to see you though and hear about me don’t tell them any thing . . . especially Wilda. Edna writes that she is a hell-cat in a soft coat and don’t leave a copy of the L. R. about if she should come out to the house.
The trouble she could make about “Karen”!! Mamma’s address is 623 American Ave. Long Beach. You understand all these injunctions. . .Wilda is a person motivated by jealousy. It seems that Wm. has made some money in oil—I wish he would send an allowance to us each month—wouldn’t that be something for him to do though? Look well at the baby and tell me if Wilda is trying to make her commonplace—God knows her father is no decadent asset. There has been some response to the L. R. not in the press—except a notice in the Times supplement. Private correspondence full of praise. The printer sent me an hysterical bill— ($200 too much) I am fighting it to the last cent. I am tired of non-business methods from business men. I spent the whole day yesterday figuring out and making a statement—I can fight when I am sick enough of a thing.
. . . I have never rested an hour yet. Sometimes I work 16 hours with only half hour for lunch and dinner. The tea house will be charming when finished. I hope the end of this month will see some of the mechanical things finished.
Mart and I had a row again—she took an axe and broke open my trunk (which I had locked to protect my things from moths and when I am gone) took all kinds of things and threatened to go for good . . . I am not B. Card—if the Anderson family has only one mean small talent— running away—I want them to exercise it.5 I let her go with much silent help—and I think it is a lesson—she wrote a pathetic letter from the train—which I answered with no cordiality—and no pleas . . . I was merely out of it—She has been gone since last Wednesday morning. You would never believe how thoroughly she has eliminated herself from my life with this conduct . . . I am happy and rested when I am alone.
Joanna left $100 with me when she left—saying this will do for the summer—Geezus—I think perhaps I’ll hear again?
Carol comes back two weeks from today—which fills me with despair I want the place alone!—is that selfish? I haven’t asked Djuna out—but I want Gladys and Louise—good old Louise—plough horse,—but good to us in the winter—Can’t—and a hard worker.
There is trouble with Louise—I wrote her a letter that will make her look for a map of herself. I told her that I couldn’t lend myself to the rare joys of the commonplace—my spirit was too ill made—I have not the psychic vitality of the alert second-rate . . . that an intense sense of humor kept me from enjoying people who habitually and comfortably expressed themselves in pure music, pure poetry, pure light, pure artistic temperament etc. Allan writes this morning that he too is off her. Too brassy, too much on the make. Allan writes that now he knows himself—Oh-la-Oo- la la—I answer—You will always be like an Aeolian harp set in a boudoir balcony. (You know they make music by the wind blowing on the strings? interwoven & indefinite) Louise it seems tries to find out about people’s intimate lives and then uses that to hold them later—Allan warns me! She could as easily decipher my intimate life as read the publicity on mummy cases.6 Mart it seems can have no private life—it is all publicity . . . Enough…
Miriam Kiper has a Son—do you believe in the infinite patience of Fate.
When the little shoes came—the cat seized them and ran away with them—do we know what’s who’s? We call him Salome—because he played so extravagantly one whole forenoon with a birds head. He looks like Alice:—the tail quivers etc.—but he is so naughty—my life is a torment. He bites my toes when I am dressing—he follows me about into tools and paints and attacks my legs and hair—then when I go inside to read or write he fights the book or pencil and reclines full length across the page—You gather that he is adorable! I have read “Wanderer”—God how he painted that little mean town in which she was to die—and doesn’t he quote me exactly on the Swiss and on being paid in advance for all of it? One little thing that Mart forgot—at any time—if he had wanted to possess the woman he could have given up the play of being a labourer and as an author and a gentleman—have won her. That Norwegian mind is steadfast—how he carried out that idea of his to the letter— only failing that one time when he tried to see her at the hotel in Chris- tiania. There are gorgeous things in the book—Godlike and childlike.7
Give Hattie and Florence my love—and don’t let them make you so happy that you will stay on so late that you can’t come here for a week. It must be good fun for Hattie to have some one to talk to and to get that dash of contemporary vice.
Love to you, j—(Jatty!)
[Postmarked July 31, 1922]
I write a little letter today—it is so cold in doors and I’ve hurt my right arm some way. Why did that lasie have to come just now—and I saw you three racing about together!8 Well I have a few troubles of my own. Mart comes home tomorrow or Tuesday to fight Windy with me. He has let some women put up a portable house on the shed side of our barn. We’ve got to talk our situation out this time I’ve got to hear no more about “Going”.
Alice Miriam died last Saturday night operation for appendicitis—at once.
My flowers are beginning to bloom—am I happy. . . ? You should see me in the garden with that cat—It tries to use me as a shade tree and reclines on the shady side when I move it fights me and lies down again— then it leaps at the leaves, the string for marking, at my legs and I am crazy. He sleeps by my ear and sometimes sucks it like a baby kitten . . . I loathe it but you’d think it all ‘darling’—he goes to sleep on the top step until I am ready for bed then leaps in with me. I whistle when I want him and he comes from the tops of trees. He opens the back door by himself but if it catches his tail he bites it—when he is bad and I yell at him he droops and acts crushed for a moment—you’d love that too. He bullies me all day and night—I’m a slave but I’m teaching him 50-50 now and he learns much better than Mart. When Mart gets home we’ll take some pictures of everything.
At last I’ve read Chrome Yellow clear through. Isn’t it rather banal after all? You know there is lots more interesting material and isn’t there a lot of cliches in it?9 They want me to write for Vanity Fair my explanations of the “incoherent phases” of modern art and literature—I ask them are there “incoherent phases”? Did you know that Lydia Steptoe is Djuna?10
A note from Ezra—very much alive—
There is a lot of appreciation for the last issue—and it is selling at the Washington Square—35 copies so far. I want the next one to be better— of course the Apolonair [sic] is a drawing card but it’s the monkey business too.11
. . . Will write soon again—Love, j
[Postmarked September 17, 1922] [Brookhaven]
I am glad you are home again . . . I can write to you now. Brookhaven seems like a sunken village that one can’t emerge from even in letters. (Our cat finds this the moment to be amorous)—Mart is in town—has been since last Thursday week—”Geo” was out for almost a week and it was inconceivable—she makes Martie simply bla and void—such disorder and irregularity and commonplaceness can’t be gone into.12 Carol is here lying on Mart’s bed—we went on an adventure last night and in our excitement I swung the front wheels of “Birdie” against her ankles and she is a bit sore today—
Mrs. Kneeland writes that she has to give up her apartment—Oct. 1st—which means that I have to find one and collect my things by that date . . . (I was quite dressed up when I started this letter—blue trousers, silk sweater, black velvet coat but now I am a mess of white hair—he grows large and amorous apace). I don’t know what I can do about living quarters—of course Mart swears that she is going to live by herself— which means that she’ll lose a lot of things and disturb everyone’s life for months. I am thinking of taking a place large enough to rent two rooms to Carol—I couldn’t live in a place like Mrs. Matthews now—where everyone shares one bath—I could of course but . . .
I have had cards and letters galore from Jim & Elsa—wasn’t Elsa’s Paris letter amazing—I didn’t know that anyone thought of that playing around, of the Cafe Grisettes, as prostitution. Jim seems awfully dull to me.
. . . Never a word from Olive.
I enclose a snap of the cat—a doll. Not very good.
Come soon enough to see all the flowers—
It is dark and cold now—I’ll write more now and oftener
Much love to you—Jatty
[Postmarked October 14, 1922]
There is an hour before dinner—I am alone—It is quite far gone and windy outside. A fire in the dining room—which smokes parmpilly [sic]— the boy on the rug.
Martie returned last Friday night bringing “G” they stayed until Monday am. Carol went away Wednesday a.m.
I don’t know where or for how long—she never says. Mart wants to come home tomorrow and bring Allan for the weekend. I asked her to come and work on the magazine but not to bring Allan—she’ll bring him. I’m too amazed at the way people act about this place—it was Allan who called Mart up and asked her to come with him—Mart comes and goes at will—and Carol just stays and stays—with no hint of it being unusual—even got funny last week when Mart said she was coming. I got [illegible] Carol on Sunday and didn’t talk for two days— she was going to town anyway on Wednesday—I wrote her how the boy comes for a petting—a letter to read on the train. She’s got to have more interest and be more interesting or she won’t get on in New York—She’s a good little helper—but I don’t want to be forced to work every minute to give someone a role. Perhaps I was too vigorous but I was through with patience.
Yes—we did seem to have a scanty visit—I was ill too—am yet—last week I could scarcely crawl about—and Carol in bed one day with the same troubles—but we gave her a lot of aspirin and she is better. It seems a dream that my family was here. Of course I fret now because I didn’t get them a good meal. But you and I will have a party soon and much talk—too bad you can’t be here now—. . . I didn’t want you and Martie to go away that morning. We had had such a gay evening it seemed that we could have had days of discussion—Mart said she loathed the days in town that week because she wanted to be back. I need to talk. I have to come in some day before the 20th—but I’ll be tied up I fear with printers.
Ben Hecht writes that he’s been arrested for Fautazries—may mean 5 yrs—They say he willfully wrote the obscenest [sic] book he could think of. I’ll send it to you and Gargoyles—when I’ve read them.13 No word from Joanna—Isn’t she rather amazing—says she’ll take care of my summers and then sends me one check in the middle of August—Mart says she’s looking for some houses for us—but she isn’t
Ezra has gone into the publishing game—going to print your little friend Hueffer’s “Men and Women” etc.14 I am a bit low tonight. So forgive the dullness of this letter please—
Love to you and don’t get too tired—have your room papered at once.
-j- [Postmarked November 6, 1922]
I want to thank you for my birthday—so much of it! The handkerchief is charming—the lantern a blessing for the rest of the world.
. . . I was in town on my birthday hunting for a place to live. I called up Elsa’s house thinking you might be in—wasn’t it rotten—we could have had tea.
. . . The Picabia reads very well—I think too some of it is rather too primer—We may have to cut it in one place—Thanks a thousand times. I am enclosing a poem by P— de Massot which I feel is very naughty—will you just type it and the note and not translate the Anonyme?—if you can’t make out all of the de Massot I’ll have Duchamp make it clear—Send it back by return mail if you can’t read it.15
We are looking at a 4 story and basement house on 11th Street—Joanna does nothing—
The struggle with the nature here is incessant.
It is getting cold here. I must stop—I have sewed until I am blind—
Much much love Your — Jatty
Sunday [November 14, 1922] [Brookhaven]
God knows when we will get into town—perhaps tomorrow a.m. a letter from the agent will decide things. I am neurasthenic about everything. I can’t compose the place for the winter and I can’t start things in town. Don’t imply that I am going to take roomers—the agent won’t let us have the house if we let it get abroad. I want people who will stay 3 yrs.
This is Elsa’s foursome A = Elsa A B
B = Man
C = Wife C D
D = Mistress
(I am glad she is staying in N.Y. now her mind appalling) I don’t care if Joanna goes to Hawaii probably with the Columns—E’s paper has been running for 30 yrs under that name—see Joyce’s Ulysses— she helped him before16—What ails Jimmy? Joanna cares for me but something is eating on her says she’s unhappy. She won’t help us much more—You are going to found the Inter-Arts—my dear.17
I need $500 more . . . this minute—I’ll get it from Stickney Grant—did you ever feel that you and he would be founding Art Centres? I enclose coupon from L. R.—don’t waste it18—
Thanks for clippings—I’m going to speak to Sherwood in the next L. R.
Why don’t you say anything about the Hall-Mills murder—I’ve followed it with intensity from the first headlines—It’s a whale of a case—our only indoor sports—Mart, Carol and I are doped with it19—
Mart is in town—impresario for G whose affairs are moving well. M. is absolutely crazy about the house—draws rooms and writes details of decoration by the ream…
No more tonight—much love to you and I’ll let you know the minoot I get to town—
Again love — j
Only two letters exist for 1923. They deal with Heap’s adoption of Anderson’s nephews Fritz and Tom Peters.
[Postmarked October 12, 1923] [Brookhaven]
They came before we had even a start on the dishes—took the boys to Madame D’Arca’s to (their Uncle Dick and Mabel came without Pete) Uncle Dick is a sorry sight for the extra deluxe club man that we were led to expect.20 However, they asked for the boys for the night—Pete to bring them home the next day. I let them go, of course. It seems that they hadn’t told Pete that they were bringing them—and at the station— Smith—when they saw Pete getting off the train—the boys hid out behind the door in the car—they leapt out when he opened the door—much excitement is being deduced from the situation . . . vicarious sex on the part of Mrs . . . she seems a small thing zero, to me. It was not all too happy, I gather, mother-in-law found them too unrestrained—their report of her was marvelous. Pete said that both he and Uncle Dick should rather the boys stay with me than ever think of his place to stay with them. Uncle Dick was in doubt several times while here—a bit condescending, I thought. “The are very well brought-up boys, don’t you think?” I felt like saying—”Are you surprised that your nephew would choose a woman who didn’t chew gum and eat with her knife?” . . . Also he said to Pete that I had a strong fine head. Pete tells me over and over how glad he is that I have them. All right—then he may come across. He talked finances and decided on $200.00 per month. He won’t hear of a boarding school even if it were free—And the more I see of them, the more I am with him. They come again Saturday and again for Tom’s birthday I think that’s the way it is. Mart doesn’t come on the Leir but rather on the Paris—sailing Saturday.21 Had a “beautiful” letter from Bill today—he sends his love to you and asks that I tell you how much he loves you for being so good to Lois. Linda goes there to stay for several days, even ten—until Bill can move into town.22
. . . Went to Patchogue Monday, got my affairs started at Willy Kuig’s and did some trading at Mrs. Barteau’s. Went up again today—(the boys along) there was the new Jackie Coogan film—it was kiddies day and, my dear, 300 terrific cripples were brought in free by the Elks—also our kids being the only able-bodied men present—fell headlong over each other in the middle of the lobby coming out—causing a ghastly laugh from bystanders.
. . . I just can’t write. There are too many questions about spellings of words and too much talk in general. I am again forcing them to write to their mother.
How are you feeling now? Jeezus—Fritz is doing a Barney Google stunt. Good night
Love to you j
[Postmarked October 16, 1923] [New York]
The boys have gone to Pete’s for Tom’s birthday. We are having a party here when Mart comes—at the end of the week. I am glad they are gone to Pete’s as no presents have arrived for him—his mother wrote that she sent hers Saturday—too bad. Mart comes on the Aquitania—cable the other day . . . did you see Georgette—Sunday Times—in the “Inhuman”.23 Did you ever know of anyone so fatal about names . . . They will call her the “inhuman” at once and oh the jokes! Pete has flunked—no money anywhere—just says he’s sorry—there was Uncle Dick—rich and old—and there are the aunts’ estates—but lamely and weakly he says—I can’t do anything—now watch me snatch those boys away from their amusement. I’ll make excuses and finally say that Lois won’t have it.
. . . Much love to you -j-
The talcum and the cigarettes have just come in the same mail—thousand thanks—but you shouldn’t—shouldn’t have
This was a pivotal year for Heap. She founded Little Review Gallery at 66 Fifth Avenue and was excited about the exhibits of Man Ray, Charles Demuth, Kurt Scwitters, and other exhibits she organized. It also marks her introduction to the ideas of Gurdjieff. A. E. Orage, former editor of the British journal The New Age had come to New York in December 1923 to meet with American artists and intellectuals who would be interested in an upcoming Gurdjieff trip to the United States. Heap and Anderson were immediately galvanized. Although her first trip to France was in 1923, she returned in the summer of 1924 with Tom and Fritz in tow to study at Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man outside Paris.
[Postmarked January 2, 1924] [New York]
Wonder will this get you before you leave? I don’t know how to let down anymore—or write on anything. Carol is gone now too. I am trying to do so many things—Dinner for 8 on New Year’s eve and Carol departing— Tom went to his father’s for part of the week—Fritz stayed with me. I’ll tell it all to you later. Mart wasn’t rowing with me—but write “them kids”—I won’t stand for that—she can do what she can to me—but hands off the boys—that’s how it is. I never heard such old fashioned dope as Lois pulled in a letter to Fritz or as Mart slings about the place. I trimmed the beautifool Mabel too—and I’ve written a letter to Petie today that will rattle his ancestors bones—we’re moderns those boys and I. Much Christmas—much work, much happiness. Don’t bully me—I am going to a doc- tor—I know I’m ill—I’m so optimistic or balmy about this stupendous undertaking that I know I’m about ready to leave it all. Dr. Strauss— that’s it. Do you know that Olive wrote to me . . . for Xmas.
I’ve seen Rosenberg—he’s coming to tea tomorrow or next day—and I’ve a letter from Dr. Grant to Mr. Auerbach.24 We may get help before we go down for the third time . . .
. . . You know that Steinert may come in handy. Lois may be able to sell it to pay Tom’s funeral expenses—both kids are threatened with diabetes—doctors are needed and tests daily the lambs have left all candy and sugar alone for the whole time—oh, it’s a long story.
Mart’s living here—she says—quite sick I think—we get on all right. A home, a hotel, trains, publics and clothes—Perfect!!! broad and ample movement at last!—my word.
Come in soon and give us the news of your Christmas
Much love —jatty
Remember me to Elsa and tell Olive it’s unfair to make one love her so.
Mart was trying to train Fritz that’s what at war about—but I’m the trainer and they recognize me as such—instinctively and enthusiasti- cally—she had to give in —j
[Postmarked January 8, 1924]
—You better come right here and let us take care of you. Don’t let Elsa and Lois get you out of coming back. You can always come to your N.Y. home if you can’t make it in Tarrytown. Thought Berman said your thyroid was not working: was tired of compensating and was worn out. Come here for a day or so before you begin work—it will make it easier. Carol went away New Year’s day to be gone until Feb. her room is free and you may have it. Carol didn’t call you up when she went through because she had but 3 hours, had to eat and give a lesson, call Mrs. Zeisler—but on the other hand she was furious about Lois and didn’t want to call her up so avoided letting everyone know she passed through. I have just come from the printer, every last bit of stuff finished for the issue—Mart read proofs—and is very enthusiastic about the issue—even got Georgette to help with the French—I wrote some comments and am making a poem that will make you laugh. I stayed up until 2:45 last night working, up again at 7:30 so if I am not brilliant put the blame on the L.R. Mart is very gentle and good to me—was so surprised, bowled over by my decorations (exhibits) that she came back hard . . . wants to be in on all of it. We had Rosenberg for tea Saturday—and later our sweet friend and playfellow Dr. Grant; I have the Man Ray show up now and some beautiful, gorgeous machine objects—a Stella, 2 Demuths, 1 Bouche and 1 Sheeler, a McFee to come.25 The Times has given us an article, Underwood & Underwood came to photograph us this a.m. and the N.E.A. are taking a story on the Man Rays. The Kentons were in for tea yesterday and Stella came last night—I am sending out cards and am advertising this Man Ray show—open every day from 3 to 6 p.m. or 2 to 5.26 All I need is money—I hope you sent Joanna’s flowers back. So that is what I am doing besides calling up publishers, seeing people and getting the meals. Mart went away yesterday to Nashville—so now there are only 4 of us—Caesar has no job as yet—no I am not frantic. I’ve got him washing the dishes: the only thing he can do without blundering.
Didn’t we thank you for your Xmas . . . Well, we are swine. I want to get fur for a hat with my money or a winter coat. Or a pair of shoes. You are a baby. You know how happy Tom was with his pen and I got a box of stationery for Fritz that said—”For the gentleman” on the cover. They have written you letters which they don’t seem to get mailed.
I am off Bill and Lois—I shall write soon and tell them about the boys. Lois hasn’t the grace to ask how the boys are going to school this month. A piano in an apartment hotel!—and this moving about is so good for Lois—ask her if I am to get the $90.00 for the boys out of the $200.00 that they save?
Carol was furious because they spend so much money on themselves and sent me no present—But she’s off them anyway. I don’t care—but they had a Xmas at my expense in a way—I couldn’t send out one thing— but if I land any money I shall buy you a present that will give you pep and the energy you want.
This started out to be a note. I’ll write more tomorrow or Thursday. I have to make dinner now—Love to you and we’re holding our trunks for you . . . and we loved your Christmas box—and we’re swine—for not saying so—We’ll look for you next Monday—Love from the household— and from me, much love—
I can’t write a long letter because I am so pushed—but—a little news
……….. Went to Muriel’s dinner to see Orage (once editor of New Age)
he is here making a John the Baptist stunt about Gurdjieff (the Tertium Organum) so much to tell—I am in on the front row of the show—very exciting—Gurdjieff landed Monday . . . I go tonight to hear Orage again.27 Have asked McCall’s if I may make a story for them? McFee was here for hours yesterday—Hart Crane too—there is a great stir in the Secession Group—Broom etc over Ernest Boyd’s article in the Mer- cury.28 The L.R. is ready to print—God how I have worked—but I haven’t a cent to get paper or pay for the cuts—last issue isn’t paid for and I have to scare Singer every time I see him to make him go on. Paid the rent yesterday $825.00 since Nov. 15. Caesar has no job yet—the boys have just two more weeks in school and then———————– ? Fritz has no shoes etc. Mart comes home tonight—airily—not a cent our way. She didn’t have $1000 this summer, only 14,000 frs. outside her expenses— I had Caesar send the Transatlantic to you—thought you might be interested . . .
Bring Elsa back with you—I need her to serve tea for our guests. Broom has been suppressed—I fear Rosenberg won’t help because we had to turn down a mss.29
When will you be able to come back? Lois to the boys this a.m. says you are coming there to dinner the end of the week . . .
Write us when you feel like—and we’ll all come to meet you.
Loads of love -j- al
[January 22, 1924]
Dear Mother —
I find myself out of ink—Do you mind? Your letter came late Thurs. p.m.—and the money order—if Lois sends me any I’ll send this back—or if I draw any from Auerbach or anywhere but I don’t dare draw all out of the bank. I’ve got to keep up the look of money—today I went out and got 30 days credit on the paper for the issue and I pulled off a 30 days credit on the cuts. $119.00. That’s about $500.00 on the issue and I’ve got to get money some wheres—I think I’ll try to borrow on the notes at Singers. All this is better than 16th or 8th Street anyway—the house is warm and isn’t sordid in any way. The boys exclaimed and got red in the face with anger at Lois when I told them that you had sent money for Fritz’s shoes. They have jeered and scolded about Linda’s fur coat and Xmas, until yesterday they broke out and sassed their mother—I didn’t know anything about it until they read me their efforts—It seems that she has told them about too many things that are being bought for Linda so they wrote—”we’ve heard enough about the fur coat—if you have any extra ones—put a couple of mothballs in them and send them on to us” etc.—perhaps a bit stiff but I never censor their letters. Tom has had a falling out with Pete—It seems that Pete asked him if he believed in God and that Mabel made him pray and asked him a lot of questions—etc. So when he was invited again he wrote—”I don’t want to be polite and I don’t want to go to church and pray”—Pete bungled and didn’t get the love of either kid. I think he’ll try again. Uncle Dick is rather sweet— sends down a lot of trash from time to time. Hasn’t sent any more money but I think I’ll write to him about it. Tom said “isn’t Florence the sturdy little helper?”—now sturdy is just the word—
I had the Hemingways and a friend of theirs to dinner Friday night— after dinner—we went to the Provincetown—it isn’t done—that’s all . . . old fashioned stuff from Strindberg at that—we left after the second act and went to a prize fight at Madison Square Garden—Mart was so “thrilled”—Saturday night she took us to a movie and to chop suey—we saw Buster Keaton in “Hospitality” and Will Rogers in “Uncensored Movies”—you should see him do Tom Mix.
. . . I’ve had to talk to Caesar about his slackness he did the dishes in such dirty water that I gagged and when I told him to have clean water, made those rotten cheap excuses—he never does anything beyond the easiest thing to do. He has just slumped on everything—said yesterday “I wish you’d get a subsidy and hire me—” I guess he is hopeless—God knows that I have tried to defend him and take care of him—but it won’t do—This is one thing he did that seems too incredible—He had bought stamps for the boys during November: when he was throwing away his money—and when he heard that the boys each got 29 pennies from Uncle Dick for Christmas (for the stocking) with a bill and took 25 cents a piece away from them. Of course I intended to pay him for those stamps when our accounts were settled—but that, to me, is indicative of a craven, cowardly soul. I don’t know how that sounds to you—but to me it makes everything hopeless. One day he said to Carol—as he was putting his clothes in the wash, “I’m keeping track of my laundry—this is the third time” . . . considering that the expenses are over $500.00 per month without the magazine—etc. Carol came into my room and hissed with rage. He has started a hunt for a job—but he won’t get a good one—people can tell that he is inaccurate and full of failures—He has the “eating in the kitchen” attitude about life. What do you think?
. . . It must be too heartbreaking to lie in your “B” and hear Mary singing Louise & the Juggler.
Well my little Siki—here’s more brawn to you—and we’ll keep that date—
Loads of love — jatty.
