You can recover partially—not wholly under any circumstances—if you arrive at a state of Nirvana before death. ... Gay life this, my boy! I’ve been so wicked and fast and devilish and hoggish and gluttonous and always rotten and riotous that I needs must spend a few months in this agony by way of preliminary atonement before I may get even a chance at purgatory.
You know that sometimes in the most terrific crushing pain, I laugh, at the thought that my steady years of drive and struggle to help a lot of people to get justice, or a chance, should be gloriously crowned by an ironical God with an end that would make a sainted Christian, in Nero’s time, regret his premature taking-off. ...
Tell that most charming of all women, who is your sister, that her noble man was in great good fortune; and I envy him because the Gods showed their love for him even up to the last. The wicked, torturing devils respected his gay spirit as he passed along and forgot to fill him full of arrows, poisoned arrows, as he ran the gauntlet down to the River. Her letters are beauteous reflections of her thoroughbred soul, and they give delight to Anne and myself. ... Yours as always,
TO MRS. GEORGE EHLE
Bethel, October , 1920
That is so charming and gracious a letter that it must be answered within the day, not that any word in kind can be returned, but the spirit may be echoed. We may be short in words but not in feeling. Let me tell you, Lady Ehle, about this place. It is Nirvana-in-the-Wilderness, the Sacred, Serene Spot. Beautiful, for it is a ridge surrounded by mountains—or “mountings”—of gold and green, russet and silver. Noiseless, no dogs bark or cats mew or autos honk. Peaceful—no business. Nothing offends. Isn’t that Nirvana? No poverty. People independent but polite. Children smile back when you talk to them, and you do. And the sky has clouds that color and that cast shadows on purpling mountains and stretches of meadow. Yes, this is one lovely spot over which a man named Gehring presides, unofficially, modestly, gently; he has given it purpose for being, for here he does good by healing, and some of his wealthy patients have put up a handsome inn in his honor—and they have said so in a bronze tablet over the mantel.
How much good he can do me I cannot say, but he is trying, Oh, ever so hard to touch my trouble-centre, and I shall give him a full chance yet awhile.
Wouldn’t it be splendid if Shepaug were assured, or any other place of simple beauty to which we could retire to commune with the things that, alas, one only discovers to be the really great things, the worth while things, late in life. Daily would we foregather beside that stream to build some kind of altar to the God of Things as we Hope they may sometime Be. ...
Give my regards to the Duke of Saugatuck and tell him that his picture on horseback is good enough to enlarge—and then I want one.