Some Letters of William Vaughn Moody: Ii

EDITED BY DANIEL GREGORY MASON

To Mrs. C. H. Toy
[CHICAGO, August 11, 1896.]
As for Chicago, I find that it gives me days or at least hours of broad-gauge Whitmanesque enthusiasm, meagrely sprinkled over weeks of tedium. The tedium is not of the acid-bath sort, however. Genuinely, I feel mellower, deeper-lunged, more of a lover of life, than I have ever felt before, and the reason is that I have had long somnolent spaces in which to feel the alchemy of rest.
I am writing, not much, hut with time enough to listen for the fairy echoes, to turn and taste again, to fix and prefer. I shall never have a lordly shelf-full of books to point to (‘Paint my two hundred pictures, some good son!’ ) but if I live out the reasonable span, I think I can hope to have one little one at least, or two maybe, which will be in their own way vocal from cover to cover. Whether the voice will be one that people will care to hear, matters less to me than it did — perhaps less than it should. Safely stowed in my gum-cell, with my globule of amber honey, I find it easy to forget Leviathan and his egregious spoutings. He begins to seem the least bit comical, Leviathan, from the gum-cell outlook. The fact that we and our cell could hang unobserved on one of his eyelashes, does n’t negate our importance in the least. . . .

To Daniel Gregory Mason
[CHICAGO, August 27, 1896.]
DEAR DAN: —
So far from considering your letter ‘merely silly,’I found it really stirring — at least after I got over my amusement, which you must grant to the weakness of the flesh. The chief reason why I have not replied sooner is (prepare to be shocked beyond speech) that I have been trying to make up my mind which side has the least injustice and unwisdom to its account in this matter. Living here in the heart of the debtor’s country I have come to see that the present régime cannot possibly endure. Free silver is undoubtedly a desperate remedy— perhaps an insane one; but the slow asphyxiation which the vast farming population of the West is undergoing from the appreciation of deferred payments on their gigantic mortgage debt, due to the inadequacy of the maximum gold coinage to keep pace with the growth of values—calls for immediate relief of some sort.
I have seriously thought, had indeed before you wrote seriously thought, of doing a little stumping during the fall vacation, but on which side my voice and vote will fall is still a matter of debate with me. This is the utmost abyss and downward of my recreancy. I envy you your feverish and on-the-whole delightful visitings with a poisonous tin-green envy. I have about got my mouth full of western heartiness and uniplexity, and long for the lands of purple haze and wicked goatshanks of apothegm footing it after the sky-fluttered robes of dryad metaphor. Abbott Thayer must be a daisy: tell me about him. O to walk in a far sweeter country, among dim many-colored bushes! O now to drink a brown drop of happiness with my good friend! Selah!
I note with grief the catalogue of black-prowed ships the Gods have winged with disaster against your spirit’s Troy. Anxious counting will not seem to make them fewer. I would urge you again to brave the blustering rigors of the west, if it did not seem such abandoned selfishness to do so. For me to go East now would not only be to ‘break a trace,’ but to break for a hasty feast the little pot of honey I have stored up by much noon-day toil to serve for a long, long starveling joy next summer and the winter after. I shall only be able to pull through the winter on the prospect of nine months of golden liberty at the end — the epithet being, let me hasten to add, notably metaphorical.
The Singer refuses to comfort my exile with so much as a shed feather of song. My letters lie unanswered, and my tear-bottles cumber the DeadLetter Office. Wherefore are these thusly? Ah me, to walk in a country of dim many-colored bushes, beside bright-breathing waters! To bear the shy bird that woke at evening in the breast of my friend! Selah.
I was glad to hear you liked the Atlantic article. I am in a state of rawness and jealousy when praise of even a pot-boiler makes me lick the hand of the giver. Desperate is the pass of all little Gods who say after the sixth day, ‘ This is my handiwork, and lo, it is mostly Lolly-pop!’
Divinely yours,
W. V. M.