[February 1, 1924]
—There has been so much—I am sending this special so that you will know that it is circumstance not inattention etc. My dear we have been around to the exhibitions—Terrificale, Sauash [?] and others . . . Yesterday I talked from 2 p.m. until 2.45 a.m.—and got breakfast this a.m. at 8:15—the children never are disturbed, no matter . . . Tom says—”I shall never go back to my mother because I can’t grow there. I mean, well you know, Jane I can’t grow clear through—and be a Viking.” and Fritz . . . “of course we aren’t going back—you ass—we’re soon going to be beyond Lois and Bill”—also—”does Mart know anything?” I see steady and rather intricate building-in with Tom—Fritz is another matter . . . so cagey and narcissistic—but he suffers. We have done a devilish bit of work with Lawrence for Bill—and all the while I was doing something to Bill . . . I am getting the lawyer to make L. tell Bill to give me the tuition for the kids. I don’t believe L. won’t let Bill give it—so I say to Weinberger—protect Bill but force the issue of the kids.30 Well that’s a long story and has taken too much time and energy. Mart and I made up a telegram that got L. crazy—”Weinberger ill if we must we’ll get Quinn to represent kids—We insist upon seeing you—do not hope to slack— . . . .” Lois will tell you how he called Bill, long distance asking to have us called off—and then after a conference with “W” we sent this fellow up “All right if you won’t see us privately—I am delighted to make it public.” God, but that scared him—the contract will be made to Bill’s satisfaction etc. but Bill isn’t safe from me if he has lied or if he doesn’t come across with that tuition. The kids talk about “our lawyer”—and are so confident that their little old interests are being protected—it is almost asinine to watch them.
Now dear it doesn’t matter whether there is a Swedish Ballet or a Russian Art Theatre or any of those things. Gurdjieff is the thing. But that’s too much for a letter. The intelligentsia is kookoo and dazed— Orage spoke again the other night—I told you about the demonstration called “Movement” didn’t I—? No advertising—no admission—and people go about with their eyes fixed and their tongues out—trying to get an invitation. Orage told me I was to be in on some all-night ses- sions—I am in the innerest circle because I have known about it longest and because I am I—Israel came last night and talked for hours and today I am in a weird psychic state. Israel sounded childish and groping and only on the verge . . . of things that Orage throws into the past as self evident unnecessary or dangerously unuseful. Let the man be a Charlatan or a devil—but we have had the leap and the hippodrome of new ideas and sights. I don’t rave about this—I have been waiting for it and it comes in a highly satisfactory way—that’s all. I’ll save every point for you. I am being thrashed about a bit—because this is the ten years since I knew Alixe—you see in the Gurdjieff system.31 Time is the dimension in which we are now held—I have had an experience which broke through the time dimension—but which nevertheless took place in Time—it was what the layman calls a miracle—and is unreconciled because we can’t handle miracles—have no vocabulary, no technique or acceptance or poise about them—in other words—the superreal should happen as often as the common-real, but it doesn’t—and even the one miracle happens to a very few—I’ll have a bad three or four months now—but as a man said to me yesterday—”show these things to people who are not ready for them and they will turn and rend you”—and I said quite complacently—”why not be rent—nothing else is happening.”—you can imagine his amazement.
Mart is going to a doctor—taking thyroid and stomach pumps and is on a diet. I am trying to get to that same doctor—How is your great health? Have you had a letter from Mart? She has been talking about it for over a week.
. . . Lois writes that you are looking well—but where is your strenthgth (as Israel pronounces it).
Magazine ready tomorrow or Monday—Carol is back—Caesar has no job and is acting like a squashed worm—disgusting and cowardly—putting his inferiority upon our actions—Geezus—He’ll have to go—
Muriel Draper’s older boy was run over by a motor—and is in a dangerous condition. The Stetheimmens [sic] came to the show here yesterday. The clothes of them!32
My great love to you— [Postmarked Madison Square Station, June 17, 1924]
Have to write with pencil—have been addressing and am too tired of pen. Pardon—and take notice—please. Carol and my sweetie got off Saturday no flurry—. all well and good—can’t say I am lonely—that’s been done— I walked up through Lincoln Park on decoration day—1914—and finished that staring into hell—forever. Of course I am cut off—but work— there is miles of it to do. Came home from the boat and did our accounts for the season—we have spent about $3500 in seven months—of which Caesar gave 285.00. Then I cut out and fitted a skirt—got dinner and went to bed—Muriel & Alice R—ran in about 10:30—and I got up— dressed and sat with them for hours—Sunday your letter came about fight with Lois—Good—but Bill paid only two months tuition—and now sent me—$185.00 not $200.33 You won’t see her—I am thinking—don’t tell her when we expect to jump off?—Another letter from you today—with P.O.—order from Elsa—my dear what about Bob—ain’t she married? I am not telling anything.
The boys and I have been out scouting today.
They are crazy about being alone with me—work hard—and well and beg to go with me everywhere—Tom is engaged to Sveltana—I haven’t told Fritz—we are going yet—he’d be too chaotic.34
Went to tea with Lady Rothermere—we are the little Pals—she lent me $500.00 on my rug commissions and we are having a rendezvous in Paris and she is taking me to London to talk over things with Eliot—I stayed home—and if it had not been Olgivanna’s last night here—I should have stayed to dinner and have gone to her boat with her—she sailed at midnight on the Olympic.35
Don’t repeat the following—
I got a lot of very inside dope on that murder myself—Loeb is the crimi- nal—they have killed and castrated, burned houses, robbed, etc. for a long time. Loeb is not a homo but the other one is not a criminal. Their families want them put away—scared to death of them—if they could not make a dicker with the state they’d pay to have them put up for life or in asylums—all the best psychiasts (sp?) in the country are being hired— Loeb had a nurse who is supposed to have raped him before he was 14— and made him what he is—etc—all this from Bachrach—and you are to keep it silent—because he would kill Israel—for telling me—
Israel takes Brookhaven and the cat—. We haven’t rented this place— but Muriel may take it at $100.00 better than buying all sorts of things for it and then being cheated perhaps. There are so many things to do and the magazine!!!
It is now midnight and I am so tired—Give Elsa my love—and try to let Joanna know about Lady Rothermere (not about the $500) just that I’m playing with her—
I’ll let you know my next move—as soon as I know—
Lots of love and Goodnight Jatty
You know that I haven’t slept for months and months—and the last 6 weeks have been 22 to 27 hours to each day—
Cunard Line Beregania June 25 Off
We started half an hour in terrific sunshine—now we are going down the harbour in a rain that has turned the sky green and the sirens are screaming in the dense steaming fog—I have lost track of the boys— they are too excited—no hats open shirts and little grey trousers. Alice R. came down with us and Louise was somewhere—It is hard to think yet such stress—the boys never flagged on the job—helping every moment—Tom is really good got his own passport this a.m. Someone got in our state room by mistake—we will change—3rd class looks al- right—the people are just biological specimens of a different dress— Lunch and dinner with Orage and part of the night—they want me badly at Fountainebleau to work with Orage next year—not for Joe— not for Joseph—Baby went to Israel’s to go to Brookhaven Monday— Israel is a fool—Orage says a man who has never looked at himself in a certain way can have no dignity. Orage said many harsh things about my Olgivanna but they were the things that one could easily say about any woman of that type. I happen to like the type I am wary though and not either the idiot or Roshogin. Magazine mailed—bad job of printing—
Didn’t rent the apartment What a life—
Give Elsa my love and thanks I’ll write to her on this little boat—
Much love and many thoughts for you Mother dear—— j
[Postmarked July 2, 1924] Cunard Line
Sunday a.m.—you know an a.m. that begins at 7:00 and after hours is 9:05. It is raining and there are crowds in the writing room. Nothing is very bad from a Gurdjieff point of view—revaluing values etc. but it is nothing for the lazy man to try. There are some college people on board (3rd class) but I haven’t spoken to a soul, but the boys since Wednesday. The gifts to the boat made us look like millionaires, your flowers are on our table—gladiolas and our state room full of fruit. Alice Robinson gave the boys much fruit and Louise sent me a huge bon voyage basket from Park & Telford. We will never get to Cherbourg by Tuesday. We run into one fog after another and have to slow down. If I had a fortune I should never take one’s these big boats no fun no sense of the waves—it is so tremendous that it goes on like the 20th Century and never varies. The dining room is bad. There are not enough steamer chairs for half the people. We had none—but in the evening we take empty ones and sit out after the others are in bed. Lovely baths every night in rooms with port holes—sea air and sea water. The boys are weird—Tom’s fear of other boys turns him into a third class speci- men—they are so dirty—begrimed and disheveled beyond any of the really 3rd class children. I’ll never have enough clothes to get us to France. (Lois stuff of fraternizing with the most common people around.) . . . I don’t get it—The children can go anywhere they please on the boat—(I mean these kids) because of their clothes. I have done nothing about Flora S. and your dear Ford—M—Ford is on the boat too—Orage tells me. Shall see him in Paris. After one day in Paris I shall shoot the boys out to Gurdjieff’s, they will be able to do sights better at the end of the trip. Two officers were speaking of them near me last night—and this is the opinion “nice looking little chaps—but no head—they’re got not head—the pity”
It’s fun to hear all the different British accents.
There is a Hindu with an amazing turban Indian and oh the other people. I think the differences in class can be briefly put in Joycean lan- guage—the difference in the quantity of spit. I sleep two or three hours every day and think hours on the Gurdjieff idea. Orage said to me “love you are just a public institution now. You are in the power of a despot which is the sum of your personalities which says “Won’t” to everything.” It’s all true but do I want anything else? I’ll have to give Olgivanna up—see that—too much type to adjust ————
There are 400 of us to land at Cherbourg?—how we will do it in that packet is more than I know. I’ll write when I have been to Fontainebleau. I enclose part of a letter from Mart—Much love
[July 19, 1924]
I haven’t written because things have been so disturbed—We got here Wednesday nite—no Mart to meet us—so we went to her hotel, she wasn’t there and no address—after getting a room we walked to the rive gauche to “G’s” apartment. They had gone and no address. Next a.m. we went to Guarantee Trust and no trace—saw the Vails who said Mart was having her picture taken by Man Ray that p.m. raced to Man Ray’s and he didn’t have her address—so then went to look for Djuna who might have it—Have I written all this only once? My poor mind is so whirling. We found Mart for dinner Thursday and played with her all day Friday— took the boys to the Tomb of Napoleon I and to Eiffel tower—to chop suey & then to Calagari. Saturday we went to Fontainebleau—we had a beautiful weekend there. Mart was too funny, sailing about in her grand clothes and guest manner. The place is too lovely—lovely chateau, old furniture and many fountains. We had to leave just as a feast was being prepared—(a whole sheep buried in the ground in ashes) much wine. Ol- givanna was in the kitchen—and couldn’t play with me . . . resented Mar- tie and is too much under the institute rules to be herself . . . all changed from N.Y. On Monday Carol came in to town for a concert by George and Ezra.36 Amazing music—she went home Tuesday p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. a gendarme came to the Institute to say that Gurdjieff had been found unconscious and smashed up in his car in the middle of F. Forest.37 There was excitement and much weeping—he was taken to the hospital for two days and then home—was unconscious until Sunday nite—con- cussion of the brain. I went out for the weekend and it was hushed and sad there. I talked a few moments to Olgivanna—something had gone wrong—she is “afraid to bring life into institute” she says—but I think something has made her jealous or angry—or unhappy—she acts very strange and is very appealing. The boys are tanned and happy. Fritz working better in all ways than Tom. I had a long talk with them in the night before they left for F. and told Fritz that he had crawled back into his mother’s womb and had become a girl trying to avoid his job and he was impressed and is trying to be born. The complaint about them at F. is that they talk too much and insist on being with the grown-ups. When “G” is well that will be changed. G. is better this week but can’t leave his room. Carol and Jessie came in to town with me on Monday and stayed until Wed. p.m.38 We did July 14th together. Merry-go-rounds etc. just a grand debauch—I am going to F. this week end (today) but I am going to try not to go to the institute. I am going to Martha’s—(two miles away)—I have had some delightful visits with Joyce who explained his new book to me—found and many hours with G. Stein—played with Djuna—met Ford Madox—(the wheezing walrus)—and many new people. Tzara is away and I have seen none of my sweet poets—It’s all women this year young and pretty and naughty and we have seen the Queen of Lesbia— the woman to whom Remy de Gourmont dedicated L’Amazon—I am meeting Arthur Symons—Ha ha—and so it goes—The descriptions of the Lesbians home must wait—”too delicious”.39 Mart went to the high Pyrenees last Sat.—Saw the preview of Georgette’s film yesterday—it is absolutely a different stunt—rotten story—but breathless sets and movement. I am playing with Lady’s Rothermere protege a lot—she is lovely english or scotch going to the country with her and “Tails”—We drink too much—but we are funny. The registered letter came yesterday— Thanks. I’ll look for the dress—next week.
Saw Bob Koop only for a moment—she has gone away—looked happier.
Give my love to Olive and tell her that I should like to play with her here once.
Tell Elsa got her message on the back of your letter and I’ll write someday soon.
I don’t want to come back to America—it is too beastly difficult but I has to.
I will write oftener now the first press has let up—I’ll try to send some snapshots & some books soon—
Much love———– jatty
The food is good at I. [Institute] great amount of two dishes only each meal.
[Postmarked August 12, 1924]
Here I am at Sauer’s again—Came out Saturday night with Mart and after a wild week in town. Last weekend Allan and his German friend came out and we had a Brookhaven time—except that there were 3 servants in the kitchen! Allan sang and we had Mary Garden records, went on the river with lanterns we bought etc. Yesterday we went to the Institute took Carol, Sveltana and the kids up into the town for ice cream etc. I came back and spent part of the evening with the boys, then they walked along the river until we met Marta in a boat and had a concert on her little phonograph—then parted.40 I stayed out today because I worried so much last night. I’ve so many heart affairs that I get tied up all round the place. Last week one of them played with me two days before she went away—She is too amusing and charming— Came for me one a.m. went shopping then to lunch on a boat in the river (decorations by Poiret) after lunch took a boat out into the country to Longchamp’s, sat in a garden listening to jazz for some lazy happy hours, then back to town to change and off to Montmartre to dinner, after dinner taxi all over the place hunting a circus, failed and came back to hear Rognee Mueller in “Yo t’aime”—then sat in a boulevard cafe until the waiter piled chairs and tables around us and walled us in, talked in the bois for an hour and then each took the other home for several trips—she sends me white flowers—Olgivanna liked me yesterday but I haven’t tried to see her for two weeks, she hurts me, I left her last night when she wanted me to stay and I couldn’t sleep—for un- happiness.41 The kids are so lovely and happy—Fritz shines with joy in his work—They are working with a donkey in the stone pile and Tom is serving Mr. Gurdjieff when he needs a match or a drink of Vichy . . . and is he proud? “G” shows them how to cut down trees etc. He is still very weak, but is cutting and burning great trees to get back his strength. The boys should stay with him for a few years. I am sure of that. No plans about America yet—we won’t be home on Sept. 1st— too many things to do and people to see that are now out of town. Brancusi is gone—I have all my Gertrude material now and am going to come out here later in the week to set it down. How I love her—we had such charming hours together. Saw Hemingway the other day—He and I are trying to pull off something together. Lady R. is gone away but writes to me about Criterion—we are going to get the lists of the Transatlantic if it fails.42
No, George’s music is not swiped from anyone. Neither Bob Koop nor her husband have ever dipped into any of this kind of thing before [illegible] like hearsay.
Mart writes to me almost every day—and is very chummy—that’s what she thinks of Olgivanna. You’d think we were in the thick as beginning the L.R. the way she talks to me. She thought “O” good looking but was outraged because she had to work so hard.
I went to Martie about my newest flame and wrote a sing song that she sings—in answer to Mart’s “Devil, why don’t you write?”
“I’m in love again, I’m in love again
And my heart strings are strumming
I’m in love again & the spring time’s coming
And the time I’m humming is the
huddle up, cuddle up blues—
I’m in love again & I can’t rise above it
………………………. I love, love love it
………………………. I’m damn glad of it
and I’d written three letters that week . . . won’t she rave—but it’s better than all I’ve had to stand—and how I laugh. You should see Lady R. tear off a little flirtation with me in a Russian restaurant one night—throwing cigarettes across the room to me—my little friend was with her and my emanations were high, they tell me, and Lady R. thought they were for her—”Are there women in Paris this year?” O. O. O. Tell Olive there are.
Went to see Juan Gris Saturday—he gave me many things for the L.R. he’s the man next to Picasso—who knows how to paint.43 Saw Dodo and had a billionaire cocktail with him at the Continental, he is doing a ballet for Diaghilev—off to Monte Carlo—— . . . .44
I have tried to get your dress but everyone is appalled at the size. I’ll try other places with Marta—she knows everything.
I am glad the Macks came, it makes a better summer for you doesn’t it. Remember me to them with my love won’t you. I have been worried about Lois’s last letter—if I mistake not she should go to Wauwatosa asylum at once—
I wrote to her to go to Wauwatosa at once—now I have your letter— It’s no use—it’s too late from the beginning—don’t worry.45 There are other worse things if Bill does not chuck the whole show—? I had written to Mart 2 days before to cable to Lois to go to Wauwatosa I have written her again today I’ll write to her again in a day or so—go to see the kids again tomorrow send some snaps—I think Fritz is like Loeb—no emotional reaction—Love to you — j
Martha always comes in and interrupts so I’ll do more writing some other time Love—to you
[Postmarked October 22, 1924]
I don’t know where to send this but I’ll try Chicago—Everything is so chaotic that we don’t know when we can start home—about the first I hope—the kids are well and happy—Tom is too wonderful. His name is posted with the men as an outside workman. “G” has been away—gets back tomorrow—everything will be different from now on—Everyone is waiting—I cannot undertake to write you any of my adventures too many possibilities and drags on my time. I have started many letters to be taken away for days—I got the one with the two despondent ones in from Lois—I am tired of her problem—they hang onto us and are weak and unintelligent. I have big plans and a big life opening up this winter but I shudder when I think of trying to go it with Fritz. We are going to rent the boys room and move about generally—
Carol is in love with an Englishman who may take the room, don’t tell anyone. It might get to her people and spoil everything for her—God I’m glad—if it will rid her of some of her insupportable virginities.
I got drunk the other night—on vodka and the story of a boy who shot himself for love—(a friend of mine) and I was unconscious for hours and no one knew it—I talked, walked, and went to bed automatically and el- egantly—they say I talked like a person from another world—they all cried over the rhythm and Olgivanna said—”O she talked all sad things of our lives—like Gertrude Stein, repetition—and beautiful face with beautiful words and gentle tears.” They were awed the next day when I said I had been unconscious—all the time. But now it is bad—I go out and in from (on the streets and in conversation) consciousness—I pass out and stay out and then I come in with a strange light—I am supersensitive and breakable like glass. E.T. tried to comfort me—by playing to me on a ukulele a song Alixe sang me in party also on a ukulele!!!!!46
That’s all about that.
Olgivanna is in this hotel and there is much disturbance everywhere. When do you go to Tarrytown—I’ll let you know when I arrive—if I
can’t tell you when we sail—E.T. sails Tuesday. I’ll have a lot to tell—————–
Why does Olive never write? Give her my love—& Bessie—tell her I got her card. My plans are so interesting and I am so ineffectual—while everyone outside myself thinks I have the power of God.
Love to you——Jatty
Heap returned to New York in October of 1924 to publish the Little Review. She was back in France the following spring.
[No date, 1925]
Two more days and we will arrive. It has been a good trip—in the main. We got our stateroom changed to one upstairs, near the baths, towels, and just back of the dining room. It is larger with a porthole and the walls are enameled just the same as the walls in first class. We had to tip 50 francs to get it—but we are happy and comfortable. The meals are very good and are served by a man, from person to person—so there is none of the disagreeableness of last year. There is not much deck space be we have slept endlessly. Tom got seasick Sunday AM and was sick until Tuesday noon—pleasant! Fritz was sick only one day—refused to eat and sat- up on deck in the rain. Tom was an awful sight—Pell came to find us Saturday a.m. asked us over for tea and to hear her new records . . . then died of homesickness and never showed up. Macmillan and her maid came over Sunday pm but we were all in bed—Monday we stayed home because of the seasick Tom—but yesterday I went over for tea and stayed until midnight—drank lots of champagne and was bored for hours by Gerald Murphy’s sister and Alice Le Mar (a friend of Dick Hammond’s).47 I can get along very nicely right here with the kids—I have not been out today—but they stay out all the time—are tanned and happy. Yesterday they (Pell and Macmillan) sent a wire to Edith—which I won’t be in on—as I hope Bill has sent my wire to Martie. Pell and Macmillan want me to send the boys over to Paris to them—hotel with Mac’s maid (who really is a governess) and want me to motor up to Paris with them— of course I won’t.
We are so slow, because we lost a screw and it never been replaced— we arrive Saturday a.m. it seems. I haven’t been able to sew because I packed all my other things in the other trunk. I’m afraid I might have been ill with my eyes if I tried it.
I hope there will be a letter from you soon telling us about your return that night and about your little white friend. The boys insist that they want to tell about your radio to the boat. So I am to leave that out—also they want to tell you about our pool etc.
I am a bit perplexed about the summer. What to do with boys? They want to stay right with me. I’ll write you all the excitement.
Much love as always Jatt
Don’t tell that the boys are at Prieure I don’t want Lois to know
I had just been to the bank after a week’s absence and find two letters from you—one mailed the 29 the other the 30th of June. We have had holidays for five days and as no mail came in that I did not get before them—this is the first in a week I am indeed not happy—and then there is Bill and the Little Review mail to worry us. Not a word from Bill. Isn’t it rotten—six weeks and a half and no check—you wouldn’t have thought he’d do it to me—Would you? Things are tightening up on me too—I had to pay again for the boys when I took them to Fontainebleau. I hope you can find him and tell him he must send me a check regularly each week. You see I asked him to send it by the month in advance but he hasn’t even sent it at the end of the month. I’m having to ask him to give me 3 months in advance the first of October—if I have the boys here—they are very enthusiastic about staying—It seems they get on so easily with foreign boys and not at all with Americans in New York and there too I want no more of Lois in my life. Bill is sure to get her back—I cannot understand what is the matter with Alice—unless she went home for her sister’s wedding and no one took care of the mail. Very important things sent to me by Tzara may be lost.
Edith has been gone a week now and no word. I have been and am sick about it—the mystery and the silence.
Martie has moved over on the other side again, into Maurice Leblanc’s house.481 took dinner with her the other night, just us two and we talked in the garden until midnight. She seemed a bit—well I don’t know a surprisingly sweet temper, I think she seems a little unrelated to things, in a different way.
I play around a lot—but I am not happy—Saturday we had a beautiful luncheon with Romaine Brooks and Natalie Barney—much good conversation and gorgeous food. Later I had dinner with John Storrs, went with him to the Exposition for coffee and then back to the quarter—the fete had already begun the street swarming with dancers and music every- where.49 We found Tzara and spent the night in the Dome, Dingo and Select—at 4 am we went hunting Brancusi in the Chauffeurs rest. Then we had decided to go to the flea market at 7:00 am dashed home to bed. J. Storrs called for me at 6:00 and we went to wake up Tzara who had just fallen in—we had breakfast at the Deux Magots and dashed off to the market. It is that famous market at port Chin Jaucorarts, the whole 20th century seems there. . . . We stayed hours—and then separated to sleep— I slept until the next day at 9:30—of course I didn’t sleep—I fought things out for hours and had a nice Norwegian time. Monday I wrote some letters—one to Arthur Hern, who is now in Paris, asking him if he wanted to have a party with me and the boys—I think he will refuse because he told me once that it hurt him too much.50 Last night was the 14th and Tzara, Brancusi and I went all over the place looking at bal Mussettes— on the Ile St. Louis and in the old quarters of the town—later we came to Stryx and had cold chicken, wine, salad, and cheese (at 2:30 am)—the mobs are still dancing at 6:15 when we left to go home to bed. Tzara was very drunk—but I did not drink much. I didn’t get up until 1:30 this pm. Tzara goes away to be married, a week from Monday. I hope to do a lot of work with him before he goes—he comes to NY in January—there are many plans—none of which I carry out if Edith doesn’t help me. If I can’t get Alice Robinson’s apartment—and if I can’t get money . . . I’m so involved that I’ve got to get some money. I’m waiting now to see what Edith does when she comes back. Then I may go right to the Institute and work on my book and organize things for September.51 All of the girls are going south—but I am afraid it will be too expensive and chaotic. Margaret says she will come to the Institute when I go there—she is absolutely fascinated by the talk—
Yes I’ve heard of Keyserty? Orage had his books—the “Travels of the Philosopher.” Lady R is thinking of looking him up.52
Thanks for seeing the man at the Blackstone for me—of course no one ever thought of giving him that magazine for nothing and besides its against the postal laws. Make a note of those he has had on another slip— settle if you have too, for 50-50 but try to get him to take it on a regular basis, and pay each time and get him to sell it at the Drake. I haven’t heard from the boys but I’ve written there will perhaps be a letter tomorrow.
I am so glad the Boy is so sweet—kiss him for me—I knew you’d love him once you really knew him. A card from Caesar today, he is in Saint Ican de Luz—having a good time.
I must write many more letters today so I’ll bring this up short. Your letters to the boys will go off to them tonight. This letter won’t go until Saturday—but—I thought I’d be safe and get it off—you can write to the boys direct to Chateau du Prieure—Fontainebleau Avon. I’ll write again as soon as I have news—
Love to you, j—
I am afraid my last letter missed the Wednesday boat—but here goes a short note—
I am better—Going to Fontainebleau tomorrow to stay two weeks— perhaps—Mart too—Caesar too. We will be happy—I have been working on my theatre exposition and theatre number of Little Review—I had my own photographers yesterday in the Grand Palais—I like to work this way.
I have been made American (english speaking editor) of a new magazine, to be published in French, Russian, German and English—It will be published in Berlin. We will organize about Sept. 1st. How does that sound to you—?
I move right along as if I had money to swing the world. Pell and MacMillan have gone home—Pell is going to try to raise money for my gallery. My theatre show will take up 25 cubic meters—20 models, drawings of sets, costumes, masks, photographs etc. that will cost hundreds of dollars to bring over? But we will charge admission, sell Little Reviews— and a catalogue. I am only worried about the things I bring with me.
