TO WILLIAM M. BOLE
GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Washington, December 29, 1915
Dear bole,—I am very much gratified by the manner in which you treated my annual report. Certainly my old newspaper training has stood me in good stead in writing my reports. In fact it always has, for while I was Corporation Counsel in San Francisco, and a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, I wrote legal opinions that were intelligible to the layman, and I tried to present my facts in such manner as to make their presentation interesting. The result was that the courts read my opinions and sustained them, but whether they were equally impressive upon the strictly legal mind, I have my doubts, because you know inside the “union” there is a strong feeling that the argot of the bar must be spoken and the simplest legal questions dealt with in profound, philosophic, latinized vocabulary.
I remember that after I was elected Corporation Counsel, when I was almost unknown to the bar of San Francisco, I began to hear criticism from my legal friends that my opinions were written in English that was too simple, so I indulged myself by writing a dozen or so in all the heavy style that I could put on, writing in as many Latin phrases and as much old Norman French as was possible. This was by way of showing the crowd that I was still a member of the union.
I find that all our scientific bureaus suffer from the same malady. These scientists write for each other, as the women say they dress for each other. One of the first orders that I issued was that our letters should be written in simple English, in words of one syllable if possible, and on one page if possible.
Soon after I came here I found a letter from one of our lawyers to an Indian, explaining the conditions of his title, that was so involved and elaborately braided and beaded and fringed that I could not understand it myself. I outraged the sensibilities of every lawyer in the Department, and we have five hundred or more of them, by sending this letter back and asking that it be put in straightaway English. ... Cordially yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
TO MRS. ADOLPH C. MILLER
Washington, [January 1, 1916]
Having just sent a wire to you I shall now indulge myself in a few minutes talk with that many-sided, multiple-natured, quite obvious-and-yet-altogether-hidden person who is known to me as Mary Miller.
The flash of brilliant crimson on the eastern side of the opal, do you catch it? Now that is the flash of courage, the brilliant flame that will lead you to hold your head high. ... I like very much what you say as to wearing our jewel “discreetly but constantly.” No combination of words could more perfectly express the relationship which this bit of sunrise has established between us—devotion, loyalty, telepathic communication without publicity. I am sure you are belittling yourself. ... you are a game bird,— good, you understand, but with a tang, a something wild in flavor, a touch of the woods and mountain flowers and hidden dells in bosky places, and wanderings and sweet revolt against captivity. ...