To Josephine Preston Peabody
August 30, [1896?]
Are n’t you ever going to speak tome again? Is my back-yard left irremediably desolate? Have your rag dolls and your blue dishes said inexorable adieu to my cellar-door? The once melodious rain-barrel answers hollow and despairing to my plaints — but for that the summer is mute. What have I done? What have I left undone? Alas, these questions are the ancient foolishness of the Rejected. Forgive me that the rejected are foolish, but tell me my sin.
But a little while ago you were my intercessor with one whom I had inscrutably offended, and now you visit upon my head inscrutable doom. Imagine the panic of a spider who has anchored his web to the pillars of the firmament and discovers of a sudden that they are the spokes of a bicycle in active requisition. Such a one so smote me yesterday with his allegory that. I plucked him, silky ruin and all, from his fool’s paradise, and deposited him among the comfortable rafters. Will you be outdone in charity? My web is a sight — and Messieurs the flies, once my toothsome prey, beleaguer me, buzzing annihilation.
W. V. M.

Categorically, I crave answer to the following questions: —

1. Where are you to be next year?

2. What are you going to do there?

3. Where have you been this summer?

4. What did you do there?

5. What are your latest, opera ? (a ms. copy of same should accompany reply).

6. What are your contemplated opera? (May be omitted for cause.)

7. Are you happy?

8. Are you well?

9. Are you still friends?

N.B. Please answer the questions in the order given. Use only plain idiomatic English. You will be judged by both the quality and the quantity of your writing.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
CHICAGO, November 24, 1896.
DEAR DAN: —
So far from being able to ‘dartle a ray of poesy’ into your world, I contrast the vivid glow of that world as set forth in your letter, with the kennel I inhabit, in a spirit, of blank misgiving. Fourteen consecutive months of hack teaching have left me in a state of spiritual beggary I never dreamed of, and the seven months that still roll their vermiform length before me sometimes startle me into a Bedlam query.
The uncourageous truth must be told, that I have got already to the lees of my resist ing power, and at the best can only crawl stricken and tolerated to the latter end. The spirit of selection, the zest of appropriation, is gone out of me. For a more instant misery, I must give up my Christmas trip east, to which my rheumy eyes have long been straining for light. A new course to read for, and a pinching poverty, are the main reagents in this stinking bit of chemistry; at the black bottom of the retort lieth Little Willy’s calcined pebble of a heart. Sing a song of willow. Strew on him sawdust, sawdust, with never a hint of goo. Convey a poor devil’s plangent gratitude to your mother and your sister-in-law for their offered hospitality. This reminds me, how did Mrs. Dutton Mason get it into her head that she had offended me? Let her know that in my present state, perhaps in any state, a snub or a cuffing from her likes would be unto me as rarest hydromel, since after all even a snub, or a cuffing, constitutes a sort of bond. The blue beat it ude of those Milton hills often yearns into the grey drift over Chicago roofs, and I hear thence, even in the midst of cable-cargongs and elevator chains, a spectral hymnody. . . .
Your statement of your musical condition fills me with sorrow and wrath. Your letter reached me just as I was starting for the Friday afternoon Symphony rehearsal, and darkened for me this one flower of passion and color that still blooms where the city of my soul once was. But in the midst of a Schumann thing my eye wandered to the program and read there the story of his being turned by just such a misfortune as yours into the work which was so gloriously his to do. Of course you know the story, but I could hardly help sitting down at once and calling upon you, beseeching you to think of it again. For you to give up music for Tetters’ is for an oyster to renounce pearl-making in order to devote its energies to the composition of sea-weed pills. I hasten to add that this is n’t saying a damn against the pills. . . .
W. V. M.