Do you remember when I came to N.Y. first—I told you that Aunt Annie had said that I never would get in with the Vanderbilts & Astors? and how mad I was? I have been playing with Barbara Rutherford Van- derbilt Hatch Nicols—for weeks—she calls me up and comes to bang on my hotel door at midnight and when I was drunk on vodka I told her she was a “beautiful mad thing” and she loved it—and oh didn’t I have many a run in with the Astors. Quelque vie—Barbara is beautiful as the Baroness might have been—
Pardon the writing—I am trying to eat a sandwich with my left hand— I have nothing to hold the paper but a glass of beer—
My sweetie has gone away again—there is Mimi and Barbara—but I want my stupid sweetie. I have broken the spell now and am all right—
Fritz stepped on a nail—I hope he won’t die—otherwise they are well—
Remember me— Love—. j—
[July 16, 1925]
I was going to type this letter and include in it a story of a trip around the
Exposition—with the dictator of Art of the Soviet Republic, an Austrian
theatre designer, Tzara, two German Dadaists—and six Tunisians in costume
. . . but my typewriter has been out of order—I will have to do it
later. I thought you might get the art supplement of some Chicago paper
to take the story for a few $. Caesar and I went to see the boys, on Sunday,
they were happy but they looks so green and disheveled . . . eleven
days more and I hope to have them in Fontainebleau Institute. The kids
are supposed to talk no english—but I fear they stick with their own kind
. . . too much . . . no effort in those two.
Did I tell you that Edith drove me down to Mantiquy—near the Forest
of Fontainebleau—we had dinner in a nice resort, stayed there the
night and in the a.m. drove over to Moret—an ancient town with all the
old fortifications, towers and everything still standing—we had lunch in
Moret and then drove on to Samois for tea and cocktails—dropped in to
see Gurdjieff for an hour—he is not strong—looked worn and untidy—
has written three books—the Institute was lovely—the flowers and lawn and clipped trees too lovely to believe. Some of the pupils are back (and exercises are going) on but no real work. Not for publication. I was given to understand that the boys might be allowed to come later. Everyone was enthusiastic about Tom. Do you know that Bill hasn’t sent me a penny since I left and I am furious—it isn’t his giving—it’s Lois—I am sick about it. I had to pay two month’s allowance for that first month’s school. I am writing him a letter that will hold him for a while.
Caesar and I are leaping in and out of the Exposition almost every day. I find it thrilling—just physically. I have visited every section now—some- times twice and I am going again and again. Most of it is business, of course—not the Russian Poriet? Has a different attack on everything . . .
This is written days later in Cafe Versailles—at the top of Rue de Reunes? Just in front of Gare Montparnasse (with a new fountain pen given to me at the exposition, as an advertisement) on the morning after the trip to see the boys—Edith taking me in her car.
———————————No I will have to back up to the earlier part of this letter.
We had planned to go to see the boys on Thursday but the car was in repair and the train too hot and dusty—so we telegraphed the boys that we could come on Saturday. Late Saturday we got off—taking a road we thought more interesting than the main road—soon it rained and made a great storm—we loved it—and didn’t find it difficult at all losing our way—because we came through such unexpected towns—old and mildewed. We arrived at the Chateau at 8:30 p.m. just as the kids were going to B—but were allowed to see them for 15 min. that was the first time they had seen Edith and they were overjoyed and silly. We promised to come for them for lunch the next day—and dashed off to a lovely spot called the Moulin des Planches for dinner—ate out of doors with the rain dripping from the awnings and the roar of the dam and mill—for music—once out of there we made for a country place run by the man who runs the Boeuf. After many hilarious losing of the ways we arrived—the place had been chartered for the day and evening by Americans for a Fourth of July celebration. There were thousands of electric bulbs strung in among the trees—a gorgeous place of old musty trees, streams, flowers. We made arrangements for a room (there is only 1 room to let) and were told that we couldn’t have it for an hour, because it was being used as a dressing room. It was 12:20 then—but we got into the car and drove miles until 2:00. The rain was intermittent and the towns all asleep—only lighted by our lights as we passed through. It poured so frightfully one night that we couldn’t sleep for the noise. We had breakfast about 11 a.m. and started for the boys. They were at the gate waiting—just wild with delight—we drove through lovely country and old towns to a place called Linours—we stopped here because we could eat at a place called the Sabot Rouge because there was one of those tiny travelling shows in the square— right up against the church. We had brunch and a good conversation. The sun came out the amusements all opened and we joined with the countryside in riding on merry go-rounds, lobograms [?], had our fortunes told, etc. My new pen is no good right now. On the way back to school we took them to a smart road house to tea dropped them back at school at 6:30 p.m. Then Edith and I thought we’d drive over in the direction of Fontainebleau for dinner—we got funny and just took any road—that meant going round in circles for hours—we’d see a signpost that said 66k to Orleans—and we’d say I want to understand Jeanne D’Arc—don’t you—let’s go there—after going 24k’s of the way we switched off again towards Fontainebleau—landing back in Paris, in the quarter at the Dingo for dinner at 11:35 p.m. but we had fun. Saturday [Saturday scratched out] Friday night I had dinner with Tzara and Marcel Herraud (the actor) afterwards we went to the Olympia to hear Yvonne George—both standing rooms and found 4 more fellows there.53 Y. was much fun—we went in her dressing room later—she gave us drinks and we all moved on to the Boeuf—another man found us, a friend of Satie—after the Boeuf closed we sat in the darkened room and listened to stories of Satie until 3:30—then a little food and home.54
On Tuesday we went to Lady R’s to luncheon and we talked! She was so challenged that she couldn’t get over it—Mart says I was “brilliant”. I don’t know whether it was worth it or not—at least we didn’t just exchange platitudes. I find that I can talk when put to it. After that we went to Romaine Brooks to tea—high high tea—Natalie Barney was there and all the girls I run around with—after tea Namara [?] on the street she asked us to come to her studio at 11 p.m.—so we went to the Dome and had a drink before meeting—Dorothy, Edith, Baroness Mimi Franchetti, and Pell at the big Chinese place for dinner. After dinner we dashed to the . . . Exposition for coffee—I had found that one could get the best coffee in the world at the Viennese bldg.—of course we had to pay 10 frs a piece to get into the grounds—but Pell paid it. After that we took Mar- tie on the Surteli [?] back (a most dangerous kind of roller-coaster) She nearly fainted and was ill all night—when we had finished there we hopped a taxi and went with [illegible] 12:00—Allan, Pavlek, Dukelsky, Glenway Westcott, Wheeler etc. were there—we ate, drank, played, sang, etc. until 3:30 and then home. Martie said she couldn’t go to any more parties like that—we talked until 8:00 a.m. Then we breakfasted and took a taxi out to buy a lipstick or two. I like Martie.
On Wednesday the Dictator the Sorets? came here at noon to bring me some pictures of his for my gallery don’t remember what else. On Thursday Edith and I couldn’t go see the kids so we lunched and got some maps and came back here and made out a route for the south. I think I’ll drive down with her this week. I’ll go and see Carcasnome for you? I’ve written to Gurdjieff and have been permitted to have the kids there for the rest of the summer—the kids are happy about it—I’ll pay them there before I leave on Thursday. I am thinking of leaving them in this school for the winter if I can pry any money out of the family. Don’t let Lois know that they are in the Institute.
I see everyone, do everything. I haven’t seen Brancusi yet—because Satie has been dying and they are such friends. G. Stein is in the south. B. McAlmon in England—but Mary Butts is here, and Lett?—Oh I didn’t tell you that Tzara came back just to see me.
God how I need money to carry out a program this winter—many people are coming over and I want to have a place where they can meet.
I’m afraid I’ll be south when Willy Mack comes but if not of course, I’ll see him.59
The boys read your letter to me. I see that the Boy is a favorite. How are you enjoying life aside from the fact that you’re not at Andrebrook.
Give my love to Olive and Bessie if you see her remember me to your family.
Much love as ever Jatty . . .
[July 18, 1925]
the first note from you yesterday—also a letter from Carol with good news—I will begin with our landing and try to tell our adventures to date. Martie was on the pier waving a red fox fur and very excited—begged us to stay the day in Havre so we could talk—and as she had already spent hours on the train that day. We had lunch in an very old Normandie inn— and of course the whole history of our lives at 5 p.m. We go on a train “rapide”—which landed us in Paris after 8:08 p.m. after baggage delays etc. We went to Hotel Cluie—only one room—two beds and very high in price—so we drove to Tellairs—then much complications—Pell had telegraphed to Edith—E. had got hold of Allan and they had spent the day in the station waiting for us—E. had arranged rooms in a hotel and a reception party—Allan told me the name of the hotel Allsmony, so I had him call and cancel the rooms she had got . . . and of course spent the evening with Martie—I had been trying to avoid that kind of “two maelstrom” by not wiring Edith.60 So it was a bad beginning. Martie stayed the night with us and left the next a.m. She is looking well but older—not so good looking, but lovely figure—same enthusiasm and very good nature. No wild nerves have been shown as yet. We went to Mary on Monday night—and went round to see her later—she was charming and says we are to see her before she leaves Paris.61 In the meantime I had the kids on my hands—I couldn’t go to parties or move. I finally saw Edith at D. Ireland’s on Tuesd for a few minutes—with a crowd of people present— we had chop-suey together and the Dome and Boeuf on Wednesday night. I saw her for dinner at the Boeuf again Thursday night—the kids were seeing Allan. Hemingway, Me, Macmillan, Pell, Mimi Franchetta E & J all went to the amusement part of the exhibition that night and afterwards to the Quarter where I saw Djuna for the first time and she looked very drawn and thin, bad colour and no snap—or wit or humour about her.62 Tried to act mad at me. Friday I went to a recital at the Champs Elysees—the dancer was dead drunk and we had a good laugh. I had tickets for the opening of Eva La Galliene Jeanne d’Arc for Saturday but didn’t go—because Martie’s suit was not right. Caesar showed up Sunday pm.
Now I will tell you about the boys—I tried everyway to find a boarding place with Russian or French people—but in vain—I had a fight with the Mondover People—and at last on Saturday went to Mrs. Crawford’s friend—got the address of the school where her boys are—also prices and dashed out there on Sunday—liked the place and decided to send the kids there for one month—of course the price is way beyond me but then it had to be done.63 Sunday afternoon I got names sewed on dozens of things—packed etc. Monday a.m. I had an appointment with Martie— told her my plans and we all had luncheon together and went to the coun- try—the boys seemed happy—they will be in regular school for the month talking absolutely no english—there are 100 boys (from 7 to 17) in the school—after that I shall try to put them in the Institute. I shall never have enough money to see me through—at this rate—but then something may happen.
This is a bad year—too hot—everyone going away early—Tzara waited over a day for me—before going to Sweden (to be married to a millionairess) but I did not come.64 Bob McAlmon has gone to England to live—changed the price on the G. Stein—so I am afraid the sale is off— G. Stein is in the south.65 Haven’t seen Joyce yet—but he is in town. Russian ballet opened Monday night—not interested.
Hemingway is very sad—I’ll have to tell you about that later—Caesar and I went to three expositions yesterday. I have not been to the Decoratif or Industriel show yet. They say it’s pretty bad.66
I am going to see Gurdjieff this weekend perhaps—they say he is quite ill.
Edith has been very ill—won’t stay in bed, looks like a shadow of her- self—and breaks my heart.
I am at the Cluie but don’t think I shall stay.
I hope you got the white baby home safely—Write to us and tell us everything that is happening.
Much love Jatty.
Wednesday July 22 
At last a letter from Bill with check deducting $6.00 for gas debt, telephone etc—Rather small? And then I think he intends to call a month— even not counting the weeks—but I’m sending him a receipt for 4 weeks.
I saw the kids Sunday—went out and took them to Saiuers for a little visit on Marta’s house was full of guests so it was not very satisfactory except that they stuffed on candy and punch.
Interruption—Madame Picabia just called on telephone “meet me tonight at 9:30 I have all night” So it goes.
night—I have told several of the women to watch that they did not overdo in their eagerness. They study French a little, get sent on errands to buy things in French—etc. I sent you two letters of theirs—don’t fret if they don’t write very often—they are busy from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. but I’ll stop that soon.
Martie and I went to Brancusi’s Saturday night for dinner—Mme Pi- cabia came in later. We stayed until 3:30 a.m.—ate too much, smoked too much, drank too much,—laughed too much. Brancusi played and sang. Everywhere there is violent discussion of Gurdjieff—he does disturb the world—but I fear he’s done for himself—???
I am sending you a French thing to translate take your time. I want it for the winter.
Last Friday I played all day with Marta D. She says she thinks that Bill is a bit sure of himself—that she does not exactly live under a basket waiting for men to finish one life before coming her way—We ate on one of the perches—everything—had old wine and phine from 1812—stayed put, talking until 5—then went out and saw some of the exposition, went to Boeuf had gin fizz then to the little Chinese for dinner, then to Mont- martre to Liberty’s Bar—for another “phine” (cognac) that’s all that day—
Caesar writes from the South that he is having a glorious time—stupid ass—he could land some money if he wanted to—
Tzara and I made big plans about his coming to America. We want to have his play and we want the world—here is some thing—exactly Tzara—he intends to make a tour around the world—at dinner he said, adjusting his monocle, with a most worried face, “I must have a globe— could I get one that would fold up so that I could take it out and look down and then put it back flat in my trunk”—then we all got busy, inventing a globe—we finally decided upon a balloon, that would have all the countries assembled in one spot, all the oceans together, to make it simple we’re going to use that as publicity. I have a chance to go into the publicity business. Can’t we get some capital? You leave Weavie and make a distributing system.
Of course Marta asked many questions about you and I read her part of your letters, it says she intends to write—but that letters are her worst “inertia”
Yes—I know about the Joyce record—I am going to be given one.
I am meeting all of surrealists—not the Breton group—but a newer one— the next L.R. will be French—
I made a beautiful surrealist poem and lost it—
No word from E.T.
I’ll send you the gossip about my visits with A. Hern and W. Mack next week.
Give Big Boy our love.
Always— Jatty Monday August 3—
I saw Miss Crawford for dinner Thursday night. She was so tired—she was not very exciting. We went to Stryx—She didn’t order enough for a chicken. Was too abstracted. Said she envied me my religion etc. Tried to think of plans to help my ideas—She’s nice—but something has dashed her—she talks about luck—luck until one dies—isn’t it so? Says she’s going to N. Carolina to rest. I didn’t say anything about her helping me with the boys—she has talked that with you—I thought I’d leave it that way—But you’ll get after her soon won’t you. I am going to need a lot of help this year. Lois writes Mart that she sees her man three time a week, is very much in love, very happy can’t live on her allowance and is coming to N.Y. in the autumn to get something to do. So you see!
A letter—no the supplement—mailed by you in Chicago on the 22nd got here on the 1st of Aug. Fast? I think there must be a letter from you on the Aquitainia tomorrow. I wrote to Dizzy to come and help in my gallery. She died on the third of July. I was a bit taken back—poor little thing, no life, no nothing—Mart said “aren’t you mad she died? “I can’t think about her it’s too terrible. So starved.” She died of cancer, sick a long time.
Tzara has gone to be married, comes back on two weeks—He has been charming working for me like a confrere as Mart says.
I have my Joyce record. I heard it first at Sylvia’s and then she gave me one. I was overcome for a moment. It is of course the most gorgeous performance. English that is not spoken anymore—will you come to hear it sometime?
I haven’t been playing around very much—I have been working very hard with all my rendezvous. Friday night I was out all night with Mae- hutan [?] Franchetti, Wallie and Marcel Herrand,—a part of the time that Vanderbilt—Hatch person was along—as Wallie says “how did we get to know such people!” She is awful—
Louise Hellstrom hasn’t sent me a poem. Bitch.
I saw everyone, who is still in Paris last night—strange to say I didn’t want to play. I went to the bank for mail today and beat it straight home. We had a turkish bath late Sunday night—it is superb—everyday seems so good—even the awful way of eating—I have a room over the barnyard. They prepared a lovely room for me—but I gave it to Martie—out of pleasure and to stop the discussion—I think I shall have a good rest here. Tomorrow I think I shall begin the exercises.
Take care of yourself and if you are not able to write—get Elsa or Olive—not Olive so much—I loved to hear from her even if it was a short note of bad news.
In great love to you—as ever 10:55 p.m. Mercredi August 19/25 Jatty
[Tuesday, August 25, 1925]
I am on the train going in to Paris to see Moholy-Nagy of the Bauhaus- Nieman to arrange an exhibition for next winter.72 Tom came up to the station with me—he met Djuna and Thelma on the platform and Tom had it out with her for calling them worms.73 Martie went back into town yesterday evening—may return for the weekend. She had a glorious time— Stanley and she played chess for hours and she swam in the pool with Tom.
I hope I shall find a letter from you today at the bank—I am quite ready—I am quite ready to come home in one way—but in another—I can’t see my way clear to making any kind of start—When I see the boys again at close range—I don’t see how they can be left alone to their own bringing up—Fritz is awful—just imitation and shallowness showing off.
It is very rainy all of the time so impossible to work—either in or out of doors. Alice writes at last that I may have her apartment if I found her another—but how to get my life arranged is a thing I do not dare to contemplate.
I have all the copies for my next issue—but as it is in French and so unusual that Mart can’t read it at all—I don’t know who in N.Y. is going to read it. Then I am afraid to send it to the printer for fear I won’t have the money to get it away again—So Gehts!
I hope you are all well by the time this reaches you—I am going direct to the bank now to look for a letter from you.
Gurdjieff’s book is finished—Orage came next week to go over the english of it. I think it is going to be a disappointment too simple in the oriental way—and the swats too hidden for the layman to do anything but jeer. I will finish this when I see if I have a letter at the bank—I will finish this with Fritz’s glass pen. I found 3 letters from you. Aug.6-Aug. 9 and Aug. 13—it is fine to know that you are coming along so famously. Didn’t you love Fritz’s “I hope it isn’t mortal.” Nothing else is to be expected from Lois and Bill. Orage said he’s repeat—but seldom do we repeat right where we’ve been hurt. My train was very late—they are being careful since all the accidents. I got to the bank to the printer and then had to dash to my appointment. We have arranged an exhibition and I am to write a book on America 48 pages of photograph eccentrique and 16 pp. of text—surrealist—I am invited to the Balkans next year to be the guest of the government. Tom got a card from Edith this a.m. Star of Love—a silver star on a postal card with pink, blue and white ribbons for rays—on the end of each ray a little gold heart—was he happy? I couldn’t get away from my friends until so late this would have missed the boat train—so I sent it for the Saturday boat.
A long letter from Carol—also she spoke of going to see you. Don’t let the boy get too fat.
If Bill and Lois are together again why don’t I get the allowance complete—no he hands it in dribs.
I have just had the second check from him.
It is sunny today—I am going to get some pictures of the boys if I can— 42 days of rain in 8 weeks—more than Brookhaven? The kids are doing so well in exercises—quite wonderful. Caesar is ghastly bad. Don’t worry about the boys working—they do rather as they please. One in six days they have to work all day—in the kitchen. They send love—have just brought me a great green apple—Yesterday a calf was born—Mr. G. made special music and got a little girl to dance for it and made the stable boy pay for the music! Old Eastern custom a farmer always makes a celebration where he is enriched by multiplying his herds. There are many ceremonies here. The boys love them.
Much love as always
[August 31, 1925]
Not much news this time. Went into Paris again at the end of the week for a conference so my week was very much broken up—I am going in tomorrow with Stanley to see some people but am coming back tomorrow night. Orage comes and we want to have a talk with him about publishing Gurdjieff’s book. We are trying to get a book from your little pet Hemingway. Caesar leaves for home tomorrow—he has loved the Institute where two weeks it has rained so much that I have had no chance to take pictures, but am borrowing a camera tomorrow to take the boys. They fight about every stroke of work they have to do. They really are rotten in some ways.
I made a big poster for my gallery—it is stunning. Margaret never re- turned—strange to say I never missed her—I took my turkish bath all by myself—Saturday night—at midnight—in spite of her. I have many things to do and people to see before I leave. I’d hurry if I could but I have to wait—developments about the boys.
The exercises have been fine these last nights—Gurdjieff directing in his gentle voice. It would be so easy to stay right on here if weather did not bring suffering and if we did not have to live—later.
How are you and are you going to be able to go back to work right now? I’ll let you know if anything unusual or gay happens tomorrow in town—
Much love— J
August 31— /2 5
[September 10, 1925]
I couldn’t get a letter off to you Tuesday because I was so sick with a cold over the week end and I had to come to town on Sunday for a conference with Lawrence Langner—Mart was out for the weekend—we both came back on Monday. . . . Gurdjieff read—or rather Orage read some chapter of “G”s book— and Martie went right up in the air—is going there to live—is converted way beyond Carol or me. She cried and said she could see the cataclysms of her past life and the agony of rebuilding on a non-emotional basis— too sad and funny to listen to—she will never do it—I hope she won’t— the book is just like “G”—pearls on a manure pile—to catch only the thinking—etc. I think I am going to publish it.
The kids are well and happy—I don’t know how I shall live without them if I leave them—this means Tom.
Things march very well for me. I shall have to leave here in about 3 weeks—as yet I have no means either for myself or the boys—
The Mauritania is in today—I hope for good mail tomorrow—G. Stein has just returned to Paris—I shall see her tomorrow—perhaps there will be something doing about her book.
I was happy at Fontainebleau—I hated to leave. I slept on a cot in a stone floor room over the chicken yard and stables—I ate soup and soup and potatoes and red cabbage salad—and I knew that I didn’t need anymore.
I speak German all the time, really until I fell ill—I wonder about the winter. Orage says he thinks that he can help me raise money for the Gallery—if he only can.
Lawrence said on Sunday that he had not heard a word from Bill and that the NY office knew nothing—he seemed troubled and not pleased. I have had several new books—french—but? I will bring them now it is so late. It is so cold one can never get warm anywhere.
[September 21, 1925]
This is going to be a terrible letter—in a few moments I go out to bum with G. Stein tonight—I am booked and all day tomorrow—I want to get this off on the boat train because I want you to see our newest stationary. I got a few sheets off to L.R.—do you like it? You say good luck to Pell— but Pell or not Pell that [illegible] to have that gallery this year—Alice has been wretched about mail—I have had but two packets in almost 4 mos— some things that are sent to me were to be sent back—I haven’t them? Yet 100’s written? and I know she thinks she is doing well by me. I can’t start the next number—without the Tzara stuff.
Thanks for going after Crawford again. I don’t know what—doing.
I don’t hear from Bill. Of course there is nothing in me that will let me think that I can leave Tom here. Allan, Martie, Pavlek and I will go to Fontainebleau for the week-end they are wild to get in on it—I’m afraid Allan is too precious for that atmosphere—Fritz has burned his leg and Tom is taking care of him—most of the Institute has gone with Gurdjieff to Switzerland for a vacation—only two weeks more and the boys must be in school.
I’m seeing everyone now in a wild last spin. This is the way I’d like it all the time. Edith is back but I have not seen her it’s all too strange—It’s all right though—I couldn’t work so well if I saw her.
I’m taking Mart to the Exposition her first trip, tomorrow.
It is tomorrow—and I’ve just been to the Gard not a sign of any mail from
anyone. I mustn’t worry though I’ve got too much to do.
If I can’t come home I’ll stay until I can—and the boys can stay on at
Fontainebleau. I had a great time with G.S. yesterday.76 We went to see
Lipchitz and Brenner, two sculptors who have done heads of G in the
past—we rode in her little ford—she looked like a patient from the asylum
but she is a sweetie—I may add a word later but I doubt it—I’ll get
a letter off on the Wed. boat.77
Letter from Pell today—she is just now going after money—I hope she
pulls down something.
I have made no plans about coming home—I look at the calendar a bit
but I have no money and there is so much to do—but I must also be in
Saw Gertrude again today—we are fighting Bob McAlmon for her book. It’s a dog in the manger stunt with him.
Don’t work too hard—you’ll all do it again in another life—tell that to Dearie you like the idea too you remember?
Good night mother. I’ve had a bad day—and it is so cold here that I write like a nigger.78
Sept. 21 /ix/25 Love, jatty
[September 23, 1925]
Here are the two checks—please let part of the five you left here be Tom’s birthday gift—They are living in a monastery now—and can’t have so many things—will you send Crawford’s address.
Here also are some things translated by Josephson—which I wish you’d put on the typewriter and get the accents marred.79
Tzara and everyone always complain that our accents are wrong—in the french. I’m sending the English along too—so that you can see if you like Josephson’s work. We have worked like mad all day—much out in the world business tomorrow I am sending you some winter lining for your coat—You look amazingly well the other night—did you have a good time? I hope we get our telephone tomorrow—we are so cut off—
Sunday. Lots of love— j—
I can’t write now about X-mas—spent it in Brookhaven also Sat. etc. Was it cold!
You can’t give me a check and I’m heart-broken because Jim sent me money—yes I am broken—Olive sent me a letter—!—Olive.
You have a present here from Tom—I am waiting for their other packages to arrive before sending it to you—F would be so hurt if his own present didn’t go at the same time. They got lovely presents for every- one—and were so happy—I’ll enclose their letters and you’ll return them, please.
I feel so selfish—just concentrating on my children—I forgot mama & papa completely—(but I sent a good box off with Jane & George) I didn’t do anything about all my old friends—but who can get over so much territory emotionally.
Orage meets wonderful Wed. night. I read the chapter from the book last week. It was called the Terror of the Situation. No dear—Pythagoras was not a religious teacher—neither was Jesus—religion is from one center—emotional.
I am unpacked at the gallery—organizing social end now.
I am sending some German articles—will you go down to Mrs. Blanke’s perhaps and make a quick rough draft of them. I have got Fau- dro to do the Italian & French for me.
