Washington, Saturday, [September 2, 1917]
There are not many weeks in a man’s life of which he can say that one was without a flaw, that it could not have been improved upon in company, comfort, or surroundings. And all these things, my dear Mr. Eno, I can affirm of the days spent with you. I have a better opinion of my fellows and of my country because of them. Perhaps, after all, that is as complete a test as any other. As I look back I think of but one thing that gives occasion for regret —we had too few good, mind-stretching talks, you, Dorr, and myself. But those we had were certainly not about affairs of small concern. We indulged ourselves as social philosophers, psychologists, war-makers, and international statesmen. The world was ours, and more—the worlds beyond. To do things worth while by day, and to dream things worth while by night, and to believe that both are worth while, that is the perfect life. If one can’t get to Heaven by following that course, then are we lost.
I am sending a line to Dorr, noble, unselfish, high-spirited, broad-minded gentleman that he is. ... Sincerely and heartily yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
To George Dorr, Bar Harbor, Maine
Washington, [September 2,1917]
My dear Mr. Dorr,—You do not know what good you did my tired politics-soaked soul by showing me, under such happy conditions, the beauties and the possibilities of your island. And I came to know two men at least, whose heads and hearts were working for a less pudgy and flat-footed world. ... To have enthusiasm is to beat the Devil. So I have you down in my Saints’ book.
You know a man in politics is always looking about for some place to which he can retire when the whirligig brings in another group of more popular patriots. Now I can frankly say that if I could have an extended term of exile on your island with you and your friends, I would feel reconciled to banishment from politics for life, provided however (I must say this for conscience’ sake) that we had time and money to make the Park what it should be—a demonstration school for the American to show how much he can add to the beauty of Nature.
A wilderness, no matter how impressive and beautiful, does not satisfy this soul of mine, (if I have that kind of thing). It is a challenge to man. It says, “Master me! Put me to use! Make me something more than I am.” So what you have done in the Park—the Spring House and the Arts Building, the cliff trails and the opened woods, show how much may be added by the love and thought of man. May the Gods be good to you, the God of Mammon immediately, that your dreams may come true, and that you may give to others the pleasure you gave to yours sincerely,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
TO HON. WOODROW WILSON THE WHITE HOUSE