To Josephine Preston Peabody
HARVARD CLUB,
2 WEST 44th ST., March 26, 1897.
MY DEAR FRIEND: —
Now that I have at last emerged from darkness a riveder le stelle, I turn to you as Dante to Casella, and beg at least a word to prove that Florence still has true hearts. I am still rather numb as to brain, and drab-colored as to soul, but I can feel the holy influences that wait upon him who loafs beginning to purge me and urge me, though I tremble to say so for fear of frightening back their shy inquiring tentacles. The thought of six whole months of acquaintance with myself fills me with an inexpressible arrogance, the likes of which I did n’t suspect my meek pedagogical make-up of. I had promised myself for a long time a few days’ tarry in Boston before sailing, but got caught as usual between the contracting prongs of time and space. So, instead of the long afternoon or afternoons during which I had hoped to rummage the past and peer into the future with you, here I am with a halfhour and a sheet of paper. Nevertheless, that will suffice for the cardinal question — How is it with you? What is the news from the Niche? Won’t you tell me, through the medium of Messrs. Whitby and Co., 5 Via Tornabuoni, Florence?
W. V. M.

[During the six months’ trip to Italy and the Austrian Tyrol that Moody now made, he wrote ‘Good Friday Night’ and the ‘Road Hymn for the Start,’ and began work on the ‘ Masque of Judgment.’ He returned to Chicago in September, 1897, and undertook, in addition to his teaching, at the suggestion of Air. Horace E. Scudder, whom he refers to as ‘Uncle Horace,’ the editing of the Cambridge Edition of Milton’s Poetical Works.]

To Ferdinand Schevill
CASA FROLLO, GIUDECCA,
VENICE, June 8, ’97.
DEAR FERD: —
I have put off writing to you from day to day, partly by reason of the manifold demands which Venice makes on one’s powers of sensation and utterance, but principally by reason of the delay which my intimate connections with the patrician houses of Milan failed to prevent in the forwarding of my negatives. Here they are at last, such ones as I have got printed: rejoice over them duly.
I have been installed in the Casa Frollo with the Lovett family for two weeks, and many blessings have been showered upon us. Foremost to be mentioned among Heaven’s gifts is a garden, green and voiceful, reaching back through checkered vistas to the Lagoon —a regularly bang-up place of dalliance. Lacketh as yet a laughing Lalage; as yet, I repeat, not without a sinking at the heart. Meanwhile Euterpe floats at the ends of the vineyard alleys, elusive, promising. The Good-Friday theme has taken shape; it proved more modest in scope in the working out than I had anticipated, but I am almost satisfied with it nevertheless. I hope you may not frown upon it, when in the fullness of time it is chanted before you.
I am at work now on a rat her hopelessly fantastic thing, I fear, half-lyric, half-dramatic; I shall try to excuse the wilfulness of the form by calling it a Alasque. The subject is the Judgmentday— no less — a kind of sketchy modern working over of the theme, from the point of view of the accusing human. God Almighty promises to be an engaging figure, with proper foreshortening. The protagonist is the archangel Raphael, a staunch humanist (his enemies — Heaven confound their counsels!—would say a sentimentalist), and principal roles are sustained by such pleasing characters as the Seventh Lamp of the Throne, the Angel of the Pale Horse, the Lion of the Throne, and the Spirit of the Morning-star.
I foresee great possibilities, — a kind of Hebrew Götterdämmerung, with a chance for some real speaking-outin-meeting, — hoop-la! — Excuse my barbaric yawp, it is merely meant to express enthusiasm.
We keep a gondola-slave, and make frequent trips to the Lido, which however is chill as yet. The weather grows hot and heavy apace; I fear we shall have to make a break for the mountains before long. . . .
W. V. M.