This is in haste—but I’ll write more tomorrow—Israel came tonight to talk about Institute. Great new talk about film conference.
Lots and lots of love—for the New Year.
[June 21, 1926]
(on Board S.S. Olympic)
Here we are off—and its hot—we dashed right into the 2nd class to avoid anyone who might have come to see us off. My dear we were waiting right up until 10:30 p.m.
I’m very tired—work, work, work,—3 and 4 every morning for the week. Next year I’m going to earn money or die—it’s too stupid. Muriel says that Orage wants me to—as earn—as much as I am worth to life—I must be rich—God and I’ve always thought I was rich having nothing.
Your little package came today. I’ll open it when we get started. I am sending you a package of 25 L. R’s hoping that you will place it at the Drake and some of the smart bookshops up on the Drive etc. Keep a record please. A letter from Elsa this a.m. and money for a party for the kids. Yes I know the deadening thing that that Dutton rehearsing does.
Bill, owing me $500 sends me $35 and got mad because I asked it. Told Lois that he helped me through the Pete affair—forgetting quite that I saved his job for him—and what endless days in the since—I guess he is a bad one through and through now. Lois jauntily asks for photos of boys etc. She’ll never see any if I can help it—they are such swine both she and Bill.
Thank god I’ve got all Georgette’s things together—and do they cost to transport?
Tuesday was a good meeting and I hate to leave them. Silly? Mart writes that she lunched with Joanna Fortune in Paris and that J. said nice things about me.
“5 min. to the mail”—says the man.
Lois is seeing a lot of Bessie. Trouble!
Edith is giving me a small apartment over D. Irelands. Jean Toomer writes that the kids are too healthy. Fritz as big as Tom & heavier of course.
Lots and lots of love and don’t worry mother—observe and come over later.
A kiss? Love X, us [August 30, 1926]
No chance to write—I work all day from 8:30 to 8:00 and then study house—reading a book and no business and playing around. Mr. G. comes and goes restlessly—Tom went with them on their trip to Chateau Guyon. The book is terrific—and getting more so.
The summer is too lovely. Ceasar and I work much together—sometimes I work with Miss Gordon—Saturday I am in the kitchen for 16 or 18 hours as a stretch and then Turkish bath at midnight.80
Edith is here, we room together but I am not on good terms with her. She nags me too much. Also the boys. I am having to go into Paris soon to make plans for the return. I am distressed about Fritz. Today we talk to Mr. Orage about him—everyone spoils him—G says he will grow up to be a ‘God’s’ doll! Tom is fine—I am going into Paris probably tomorrow for a day or two and take Tom with me.
All the days are so beautiful, if they would last I should not want to come home.
No word either from Mart of Georgette. Georgette couldn’t understand the Institute. I think she left in disgust. I can’t write Institute stories here— they are so many and long—and the artists I have forgotten—
I am glad you wrote what you want—it is so difficult in a city of presents to buy a present.
Give my love to Bessie—and Olive—I’ll try to write sometime soon, when I am in Paris. Our love to you.
Aug. 30, 1926 Always, Jatty
 will make every effort to keep this from being a chronicle of a cat . . . it is difficult. There is so much to write that I dare not begin.
First:——I had a letter from Wilda she is going to Los Angeles this week—wants of course to see you . . . you know how I hate those family parties? Couldn’t you see her for tea in town? Mamma and Papa are at Long Beach . . . I hate to have you see them I am afraid they are looking very old . . . I can’t have even you see them at a disadvantage . . . they will be glad to see you though and hear about me don’t tell them any thing . . . especially Wilda. Edna writes that she is a hell-cat in a soft coat and don’t leave a copy of the L. R. about if she should come out to the house. The trouble she could make about “Karen”!! Mamma’s address is 623 American Ave. Long Beach. You understand all these injunctions. . . Wilda is a person motivated by jealousy. It seems that Wm. has made some money in oil—I wish he would send an allowance to us each month—wouldn’t that be something for him to do though? Look well at the baby and tell me if Wilda is trying to make her commonplace—God
There have been many parties and concerts and shows but I’ll have to tell
them to you I can’t catch up—Caesar has gone south with the Krebs
Friends.58 He has been so happy here and has dashed about. We introduced
him to Joyce but didn’t get to Brancusi’s (yet) I have no mail from
Alice Robinson and none from Bill.
I’m afraid I’ll be south when Willy Mack comes but if not of course, I’ll
The boys read your letter to me. I see that the Boy is a favorite. How
are you enjoying life aside from the fact that you’re not at Andrebrook.
Give my love to Olive and Bessie if you see her remember me to your
Much love as ever
Jatty . . .
[July 18, 1925]
the first note from you yesterday—also a letter from Carol with good
news—I will begin with our landing and try to tell our adventures to date.
Martie was on the pier waving a red fox fur and very excited—begged us
to stay the day in Havre so we could talk—and as she had already spent
hours on the train that day. We had lunch in an very old Normandie inn—
and of course the whole history of our lives at 5 p.m. We go on a train
“rapide”—which landed us in Paris after 8:08 p.m. after baggage delays
etc. We went to Hotel Cluie—only one room—two beds and very high in
price—so we drove to Tellairs—then much complications—Pell had
telegraphed to Edith—E. had got hold of Allan and they had spent the
day in the station waiting for us—E. had arranged rooms in a hotel and
a reception party—Allan told me the name of the hotel Allsmony, so I had
him call and cancel the rooms she had got . . . and of course spent the
evening with Martie—I had been trying to avoid that kind of “two maelstrom”
by not wiring Edith.60 So it was a bad beginning. Martie stayed
the night with us and left the next a.m. She is looking well but older—not
so good looking, but lovely figure—same enthusiasm and very good nature.
No wild nerves have been shown as yet. We went to Mary on Monday
night—and went round to see her later—she was charming and says
we are to see her before she leaves Paris.61 In the meantime I had the kids
on my hands—I couldn’t go to parties or move. I finally saw Edith at D.
Ireland’s on Tuesd for a few minutes—with a crowd of people present—
we had chop-suey together and the Dome and Boeuf on Wednesday night.
I saw her for dinner at the Boeuf again Thursday night—the kids were
seeing Allan. Hemingway, Me, Macmillan, Pell, Mimi Franchetta E & J
all went to the amusement part of the exhibition that night and afterwards
to the Quarter where I saw Djuna for the first time and she looked
The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, 1922–1926 • 111
very drawn and thin, bad colour and no snap—or wit or humour about
her.62 Tried to act mad at me. Friday I went to a recital at the Champs
Elysees—the dancer was dead drunk and we had a good laugh. I had
tickets for the opening of Eva La Galliene Jeanne d’Arc for Saturday
but didn’t go—because Martie’s suit was not right. Caesar showed up
Now I will tell you about the boys—I tried everyway to find a boarding
place with Russian or French people—but in vain—I had a fight with
the Mondover People—and at last on Saturday went to Mrs. Crawford’s
friend—got the address of the school where her boys are—also prices and
dashed out there on Sunday—liked the place and decided to send the kids
there for one month—of course the price is way beyond me but then it
had to be done.63 Sunday afternoon I got names sewed on dozens of
things—packed etc. Monday a.m. I had an appointment with Martie—
told her my plans and we all had luncheon together and went to the country—
the boys seemed happy—they will be in regular school for the month
talking absolutely no english—there are 100 boys (from 7 to 17) in the
school—after that I shall try to put them in the Institute. I shall never have
enough money to see me through—at this rate—but then something may
This is a bad year—too hot—everyone going away early—Tzara
waited over a day for me—before going to Sweden (to be married to a
millionairess) but I did not come.64 Bob McAlmon has gone to England
to live—changed the price on the G. Stein—so I am afraid the sale is off—
G. Stein is in the south.65 Haven’t seen Joyce yet—but he is in town. Russian
ballet opened Monday night—not interested.
Hemingway is very sad—I’ll have to tell you about that later—Caesar
and I went to three expositions yesterday. I have not been to the Decoratif
or Industriel show yet. They say it’s pretty bad.66
I am going to see Gurdjieff this weekend perhaps—they say he is
Edith has been very ill—won’t stay in bed, looks like a shadow of herself—
and breaks my heart.
I am at the Cluie but don’t think I shall stay.
I hope you got the white baby home safely—Write to us and tell us
everything that is happening.
112 • D E A R T I N Y H E A R T
Wednesday July 22 
At last a letter from Bill with check deducting $6.00 for gas debt, telephone
etc—Rather small? And then I think he intends to call a month—
even not counting the weeks—but I’m sending him a receipt for 4 weeks.
I saw the kids Sunday—went out and took them to Saiuers for a little visit
on Marta’s house was full of guests so it was not very satisfactory except
that they stuffed on candy and punch.
Interruption—Madame Picabia just called on telephone “meet me
tonight at 9:30 I have all night” So it goes.
I went to the bank Monday p.m. and found the first batch of mail forwarded
by A. Robinson and a note from Willy Mack —I can’t get in touch
with him until tomorrow—Tzara is going away Monday and has
arranged so many conferences that I have to help. Oh the bills in my N.Y.
mail—I don’t see how I’ll ever rise above the present awful mess.
It all weighs upon me and cramps my activities over here—I suppose it
will all come out somehow but—I won’t bother you with it—it’s these
damn stoppages that I can’t stand—the whole world is mine in one realm
and then blaa—no chance to act.
Had dinner with Nancy Cunard, Rodker, Tzara, Leihris one night.
Last night with Van Doesburg and wife, Man Ray, Kiesler, Tzara etc.67
I wrote a note to Arthur Hern asking him if he wanted to have a party
with me and the boys—I got a charming note back saying he wanted us
for a birthday party—this week or next—so happy that we remembered
Lake Bluff—etc. whether we hear again is another matter. Sweet old
The kids are radiantly happy at Prieure?—God knows how—they
were picking slugs for “G” dirty, slimy, brown slugs—Tom had picked
1,654. Someone will get a prize. Whatever he says to them they do with
almost too much eagerness, you can feel an ecstatic strain in them. Fritz
feeds the chickens and works in the garden and in the kitchen every 6th
day. Tom has other duties and kitchen ” ” [every 6th] day. They take a
Turkish bath every Sat. night with the men—and a cold shower every
The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, 1922–1926 • 113
night—I have told several of the women to watch that they did not
overdo in their eagerness. They study French a little, get sent on errands
to buy things in French—etc. I sent you two letters of theirs—don’t fret if
they don’t write very often—they are busy from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. but
I’ll stop that soon.
Martie and I went to Brancusi’s Saturday night for dinner—Mme Picabia
came in later. We stayed until 3:30 a.m.—ate too much, smoked too
much, drank too much,—laughed too much. Brancusi played and sang.
Everywhere there is violent discussion of Gurdjieff—he does disturb the
world—but I fear he’s done for himself—???
I am sending you a French thing to translate take your time. I want it for
Last Friday I played all day with Marta D. She says she thinks that Bill
is a bit sure of himself—that she does not exactly live under a basket waiting
for men to finish one life before coming her way—We ate on one of
the perches—everything—had old wine and phine from 1812—stayed
put, talking until 5—then went out and saw some of the exposition, went
to Boeuf had gin fizz then to the little Chinese for dinner, then to Montmartre
to Liberty’s Bar—for another “phine” (cognac) that’s all that
Caesar writes from the South that he is having a glorious time—stupid
ass—he could land some money if he wanted to—
Tzara and I made big plans about his coming to America. We want to
have his play and we want the world—here is some thing—exactly
Tzara—he intends to make a tour around the world—at dinner he said,
adjusting his monocle, with a most worried face, “I must have a globe—
could I get one that would fold up so that I could take it out and look
down and then put it back flat in my trunk”—then we all got busy, inventing
a globe—we finally decided upon a balloon, that would have all
the countries assembled in one spot, all the oceans together, to make it
simple we’re going to use that as publicity. I have a chance to go into the
publicity business. Can’t we get some capital? You leave Weavie and
make a distributing system.
114 • D E A R T I N Y H E A R T
Of course Marta asked many questions about you and I read her part
of your letters, it says she intends to write—but that letters are her worst
Yes—I know about the Joyce record—I am going to be given one.
I am meeting all of surrealists—not the Breton group—but a newer one—
the next L.R. will be French—
I made a beautiful surrealist poem and lost it—
No word from E.T.
I’ll send you the gossip about my visits with A. Hern and W. Mack next
Give Big Boy our love.
Monday August 3—
I saw Miss Crawford for dinner Thursday night. She was so tired—she
was not very exciting. We went to Stryx—She didn’t order enough for a
chicken. Was too abstracted. Said she envied me my religion etc. Tried to
think of plans to help my ideas—She’s nice—but something has dashed
her—she talks about luck—luck until one dies—isn’t it so? Says she’s
going to N. Carolina to rest. I didn’t say anything about her helping me
with the boys—she has talked that with you—I thought I’d leave it that
way—But you’ll get after her soon won’t you. I am going to need a lot of
help this year. Lois writes Mart that she sees her man three time a week,
is very much in love, very happy can’t live on her allowance and is coming
to N.Y. in the autumn to get something to do. So you see!
The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, 1922–1926 • 115
A letter—no the supplement—mailed by you in Chicago on the 22nd
got here on the 1st of Aug. Fast? I think there must be a letter from you
on the Aquitainia tomorrow. I wrote to Dizzy to come and help in my
gallery. She died on the third of July. I was a bit taken back—poor little
thing, no life, no nothing—Mart said “aren’t you mad she died? “I can’t
think about her it’s too terrible. So starved.” She died of cancer, sick a
Tzara has gone to be married, comes back on two weeks—He has been
charming working for me like a confrere as Mart says.
I have my Joyce record. I heard it first at Sylvia’s and then she gave me
one.68 I was overcome for a moment. It is of course the most gorgeous
performance. English that is not spoken anymore—will you come to hear
I have so many things—I’m sending you some things to translate for me— publicity—for the winter. You should see me going through these long enthusiastic interviews in German, in French—I say nothing of course—but I understand—it is fabelhaft!69
I have been writing, but not on my book—I wrote a very good thing— which I have sent to Martie to read. I am sending it to the New Age. It is called “Impasse” and its about Edith and me. She comes home tomorrow? Mimi Franchetti and I are good little friends—I told you she is the Venetian baroness—who used to own the palace of the Doges?—She is a real Queen. She speaks english like this “I didn’t did it”. Saw Bob Koop and Burlin one night for a couple of hours—they want me to come to dinner tomorrow night—Nothing interesting there.
I had luncheon—from 12:45 until 4:30 with Alice Rothier on Saturday. We had such fun. We’ve made an affiliation—Arts Club and me. Don’t tell anyone though. Didn’t she give me a cross section of a certain Chicago. Arthur Hern had to go south—we may have the party when he returns.
I didn’t go to see the kids yesterday—Martie was sick—couldn’t go
out—hemorrhoids. I went to stay with her all night—and got caught in
the rain—drenched coming home—haven’t seen them for two weeks—
but will go out soon.
116 • D E A R T I N Y H E A R T
I haven’t been playing around very much—I have been working very
hard with all my rendezvous. Friday night I was out all night with Maehutan
[?] Franchetti, Wallie and Marcel Herrand,—a part of the time that
Vanderbilt—Hatch person was along—as Wallie says “how did we get to
know such people!” She is awful—
Louise Hellstrom hasn’t sent me a poem. Bitch.
I am very low today—sleepy and low. I’ll get a letter off to you Saturday.
Hope there is one from you Wednesday.
Lots of Love -j-
[August 19, 1925]
I have just returned from town where I found a letter from you, one from
Olive, one from Elsa. As Martie would say—Why did you go and get
that? I’ve suffered enough? I am so glad for you that you weren’t frightened
and that it is all over now. Olive and Elsa both assure me that there
is no need to worry—and aside from the first shock I have been able to
look at it is a thing in the past—the letters were a very long time coming
August 2nd to Aug. 19th—I shall look for bulletins frequently.
I have had to run into the study-house—as it has begun to rain—Lile
is doing exercises. Mme Saltzman is playing a hymn as on the piano, the
mood is singularly religious.70 There is such peace and rest here—I wish
you could experience it—Martie sits beside me—wrapt in attention. Tom
is in his room writing to you. Fritz is in the kitchen washing casseroles for
hours yet—I told them of your illness—they are both much excited. We
are trying to get these off on the Mauritania—that means they must leave
here tonight. Tonight or tomorrow 9:00 a.m. at the latest. Stanley Nott
arrived yesterday.71 Martie is so content says it is the only place to rest.
We came Saturday and have made a path about 250 feet long.
I went in to Paris late yesterday to have a last rendezvous with Tzara
and to meet his wife. He is going to the Pyrenees for four months and I
shall not see him again this time. His wife is Swedish—very sensitive and
in grown. Edith is in Sainte Maxine until the first of September.
The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, 1922–1926 • 117
I saw everyone, who is still in Paris last night—strange to say I didn’t
want to play. I went to the bank for mail today and beat it straight home.
We had a turkish bath late Sunday night—it is superb—everyday seems
so good—even the awful way of eating—I have a room over the barnyard.
They prepared a lovely room for me—but I gave it to Martie—out
of pleasure and to stop the discussion—I think I shall have a good rest
here. Tomorrow I think I shall begin the exercises.
Take care of yourself and if you are not able to write—get Elsa or
Olive—not Olive so much—I loved to hear from her even if it was a short
note of bad news.
In great love to you—as ever
10:55 p.m. Mercredi August 19/25 Jatty
[Tuesday, August 25, 1925]
I am on the train going in to Paris to see Moholy-Nagy of the Bauhaus-
Nieman to arrange an exhibition for next winter.72 Tom came up to the
station with me—he met Djuna and Thelma on the platform and Tom had
it out with her for calling them worms.73 Martie went back into town yesterday
evening—may return for the weekend. She had a glorious time—
Stanley and she played chess for hours and she swam in the pool with Tom.
I hope I shall find a letter from you today at the bank—I am quite
ready—I am quite ready to come home in one way—but in another—I
can’t see my way clear to making any kind of start—When I see the boys
again at close range—I don’t see how they can be left alone to their own
bringing up—Fritz is awful—just imitation and shallowness showing off.
It is very rainy all of the time so impossible to work—either in or out
of doors. Alice writes at last that I may have her apartment if I found
her another—but how to get my life arranged is a thing I do not dare to
I have all the copies for my next issue—but as it is in French and so unusual
that Mart can’t read it at all—I don’t know who in N.Y. is going to
read it. Then I am afraid to send it to the printer for fear I won’t have the
money to get it away again—So Gehts!
I hope you are all well by the time this reaches you—I am going direct
to the bank now to look for a letter from you.
Gurdjieff’s book is finished—Orage came next week to go over the
english of it. I think it is going to be a disappointment too simple in the
118 • D E A R T I N Y H E A R T
oriental way—and the swats too hidden for the layman to do anything
but jeer. I will finish this when I see if I have a letter at the bank—I will
finish this with Fritz’s glass pen. I found 3 letters from you. Aug.6–Aug.
9 and Aug. 13—it is fine to know that you are coming along so famously.
Didn’t you love Fritz’s “I hope it isn’t mortal.” Nothing else is to be expected
from Lois and Bill. Orage said he’s repeat—but seldom do we repeat
right where we’ve been hurt. My train was very late—they are being
careful since all the accidents. I got to the bank to the printer and then
had to dash to my appointment. We have arranged an exhibition and I am
to write a book on America 48 pages of photograph eccentrique and 16
pp. of text—surrealist—I am invited to the Balkans next year to be the
guest of the government. Tom got a card from Edith this a.m. Star of
Love—a silver star on a postal card with pink, blue and white ribbons
for rays—on the end of each ray a little gold heart—was he happy? I
couldn’t get away from my friends until so late this would have missed
the boat train—so I sent it for the Saturday boat.
A long letter from Carol—also she spoke of going to see you. Don’t let
the boy get too fat.
If Bill and Lois are together again why don’t I get the allowance complete—
no he hands it in dribs.
I have just had the second check from him.
It is sunny today—I am going to get some pictures of the boys if I can—
42 days of rain in 8 weeks—more than Brookhaven? The kids are doing
so well in exercises—quite wonderful. Caesar is ghastly bad. Don’t worry
about the boys working—they do rather as they please. One in six days
they have to work all day—in the kitchen. They send love—have just
brought me a great green apple—Yesterday a calf was born—Mr. G.
made special music and got a little girl to dance for it and made the stable
boy pay for the music! Old Eastern custom a farmer always makes a
celebration where he is enriched by multiplying his herds. There are many
ceremonies here. The boys love them.
Much love as always
[August 31, 1925]
Not much news this time. Went into Paris again at the end of the week
for a conference so my week was very much broken up—I am going in
The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, 1922–1926 • 119
tomorrow with Stanley to see some people but am coming back tomorrow
night. Orage comes and we want to have a talk with him about publishing
Gurdjieff’s book. We are trying to get a book from your little pet
Hemingway. Caesar leaves for home tomorrow—he has loved the Institute
where two weeks it has rained so much that I have had no chance to
take pictures, but am borrowing a camera tomorrow to take the boys.
They fight about every stroke of work they have to do. They really are
rotten in some ways.
I made a big poster for my gallery—it is stunning. Margaret never returned—
strange to say I never missed her—I took my turkish bath all by
myself—Saturday night—at midnight—in spite of her. I have many things
to do and people to see before I leave. I’d hurry if I could but I have to
wait—developments about the boys.
The exercises have been fine these last nights—Gurdjieff directing in
his gentle voice. It would be so easy to stay right on here if weather did
not bring suffering and if we did not have to live—later.
How are you and are you going to be able to go back to work right
now? I’ll let you know if anything unusual or gay happens tomorrow in
Much love— J
August 31— /25
[September 10, 1925]
I couldn’t get a letter off to you Tuesday because I was so sick with a cold
over the week end and I had to come to town on Sunday for a conference
with Lawrence Langner—Mart was out for the weekend—we both came
back on Monday.74
Where to begin?
Lawrence wants to combine efforts—takes the expense of the Exposition etc—which will be over $5.000 and let us or anyone have the credit—yes—yes—yes. I could never have raised the money—so I am happy—We will have tons of publicity—and much fun out of it—so we go ahead for January—if all is well.
Your pal Hem—was very amusing the other night telling what a hero he was in the war.
I have another fit of coughing so I will stop—more next time— Hope I have a letter tomorrow
. . . All my love.
The years 1938 to 1941 are the only ones for which we have an intersection of Heap-Reynolds letters. They are few and far between—two letters from Heap in March 1938 followed by no letters until Reynolds writes in January 1940. We have three Heap letters in 1940 and two in 1941. Heap’s letters are typewritten and obviously censored in some way—they have no salutations or sign offs. Heap spent part of the time during the Blitz at a farm called Gotten Manor. The people she refers to are unidentifiable. Reynolds and Heap are quite aware of the official wartime censoring of their letters. Reynolds at times refers to “Jatty” in the third person, and still defines herself as “Jatty’s” mother.
The interaction between the two women is incomplete as Heap fades from the picture. The remainder of her war life is left to Reynolds to paint for us.
[Heap to Reynolds]
March 22, 1938
Mari has been crying all day letter last night. Three brothers in the army, one not heard from, two in Vienna. I am trying to tell her that they are not in danger, only the poor Austrians. She won’t listen. The third one must have been sent to Spain, they just load them up and say nothing the boys find themselves locked in the train and later they find themselves in Spain.
[Heap to Reynolds]
March 29, 1938
as if some horrible, formless, senseless mass were pushing relentlessly against mind and emotion—no reason, no appeal will move it back on it comes.
Every day I learn my gas attack lesson, printed in the paper and how to dig a trench in your garden, and then I had to laugh because we have no garden. I don’t suppose any of it would be any good once we get as far as attack. Can’t see what good a gas proof shelter would be with two or three tons of bricks and roof on top of one. Of course the only thing to do is to go away in advance, if one knows. There is no place to go if one’s time is up, so why worry and spoil the in meantime. I shall have insulin, etc. always at hand, money put by, etc.
[Reynolds to Heap]
Hollywood, California September 10, 1940
And how are you living through these desperate, agonizing days? If it is excruciating for us in our comfort and security what can it be for you? Every paper, every broadcast stresses the courage, the unbroken morale, the steadiness of England and from the feeling London gave me last autumn I can believe that it is impossible to exaggerate the staying powers of the British. They stand out today to the world splendid and shining figures. But the wickedness and waste of the destruction! There is no way of our telling whether Upper Wimpole is in the bombed region = we read only of the East End and the very centre of London being attacked and so far I haven’t seen a map showing the bombed areas. I am thinking of the Lloyds and the knitting Czechs and the Jarvises as people perhaps with no place to go and of course of your Group—all safe I hope. I imagine you at Gotten going through your days, all of you, as though there were nothing but the task in hand to be got through but someway I can’t keep my anxiety about you from getting into the picture. I wonder if a letter appears in the morning paper. And at the little local post office I heard recently that a letter and its answer took only fifteen days from France. You couldn’t do much better than that in peace time.
