I am doing well, cared for well, as happy as can be; have had none of my angina pains since the operation. And as I lie here, I contemplate [making] a frieze—a procession of doctors and nurses and internes, of diagnosticians and technicians and experts and mechanics and servitors and cooks—all, the great and the small, in profile. They are to look like those who have made their pretenses before me during the past year;—the solemn and the stupid; the kindly, the reckless; the offhand; the erudite, the practical; the many men with tubes and the many men with electrical machines. Old Esculapius must begin the procession but the Man with the Knife, regnant, heroic size, must end it.
What a great thing, what a pride, to have the two men of greatest constructive imagination and courage in surgery in the world as Americans, Dr. Charles and Dr. Will Mayo.
Rochester, Minnesota, May 14, 
This is a line by my own hand, dear Aleck, just to show you that I am still this much master of myself. ...
I am going through much pain. Inside I am a great boil. But Nature is doing all she can, and I am helping. They think me a right model sort of patient, for I made a showing of exceptional recovery. When T.R. shaved the day after, I said, “Hip Hip!” Well, I done it too! I guess as how I haven’t been so very bad a boy all these fifty-seven years or I couldn’t play as good as “par” at this game, and they say they have no better record than mine on the books.
The National Geographic Society did a nice thing. Today I got a resolution of the most sympathetic kind from them. Some gentlemen still alive, eh?
I dictated a bit of a thing about my experience the other day to Cotter—something to send off to the chaps who wrote or wired—and sent you one. I hope it wasn’t soft or slobby. Did you think it was all right to come from a sick bed?
It will be three weeks or more yet of hospital, and then much of recuperation. But I have no complaint. I feel a faith growing in me, and I may yet draw my sword in some good fight. Affectionately,
To John W. Hallowell
Rochester, Minnesota, May 14, 1921
Dear Jack,—I’ve been down into the Valley since I heard from you, but I’m up once more and with new light in my eye, new faith in my heart, more sense of the things that count and those that don’t. And affection, love for the good thing of any kind; loyalty, even mistaken loyalty, these are the things that the Gods treasure. They live longest. So I turn to give you my hand, dear boy,
[Illustration with caption: Lane peak in Rainier national park]
I was most badly infected, but I really never felt better than when I stepped out of the auto on to the hospital steps. And it took some nerve for me to say, “Go to it,” under such circumstances. (I am patting myself on the back a bit now.)