To Josephine Preston Peabody
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO,
TYROL, July 15, 1897.
MY DEAR MISS JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY:—
I have not answered your unfriendly and inadequate letter sooner because I found myself incapable of mustering the amount of ill-feeling which I judged commensurate with the demands of a reply. I have, indeed, given up all hope of such a strenuous accession, and have resolved merely to hide the fountains of my good will under a decent covering of recrimination, throwing my human longing for retaliation to the winds. I am the more moved to measures of pacification because, in the first place, my return to New England shores has grown suddenly more imminent, and in the second, because I hear news of noble Works taking shape and soul under your hands. It is now nearly three weeks since I fled here to this sky-hung, cloud-acquainted village of the Austrian Tyrol from the too generous ardors of an Italian summer. I am moved to harrow your literary sensibilities with ‘ description ’ of t hose windswept valley pastures, hedged in by ferocious peaks, and dowered, even to the border of the snow, with unimaginable wealth of wild bloom. Tremble not, I will not maltreat a captive of courtesy.
To tell the ignoble truth, as my time of liberty draws to an end, and I see how very little I have accomplished. in it, I find myself trying to shut out sensations which are too poignant and crowding, in order that I may find the restfulness necessary for work. I have arrived at a depth of miserliness where it is possible for me to give up a night in the star-lit grass for a night of lamp-oil and muddy ink. Not that I have done much, or shall, I fear; but I have a good thing to do, when it pleases Apollo. I have just had a letter from Uncle Horace, making propositions— messes of pottage: it is the reek and fatness thereof which draws my Esau-soul homeward before its appointed time — perhaps.
W. V. M.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
ALBERGO D’ESPAGNA
VIA CALZAIOLI, FLORENCE,
August 1, 1897.
DEAR DAN: —
When I found in the batch of letters awaiting me here this morning one from you, remorse, long dozing, awoke and gnawed. I have been a monster of taciturnity and greedy possession; I have lain on my gorgeous heap of sensation like Fafnir on the Glittering Hoard, growling, from my papier-maché throat, to all importunate duties and memories, ‘Lass mich fühlen! Ich lieg und besitze.’ As I count over my rosary of Italian days — and nights! — with the little seed pearls and the pearls of price and the green gawdies, a sense of profound pity for everybody else in the world invades my breast, — now at least when the imminent, prospect of a return to the key of drab sends over me a sense of moral realities once more. The substance of your letter as well as its tone precipitates this floating compassion about yourself, a reaction of the spiritual chemistry for which you will doubtless thank me as little as I should you in a reversed case. That your arm does not pick up, that ——’s beard has again been known to stick out straight, that —— laughs a hyena laugh before relapsing into ambrosial silence, to say nothing of your estrangement from the mint julep and its realms of gold — all together constitute a desolating picture — so desolating indeed that I hesitate to communicate a plan I had formed for spending the month of September in Boston.
The only scrap of comfort I get, fortunately an intensive one, is the parenthetical assurance that you spend the hoarded strength of your arm in writing music. I have never quite got over the shock given me by your announcement six months ago that music was not for you. There seemed something obscene about such a blow to your chance of happiness, such a lopping off. I remember once seeing a playmate coming out of his door on crutches after he had lost a foot. Bah! my soul sickens yet, after fifteen years. These things should not be done after these ways.
My golden bath, my Semele-shower of sensat ion, has only strengthened my conviction that the adventures of the mind are beyond all compare more enthralling than the adventures of the senses, that no twining of amorous limbs can bring the intoxication of the airy grappling of the Will to Beauty with the feminine latency of thought toward being beautifully created upon. I hope that is not as snarled as it looks on paper, though I know it’s full as bawdy.
This conviction is perhaps the best thing I have to show for my vacation, however. I observe with sudden retrospective dismay that I have accomplished next to nothing in printable pages, one or two short poems, and a couple of torsoes sketched out in the block, but so big that my mallet and chisel lose themselves in the interstices between dust speck and dust speck. I clamber with Liliputian ingenuity over the bulk thereof, spying out, very agile and bustling, with horny eye apprehensive upon cracks and precipices. As yet no planet-displacing news. Remains to be communicated my plan for September; this: Uncle Horace has had the genlilezza to offer me a substantial job of book-editing, which if I accomplish in due season will insure me another playing-space months earlier than I could otherwise hope for it. I propose accordingly to cut short off here, sail on the 19th August for America, reach Boston by the first of September, and spend ihe ensuing four weeks working in the Boston and Cambridge libraries, with seasons of torsoclimbing and mint-juleping generously interspersed. Till when — WILL.