I wish I had all of you at Gotten with me here for tea this afternoon— it is one of those lazy warm summer afternoons, sun almost too hot, cloudless blue sky, soft breeze—my desk and chair are in the shade but most of my office is flooded with sunshine—I look out on a green lawn, porch covered with ivy, big acacia tree in front. We won’t have tea here, however, but at the back which is fenced in and so full of shrubs that it is quite secluded from near neighbors, and gives the illusion of remoteness. We’ll talk of all those lovely days on the open road and try to forget that perhaps there will never be any more of them, never in this world. Weren’t we wise to loaf across Switzerland last year? A year ago today you and I were having coffee on the Ile de Rousseau and in the evening we were reading Father Brown!2
I am so glad you mentioned Priestley to me—I have been reading his Desert at Night—so gay, so amusing, so wise, so rich in comment and observation. I think he gives the best description of America and Americans, particularly of the Southwest, I have ever read. He likes us but how he shows us up. As always he is absorbed in the problem of Time and is most stimulating in his comments on Dunne and Ouspensky—did you know that he has tried three times to do a play on the repellent theory of recur- rence?3 Hasn’t, however, pulled it off yet. He has a play, Dangerous Corner, (which I don’t know) on actualizing possibilities. I should like to read it—haven’t it here in this library. Speaking of books, did you ever receive Jung’s Integration of Personality? I sent it to Carol and she was going to forward it to you.
I wonder will you give me a careful answer to this? I have never made any arrangements as to what to do with me when I am dead. Hattie has asked me again to give her some instructions. You know there is a lot in Stanton beside my own mother awaiting me, Grandmother and Grandfather Turner are on the same lot. The others are a little distance. It someway seems very far away from me and my life and would be rather a burden for anyone to get me there. It would seem to me more reasonable to bury me where I die, that is to say in the lovely cemetery of Sleepy Hollow at Tarrytown or somewhere out here. I should like a plan that would seem pleasant to you. Should you mind thinking about it carefully and writing me soon? I don’t feel in the least at home here although I am content to be here. I was looking at the landscape and streets the other day and wondering if I should ever feel that I belong here. I doubt it. Hattie would so love it if I would stay on and Willie is so hospitable and so obviously glad to have me here. Isn’t it perverse of me not to throw roots down? I can say though that my being here has accomplished much—the tension and exasperation are so much less. Give me credit too, I haven’t acquired nerves over the situation but have kept myself out of it in a way that I wouldn’t have believed possible. And the results are good all round.
. . . Oh, my dear, if I only could pray—one feels a great need these days. But you know how I am thinking of you and wishing you protection. And insulin and food? I can always send the former you know. And Wally, you have never sent me directions.4
—— Yours devotedly, Florence
[Hollywood, California] September 18, 1940
I can’t tell you how distressed I am that your arm is not to recover com- pletely—but I am not going to give up hope yet. After all you come out of the Ofoten [sic] and you have powers within you that will do you a good turn yet . . .5
If you are writing Jatty tell him that his mother has made a new will safeguarding him, so if the world holds at all, at her death he will have $150.00 a month or thereabouts. The former will wasn’t satisfactory to her in the least, values having shrunk since it was made in 1934. So she has arranged to have another trust set up in the event of her death to manage the estate left her by her father—the arrangement in the rest remains as before. She feels, she told me the other day, more content than she has for a long time. The lawyer here was most understanding and from what she said I gather that things are arranged to meet almost any contingency. It was marvelous to have the quotations from his letter—do hope you will pass on to me anything you may hear from him.
Admiration at the English grows—noone understands how they can bear what is happening—it is so terrible, so frightful, so cruel, so beastly, but no use going on like this. You know it better than I. Of course Elspeth isn’t leaving the Island now and what of Worth’s? I think of Lloyd so often too. A letter from Kathleen who had had a brief note from Elizabeth from Paris, I judge. No news of course, except that she was trying to get over here. Something that she wasn’t on the Lancastria! So happy you have heard from Martie—I wrote her recently but not much feeling it would ever reach her. Yes, Tippy is wonderful, those of her age I have known haven’t had much emotional capacity, probably though never had much in comparison.6
. . . The school situation is very bad—it is perhaps silly for me to go but L.C.W. wrote me a letter I can’t resist and then too I want to go.7 Something may turn up, one can always hope and it is activity there and here it is very pleasant but not enough. I am an ungrateful wretch but there it is. . . . Such a dull and dry letter but I love you and I have millions more things to say. My dearest love to you. Love to Elspeth and affection to the others.
[Heap to Reynolds]
October 6, 1940 Gotten Manor Farm
I saw an air battle, 22 planes taking part. They passed over as I was going through the fields to the village. I waited under a wild crab apple tree in a hedge. They were making for a port. You could soon hear them dropping their bombs on the target, houses ripping apart and showering down, anti-air guns roaring and then the fighters driving them back. I had walked on to the village shop while they were over the target but the big fight took place right out in front of the shop, not very high up, the sun behind them. They shone and gleamed and did amazing stunts. Three enemy planes made off to sea with smoke streaming from them, the rest fled and our boys after them, later a lone spitfire swaggered low over us on his way home. A wild cheer went up as he passed. All of the people were supposed to be in shelters but it isn’t human to stay quite hidden when a savage winning fight is going on.
Andrebrook election day
Your letter postmarked October 21st here yesterday on the 4th—not too bad really. I’ll swing into business matters and errands first. I had planned to go into New York yesterday afternoon and had time fairly booked up but managed to do some of the things for you. I’d tried for the Forham’s gum massager at three drug stores and again this morning here in Tarry- town without success, so I have written to the factory in New Jersey to send me one, so it will be on its way to you soonish. I tried for the stockings at Stern’s, none in stock except those very fine ones to be worn under silk hose and I couldn’t see them under boots, (In rereading I see you want them when you take off boots) so I’ll try at Macy’s the next time I am in town. . . . It is a fantastic world, isn’t it?
I went to the post office too and found that I can send what is called a “small packet” to England without the formality of notarized signature and all the red tape. So I went to the five and ten and got various little items which I’m sending out tomorrow—no great loss if destroyed and I can’t imagine any duty on them. I got the things for Elspeth that Chloe suggested she likes.8 It makes a very simple Christmas but will be a package to open and will be full of love. In an earlier letter I sent you money for a real gift and a pound for the actual Christmas day at Gotten, some wine and some tiny gifts for Nannie and Michael—Chloe says that Violet is probably not there. I thought I’d send a book or two but it seems better to me to wait until I hear from you and know if there is anything you really want. I had thought a little of Gerald Heard’s new one, The Creed of Christ, also of the Oxford Books of Christian Verse. And for El- speth possibly Thomas Mann’s The Beloved Returns, Madame Dorthea by Sigrid Undset or on Poetry from W.B. Yeats to Dorothy Wellesley, or the new life of Trelawney or the new collection of Famous Letters. Do tell me like a dear if any of these sounds appealing. And I’ll send one to each of you for New Year’s or who knows it may reach you in time for a Valentine. And do write me if you want the scarf, the one I knit, I mean. Macy is advertising Food Parcels for England to brighten London’s Christmas, food paid for here and orders filled by a London firm. But the hamper contains mostly things you can’t eat, plum pudding, nuts, raisins, chocolate, candies, butterscotch, etc., so I’m not thinking of it. They advertise a rationed food parcel too, food sent directly from here, butter, bacon, tea, sugar and evaporated milk—I can’t believe the latter is very practical. I am sorry if I haven’t been too dashing—I get into such a panic about you every once in a while but even if I have proceeded with too great a speed, I can send to Solita too—I am waiting to hear from her as you directed. The moment I do I’ll write her a check. Of course it was ridiculous of me to think that silk stockings are very suitable but I like to know you have them anyway and perhaps on Christmas day you will dress up and maybe you did on your birthday.
Of course I am horrified that you are sickly but so glad you were writing to Dr. Laurence [sic]—my dear, you must have expert advice, you mustn’t let yourself get down.9 You are probably feeling lonely and dreary—it is all so grim, so awful, I don’t know how you bear it. I should have gone over and brought you here—lots of things you wouldn’t like but far better than the strain and difficulties of war time. And I feel so sad about those little kittens—it always seems to me very insensitive not to give the best there is to cats, it seems their right, but I suppose I am prejudiced. Rastus de Gaulle—how wonderful a name! Kiss him specially for me.
I am sorry I was so cryptic about the will that you are troubled. It doesn’t affect the present in the slightest degree—it is an arrangement after I am gone, the best that could be devised to safeguard you. The Salt Lake part is easy, income to go to you as long as you live—it is a trust anyway and is simply transferred without any interruption. But it isn’t enough so a trust will have to be set up on my other holdings when I am gone so that income can go to you also, or a goodly share of it. It is not so difficult but I wanted it all as simple as possible and I think it is now arranged, with the Washington Irving Trust Company of Tarrytown as trustee and Hattie as executor. Principle in either case goes ultimately to Hattie and if she is gone to Florence, as seems right and just. I have been troubled about it for some time and it is such a comfort to me to feel that it is at last well arranged.
I think there is a great deal to be said for burial where you fall. Sleepy Hollow is as lovely a place as I have ever seen, full in the spring of divine flowering shrubs. Stanton is remote—I mind that I have never been there since 1931—it seems one of those impossible things to do.
Of course you are right about bugs in rugs it is no proper goal but it does have a thrall. I don’t know what you mean about my self-imposed ‘limitations’. I feel very small and fearful inside and not very competent to cope with large issues—I have a fleeting glimpse sometimes of possibilities but I can’t hold it, and if I hadn’t known you I think I’d not even had the glimpse so don’t talk foolish talk of your worth to me—it is incalculable. I should have had no existence whatsoever except of the most conventional bug if I hadn’t found you.
I do hope you are better by this time—it is so sad to feel you aren’t well. My devoted love to you, my dear. Greetings to Gotten and love to Elspeth.
Yours as always, F.
[Heap to Reynolds]
December 18, 1940 Gotten Manor Farm
I went up on the Down today in frightful mud to find a little bare wind tree which I am going to whiten and trim in silver, white and nine red candles. I found the most twisted tree in the world and it is outside waiting to be made into a Christmas tree. It was lovely way up there. I could see the chalk downs and way over the ocean. Well I went to London last Monday to see three doctors, to shop and to be home in comfort for a few days. We had a long journey, left here at 10:30 [cut by censor] the way in and up to house saw that there had been devastation let loose night before. As we neared home we both silently watched to see if house still stood. The streets were lined with broken glass, like snow swept up in piles. When we entered we were met by Mrs. L: oh, my God, you cant stay here she said, “Line mine” [sic] [land mine] two streets off had blown windows in, sashes, frames, etc. Big window in bedroom blown clear across the room, hall window, my bathroom and the big sky-light, and in the night it had rained!!! Lloyd had called the shop and had arranged that I go to Jarvis with E. When we got there it was six o’clock and we sat down to dinner at once, so everything could be cleaned away before the alert. Kathleen’s sitting-room has been made into a bed-room for E, a double B and a single. Undress up stairs and come down to B. E. uses it as a sitting and dining room and after that a bed room. The Jarvis’s sleep on a mattress under the stairs. Jarvis sits up or goes into the garden to watch, sort of spotter. K’s little house is as strong as a match box. I stayed the whole time there.
Went away about 8:30 a.m. and returned with E. about 5:30. I enjoyed the trip almost as much as going to Paris!! We had charming evenings. I read aloud while E. knitted, long evening from 6 till 11. We had several alerts, only two nights were there planes overhead and the big guns barking. Some were very near and the house shook when they fired but I found them very exciting. The strange thing about it all is that you can’t be afraid. There is just no use because it is death or not death. There are no words to tell about the results of bombing but bombs are nothing to landmines that come floating down on parachutes and blight and seer and blast everything for streets around. [censor cut here] Where E. was that time is a pile of kindling, three houses it was. There is a crater in our street one block down that fills the street from curb to curb. It is impossible to imagine anything about it from photographs or descriptions. It is as if something came out of hell and blasted and blighted. One wonders where things to—an apartment building is hit and lies on the ground like a small mound of bricks and kindling, no furniture, no bedding, no carpets, nothing, nothing. Sometimes, however, upon the fourth floor on a little shelf of floor one can see a piece of furniture or a mirror. I saw a sideboard with a chair beside it way up in the air against a wall. A very touching thing is done after a hit, a British flag is draped across a chasm or in the slums a dirty little flag is stuck up in the rains. One night a few weeks ago a bomb fell within half a block of Jarvis’s leveling three new flats and one fell in the garden back of the house. E. says the house rocked and expanded and contracted for two hours. She walked the floor, waiting. Of course the contour of the streets is not affected, whole streets not touched. They can never smash it.
Have you heard the cockney woman’s remark about Big Ben? Two cockney women were crossing Westminster bridge in a bus. One said, ‘Big Ben’s still there.’ ‘Yes,’ said the other, ‘Hope Hitler doesn’t try to bomb him. I’ve known him ever since he was a little watch.’
I wanted terribly to go back with E. London was so bustling and gay, shops full of people buying Christmas gifts, Santas everywhere, Selfridges had a long scroll up in every section. There will always be a Christmas.
Climate is mad, buds in all the bushes, lilac, gooseberry, currants, etc.
Andrebrook December 27, 1940
. . . Now, dear, I must talk with you very seriously. I have written before, perhaps there hasn’t been time for an answer. Don’t you feel that we should be trying to get you over here? I am so afraid that the Germans will take Portugal and close that means of escape. I think and think about it—whether the risk of the journey to Lisbon is too great—many people seem to do it every trip, both by boat and by Clipper they come in but they haven’t diabetes. I know it is a hazard but I can’t bear to have you there in the constant bombing with all the hazards of isolation . . . Money can be managed. The passage would be bought with dollars and is arranged from here I think. Money would have to be deposited in Lisbon in case of delays, there would be visas of course and one would have to be prepared for difficulty and delay, but Solita and those people must be expert by now, but I am sure would cooperate with me in every possible way. Think it over very carefully and tell me what you really want and we’ll see what can be done. The flights from London to Lisbon have been resumed we read. Oh, my dear, I so long to see you! I read what you wrote of Elspeth and the spectacle in the sky to L. C. W. and thought she was going to pass out completely and instantly. It is too amazing and incredible. Her Christmas card came yesterday—how sweet it is. Thank her for me.
December 27, 1940
How lovely it is to have your letter of the 4th of December here yesterday, nicest Christmas present of all. Although it is a bit disturbing, to put it with all the understatement of which I am capable, to think of your going up to London but I comfort myself with the assurance that you have been and are back at Gotten safely. One advantage of the slow communications.
We had our Christmas Eve before an open fire after coffee and Benedictine with a silver tree lighted with red candles, real ones, three of us, L. C. W., the old girl and I, all of us in dinner clothes, looking very elegant. I opened your box first—I should have liked to do it all alone and had it just with you, but the box having been seen days ago both were curious to see the contents. My dear, the wooden container is exquisite, so beautifully made, so lovely in colour with its red lining and the cutouts so adorable, the little cross and the lovely stars and your letters are always nicer than any others anywhere. The Primavera box sewed so lovingly in its cotton jacket is perfect—how precious of you to get it to me in this of all years, so fragile, so much a symbol of things past. I love it, my dear.
Both L. C. W. and I were showered with cards and messages and gifts. I had chiffon handkerchiefs and soaps and perfumes and Hattie sent me a large check, $50.00, and L. C. W. had jams and candies and wine and it seemed to me that we are two spoiled women, pampered far beyond our merits—all the fundamental injustice of the scheme has been overwhelming me these days. Yesterday we were in town to the theatre and went afterwards to the Biltmore for cocktails—the place jammed full of poinset- tias in bloom, masses of prosperous people drinking and eating food they didn’t need, warmth, lights, music. Rockefeller Center with a fabulously enormous tree, great wreaths, out door skating rink, cafes all about— everywhere in New York the mad luxury. I feel so bewildered by the contrasts in the world. It is all wrong and I feel on the wrong side and as though I am not doing what every person of good will should be doing, in some way throwing his weight to lighten the misery rather than wallowing in luxury and comfort. Tell me what I should do.
And just think all these words and not a line to tell you of the great surprise L. C. W. gave me. She presented me with a kitten! Can you believe it—the little sweet heart is on my lap this very moment. He is black and white, four white little feet, two white stockings on his hind legs, white whiskers, a white shirt front, two months old—exactly the right temperament, affectionate and needing companionship exactly twenty-four hours in each and every day. I wanted him to be closely associated with little Rastus deGaulle, so I named him Winston Churchill . . .
The reality of the war was brought home for Reynolds in 1941. As Anderson and Leblanc tried to escape Europe, they were contending with Georgette’s diagnosis of what would be terminal breast cancer. As Reynolds goes about her life and continues to worry about Heap, the news from Anderson via Solano gets worse and worse.
andrebrook January 13, 1941
Your letter dated the 18th here on the 7th. Your letter was thrilling—you write superbly. I get a feeling of excitement and exaltation on first reading—it is really only after hours that the awful reality that it is possible death for you and Elspeth really sinks in. I don’t know why this is so except that perhaps there is always an instinctive rejection of the painful on the part of the organism. I think the disaster is on such a scale that we who are far in space from it can’t really believe it—it remains always in the realm of the incredible—and then suddenly one is stabbed wide awake and knows that it is all worse than one’s wildest imagination, that one’s very heart is threatened every moment. I waken some mornings with such a leaden feeling, it is as though I cannot get up, and I am sure my experience must be that of thousands and millions. So good that you saw Dr. Lawrence but the loss of 27 pounds frightens me and the poor arm and shoulder—oh my dear, my dear! I am hoping that you have gone into the hospital by this time and that improvement has begun. Do you need money? Do let me know and don’t neglect to do all that is possible— to get the arm back as far as is humanly possible is of first importance now. Of course I know you’ll do your best but where is there a hospital that is even relatively safe? Your account of Christmas in London is marvelous and the Big Ben story so touching I couldn’t read it without tears. Could affection be expressed more movingly? What a people! I await eagerly your story of your Christmas for I know you made a lovely one. The box you speak of as having received was the second I sent, the first went early in November and had little things for you and Elspeth, nothing of any value, however. Your real present was a part of the check sent late in October, and you remember that you and Elspeth are each to have a book when you tell me what your hearts desire.
The rumor was that Marty et Cie were to come this morning on the Excambia but a wire to Solita said it was impossible, no details. Marty’s papers are all in order but some hitch for the others. Solita is still in California, will be back soon. Gladys Tilden arrived recently, is in Massachusetts now looking over school situation with a view to starting one, she and her partner. She reports that Marty’s life is not one of hardship in the least, pleasant surroundings and no real difficulties. Isn’t it miraculous that she should be spared? I am sending a note to Solita this morning to ask her to keep me informed—so far I have had information from Carol but there is always a chance she may miss a trick—I better keep in contact with headquarters . . .
I do dream a lot these nights, one night was wandering along the road past the house where Elspeth’s bench was made, saw it photographically. Another night our dear friends in the mountains were telephoning me begging us to come soon. And more recently I was in London in the night, looked up into the sky and saw four tiny points of light—you told me they were bombers high, high up and that a battle was on—all this in silence and calm. Extraordinary, isn’t it?
Here all goes on pleasantly but it has the quality sometimes of living over a precipice—I know it can’t go on much longer but keep on we do and I suppose shall until June. Sometimes I feel hung out in space but I have learned to accept the pleasant moment and not fret about the fu- ture—maybe there won’t be any and maybe it will be a happy one. . . .
Always love to you.
And James Joyce lies dead in Zurich!
andrebrook February 10, 1941
. . . I wrote you that Solita sent me the manuscript and the work that Marty at Cie are sailing March 28th from Lisbon.10 I have read with fascination and interest—and have sometimes been under a complete spell. Some of it is so exquisite with the fragile quality Marty has herself had these last years—the descriptions of the lighthouse, Muette, Varnet, Duino enchanting—the same quality that was in her playing of Chopin on Long Island long ago as in her words—I suppose it is the “moon” quality you saw in the very beginning. In a way one hates to think of it being discussed by reviewers and read by God knows who—too precious. And to take out all the G stuff—my dear—do you realize how little would be left, I mean how few actual pages? His name is mentioned fifty-five times by actual count and whole sections are nothing but a discussion of ideas and their impact upon her. You suggest in your letter that “Solita select the stories or pieces that might get published.” She didn’t comment on this suggestion in her letter, so I’ll write her and see if she is amenable—we better have an interview, I should say . . . Oh my dear, a heart full of love for you.
The thought of my years is a rather terrifying burden, so little done—— [Heap to Reynolds]
February 12, 1941 London
Don’t get it into your head that life is dreadful over here. It is pretty goody, au contraire. One’s rushing about is a bit curtailed and one lives in a cul-de-sac as to branching out into new adventures but everything goes on much as usual.
February 25, 1941 Andrebrook
The enclosed will tell you that I have been seeing Solita-she had me write down the things I absolutely must tell you. As I wrote you last week, she is living with Katie [sic] and Alice, and where do you think?11 Alice has an apartment in the old Rhinelander house, the one later owned by Mrs. Philip Lydig. On the Square. I went there for tea yesterday and stayed for dinner. It is a delightful place, sweet bedrooms and a lovely large living room, with enormous window to the north and another toward the Avenue, so that a little later one can see the pink magnolia flower painting over the mantle, bright pink chairs, cocktails, and later dinner in the same room from a long narrow old table with lovely bench. Louise was there too and Janet came in as I was leaving to work on forthcoming article.12 Katey is in the hospital recovering from tumor operation, to be back at the end of this week. Solita leaves for California on Saturday, driving, has a girl from Simon and Schusters as a companion, who has promised not to speak a word during the days, as Solita likes to drive in silence. Janet going by train later. Solita always to return if Margaret can come. I have told you some of this before but no harm in repetition. I gave Solita a description of my delight in mountain flowers on passes and she doesn’t want me for a travelling companion. Janet is evidently even worse, can’t bear high places, so gasps, keeps her eyes covered———I am so surprised to find Solita so human, we are as cozy as can be—probably shouldn’t meet too often but it goes very well occasionally. I find her very kind and understanding. We drank to England of course, spoke much of you both, and much love went to you. I am to have dinner with Louise next week.
So many things I want to talk with you about but this is just news bulletin. I am heartsick about Georgette, fear they have waited too long.
And I am heartsick never to hear from you, I mean never any letter, and never any of my questions answered and never knowing about your arm and all the daily things. The cable was marvelous but I want letters. I am sure you have written but nothing comes and it is getting such a long time since I have seen your handwriting. Do you want to come home? We should be getting into action about it—I feel you mustn’t have another winter there and everything takes so long we should be discussing it NOW! And I wrote you long ago that I want to send you and Elspeth a book each but I want you to have something really congenial—do tell me. I continue letters with Clipper mail—ships do go down, you know. There is a rumor that direct air service between England and us is to be resumed with spring. I hope it is the truth.
Devoted love to you, my Pet. And what of money? I am writing soon to Guaranty Trust again.
Yours as always, Love to Elspeth.
Cabelgram received from Margaret by Solita in the last days: “Doubtful if Georgette can sail. Arm, hand horribly swollen, constant pain but doctor effective. Sending important letter California and decisions soon as possible.”
Quotation from Hemingway to Solita in recent letter: “Much love, Solita, and take good care of yourselves and don’t ever worry because as long as any of us have any money we all have money.”
. . . Did you know that Scott Fitzgerald died, heart attack. The last time Solita saw him was several months ago, he was not drinking but looked like a ghost. His daughter is graduating from Vassar in June, has had her first story accepted. . . .
Solita has cabled Margaret, “Come now or never.” Will it work?
[Heap to Reynolds]
February 27, 1941 Gotten Manor Farm
Sorry I can’t come home now, must wait for the invasion. You see, you all have an exaggerated idea of the horror and difficulties. Of course the people who have been bombed out that is another thing. But I like it up there better than here, even with planes over and guns going. Two nights before we came down we were sitting peacefully, Elspeth knitting and I reading aloud, when I heard a noise above the house, stood right up and said, “Well, I ask you!” E. looked at me in surprise. Said “What?” then a rocking crash. No alert had been sounded but the guns began. Next day in paper said, one raider, considerable damage. In fact from people on the spot one of worst in the blitz, new effort, new land mine fell two miles from us but one was not frightened, just taken aback a bit, if you know what I mean. One day I came home, asked Lloyd if there was a raid on. He drawled out, I should rather think so, the sirens went some time ago and the guns have been at it but quite usual, nothing unusual, you know what I mean.”
Then laughed his guffaw (you can’t hear the sirens when you are in a bus). The sirens go and the people look bored, the alert goes and there is no change. I heard some ladies near me at lunch, say, “Aren’t these alerts a nuisance?” I asked a young girl in a shop how she had been able to carry on, as everything around the shop had been bombed. “She said it’s funny how you forget all about the raids the minute it’ s quiet.” That’s what nature can do in the way of adjustment and it’s called courage by us. I’ve started on my gardens: vegetable and flower. What a spell this growing puts on one. The gardens, lawns, paths are full of snow drops and crocus, yes and it freezes and snows and all night it blew a blizzard and is still at it, rains in sheets.
Funny country, the buds have been on lilacs and bush fruits since November. I planted onions in late August, there they are thin as a thread, only about two inches high. Imagine you transplant onions!! Give them another five months and you’ll have onions as big as a plum.
Insulin is to be had as usual. I have another meat ration, just issued to diabetics. I am gaining weight now since fat is arranged. Arm is better more movement and the crippled look gone. Elbow is a bit better too. Wish I were strong like you. It is so difficult trying to write, holding things in. I could tell you such amusing incidents but I’m sure I’d get in wrong with the “Raised Eyebrow Department.”
There is nothing so dull at same time so funny as life with a no-humour people. I can always laugh night or day at our farmer’s remark “Never thought I’d live to see the day when I’d be afeared to go to bed. Bed I always thought the safest place in the world.” You see Olive going into a coma with me on that. Elspeth wouldn’t let me write all of that the first time. R.E.B. Dept. herself. The thing I hate most about the war is putting up the blackout.
andrebrook March 29, 1941
Yesterday was the day that our Marty and Georgette and Monique were to sail from Lisbon.13 Instead Solita writes, “Such a tragic letter from M. Georgette can’t live long, she’s suffering. G. too ill to be moved. They won’t be coming, I think. M. said if G. dies, she and Monique will come to me. I’ll be back soon.” When I think what that voyage will be for Margaret and what these days are, it is unbearable. I suppose she will find a way to meet it all, has been preparing for it for long and has great inner strength and resource. But our Marty!
