... I am trying hard to believe something that might be called the shadow of a religion—a God that has a good purpose, and another life in which there is a chance for further growth, if not for glory. But when I bump up against a series of afflictions such as you have been subjected to, I fall back upon Fred’s philosophy of a purposeless or else a cruel God. ... I simply have a sinking of the heart, a goneness, a hopelessness—not even the pleasure of a resignation. Old Sid’s cold mind has worked itself through to a decision that there is no purpose and no future, and finds solace in the ultimate; having reached the cellar he finds the satisfaction of rest. I can’t get there for my buoyancy, the hold-over of early teachings or perhaps my naturally sanguine nature will not permit me to hit bottom, but forever I must be floating, floating—nowhere. Happy the man who strikes the certainty of a rock-bottom hell, rather than one who is kept floating midway— that is a purgatory worse than hell. I don’t seem to have any capacity for anger, as against God or man, for anything that befalls me, but I get morbid over the injustices done to others. Now I shall stop philosophizing on this matter for it is three in the morning, and too hot to sleep, and such a time is made for wickedness and not for righteousness.
I am sorry you will not see the President. He is worth hearing, better than reading, and he always talks well. He can not pass his treaty without some kind of reservations and he should have seen this a month ago. The Republicans will not struggle to pass it in his absence and think that they have done a smart thing, but in the end Wilson and not Lodge would win by such a trick. The one greatest of vices is smart-aleckism. Sometime I shall write an essay on that subject. The burglar and the confidence operator and the profiteer and the profligate and the defaulting bank cashier are all victims of that disease—smart-aleckism. They will do a trick, to prove how clever they are. I believe that is the way ninety per cent of the boys and girls go wrong, and instead of teaching them the Bible, why not try reducing the size of their conceit and their disposition to boast. I just wonder how far wrong I am on this?
... Don’t let the family worry you. Call for the police if they don’t let you have your own way. ... What a plague of women! But how did monks manage to live anyhow? Maybe they chose a hard death—perhaps that was the secret of the whole monkery game! Women let us down into the grave with much unction to our ego, I mean sweet oil of adoration ... poured out upon the way down to Avernus. ... Don’t feel discouraged because you lie there. I feel much more discontented than you do, right here at the heart of the world. ... Love to Maude and Frances, and mention me with proper respect and dignity to Miss Nancy Lane.