P.S. When you write abroad again use tissue-paper and invisible ink and write on both sides. My disbursements to the Italian government and the Postal Union on your blue-book amounted to just eighty-five (85) centesimi. Not that it was n’t worth ninety (90), but thrift is thrift. W. V. M.

To Josephine Preston Peabody [Spring, 1898.] Thanks for the good tidings; they have shed about me a reflected glow of spiritual bien-être rare enough in the procession of my days to be relished, I tell you. Then it was n’t all reflected either, nor will it altogether go with the fading of the ink. It is jolly that some of us are going to have a say; the elected one must be spokesman for the rejected, and say it with an air and a gesture! Not without responsibility, in view of the others, listening glad but a little jealous, hoping to hear it put just, their way, and ready to lift, protesting hands if it is n’t. I could swallow my own little hiccough of envy with a better grace if I were there to dogmatize over title and title-page, order and grouping and pruning and padding. I suppose you wiSi have to struggle alone your unillumined way without me, poor thing; but there will come a day of reckoning for all shortcomings, when I crawl over your pages, horny eye animadversive upon this and that, antennae excitedly waving. And if all is good and seemly without and within, I shall go away mollified, and there shall be no more drudging that, day but only joy, in the kingdom of Ants.
The jewelled white of the New England winter! Here it is mud — sky, lake, boulevard, factory, flat, one featureless contiguity of Mud — to say nothing of People and their Insides.
W. V. M.

[About April 1, Moody arrived in New York and took a room at 109 Waverley Place. He was working hard on his edition of Milton, but also found time to write out the ‘ Masque of Judgment’ in somewhat tentative and fragmentary form. This he read to me in Boston, early in June. He returned to Chicago for the summer and autumn quarters’ teaching, spent the Christmas holidays in Boston, and in the first, days of 1899 established himself in New York again, this time at 318 West 57th St.]

To Daniel Gregory Mason
THE PLAYERS,
NEW YORK, April 8, 1898.
DEAR DAN:—
. . . The plan you outline for the Easter vacation is so tempting that if you had sprung it on me soon enough I suppose I should have yielded to your blandishments and given New York the go-by. Once here, however, I feel that I ought to stay. If I mistake not, my lines are apt to be cast in these places permanently in the not distant future, and I have a good chance now to make some acquaintances and learn the ropes of New York life against that desirable time. I have already met a number of capital chaps here at the Players, where Carpenter has kindly set me down — chiefly playwrights, not very big ones I suspect, but full of enthusiasm and practical expedient. The great thing about them is that they get their things played, and that sort of thing, begad, begins to appeal to me. Do not believe me quite recreant to ideals; Cambridge and her elegiac air seems still lovely and of good report. But these chaps here, though very moderately elegiac and of a dubious report, are splendidly American and contemporary; and I feel convinced that this is the place for young Americans who want to do something. (N.B. I have not enlisted in the marine.)
. . . As for yourself, go to Chocorua by all means, and believe me with you in wistful imagination when the spring sun gilds your mountain-tops and absorbs the spare goo from my asphalt pavements.
As ever,
W. V. M.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
THE PLAYERS,
NEW YORK, April 13, 1898.
DEAR DAN: —
. . . Thanks for the addresses: I shall certainly look up Harry. If you know any other good people here, send me their names and whereabouts and a card of introduction. I am going in for people now, having made the discovery that the average man is among the most unexpected and absorbing of beings. . . .