A letter from Kathleen, who must by this time be in Southern California, reports that she has heard from New York that Elizabeth is in a concentration camp. Kathleen wrote at once by Clipper to her sister, asking that you be informed. The reason that Elizabeth was taken is “supposedly that she was listening to foreign broadcasts.” I called up Fred Leighton when I was in town the other day and he said that Mrs. Hare is trying to make contact with Elizabeth or at least to find where and how she is.14 I don’t know how long she has been working on it. I went to the Red Cross to inquire about their service—they have a Foreign Inquiry Division which gathers information about those missing. Kathleen will have to set that machinery in motion there in Los Angeles. We didn’t think those days of September 1939 when we were all together that some of us were facing such tragic days, did we? I think we did really though—I know I felt mostly those days that the end of the world had come. Mr. Leighton told me that Mr. Ouspensky is lecturing in New York, suggested I come in. I shall. No news whatsoever of Mr. G.—suppositions that he is still in Paris.
Postcard to Solita from Margaret dated April 28 (1941)
“Tell me whether you get this more quickly than a letter. Georgette has more pain every day. Taking slight doses of the necessary drug, but too strong inside herself to benefit much, I am worn down to nothing, poor Monique is ruined. But help on all sides and our house always full of flowers. At night late I sit in the garden alone and renew my waning forces. Great love to all. Write lots of letters, my only comfort.”
andrebrook May 7, 1941
Katie, Alice and Solita dropped by the other day on their way into town from Croton, stayed only a moment, were on the search for a
Siamese kitten that Katie is giving Alice, but long enough for me to glance hurriedly over Margaret’s last letter. She had had word from you and had found it so comforting—Georgette’s malady was entering the most terrible phases—the hideous pain and all the rest. I can’t believe that the end is far off, in fact think a cable may come any day now. I think it is not wrong to hope that the end will be soon. How can it be borne? Where does Georgette find the endurance to suffer so and Margaret to watch it going on? . . .
Devoted love to you my dear. F September 14, 1941
. . . My dear, my dear, what can have happened to you? Almost two months since I have heard! I have canvassed every possibility—if you were ill, surely Elspeth would write me, if you had moved, as you suggested in the spring, you would tell me. Perhaps it is only that days go by so quickly and you are so occupied with all our reading, we Americans haven’t any real idea of the difficulties and delays of your lives, how you are frustrated and slowed down in everything you undertake. I have been reading “Shelter” by Jane Nicholson, which gives me the best idea of the daily grind, quite stripped of drama and heroics.15 Tormenting it must be and why you all don’t go into screaming nerves is more than I can understand.
. . . It is most frightening. How at the mercy we all are of stupidity and cowardice and greed!
When Sherwood Anderson died I was grieved to see so little notice taken of his death, not much more than routine notices. So I was glad the other day to see a number of “Story” given over entirely to him. I shall be sending it on to you soon and you can save it for Marty, as she is mentioned a number of times. I was disappointed not to find your name for noone ever did better for Sherwood than you did.
Devoted love to you, my dear. And love to Elspeth and I hope this is going to be a nice week with a letter in it from you. My little Winston is good friends with the dogs but doesn’t like kittens, has caught some moles, and doesn’t like to have his picture taken.
Yours faithfully, F
Hollywood, California September 21, 1941
I started a letter to you yesterday, a nice beginning—Hattie packed my trunk this morning and now I found that your letter is nicely packed with some stationery at the very bottom of the trunk! . . . The thing that has been hanging over our heads all these last three years has happened—An- drebrook is to close, no pupils and no way to turn. I have often thought that it might have been better to close before but now it has to be. There is no sign of any miracle. Poor LCW, I don’t know how she can face her situation, but I know that she will do it with courage and dignity and perhaps once she is free of the millstone some way will open. I am very sad and I wish I could see some activity for me—that may come too. The thing to think about now is all the details and arrangements to be made to close up a phase for both of us. It was all a great strain last year, at least for me. Always worry over money and the attempt to maintain a structure without the necessary balance in the bank. You know me well enough to know that I am happier in one room that I can manage without worry than in a mansion that really can’t be run on any basis other than that of luxury. It is all very well to say that it wasn’t my worry, I told myself that many times, but I so identified with the place that all its difficulties were mine. For me it may be better that it is done although I shall miss it always. I have learned to adore it. I would like to find something that I could do to help win this war, something that would assure my living. Probably that is too much to ask but I have had my living for so long that it is hard for me to think of arranging my life, without that being taken for granted. Spoiled I am, you will say and I agree. I can’t believe that we shall stay at Andrebrook longer than through November—the heating problem will then become too great but in two months we should be able to go through papers and do the million things that will be required. I’ll have to pack my personal belongings too but thank God I am no collector, it won’t be too much of a task. Poor LCW is giving away her Boxer, so for a brief time my little Winston will have the run of the place and be undisturbed and I shall be free of worry that he is going to be killed by the dog. As nearly as I can figure LCW won’t have anything left—her horse is ill, her dog gone, her home, her work, all gone. What an ending to an experience that has absorbed years of her life!
September 22, 1941 [continued from Sept.21]
The latest gossip about Mabel Dodge is that she wants to divorce Tony but as he is a ward of the USA the government won’t permit the divorce. She wants to marry a Chinese now, and always till the day of her death she has to pay alimony to Tony’s first wife.
I had a letter from Leighton today saying “I expect to have a meeting with Donald Whitcomb this afternoon with the view of making further plans regarding Mr. G.” No details as to what he means. I shall try to see him when I reach New York. He also says, “you never know how long it may remain possible for transmissions of funds to be made.” A letter from Solita says, “I have a letter from Margaret to send you, one to me, but with news for all—but don’t know where you are. (she knows now) I saw E. Gordon’s sister, Kitty, and wonder did you meet in California.” Kathleen doesn’t get here until about the first, so I am missing her again. I am so sorry.
I am sure that some letters from you have gone to the bottom of the ocean—it isn’t possible that you haven’t written in all this time. Your last reached me on July 20 and it is now the 22nd of September. You wouldn’t do that to me, I know. And Elspeth, what are her plans? I do hope she is coming in October—I shall so love seeing her and hearing directly just what a winter you have both spend. Almost two years now since we said goodbye at Southampton—remember?
No more tonight, just love and again love.
Yours devotedly, F
andrebrook October 24, 1941
. . . How I wish I could stop in and see the little things you really need. I am allowed to send only a few pounds in a package so must choose very carefully. I shall be heart broken if the keds don’t arrive—with them was some soap and some coloured braids from the five and ten, and then there was a book from Scribner’s I had my heart set on you having. I am awaiting more Leighton instructions. Shall act instantly when they come.
No, of course, I didn’t have your letter about your little Prieure—I should love every detail, just how you proceeded, what exercises you gave your group, all about it.16 I do feel the need of something very much but
I don’t know how to get under way. I do try to sharpen my actual observation of the external world in which as you know I am very backward, you know just simple little stunts, looking carefully at a room, at a person to register as many details as possible, not just come away with a swimmy impression. I was so intrigued with the Indian “Sacred Middle,” thought it would be fun to discuss Mary Austin’s book with LCW but at the first mention, she laughed at me, so that was closed.17 Curious, isn’t it, how a person really deeply religious as she is, can’t admit any other experience except one that comes from Mary Baker Eddy.18 Of course this isn’t quite fair to her, isn’t fair at all really, but there is some destructive twist in her nature, which makes her always throw off approaches. I am fascinated watching her do it, seeing her always prevent what perhaps she most wants, intimate and deep understanding with other human beings. Maybe I am crazy, maybe she doesn’t want it. It is a good thing for me because to be emotionally involved with her in any way would be for me to be caught in something I’d never be able to extricate my self from. I seem to have wandered from the subject but have found I haven’t. You probably understand what I am trying to say. But at least I do know the state I’d like to live in. My little experience of the summer revealed to me, an integration of myself which couldn’t be split up by outside annoyances or happenings, which would march along separate and alone through any outside storm or event. Help me to find it. LCW said to me one morning, “I must have a period on each day to myself, when I can get myself in proper relation to the universe, when I think of the real things, and not of these happenings, all of this is only a dream.” I don’t feel this a dream— I simply feel that there is an inner integrity that must be preserved from the shocks and difficulties and exasperation’s of the daily scene.
And shall you be going to town soon and where? You won’t be alone, will you? I can’t bear to think of you without someone to whom you can call in an emergency. I hope it will be somewhere without the awful burden of too much work on a household. I have always minded that for you as you know. It is a waste that you shouldn’t allow. Free evenings, a free space of time each day around you, should be the first and most important arrangement of your life.
I must get this into the mail for the Clipper tomorrow. Haven’t said much that is on my mind to say—comment about your wonderful garden and I have a story to tell you of modern American methods of storing food but that will have to wait. Also I want to tell you about a lovely trip over to Connecticut we took yesterday, also details about my room but later for these things. Nothing is decided here as yet, we live from day to day—a kind of Micawber existence. I sleep well and am strangely happy. What you wrote of Martie is quite the loveliest thing I have ever heard one human being say of another, suddenly singing out her name. Nothing could be better than that. Yes, she does seem to have made her adjustment to Georgette’s going and I think will welcome the release from pain for her.
I love you, my dear.
This just from Solita:
Just now a cable from Martie: “Georgette gratefully home clinique conscious that end approaches no fear or pain. Sends love. Tell friends darling.” Please transfer to Jane. I’m too battered to write. I just sent a cable and a Clipper to them, can do no more. I’m cabling too.
andrebrook November 9, 1941
Janie, my Dear:
. . . I feel so strange about Margaret. As long as Georgette was alive I could visualize their life—after all, taking care of someone who is ill follows a pattern known to almost everyone but now——it is as though she is in a vacuum and I have lost her completely.19 What is she doing? Is she trying to get here and what does that entail? Is she hungry, is she cold? Do you know what I mean?
Here it has been the most beautiful autumn, such flowers, such lovely sunshine. Even yesterday I picked the sweetest little zinnias, clear colours, red, orange, yellow—in my little vases with mignonette they are adorable. And today LCW brought me two perfect rosebuds, so fragrant—midsummer could do no better. The wisteria vine outside my window is still heavy with green and yellow leaves, the hedges and grass still green. Tonight it is sour and rainy, perhaps the turn has come.
I wish I knew some book you are needing in your work. There must be many you would like to have and books are so easy to send, no restrictions that I know anything about. It is going to be such a poor Christmas from me best I can do. And I get no directions from you about Fred L.
and I don’t dare to do anything on my own initiative. It must be all right or you’d let me know. You know I’ll spring into action as soon as I get the word.
We never mention war any more, do we? I think this country is at last getting the feeling as a whole that we may have a stake in Europe and that we can’t sit here and act as though nothing matters to us. Of course the Wheelers and the Lindberghs will never realize anything until Stuka swoops down on them but I do think their influence is on the wane and high time it is.20 We have just heard from a man who has recently come from Italy after being there a number of months that the Italians hate their Duce and the situation he has landed them in, that underground messages have gone to England to come and help them free themselves from their partner. Do you suppose this is true? I seem a bit on the dull side, don’t you think? So I better stop and make a fresh start some other time. I love you.
Yours devotedly, F
andrebrook December 11, 1941
I was over in Great Barrington seeing how Aunt Jemime is when the news come over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Of course it didn’t seem in the least credible at first—I felt sure that it was being exaggerated but this was one of the times that one couldn’t be too sensationally minded. So far as one can judge the country is suddenly an absolute unit with but one idea and that to win this war. I can’t believe that anyone in authority sees it anything but a struggle against Germany, however much we may be involved with Japan at the moment. Every paper has directions as to behaviour in case of bombing and advice pours in to us over the radio. You can imagine these first days, news constantly interrupting every commercial program, every commentator full of words of wisdom. It is hard not to listen too much but we’ll get over that soon. The President spoke superbly yesterday, the isolationists are coming forward like good boys, men pouring in to the recruiting stations, women to the Red Cross, children selling savings stamps, everyone filled with the longing to serve. I feel that we should have done better to have gone in before we were attacked, better, that is, for the record of our behaviour, but no use to think of that now. This household is a funny one, the two extremes—Mlle. wants to do everything that one does in war time, hoard, black out, first aid—talks of flash lights and candles and soap and food supplies.21 LCW believes we should take it as it comes quietly and in order. Each one pushes the other further along her way. I am with LCW mostly. I hope we’ll be rationed soon on essentials, that we’ll have price control, and be saved from our natural greed and fears. I can’t believe that this country can’t be fed, all of us, and most of us will be better if we eat less. I have bombing directions put up in the library—lights out, radio on, all pilot lights out, drop to the floor—you know the beginnings of all this. I am sure that there will be bombers over New York and Los Angeles too. And if one rushes across the country to avoid them, it would be the road to Damascus. I haven’t heard from Hattie yet so don’t know how much her life is affected but I suspect considerably. If there are brutal roundups of the Japanese she will mind very much—they have cleaned for her and gardened for her and sold her fruit and vegetables for so long that she knows the best side of the simple people and is devoted to them. . . .22
I have heard nothing from Martie, either directly or through Solita. You saw of course in your papers that Maurice Leblanc died a few days after Georgette. . . . By by, my love.
Yours devotedly, FER
I can imagine what a blow it is to many a German to be at war with us— we can out produce them, no questions about that. If we can’t, then we are a much overrated lot.
andrebrook December 19, 1941
I am enclosing copy of letter from Margaret to Solita. You may have the same directly but there is no harm in repetition. I had a Christmas drink with Solita yesterday and she had just received a cable from Martie as follows: “Will try Clipper or Portuguese boat but Portuguese visa takes month. Monique stays here. Be calm, darling.” She evidently doesn’t know that the American Export ships have discontinued sailings and that at the moment Lisbon is issuing no British and American visas. At the
Consulate Solita was told that everything is in a state of flux, any information given today may turn out to be wrong tomorrow and that absolutely nothing can be done at the moment. I fear Martie has waited too long. Monique’s decision to stay there is something quite sudden. I have had no further word. Before I leave the subject of Solita, I must chitchat a bit. The windows of her building have adhesive paper tape, arranged in criss cross pattern, I am sure the only windows in all New York so arranged. All done by owner, every air raid contrivance is installed. Solita and Katie are going to take Air Warden course. Alice has registered at the Red Cross as available for every service, ambulance driving, motor repairs, EVERYTHING, and she is very good at sewing! I get a great kick out of this. I know you will too. Solita sends you devoted love everytime I see her. . . .
. . . I walked down the Avenue in the brilliant sunshine, such an impression of befurred, pampered women, and equally pampered dogs of the fanciest breeds, streets full from curb to curb of the most expensive automobiles, people chattering in French and German and other languages quite unknown to me. The great tree is up in Rockefeller Plaza, live reindeer are quartered there for the holiday season, the rink was full of skaters, the band was playing, great wreaths with red ribbons were everywhere, the Italian sign was gone from International Building, evidently had been plastered over, flags flying from almost every window, uniforms much in evidence, but all glittering and brilliant and luxurious. It was thrilling and exciting but obviously war hasn’t come to us yet.
Dearest love to you, my dear. So glad to hear from you and Elspeth.
Yours devotedly, F
Andrebrook January 2, 1942
. . . My dear, and do I miss Paris??!! What a question—of course I do, sometimes to the point of pain and not only Paris but the open roads of the world and the enchanting villages and cafe terraces and Saturday nights in Bukarest and river rides to St Margerethen Island and gypsy music and larch forests and mountain flowers and night air in Bivio and little children in San Marco and lovely soft autumn sunshine in London and sailing past Korucla and Austria and our own balcony and borders of white phlox and coffee at the Cafe Bazar and dinners at the Opera Cafe and antique shops everywhere up and down the world. Oh my dear, will anything ever be the same again?
. . . And what shall I tell you about now—Christmas, New Year, both very pleasant celebrations. When I knew that you had been disappointed in your gift to me and when Elspeth sent me Wandering Scholars, I dashed out and got me a present from you, so that you shouldn’t feel unhappy. I got a real luxury, some Cologne Extraordinaire Aphrodisia by Faberge. Now isn’t that impressive? I have had it before and love it and I want you to know that I use it freely and extravagantly! And thank you berry [sic] much.
I think I wrote you the day before Christmas, no two days before. Our celebration was charming—we were five Mlle., LCW, and the two girls on vacation. The girls trimmed a little silver tree and each night for dinner we have it lighted and real candles too, no electric lights for us, and greens on the mantle and candles and candles on the table. We are all dressed for dinner, long skirts and everything. Jim had sent me a box with orders to open at once, and had sent the makings for a grand cocktail, limes and rum. Mlle. and I concocted them just before dinner and it was a perfect, absolutely perfect drink. I toasted my Janie but noone knew, just between us—after dinner we had our gifts and on Christmas Day we heard King George and Christmas music of course. And at dinner we had a turkey and a bottle of Sauterene, which had been given me, and Winston and Sandra had red ribbons briefly around their throats. Of course Winston untied his almost immediately thinking it a toy rather than a decoration. I must digress a bit to tell you he is most beautiful, really and truly so— his coat gleams and shines, his eyes are yellower and yellower, he is no longer lanky and too high, beautifully rounded body. Of course he is much too big but doesn’t get stodgy. Plays and plays, cries to me to play with him if I am a bit absorbed and don’t notice that he is ready for a romp. We have a beautiful system for him to come in now when he likes. In the adjoining room a huge wisteria vine grows close to the window— when he is out, if it isn’t too cold, I leave this window open a little and up he climbs when he wants to be warm and cozy. He plays out a lot evenings and often before I go to bed I hang out the window and call “Come Winston, Winston” and he usually answers with a little cry and I wait for him—he talks to me as he climbs up to be sure that I won’t close the window and walk away. It is very sweet. He brings in field mice occasionally and plays with them in the night—it is not a habit I encourage.
Oh yes, now about the New Year. The girls wanted to watch the old year out, a thing I had not done in a number of years, so of course LCW arranged a little supper. The girls produced a real bottle of champagne and at midnight we turned on the radio and heard a recording of the Liberty Bell and of Big Ben and drank to the New Year and I to distant fiends. The sound of Big Ben was almost too much for me—it seemed to link to you and me and bridge the distance and the separation. I felt in every way, physically and emotionally very near to you. One wonders if some faraway day and time states of that kind will be released and make the journey their real destination. Everything else in communication happens, why shouldn’t that too?
. . . Are you now going to be very much horrified by me, I wonder? About Georgette, truth to say, I had thought so much about her and was so anguished by the thought of her pain and of Margaret’s agony watching it that when death came, my only feeling was one of relief that she was spared the pain and the coming winter and all of the difficulties of what would have become an unbearable siege. I can’t see how she could have borne longer in a world such as this. And I felt no horror about the funeral either—it seemed to me that Martie had with the music and the sunshine and the prayers done for Georgette’s finish of this life what she had always done for her while life was going on. Hattie shocked me so profoundly this last summer by saying she wanted no funeral whatsoever, wished just to be taken out of her house. I felt comforted in a way to have Martie make a ceremony and a rite for Georgette. I feel sure that when death comes whatever is done by the living always seems too much or too little because perhaps there is literally no proper way to approach the mystery or cope with it. If you give way to the shock of how little the body has become but that can’t be—if you surround it with too much . . . neither one will do—what is one to do?
Manilla [sic] has fallen today—what it means for us I can’t foresee. I think so far my most vivid feeling about the war has been relief that the issue is at last joined but whether I should feel so if I had a young son is another thing. I have found the division and the stupidity and the defeatism of the last months almost unbearable, to hear used constantly the same arguments that have enslaved Europe, to see that so many learn nothing whatsoever from what has been happening in these past ten years, it seems to me often that I couldn’t bear another day of it. At least now one feels stirring what one thought was America, the air is better to breathe, one feels more decent. So far the actual reality hasn’t touched us. I don’t really worry about Hattie, she is so steady and calm. When I think those months of bombing you went through or were near I have to believe that she will be all right. And don’t worry about my situation, there is no pressure whatsoever on me. It was a good year and I am ALL RIGHT. . . .
. . . Tomorrow night Caesar and I are dining together in New York. He is in the Navy again and now stationed in Brooklyn. I am going to a wedding in the afternoon and we are meeting at a Syrian restaurant Louise introduced me to last spring. . . .
I love you always.
We all adore Churchill.
April 22, 1942 c/o Axe Benedict Ave Tarrytown, NY
Janie, my dear:
. . . We left Andrebrook for good and all on the 16th—strange to see all the lovely rooms quite empty and to know as a house it will probably never be so charming again. I had my emotions very well in hand, having felt all winter that it would be better to finish and move on to something else. LCW gave no sign that it was a cruel wrench—perhaps the responsibility and care had reached a breaking point, I suspect so. But my dear, the physical part of it was almost too much for me—we worked so steadily for the month and the last days that my poor organism felt quite broken. I am not rested although I have spent long hours in bed and have refused to settle with the settling here. About this place—I don’t want to repeat but I do want you to have a bit of an idea of this set up. We are in an imitation Tuscan castle, heavy grey stone, towers (square) crenella- tions, thick walls, narrow windows, everything on the inside more or less sacrificed to the exterior idea. We have an apartment in one of the towers, third floor, with views of the towers of Manhattan, the river, the hills on the opposite shore, and a view of the great sweep of country back from the river. I say view but you can’t imagine the difficulties to get it. In our big room four of the windows are so high that I literally can’t see out— what would this do to our Elspeth? But fortunately someone built a dais in one corner, large enough for two large chairs, tea table, bookshelves, radio, and here there are two windows out of which one can look without bringing in a step ladder. . . . Andrebrook let in all the outdoors, one always had a feeling at being at one with the landscape so you may know how strange it is to be so shut away in a sense. . . . Solita reports this morning a cable from Margaret.
Now the 24th
“Leave Le Cannet June 1st. Clipper reservation June 26th”. I suppose that Laval’s return to power has made her feel life is too dangerous. Our consuls have advised all Americans to leave and I feel that the sooner she is out the better. I had dinner with Solita earlier in the week and she asked me to ask your advice. I don’t like to pass on messages, one never gives the right impression. But the gist is that S. is fearful that she can’t make Margaret happy. All the things she wrote her to expect before Pearl Harbor—jaunts in the car, leisure—you know all the baits held out. Now almost nothing of that is possible—Solita is busy with war work all day every day, gas rationing is at hand—there will be no cross country jaunts for anyone. Solita feels that you would know how to tell Margaret that life, as she would like it, is closing down here as well as in the rest of the world. How is she to be helped to make her adjustment, what are the words to be used? Over and over again, Solita said, “Jane would know what to do—please write her the situation.” I have put it very baldly but you can fill it in and know what the problem is without more words from me. . . .
Always love, F.
May 21, 1942 Fairfax Virginia23
. . . Where shall I begin? Solita has cabled Margaret trying to find if she has left for Lisbon but no reply and no word from Monique. The only word she has had was that Margaret would be coming on the diplomatic ship and that Monique would be staying at Le Cannet. The ship has reached Lisbon from New York with the Axis diplomats and is perhaps sailing back today without people but I have just looked through every column of the Washington paper and can find no news of it and the radio here doesn’t function very well. There is no certainty that Margaret will be aboard, and there is the possibility that the ship will make a number of crossings, so many people to bring. Solita is very anxious but someway my faith in Margaret’s ability to manage still holds. Perhaps foolish to feel any confidence with the cards so stacked against everyone. . . .
Don’t I write stupid letters these days—nothing seems to flow. I think of millions of things when I am away from the machine and when I sit down, only stiff, stereotyped sentences come . . .
Devoted love, F.
May 28, 1942
My Sweet Pet:
The miracle has happened—yours of the 18th here this morning! Only TEN days. It is too thrilling. Your April 19th letter followed me to Fairfax, came the day after I wrote you. I’ll go through both letters and systematically answer but first about Margaret. Solita has had no answers to her various cables although Margaret promised to cable if and when she left Le Cannet, when she arrived in Lisbon, and when she left there. The ship left Lisbon on the 22nd, is due in New York on the 1st. Betty called one of her State Department Boys, as she calls them and there is a Margaret Anderson from the Unoccupied Zone aboard, so that we feel it is our Marty.24 Solita is getting all information about dock and time and anything that can be pried out of officials, which won’t be much and we’ll be there to see Margaret come down the gang plank. Poor lamb, I don’t see what she will do in New York or anywhere in this country really. I fear that the loss of Georgette will far more poignant here than at Chalet Rose where her presence must be so pervading. Weavie says that she can arrange for a bit of a visit here, that she would love to have her and Margaret will adore this place, but as you can understand that can be but a brief interval. I have no home, no refuge to offer—that is the end result of too much mobility in a life. Lois is evidently happy in New Jersey with her Russian husband but that can’t mean much to Margaret—Solita is an angel of goodness but——perhaps I better take your advice and relax and not try to solve a problem, which after all Margaret herself will probably solve with skill and perhaps ease.
I love you, my dear, and am so happy to have your letters.
Yours, devotedly F.
Reynolds and Lillian C. Weaver left Andrebrook for good on June 15, 1942. Weaver returned to her home in Des Moines and Florence to live with her sister Hattie in Hollywood. Her June 28th letter was written after her trip where she recounts visits with old Chicago friends.