To Daniel Gregory Mason
CHICAGO, Dec. 2, 1898.
DEAR DAN: —
This is an attempt to forestall your righteous wrath at my ungentlemanly neglect of your letters, which have been meat and drink to me at the seasons of their arrival and for long after. I will accept any punishment except a refusal on your part to rejoice over the fact that I am coming to Cambridge for Christmas week. Intend thy thoughts towards revelry, for there must be mad times. Like a sick and lonesome gilligalloo bird I begin to think on me native sugar-cane swamps, and plume me feathers for a flight thither where the carnivoristicous Philistine invadeth not with his pot-gun of Important Business, and neither moth nor dust doth corrupt. Don’t tell me you ain’t going to be to home, for I’m a-calculatin’ on you for my main holt.
W. V. M.

To Mrs, C. H. Toy
CHICAGO, Dec, 5, 1898.
MY DEAR MRS. TOY: —
This is to say that I expect to spend Christmas week in Cambridge. ... I am eager for the queer inimitable charm of Cambridge, for that atmosphere of mind at once so impersonal and so warm, for that neatness and decency of you children who have been washed and dressed and sent to play on the front lawn of time by old auntie Ding-an-Sich, while we hoodlums contend with the goat for tomato cans in the alley. I have a fair line of the same to lay before your eyes when I am admitted inside the aristocratic front gate: some of them will make a fine effect in a ring around your geranium bed.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
[CHICAGO, Dec. 19, 1898.]
1. Arrive Friday P.M. or Saturday A.M. Exact time to be communicated later.
2. Will stay at 39 with pleasure.
3. Think Chocorua too risky, especially for your purposes of recuperation.
4. You shall loaf, sir.
5. You shall go to themes once more on Jan. 2 in a galliard, and conduct consultations in a coranto.
W. V. M.

To Josephine Presion Peabody
318 WEST 57th ST.
NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 1899.
MY DEAR FRIEND: -
I put off writing Hail and Godspeed when the Book came out because I wanted to speak my words of pride and praise in person. You were not there to hear them, and since then I have been caught in the wheels of this world’s business. But you cannot but believe me when I say that the book gave me a very keen delight, first because it was yours, and second because it was the world’s; and read in cold type it entirely justified my old enthusiasm. Some things, which seemed to me less mature and less forthright, I could have wished away; and others I could have wished a little nearer the everyday speech: but even for these the Envoi made amende honorable.
What we expect of you now is to fulfill the promise there made: to take hold of the common experience and the common idiom and glorify it. Who am I, to be sure, that I should be offering sage advice? Yet I hope you ask the question without sarcasm, for after all I am one who has loved the Muses well, and hoped much from my friends, however I may seem to have forgotten both the one and the other.
W. V. M.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
HARVARD CLVD,
NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 1899.
DEAR DAN: —
I certainly shan’t let you off, now that you have been rash enough to make advances. ’F yez don’ wan’ the pants, w’y in hell ’d you try ’em on fur, blokey? I answer your questions categorically.
1. You can see all of me all of the time after and including lunch, which I usually take about 1.30; from the mysteries of my bath, breakfast, and matutinal galumphing o’er twinpeaked Parnassus, I shall exclude you peremptorily, but after 1.30 I am yours till cock-crow.
2. My luncheon, consisting of a sandwich and a drink, usually costs ten (10) cents, unless I frequent a freelunch counter, when it costs five (5). Since looking at the expanse of cheek in the picture which you send (and for which I thank you kindly) I have about resolved to intermit lunches for the time being. If this sounds too Spartan, just remember that a great deal of Nourishment can be bought between Washington Square and Central Park, if you still feel atrophied after lunching with me. For dinner I pay (including tip) from sixty to eighty-five cents, except on rare occasions when I feel proud and sassy — on which occasions I sometimes reach the dizzy and disastrous peak of a dollar ten.
3. The weather will be fine. Shut up, I say it will!
I have n’t touched the Masque, but have plunged in medias res with the play.2 It bids fair to be short (perhaps 50 minutes to an hour to act) but it’s developing pretty well. I found myself embarrassed a good deal at first by the dull monochromatic medium of everyday speech, but am getting more used to it now, and find that when you do get an effect in it it is more flooring than anything to be got with bright pigments. I am trying hard to give it; scenic structure, for as I conceive it nearly half of it will be dumb show; at least a great deal of its effectiveness will depend on the acting. I shall have it ready to read to you — at: least in first draft — when you appear. I ’ve got a Chinese restaurant to show you on Molt Sreet; likewise a Chinese stew that will make your gizzard turn pale with joy. Refusing to be refused,
W. V. M.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
[Postal card].
[NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 189!).]
Are you going to take those pants? It is important for me to know, as there are other customers. If a hasty decision (or the necessity of it) will prejudice the possibility of your coming, however, put it off until the ninth hour.
You’d better come. Verbum sapienti. Pictures — music — theatre — dives— dinners — Broadway — Bowery — beer — girls — galoots — [the last word is stricken out] Heaven forefend! I ’ve just come out of it.
W. V. M.