Hollywood June 28th, 1942
I feel very sad when I look at my record and see that I wrote you two weeks ago and haven’t since. I fully meant to write you en route but simply couldn’t manage it. Days so full and always the thought of my illegible writing to hold me back from using moments. And I reached here only day before yesterday but I rested back on the thought that my cable told you I was crossing the country. As always I loved being on the train—I adore feeling the great expanse and variety of this country and I know no more comforting sight than the endless fields and their promise of food for all the world. I stayed almost a week in Chicago—didn’t rush about madly as I have sometimes but instead visited in a pleasant and leisurely way. Our friends are all much the same—Mrs. Blanke will have her 88th birthday on July 8th—she is bent and very deaf but in a way is singularly unchanged, I should say, some interests and same values and same mannerisms. Jim looks better than last year—begins to teach summer school tomorrow and expects to be at Lewis in the fall, although with the merger with Armour Institute, picture has quite changed, and tenure very uncertain. Esther, as always, working every minute. Olive looks well but something about hands constantly in motion make me think that she is fighting nerves, perhaps more than she herself realizes. . . . Elsa and Bob have shaken down marvelously in their relationship, present a congenial and united front. The new house in the country has evidently worked the miracle, both love it and no work is too much to improve it. We had a picnic there and it is really very charming, lawn runs down to a river, a lawn so even, so smooth, with not a weed, looks as though Elsa had tended it for seasons inch by inch. . . . And at last Bessie, really ill I think, something abdominal with much pain and occasional attacks, but of course doing nothing really about it. Hands fluttering and face so sad, all the lines downward, no lift whatever, sentences more and more unfinished, front teeth carried in her purse, hair streaming in wild wisps, a whole physical deterioration and disorder that only the Irish can achieve, but precious and heartbreaking.
And Margaret—I feel she must be on the ocean now but I can see no word of the Drottingholm in the papers. I was so sorry to come before her arrival but I couldn’t linger any longer; simply couldn’t manage it. I am sure she will find the change most difficult but perhaps having lost what is most important, any other difficulty will seem minor and almost trifling. Should Hitler take over all of France, as he threatens, it is good that she is out of it (if she is).
It is so nice to hear from you—I love your letters. I wrote to Carol at once, quoting from your letter what you wanted. You should hear soon. She is probably in Brookhaven now, was only waiting to rent her apartment, which I am hoping she has done. I do hope your summer plans can come through and that a suitable place can be found for you and your people.
I am so interested, do tell me everything.
Yours devotedly, F
Reynolds had communicated to Heap that Anderson had arrived safely in Lisbon, but was not on her expected ship, and hoped that she would arrive in two weeks on June 30th. By the first week of July Reynolds was confused and concerned that she had not heard from Solano who had kept her so informed up to that point. Finally, she heard from Anderson herself in mid-July.
Hollywood July 17, 1942
The following from Margaret: “I can’t write a word yet. I’m still just lying in bed, utterly weak—with my heart beating too strongly for a thin body. The strain was pretty bad—on two occasions I was within an inch of going to Ellis Island—noone knows why. But since then miracles have been happening in two realms my book is one—will tell you everything as soon as I have a little strength. How ironical not to see you here—so much to say. But will try and write it.” You see, the strain of the last months, years is finally telling. Solita doesn’t write, strange not to have a line from her, she has been so miraculously good about it, I suppose too occupied arranging proper background for Martie. Janet will be in Pasadena next week, on a visit to her sister, and then I shall hope for some details. Of course, you must have Solita’s address but you just might not have, so here it is 212 East 49th. In some perverse way important things get left out of letters. I am always so amazed at the things that I don’t tell you, I suppose feel you must know them, since they are so much a part of me.
. . . July 17, 1942
. . . I don’t often get frightened these days nor think of my personal problem with defection. I feel usually so fortunate and sheltered and protected as compared with most of humanity, but last night after I got to bed it suddenly waved over me how many doors had closed against me in the last years—5543, Andrebrook, Square Delambre, Wimpole Street, Gotten, a mountain balcony, all my homes for the moment swept away—I tell you, a strange and dreary feeling. Some of them will swing open again, I cling to that. I wonder which ones? It is such a terrible moment in the world just now—you wouldn’t believe, though, how remote from the general misery and danger one feels here—life isn’t going on in the same way, can’t be, but one gets the impression it is. I garden each morning with the idea that order and growth in one bit of land is good to maintain. I wonder sometimes if anyone has a right to such activity.
. . . Much, much love to you, my dear. How I should love to see your lovely patterned garden! You must give me all the details.
Yours, devotedly, F.
Hollywood California July 25, 1942
Janie, my Dear:
I got another package off to you on the 20th, sent it directly from big shop, May Company in town, but fear it wasn’t a very satisfactory combination. No longer possible to send chocolate or cocoa, forbidden by our government. Order to suspend shipments of packages not issued as yet. I hope to put in something else for you next week. You may depend on me to do so as long as I am allowed. . . .
I talked with Janet a few days ago. She is to be in Beverly Hills next week and will call me and we’ll have dinner or something. As I have written you, Margaret was kept almost a week on the boat, and wrote to me that she was “within an inch twice of being sent to Ellis Island.” Janet told me that she telephoned to Washington and arranged the release and that Margaret hadn’t known the danger she was in. Amusing, isn’t it? Now today I hear from Jim that the FBI visited Jean to inquire why Margaret had been so long in Europe, and she referred them to Bessie, who received a visit from an agent. It seems that anyone who has remained out of the country for a long is now under suspicion by our State Department. I suppose it is all right. Considering the number of German agents who have managed to crawl in but it is certainly boring to have loyal citizens held. But I suppose if the war goes on long enough noone will be free to do anything. I wish I could tell you the stories I hear of the type of camouflage that is being used for the plane factories, but no doubt the censor wouldn’t like it, so no details. But believe me, it is ingenious and exciting.
. . . LCW is returning to our castle in Tarrytown next week. She wants to discuss possibilities of work with a man who has a school for the theatre on Long Island, way out on the east end-managing house, servants, helping with registration, etc. He has a winter school in Arizona and she wrote me, asking if he needs a secretary, would I be interested, of course that would mean if he could use her too. I have replied that I’ll consider anything—Massachusetts, Arizona, what have you. But that I don’t want to work till fall. I have gained three pounds in the month I have been here and I shouldn’t mind two or three more. In any case I want six or eight more weeks of leisure, feel I need them. I feel confident something will work out, somewhere. To return to Margaret, Janet said that she has gone to Sudbury, Massachusetts, that D. Huckel is having a major operation and Margaret went for that.251 hope I have this straight. If I haven’t, I’ll correct it after I have seen Janet. . . .
August 15, 1942 Hollywood
And what do you think? I had lovely green corn for luncheon, nothing but, and then later Willie and I, sitting on the studio porch, in the shade of a lovely summer day, had watermelon. Now that’s perfect food, isn’t it? This is not very thrilling news but it made me think of Kansas and the stories you used to tell of the height of the corn and the sweetness of the melons. Aunty Blackswell and William and the Asylum and your mother and father and you and Edna and Wilda. Speaking of writing, too bad, too bad, that you never wrote those stories.
. . . And what do you think I have been doing? Going to a doctor— don’t be startled I am all right. But before I left Tarrytown I had a recurrent backache, not a bad one but much too frequent and all through July it persisted. I couldn’t figure what was the matter, so finally decided on an examination, and went through the whole works—metabolism, blood test, X rays, heart test, blood pressure and probable others that I’ve forgotten. And what was the result? Vitamin lack! And what is more astonishing to me, the ache is gone. I am sometimes a bit lame and stiff but the actual ache is no more. And I haven’t taken the vitamins a week! Now make of it what you will, Watson. My diagnosis is that I don’t want to work summers! So each June when I am really tired I invent an illness to bolster up my determination not to work and to keep my Puritan conscience on the leash. Sounds very stupid to me but I can’t figure it out any way. I was unusually tired this year and as a matter of fact I felt fagged many times during the season and it may well be that I have a lack, so that I don’t regret the bother and expense of the examination. But I do feel foolish about the ache, which was sustained over a period of weeks and very real. What do you think of an organism like that? I feel so silly and a bit amused too—no use being ashamed, I couldn’t help it. I had a real sugar tolerance test, blood and urine—no diabetes. No arthritis. Heart all right. Blood pressure 150, not bad. Nervous tension too great, but otherwise I am apparently all right. I am to see the doctor in a month and I am going to ask him if I am an honest-to-God neurotic with imaginary illnesses or what is up. This isn’t the first summer I’ve done it—in ’39 I had a cancer but I think I told you about that. Absolutely nothing then. I think the idea of having the examination was a good thing, we are always being told that a check up is the thing and I haven’t had a thorough one in years. My devoted love to you.
Hollywood September 25, 1942
I am horrified when I see that my last to you was dated exactly two weeks ago—I am usually more active than that, but I have done so many things recently, a regular merry-to-round.
. . . And again Solita’s address is 212 East 49th. And again never a word from Margaret, et al. Someway I suspect that the Caruso miracle hasn’t developed. Carol wrote that Margaret was to spend a few days with her, that she had seen her but once, that she was looking “thin but lovely.” I wrote Carol your message. She will be back at 405 East 54th on the first of October. On a separate sheet I’ll give you latest word from Tom. Fritz is training in a Florida camp and is expected to be sent out of the country soon, perhaps to England. Nothing sure. May be gone by this time. . . .
And what have I been doing? I went to a Russian War Relief Garden Party given on a Bel-Air estate, home of an inventor, to whom our government paid three million for some new aeroplane gadget, wife a white Russian and the estate modeled after one of the Grand Duke Cyril in the good old days. I really can’t tell you what the grounds were like—of course absolutely shut away from the world with the most lovely planting, water falls and a little rushing river, and a winding swimming pool large enough and long enough to accommodate full size much decorated row boats. All the Russians in the world were there and there was Russian food being cooked on open brazier things, tables set along the pool, tables on the enormous porches for tea and cakes, champagne being raffled off, gambling wheels and machines, Russian singing, Russian dancing. My word, what a party! And on a Sunday afternoon. And then I went to a big Mass Meeting sponsored by the influential negroes in Los Angeles for Unity against the Axis, for the right of the negro to full participation in the war, for freedom for all colonial peoples. Paul Robeson sang and spoke—sang the Chinese marching song, a stanza in English, then one in Chinese, then Russian songs in Russian, thrilling beyond words. Then told the story of his life, father a slave but became a clergyman and educated his five children, sent everyone to college. The meeting even sent a resolution to Churchill to reconsider his Indian policy, so you see the kind of thing it was. Not since the days of old Emma have I been in on anything like that. But I must saw it is comforting to be in an audience with convictions and enthusiasms and a belief that this war is really about important issues. . . .
The other day when I was rolling bandages at the Red Cross suddenly I was in the square at Split drinking too sour lemonade with you in terrific heat! Do you ever think of those days? I don’t know how people manage who have never traveled the great roads of the world—I am all over the map every day. Aren’t you? And now one of our most darling cities has been bombed—noone seems to know just where. I hope only in the outskirts and things like railroad tracks. . . .
I do hope that it will be a nice birthday for you and that my package reaches you in time.
Much, much love to you, my Pet, as always.
Your devoted F
Tom’s birthday [October 1942]
A lovely warm sunny day—shall we have coffee on the Ile de Rousseau and watch the swans this afternoon and tonight where shall we go for dinner? The evening will be chilly, so perhaps we better make it to Michaud’s with good wine and the best cooking in all the world. How long ago everything is getting to be! Three years ago I was on the Manhattan, sailing away from you and that wasn’t a very happy voyage and the years in between have been strange ones in a way.
At last I heard from Marty. But first a quotation from Carol—”Mar- garet is looking well again and in a state of blissful excitement moving into the big house Mrs. C has taken.” So you see all is well . . .26
. . . Here everything is tightening up more and more—shortages of this and that, nothing vital so far, but strange to people who have had such plenty for so long. Services discontinued, of course, everyone asked to carry packages, laundry return uncertain, fountains closed at drug stores (no help available), hospitals with a minimum of nurses and doctors. And those that there are and dentists too frightfully overworked. Everyone in the army and navy. And more and more women in the war factories. At the Red Cross I saw a young woman who has been giving for days to the Red Cross, keeping a cook at home and paying her $85.00 a month—you know the kind of woman, pretty, soignee, probably with a doting husband. Was I amazed to hear her say that she is going into an areoplane factory next week to oil aeroplane parts, hopes to get on the assembly line soon. Considers it a great opportunity—is to get 60 c/an hour to start and is sure of rapid increase. Has done a little flying and is interested in machinery. Thinks all women will be drafted in a few months, so would rather choose her job.
Who knows, I may get into a factory yet although I am not screwed up enough to the point of applying yet. It will have to be mass suggestion before I get under way. Soon everyone will be in the factories and I may be able to slip into a civilian job more in keeping with my great talents. . . .
. . . No more today but always my love—affectionate greetings to Elspeth.
Yours devotedly, F.
There are no surviving letters from 1943.
Studio 62 1425 Broadway New York 18, New York January 20, 1944
I don’t know how it gets to be so far along in the month but time gets to
be more and more like this, goes so fast that I am in a daze most of the
time. Let me see, where was I? Oh yes, doing two jobs—that two shift
thing lasted only a week and then I gave up the business office, hated it
like sin. The switch board made me so nervous, although it was of the
simplest kind, that I figured I didn’t have to live under that kind of strain.
I stayed on at the Froebel League two weeks and go again next, not too
interesting but pleasant and not bad for a filler. Trying new jobs is a curious
experience. Both LCW and I were at Andrebrook, with such assured
positions that it is strange for us to go where our pasts don’t count for an
instant, where in fact noone is in the least interested, where it is all what
you can do, not what you are. I felt it acutely in the summer at Pebble
beach and feel it to a lesser degree in each new group. As I listen to LCW’s
comments on her work, I can see that it is her isolation from her past with
its authority and position that she finds difficult. The work she can do but
she can’t feel she has any place in it. There is no background to sustain
you, to lessen your mistakes or even to make them amusing, you stand
naked and alone. Do you suppose Judgement Day is like that, with every
thing fallen away? My reaction to Tarrytown is a curious one—whenever
the suggestion comes that we go out there, I feel a violent dislike to the idea. Recently I had some business I had to take care out there, and I postponed the going from day to day, found excuses why some other day would be more advantageous for the trip. Finally I went and such travail as it seemed to me and yet when I got there, all the old associations wrapped themselves around me and I went about in a trance more or less, just place associations, the winding Broadway, the old church steeple, the river, the hills, the familiar feel and look of the little shops. I didn’t go to Andrebrook of course—it is run down and desolate, I hear, though occupied. . . .
Martie and I talked over the telephone here and there but I haven’t seen her since I wrote you last. She and Solita are working on Georgette’s manuscript long hours each day. Janet soon returns from a holiday visit in California, when Solita’s time will be taken, so they are keeping regular working hours. On Saturday Carol is playing G music to us in her apartment. I appreciate being included.27
I hope you had my letter telling you that your Christmas cable came and warmed my heart. And yesterday I had a sweet card from the Lloyds. When you see them, thank them, won’t you? And I had a book from El- speth and a card and a book from Fritz. I repeat these things, lest some of my letters go astray.
Devoted love to you, my dear.
Studio 62 1425 Broadway New York 18, New York February 26, 1944
No pleasure in listening to the radio at night any more—always “planes again over London”! And while the papers brush the raids aside as small or unimportant, they are nonetheless frightening if one’s hearts dearest is there. The locality, of course, is never mentioned, so I have no way of telling if they come near you or not, but even if far away, the noise must be terrific and the fires horrifying—I don’t know how you endure it. And sometimes it seems as though it is never going to end. And surely there is no spot that will be untouched—frightening even on the Island on Rab! I can still smell the pines there, the most fragrant I have ever known. And do you remember that warm, warm evening we waited for little Karl Alexander to come to take us down the coast, you so ill and I so anxious? A throng of evenings comes to me with those same attitudes—I don’t know why I never learned to trust your-Beyond-the-Arctic-Circle heritage more and to know that no symptom or manifestation of diabetes would lay you low long. I have but to think of the day in Constanza and a number of others to feel reassured.
It was delightful to have your birthday cable and your letter just a few days before. And you know now that I had your Christmas cable too. So lovely and warming to have messages like that—bless you, my sweet. My birthday celebration went on and on—letters, and cards and gifts. A tea with Carol at the Modern Art and several days afterward, a dinner at Dorothy Caruso’s, which to my immense surprise turned into a party for me, cake with candles and champagne, chicken and dumplings, can you imagine that? Margaret and Solita and Lynn and Dorothy’s young daughter Jackie. All so pleasant and friendly. I felt so cherished and protected, so in another world. Margaret looked lovely—she and Solita have persuaded Dorothy to write her experiences with Caruso and she has turned out to be a “natural,” sets it down on paper as she talks it and as though it exists now—astonishing.
Studio 62 1425 Broadway New York 18 April 30, 1944
And what are you doing this lovely spring morning? Here I am alone in the studio while LCW has gone to Tarrytown to ride—I love a Sunday all to myself, sun pouring in, the quiet streets outside, and such a feeling of tranquility and space around me. I have had my simple little luncheon, just and now I think, how pleasant it would be if you could come swinging in. I wonder, what do you do on a Sunday and are you established again after the February upset, and how is it to be tightly shut within an island? Is it all tense and anxious or does life just go on the same? Here whenever we turn on the radio, we say, perhaps it is on now, we talk of the dark of the moon, and people are wagering on the date.28
New York is lovely now—Rockefeller Plaza is full of purple hyacinths, yellow tulips, forsythia. You remember the pink magnolia down in the garden of one of the old Washington Square houses? In full bloom now and Central Park is divine, flowering shrubs, bursting leaves and the sycamores around St Patrick and along the Avenue in the Fifties are showing a lovely pale green. Shops thronged, full of luxuries, everyone buying apparently madly. Theatres bursting, no matter how poor the show. Broadway at midnight is like Coney Island in midsummer, soldiers, sailors everywhere. I can’t tell you what an impression of luxury and pleasure it all gives.
I never see Martie anymore. She can’t be persuaded to go out, just stays in the house day after day. How can she bear it? Why do I say that, since that is the way she chooses to live. Solita is very busy with a new radio program, Listen, the Women, of which Janet is mistress of ceremonies. I don’t think much of it, nor does Carol, but that is probably because we are fed up on question and answer programs. . . .
Dearest love to you, my dear. And love to Elspeth—I wonder how it is with you both.
1425 Broadway New York 18, New York May 27, 1944
Where are you, my Pet? Distance in space doesn’t matter but no communication does—it is so cheerless, so dreary never to hear. The end of May and the last letter received from you in early February! I know how difficult it is to write with the thought of the bottom of the ocean always in the background of one’s thought, but I just won’t succumb to that kind of thinking. Submarines don’t prowl as they did and I go on the principle that things do get through. . . .
I never see Martie, talk with her frequently over the telephone. She can scarcely be persuaded to leave the house, finds it too much to take a walk usually. It isn’t that she is ill, she just can’t bear the idea of outside activity. Strange, isn’t it? The menage will move to the country later, perhaps to Westchester, hasn’t been decided yet.
Soon I am going out to shop for you, hope I don’t make mistakes. The 130th Beethoven isn’t available till after the war. I don’t know why. Do you know “The Sheep May Safely Graze” from the Birthday Cantata of Bach? Exquisite. I think you would like it. It is so hard to think of anything you would really like, not knowing what your little heart desires. And not knowing what you lack.
Dearest love to you as always.
Yours faithfully, FER
Hollywood 46, California August 27, 1944
My dear, my dear, and Paris isn’t going to be destroyed after all! I have been so fearful that the Germans would mine it and set it off when they saw they were finished there. And what a week it has been! Rumors and announcements and retractions about the liberation of Paris—that wonderful August 23 rd when the first news came that the city was freed—what a night that was! And then the next morning to hear that fighting was going on, the armistice repudiated, our troops rushing toward it and last night it seemed quite definite that the struggle was over and that the city was really free. And now this morning Murrow tells the fantastic story of the attempt on de Gaulle’s life in Notre Dame, the shooting there, and he says the shooting still going on in different parts of the city. Is it never to end? And a note, dated August 7th, from Peters says that he is in France— I am so hoping that he will get to Paris soon and can send us a report of G. and Elizabeth and the others. What must these days have been for them all! Just heard over the radio that Janet Flanner is going to France soon—I wonder if Solita will go too—I haven’t heard from her since I left New York nor Margaret either. . . .
Devoted love to you, my Sweet. I can’t say all the things that are in my heart.
Hollywood 46, California September 28, 1944
. . . The political campaign is steaming up and I am more interested than I have ever been. Impossible for me to interpret trends but I am fearful that Dewey is the strongest opponent FDR has ever had and of course there is no lie that he and his backers won’t tell. They are already bringing out the old bogie of Communism, which is one of the hardest things to fight, and which, to my notion, is the unfairest, considering Stalingrad and all the rest. I thought when I first heard Dewey that he was a good speaker but now the sound of his voice is to me un- endurable—I judge that the woman was right when she said, “You have to know Tom Dewey well to dislike him thoroughly” or some such crack. FDR swung into action the other night and was superb—I have never heard him so effective—all the old charm, infinite good humor, ridicule, good sense, every trick in the box bought out—it is called one of the great political speeches of all time. When next I send magazines to you, I am enclosing it and also some clippings, more or less political chit chat, but I think it will amuse you to see what is being said. Dewey spoke here last week at the Coliseum to an audience of about 90,000, spoke like an ass I thought. Cecil de Mille ran the show and if you can believe it, Ginger Rogers introduced the Governor of California who in turn introduced Dewey. But before, Cecil had elephants and Indians ramping around and Leo Carrillo on horseback with electric lighted collars around his neck and that of his horse! Revolvers in hand too which he shot off now and then. You have been away so long that you should have glimpses of Americana occasionally. Oh yes, I forgot—an American flag forty feet high behind Dewey and red, white, and blue lights playing over the audience. Don’t think I went to this performance—this was a radio report of a reporter, good one too. You couldn’t drag me to a Dewey meeting. . . .
Yours devotedly, Florence
From this letter it is clear that Reynolds had returned to her sister’s home after a lengthy stay in the hospital. She was possibly already suffering from the cancer that would end her life five years later.
Hollywood 46, California December 31, 1944
The last day of the year so I won’t number this but will start a new series in 1945.
Your letter, so lovely, of the fourth of December here two days before Christmas, a perfect moment for it to arrive. So on Christmas day I could think of my little London tree and all the wishes and love in among the ornaments. I didn’t have a tree this year, didn’t quite have the energy to do it, so I had a charming poinsettia and red berry arrangement out in my office and Heily and I had our quite private little Christmas together, and later I drank you health and wished you well.29 I hope my cable of the twenty-second reached you on time, so that you would know I was home again and feel quite reassured about me. I came on the sixteenth, just five weeks to the hour almost of when I entered. Our refugee neighbors brought me home and it was lovely coming out into the sunshine again into a world full of poinsettias and Christmas tree. Hattie’s little street, with the mountains at the top, and her little house looked lovely, a great pink rose blooming high in the vines over her porch and a lovely bush full of blossoms greeted me first. Her living room, full of flowers and growing plants, seemed so charming after the bleakness of a hospital room, and my little porch with its comfortable couch was ready for me, flowers on my desk which Willie had arranged for me. I stretched out in the sunshine immediately and knew I was all right, the trip not having tired me particularly. My directions were to do anything I really feel like doing, not to get tired, and to know that the operation is fool proof, that nothing can do it any harm. At first I was full of sore spots, difficult to get arranged in bed, and aching back very often. But now after two weeks of trying first this activity and then that, I can stay up all day without much fatigue and yesterday I felt some spring in the organism for the first time. I saw the surgeon day before yesterday for a check up and he said everything is absolutely all right and ordered me to go on a full diet, try everything. I am to see him again in two weeks and that will be the end of the experience, I think. It seems to me I must have amazing recuperative powers and then too I had a top surgeon and superb care and Hattie to support me every moment. Sometimes I wonder if she isn’t more tired than I am and if hers weren’t the harder part. How I wish I could talk with you, so many things that I could sort out in talk that I can’t seem to get together to write. Maybe some day I can tell you how I felt about returning to life, maybe I can’t. I’ll wait and see. . . .
All love in the New Year, my dear, and Peace. So happy to have your letter to reread.
Yours devotedly, FER
Hollywood 46, California February 11, 1945
Your Twelfth Night Evening was exquisite—I am so happy to have had my little share in it. Your description of the Juggler brought back to me those lovely moments before the Altar at the end—nothing more beautiful in conception really than that little figure giving all he had in an ecstasy of love and devotion. And the other play, perhaps you will decide that you can send me the script—I hope so. And how gorgeous that you could all have so much good food, even if for only once and at immense care and saving. I am so glad that this letter wasn’t lost!
. . . Yes, how good that we went to see Gladys. And so she has gone and what she must have seen and felt! I am sure the Germans shot her, I’d never believe the story about illness for one moment. I’ll never forget her speaking of Polish—it was so odd to watch her—do you remember how she would look down and inward before she came out with a sentence, as though it were a hidden treasure she had to look at before she could formulate a sentence? I have never seen anything quite like it.
Margaret writes that they send Monique two parcels of food a week and Peters wrote that he sent some of my Christmas to her. I sent a package of food to Elizabeth last week, things with an eye to calories and to easy preparation with a minimum of heat—chocolate powder, dried soups, raisins, milk chocolate, and tea. I am allowed only four pounds and six ounces and it can go only at letter postage. I also sent Elspeth three novels Margaret had sent me, thinking they might divert her, sent them to Gotten, hope they reach her. Same mailing a box went to you (February 8th), I put in some rayon stockings, only kind to be had here. Do tell me if they are welcome. Also some washcloths, as I have heard that you can’t obtain any in England. We almost can’t here either. Stocks of household things are now very low. Seems so curious to see empty shelves here.