To Ferdinand Schevill
THE PLAYERS, 16 GKAMERCY PARK,
NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 1899.
DEAR FERD: —
The great king Grippe reigns in Babylon, and his hand has been heavy on all his subjects — especially your afflictedly. . . .
Are you still minded to woo the Muse under these skies in spring? There may be better places, but there surely are worse; and if the Muse, though never so strictly meditated, prove thankless, there yet remain Amaryllis and the tangles of Neaera’s hair. The latter is usually a wig, but very nicely tangled and adequate for most purposes of distraction. . . .
WILL.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
ATLANTIC TRANSPORT LINE. SS. MESABA,
NEW YORK, March 11, [1809.]
DEAR DAN:
This is only a word to say that I have been unable to resist the very low rates of passage brought about by the rale-war between the transatlantic lines, and am off for England.... I shall settle down and work steadily. . . . Hastily,
‘ W. V. M.

To Daniel Gregory Mason
[Postmarked: CHICAGO, Dec. 18, 1899.]
Put it behind thee, my boy; ’t is a device of Satan—a whisper of the Demon of Unrest and Seller of Dead Sea Apples. For which belief I shall soon furnish (viva voce) argument. The Muses, I groundedly believe, reside at present on an obscure peak (not yet visited) of New Hampshire or Maine; that is, if they have not already succumbed to the attractions of Pike’s Peak or Mount Shasta. At any rate that’s where I purpose to seek them, and Europe be damned. I have spoken.
W. V. M.

[Moody arrived in Boston at Christmas. It was here that he finally completed ‘The Masque of Judgment.’ The ‘Ode in Time of Hesitation’ was also written during this period, and appeared in the Atlantic Monthly for May. In the early spring he established himself at East Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he wrote ‘Gloucester Moors’ and the ‘Menagerie,’ and revised the play dealing with Schlatter, the ‘New Mexico Messiah.’ During part of the summer he lived with his friend Mr. Truman H. Bartlett, in Chocorua, N. H. In October he was again settled in Boston, but in November he went to New York, where he lived until his return to Chicago in January, 1901.

During all this period, a most important one in his poetic development, he had to give a considerable portion of his time to the text-book on English literature, but managed to keep his mornings largely free for creative work. The period is notable for publication as well as for production: ‘The Masque of Judgment’ was printed by Small, Maynard, & Co. in November, 1900, and the ‘Poems’ appeared in May, 1901, under the imprint of Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

Throughout the final decade of his life, Moody worked as industriously as his uncertain health permitted. After the completion of his two plays, The Great Divide and The Faith Healer, he returned to poetry as his definitive pursuit. He died at Colorado Springs in October, 1910. — D. G. M.]

  1. The first instalment of these letters from Professor Mason’s collection was printed in the August issue. — TIIE EDITORS.
  2. The first draft of what eventually became The Faith Healer. — D. G. M.