We are having midsummer here at the moment, much too hot and dry, I don’t like it. But it is fun to hear the birds singing so happily. Did you have my letter telling you that I have a dwarf lemon tree all my own? Six lemons ripening on it this very moment. I enjoy it so. It sits outside my office in a green tub.
Now remember, my Sweet, no giving away of Pangur.301 can’t have it.
Write me again soon—I love to hear. And may you be protected, my Jeopard dear.
Yours devotedly, F
Oh yes, I feel WELL.
Hollywood, California March 19, 1945
. . . Were you ever in contact with Krishnamurti? As I remember, Helen Dupee was long ago. He lives now on the coast and is at the moment coming into town once a week to meet a group for discussion. The two neighbors I have written you about go each Sunday morning and are enormously stimulated and interested. She was his secretary long ago in Europe. From their reports I can’t get at it very well but his impact upon them is astonishing evidently a force or presence or being or——
More bombs for London—there seems no end. How can you bear it?
No more today. Always love to you, my dear.
Reynolds’s sister Hattie kept an address book of family and friends, in which she wrote down significant dates, most notably births, marriages, and deaths. Under the letter “O” (Hattie’s nickname for Florence was “Ho”), Hattie wrote: “Ho died in St. Vincent’s hospital Friday at 9:55 a.m. Dec. 2,1949. Starvation due to cancer. She sent for Lass + me Thursday a.m. at 4:30 Dec. 1 to come. She had had a dream that she called me and I wouldn’t come said she couldn’t have it like that = sent for us wanted us there. Lass went again in the p.m. = staid until midnight.” Lass was Florence Mack Treseder, who inherited her aunt’s letters.
Note to the Acknowledgments
1. Susan Noyes Platt, letter to author, June 14, 1989.
Notes to the Introduction
1. “Mrs. Ellis’s Failure,” Little Review (March 1915), 18.
2. My Thirty Years War (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1970), 122.
3. “Conversation,” Prose 2(1971): 6.
4. For a detailed account of the trial, see Holly Baggett, “The Trials of Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap,” in A Living of Words: American Women in Print Culture, ed. Susan Albertine (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995), 169-188.
5. Susan Noyes Platt, Modernism in the 1920s: Interpretations of Modern Art in New York from Expressionism to Constructivism (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press,1985), 12.
6. Peter Brook, Threads of Time (Washington, D.C.: Continuum Press, 1998), 61.
7. Florence Mack Treseder, Letter to Michael Currer-Briggs, June 1976, Special Collections, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.
8. Michael Currer-Briggs, Letter to Florence Mack Treseder, July 1976, Special Collections, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.
9. Esther Newton, “The Mythic Mannish Lesbian: Radclyffe Hall and the New Woman,” in Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, ed. Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (New York: Meridan Press, 1989), 281-293.
10. Malcolm Cowley, Letter to Jackson Bryer, February 5, 1964. Private collection of J. Bryer.
11. Josephine Donovan, Feminist Theory: The Intellectual Traditions of American Feminism (New York: Continuum Press, 1988), 111.
12. Nancv Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 200.
13. Shari Benstock, “Paris Lesbianism and the Politics of Reaction, 19001940,” in Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, ed. Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (New York: Meridian Press, 1990), 340.
14. Ibid., 340.
15. Joanna Glasgow, Your John: The Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 10.
16. Lillian Faderman, “Lesbian Magazine Fiction” Journal of Popular Culture (Spring 1978), 811-812.
17. Judith Halberstam, Female Masculinity, (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998), 75-110.
18. Estelle Freedman, “The Burning of Letters Still Continues,” Journal of Women’s History (Winter 1998), 181-200. Also see Martha Vicinus, “‘They Wonder to Which Sex I Belong’: The Historical Roots of the Modern Lesbian Identity,” Feminist Studies (Fall 1992), 467-498, and Lisa Duggan, “The Trials of Alice Mitchell: Sensationalism, Sexology, and the Lesbian Subject in Turn-of- the-Century America,” Signs (Summer 1993), 791-814.
19. Jane Heap, “Reader Critic,” Little Review (October 1919), 56.
20. Margaret Anderson, The Fiery Fountains (New York: Horizon Press, 1969), 110-111.
21. The major exceptions are James Moore’s Gurdjieff and Mansfield (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969), Rudolph Bryd’s Jean Toomer’s Years with Gurdjieff (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991), and Paul Beekman Taylor’s Shadows of Heaven: Gurdjieff and Toomer (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1998).
22. James Webb, The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, and Their Followers (Boston: Shambala Press, 1987), 218.
23. Malcolm Cowley, Exiles Return (New York: Viking Press, 1969), 61.
24. Webb, Harmonious Circle, 266.
25. Jane Heap, “The Machine Age Exposition,” Little Review (Spring 1925), 2.
26. Forbidden Fires was published by Naiad Press in 1996.
27. Joanne Glasgow, “What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in the Church of Torquemada? Radclyffe Hall and Other Catholic Converts,” in Lesbian Texts and Contexts, ed. Karla Jay and Joanne Glasgow,(New York: New York University Press, 1990), 241-254.
28. In his book Ladies of the Rope: Gurdjieff’s Special Left Bank Women’s Group (Fairfax, CA: Arete Communications, 1999), William Patrick Paterson argues that Gurdjieff overlooked the lesbianism of the Rope because he saw in each woman glimpses of a woman named Vitvitskaia, someone he knew in his early years of spiritual seeking. Vitvitskaia was a fallen woman who wore men’s clothes but evolved into a “Seeker after Truth” and greatly impressed Gurdjieff.
29. Jane Heap, “Lost: A Renaissance,” Little Review (Spring 1929), 5-6.
30. The Flanner-Solano Collection at the Library of Congress gives evidence of this.
1. “The Spring” was a painting on which Heap was working. Mrs. Turner was a friend who lived in Topeka and was a supporter of the young Heap’s artistic career.
2. “Soul” was another of Heap’s works in progress.
3. Ernest Dowson, British poet (1867-1900); Mary Robinson, British author (1758-1800).
4. “Servant in the House,” a play by Charles R. Kennedy that made its Broadway debut in 1908. The plot concerns a man who seems to be Christ and works as a servant in his brother’s house.
5 . Jesse was most likely the friend Jesse Arms. Giddings may be Franklin Henry Giddings, a well-known sociologist of the period.
6. “C.S.” is Christian Science.
7. Lawrence Hope was Laurence Hope, a pseudonym of Adela Florence Nicol- son, a British poet (1865-1904).
8. “The Great Almighty God.”
9. Israel Zangwill, popular playwright (1864-1926). “Italian Fantasies” was a collection of essays which “are serious explorations of artistic, social, and religious problems,” according to E. B. Adams, Israel Zangwill (New York: Twayne, 1971), 29.
10. Arthur Symons (1865-1945), a Symbolist poet and author.
11. Esther; Mrs. B is Mrs. Blanke.
12. SBTH, Sweet Beloved Tiny Heart.
13 . Septimus Love, possibly meaning seven, which the letter shows had significance for the two women.
14. F.B., a friend named Florence Bradley.
15 . “Armor Umbratilis”; Heap had apparently painted a picture inspired by this Ernest Dowson poem of the same name.
16. Lady Frederick, a play by Somerset Maugham, 1903.
17. “Little Angelface.”
Notes to Letters, 1917-1918
1. Heap is referring to Dreiser’s 1916 work “The Genius,” which was withdrawn by New York publisher John Lane and Company after obscenity charges were filed against the publisher by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.
2. John Quinn, noted New York attorney, modern art collector, and patron of the Little Review.
3 . David Hochstein, Goldman’s nephew who was later killed in the war.
4. Eleanor Fitzgerald, friend and supporter of Goldman.
5. Jack Reed (1887-1920), famous Village radical and author; Alexander Harvey, editor of Current Literature; Frank Harris (1855-1931), Irish author.
6. Max Eastman, editor of The Masses; Ida Rauh, actress and journalist married to Eastman.
7. Harriet Dean, former lover of Anderson who helped out in the early days of the Little Review.
8. Virginia, who is difficult to identify, is possibly picking up conscription cards. Goldman also wrote about immigration officials sweeping antiwar demonstrations.
9. Joanna Fortune was a wealthy friend and contributor and possibly had a relationship with Heap. She may have been a relation of the wealthy New York financier, Thomas Fortune Ryan. Roy George was a friend of Aline Barnsdall, Standard Oil heiress who also occasionally helped out with the Little Review.
10. Lois Peters, Anderson’s sister.
11. Jimmy is “James” Marie Blanke.
12. Florence Kipper-Frank, Olive Garnet, Elsa Koop.
13. Wm. was William Heap, Heap’s brother, Woodrow Wilson, and Jack Reed. Wilson did have a conscientious objector policy. William Heap served in the Ambulance Corps.
14. Maxwell Bodenheim (1893-1954), author and poet, contributor to the Little Review.
15. Heap and Anderson put up a hanging swing in their apartment.
16. A bomb went off at the 1916 “preparedness” parade in San Francisco. Berkman was later charged as a co-defendant in the case.
17. Goldman had been blamed for the murder of President McKinley in 1901 because the assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was an anarchist who stated he had been inspired by Goldman. Berkman was convicted of the attempted assassination of Henry Clay Frick, chairman of the board of Carnegie Steel during the famous Homestead Strike of 1892.
18. Oscar Wilde; Frank Harris had written a book on Wilde.
19. Henrich Heine, author and poet (1797-1856).
20. Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston, patron of the arts.
21. The kids were Fritz and Tom Peters, Anderson’s nephews.
22. “Mary McLane”; Heap received a letter of complaint from the author of Mary McLane, May Sinclair, after a review Heap wrote in the June 1917 issue of the Little Review.
23. Richard Aldington (1892-1962), British poet and Little Review contributor who promoted the work of his wife, H.D.
24. Lillian C. Weaver, teacher and friend of Reynolds, who opened the girls’ school Andrebrook in Tarrytown, New York, where Reynolds would work for over twenty years.
25. Charles “Caesar” Zwaska, “office boy” for the Little Review in the Chicago days; Zwaska moved with Anderson and Heap to New York.
26. Alexander Berkman, Saxe Commins, Teddy Ballantine.
27. In August 1917 the Little Review dedicated an issue to the works of Henry James.
28. Dizzy was a neighbor who lived downstairs.
29. Allen Tanner, pianist.
30. A reference to the arrival of a chapter of Ulysses by James Joyce.
31. Aline Barnsdall. Barnsdall was interested in having Frank Lloyd Wright build a theater for her in California. Mrs. Fisk was a notable actress of the day.
32. Roy George.
33 . Mary was Anderson’s cat, which she most likely named after the opera singer Mary Garden. Heap’s cat, Minotaur, was named after the Greek mythological monster that was half man and half bull.
34. Wyndham Lewis, British author and painter (1882-1957) and contributor to the Little Review during the New York years.
35 . Stanley Szukalski, artist and sculptor whose works were reproduced in the Little Review.
36. Ezra Pound started as the Little Review foreign editor in 1917.
37. This entry is particularly obscure and troubling. Heap seems to be saying that Roy George helped Haile Sellassie I of Ethiopia put electric lights in his palace. Electricity was in fact installed in 1916-17 in the palace in Addis Ababa, as well as in homes and offices of the nobility and of government officials. Heap’s use of a racial slur is difficult to explain. Although she uses it once more in a 1925 letter, Heap’s other references to race do not indicate a deeply ingrained racism. She gave a positive review of Florence Mills, black actress and singer in the 1921 Broadway production of “Shuffle Along,” published the work of Jean Toomer, and published Maxwell Bodenheim’s “Lynching of a Negro” in 1925. Given her radical politics, it is difficult to see Heap as a reactionary in this case. Several historians and literary critics who have examined the subject of race as it intertwined with white modernism, particularly in New York and Paris during the inter-war period, suggest that some whites such as Nancy Cunard and Carl Van Vechten, who attempted to appropriate black language and culture, were, in the words of Susan Gubar, “tapping the dissident lexicon of subversive power, one at odds with the hegemonic cadences of mainstream culture”; see Racechanges (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 136.
Nevertheless, given the paucity of information concerning race in Heap’s thought, we cannot be really sure what was behind this writing.
38. By now, the Little Review had serialized eight chapters of Ulysses.
39. Mrs. Freudenthal, landlady of the Brookhaven house.
40. Ben Hecht’s last story in the Little Review was “Decay,” in August 1918. The first sentence is: “Here in this street the half dead begin to give forth an odor.”
41. Popovitch, the printer for the Little Review.
42. Harold Bauer, pianist.
43. The Coburn Players was started by Charles Coburn in 1905; they specialized in Shakespearean plays.
44. Jean De Bosschere, poet and illustrator.
45. Polly’s was a restaurant and boardinghouse frequented by Greenwich Village artists.
46. Sherwood Anderson, Israel Solon, Stella Aiken, Caesar Zwaska, Gene Mc- Gown, Dizzy, Aline Barnsdall, Roy George.
47. The Noh play by William Butler Yeats, The Dreaming of Bones, appeared in the January 1919 issue.
48. William Heap elected to join the Ambulance Corps in World War I.
49. The first sentence is not edited here, but exactly as Heap wrote it.
50. Bertha Kalish was starring in Woman: The Riddle, by Charlotte E. Wells and Dorothy Donelly, which debuted October 23, 1918, and ran for twenty-one weeks to excellent reviews. “Lovelier than Mary” most likely refers to opera singer Mary Garden.
51. Yvette Guilbert, a French singer was performing at the Maxine Elliot Theatre in November 1918.
52. The Dance of Siva was written by Dr. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947), an expert on Indian art and culture who was interested in symbolism and myth. “Veber die Kraft,” Heap is referring to Richard Von Krafft-Ebing, a noted sexologist.
53. Exiles, a play by James Joyce, reviewed in the January 1919 issue of the Little Review. It had a homosexual subplot.
54. Gene’s concert. Most likely Eugene Berton, a baritone, who debuted in New York in the fall of 1918 and was reviewed in the Little Review.
55. Ben Hecht, Israel Solon, William Carlos Williams, Ida Rauh, Djuna Barnes; Phil Mueller was Moeller of the Theater Guild. Wesley may have been Helen Westley, who helped to found the Theatre Guild.
56. In 1918, Heap organized an all-American number of the Little Review, which included William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Sherwood Anderson, and Conrad Aiken.
57. Djuna Barnes, Allen Tanner, and Courtney Lemon.
58. Ge-rusalem by Florence Kipper Frank was performed on November 22, 1918, by the Provincetown Players. The other two plays were The Princess Marries a Page by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Where the Cross Is Made by Eugene O’Neill.
59. Seht im (ihm) aber gut. Literally, “You all see him rather well,” but since Heap’s German was not fluent and she referred to herself as “he,” she is probably trying to say “he looks rather well.”
60. Newton Baker, Secretary of War.
61. Eleanor Fitzgerald and Stella Ballantine, friend and niece of Emma Goldman.
62. “Helen died,” from “Imaginary Conversation” by Walter Savage Landon. “The jewelled crowns” from “Wild Among the Reeds” by W. B. Yeats.
63. Boris Godunov, the opera by Mussorgsky.
64. J.Q., John Quinn. “Old Mr. Yeats,” John Yeats, father of William; Quinn was taking care of his business arrangements. He died in 1922.
Notes to Letters, 1922-1926
1. Berman, Louis Berman, a man known in bohemian circles as a “gland specialist.”
2. Carol Robinson, pianist and friend.
3 . Louise Davidson, who became involved with Gladys Tilden after Tilden and Anderson broke up.
4. “Karen” was a story published in the Spring 1922 issue of the Little Review. It has been cited as an early example of a lesbian love story and has previously been attributed to Anderson.
5 . Bill Card, Anderson’s brother-in-law.
6. Louise Davidson, see note 3.
7. The Wanderer (1922) by Knut Hamsun, the Norwegian Nobel laureate who was a favorite author of Heap’s.
8. “Lasie” may be a reference to Florence Mack, Reynolds’s niece by her sister Hattie.
9 . A novel by Aldous Huxley.
Lydia Steptoe was a pseudonym Barnes occasionally used for her journalistic pieces.
Guillaume Apollinaire, French symbolist poet, published in the Little Review in 1922.
Georgette Leblanc, Anderson’s new love.
Ben Hecht was charged with obscenity by the U.S. postal authorities for his book Fantazius Mallare: A Myterious Oath. According to Hecht’s biographer, Hecht indeed did try to write an obscene work to gain some attention. He was fined one thousand dollars. Gargoyles was published the same year; part of it had been serialized in the Little Review.
Hueffner; Men and Women, a book by Hueffner, later Ford Madox Ford, was serialized in the Little Review.
Francis Picabia (1879-1953), Pierre de Massot, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), all Little Review contributors. Anonyme may be a reference to “So- ciete Anonyme” founded by Duchamp and Man Ray.
“Columns,” Heap is referring to Padraic Colum (1881-1945), Irish author who lent Joyce money.
Inter-Arts; Heap wanted to start a project called “Inter-Arts, a Guest House for Work and Play,” which failed due to lack of financial support.
Dr. Percy Stickney Grant, a financial contributor who was given a special thank you in the final issue of the Little Review.
Hall-Mills murder. This was a 1922 murder case where a New Jersey clergyman, the Reverend Edward Hall, and a female parishioner had been found shot together, their bodies covered with love letters they had written to each other for years. The case had been closed as unsolved and reopened in 1926 when the state of New Jersey charged Mrs. Hall in the murders. She was acquitted.
Dick and Pete are most likely uncles of Tom and Fritz Peters.
Anderson and Heap had made their first visit to France in the spring of 1923. Heap returned before Anderson.
Linda was the half-sister of Tom and Fritz Peters.
Georgette starred in the 1923 Marcel L’Herbier film, L’Inhumaine.
Rosenberg, probably art dealer Paul Rosenberg.
Heap is talking about her Little Review Gallery, established in 1924. The artists are Joseph Stella, Louis Bouche, Charles Sheeler, and Henry McFee.
Edna Kenton (1876-1954), writer and member of the Provincetown Players.
Muriel Draper, A. E. Orage; Tertium Organum was actually a book written by Ouspensky before he met Gurdjieff, but it was the first general introduction to cosmology Heap had read.
Secession was a little magazine founded in 1922. Ernest Boyd wrote an article, “Aesthete: Model 1924,” in the American Mercury, which was mocking several avant-garde writers. Heap wrote a critical comment of Boyd in the Little Review.
The Broom was suppressed due to obscenity.
It is not clear who Lawrence is here, perhaps the natural father of Tom and Fritz. Harry Weinberger was the New York lawyer who defended Emma Goldman.
The Stettheimers, Carrie, Ettie, and Florine, three sisters who owned a famous salon for artists. Florine was an artist in her own right.
33 . Muriel Draper and Alice Robinson.
34. Svetlana, daughter of Oligavanna Hinzenberg. Oligavanna was a follower of Gurdjieff who came to New York with him and may have had an affair with Heap. She later married Frank Lloyd Wright.
35. Lady Rothermere, wealthy patron of modernist writers.
36. Concert by George Antheil and Ezra Pound. On July 7, Antheil, composer of “Ballet Mecanique,” had a concert with Pound at which they played their own music. Entitled “Musique Americaine,” the performance received poor reviews.
37. Fountainebleau Forest.
38. Jessie Orage and Carol Robinson.
39. Tristan Tzara (1896-1963), dadaist poet; Queen of Lesba was Natalie Barney (1876-1972).
40. Marta Dennison.
41. Paul Poiret, fashion designer.
42. The Transatlantic Review was founded in 1924 and got off to a rocky start.
43. The Little Review devoted an entire issue to Gris in the Autumn/Winter 1924-1925 issue.
44. Serge Diaghilev, producer of Ballets Russes (1872-1929).
45. Lois Peters had had another breakdown. Wauwatosa was a psychiatric hospital in Wisconsin.
46. E.T., Edith Taylor, Gurdjieff follower, former lover of Jean Toomer. She most likely had an affair with Heap.
47. Dick Hammond was the owner of Hammond’s Typewriters and advertised in the Little Review.
48. Maurice Leblanc, Georgette’s brother and a famous mystery writer.
49. John Storrs, artist.
50. Arthur Hern, a friend from the Chicago years.
51. “On my Book”; Heap never did write a book and there are few clues in the letters as to the subject.
52. “Keserty”; Heap is referring to The Travel Diary of a Philosopher by Count Herman Keyserling, 1925 .
53 . Yvonne George, French actress and singer.
54. Erik Satie (1866-1925), composer.
55. Dorothy Ireland, Edith Taylor, Mimi Franchetti (model for “Senorita Fly- about” in Djuna Barnes’s Ladies Almanac), Isabelle Pell.
56. Allen Tanner, Pavlek Tchelitchev (1898-1957; artist), Vladimir Dukelsky (1903-1969; composer), Glenway Westcott (1901-1987; author), Monroe Wheeler, later director of publications at Museum of Modern Art.
57. Mary Butts, writer, and Lett Haines, artist, both Little Review contributors.
58. Krebs Friend, financial backer in the Transatlantic Review.
59. Reynolds’s brother-in-law, married to her sister Hattie.
60. Isabelle Pell, later a member of the French resistance.
61. Possibly Mary Garden.
62. Ernest Hemingway, Isabelle Pell, Mimi Franchetti, “E” for Edith Taylor, and “J” possibly for Jean Toomer.
63. Mrs. Crawford, American friend who offered to help with the boys’ tuition.
64. Tzara married Greta Knutson.
65. McAlmon had printed a limited French edition of Stein’s The Making of Americans. He was angry with Heap for trying to arrange American publication using his proofs.
66. The International Exhibition of Decorative Arts was the summer of 1925.
67. Nancy Cunard, Tzara, Michel Leiris, Theo Van Doesburg, De Stijl, Man Ray (photographer), Frederick Kiesler (set designer).
68. Sylvia Beach, who published Ulysses in book form in 1922.
70. Saltzman, an early follower of Gurdjieff who took over after his death.
71. Stanley Nott is C. S. Nott, follower of Gurdjieff.
72. Moholy-Nagy of Bauhas-Nieman, artist (1895-1946).
73. Thelma Wood, lover of Djuna Barnes who inspired Nightwood.
74. Lawrence Langner, founder of Washington Square Players, theatrical producer.
75. Gurdjieff was writing Beezlebub’s Tales to His Grandson, which was not published until 1950.
76. Gertrude Stein.
77. Jacques Lipschitz, artist.
78. This is the second time Heap uses a racial slur. See chapter 2, note 37.
79. Matthew Josephson (1899-1978), editor of The Broom and Secession.
80. Elizabeth Gordon.
Notes to Letters, 1938-1945
1. By “Group,” Reynolds is referring to Heap’s Gurdjieff students.
2. Father Brown was a priest character in the moral detective stories of G. K. Chesterton.
3 . J. B. Priestly’s later fiction was influenced by J. W. Dunne, author of Experiment with Time (1927) and Peter Ouspensky’s A New Model of the Universe (I931).
4. Wally was the nickname of Heap’s car. Reynolds was paying for its storage.
5. “Ofoten,” Reynolds means “Lofoten,” a string of islands off the northwestern coast of Norway in the Norwegian Sea, where Heap’s ancestors came from.
6. Tippy was the actress Josephine Plows-Day, who was the aunt to Gladys Tilden, Anderson’s love interest in 1918. Anderson had later fallen in love with Tippy as well, and her novel Forbidden Fires was based on her romantic obsession with Plows-Day.
7. Lillian C. Weaver, headmistress of Andrebrook.
8. Chloe was Elspeth’s daughter.
9. Dr. Lawrence was an expert on diabetes.
10. Manuscript of The Fiery Fountains, Anderson’s second autobiography, published in 1951.
11. Alice Rohrer and Katherine Hulme, members of the Rope.
12. Louise Hellstrom and Janet Flaner.
13. Monique Serrue, nurse and companion of Georgette.
14. Fred Leighton was an American contact for Gurdjieff. He often collected money from American supporters. Kathleen and Elizabeth Gordon: Elizabeth was a follower of Gurdjieff’s in France and died in the camp.
15. Shelter by Jane Nicholson, pseudonym of Marguerite Steen (1894-1975), a 1941 novel about wartime England.
16. “Little Prieure,” a reference to the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, also known as the Prieure. Reynolds is referring to Heap’s Gurdji- eff study group.
17. Mary Austin was the author of thirty-two books, many of them focusing on the American Southwest and Native Americans.
18. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science.
19. Georgette died in October 1941.
20. Senator Burton Wheeler and Charles Lindbergh were vocal supporters of American isolationism. The Stuka was a German aircraft known for attacks on civilian targets.
21. “Mlle,” reference to the young French teacher at Andrebrook.
22. Her sister, Harriet Mack who lived in Hollywood, California.
23. Reynolds was in Virginia visiting her friend Betty Vincent Carter. Carter was married to John Vincent Carter, a State Department diplomat assigned to China.
24. Betty Carter; see previous note.
25. Dorothea Huckle was the companion of Gladys Tilden.
26. “Mrs. C” was Dorothy Caruso, whom Anderson met on the voyage home. They remained a couple for over a decade.
27. “G” music, Gurdjieff music.
28. “Perhaps it is on,” Reynolds’ reference to the Allied invasion of Europe.
29. Heily was a small statue souvenir that Reynolds had purchased on one of her European trips with Heap.
30. “Pangur” was the name of one of Heap’s cats.
About the Editor
Holly Baggett received her B.A. from Tulane University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. She has taught at the University of Oregon and the University of Utah and presently teaches American and women’s history at Southwest Missouri State University. She is working on a biography of Jane Heap, Margaret Anderson, and their circle of women avant-garde artists and writers.