With many wishes for the New Year, believe me always, my dear Charles, yours faithfully,
TO JOHN CRAWFORD BURNS LONDON, ENGLAND
December 13, 1911
My dear Burns,—I have felt grievously hurt, at hearing from Pfeiffer several times, that you had written him, and nary a word to me. The idea that I should write to you when you had nothing in the world to do but write me, never entered my head. I want you to understand distinctly the position which you now occupy in the minds of your friends. You are a gentleman of leisure, traveling in Europe with an invalid wife, necessarily bored, and anxious to meet with anything that will give you an interesting life. Under the circumstances, you may relieve your mind at any time, of any intellectual bile, by correspondence. ... If you wish something serious to do, I will formally direct you to make a report upon Railway Rates and Railway Service in Europe. This will give you some diversion in between your attacks of religion and architecture.
Pfeiffer, I presume, has returned from the Far West, but so far I have not heard from him. The last letter I got was from the Yosemite. He seems to have been enchanted with that country. He says there is nothing in Europe to compare with it. It is splendid to see a fellow of his age, and with all of his learning, keep up his enthusiasm. It seems to me that he is more appreciative and buoyant than he was twenty years ago, and he is really very sane. His sympathies, unlike yours, are with the present and not with the dead past.
You will be interested in knowing that Mr. T. Roosevelt is likely to be the next Republican nominee for President. Within the last six weeks it has become quite manifest that Taft cannot be elected. ... And so you see, the whirligig of time has made another turn. Big Business in New York is looking to Roosevelt as a statesman who is practical. The West regards him as the champion of the plain people. He is keeping silent, but no doubt like the negro lady he is quite willing to be “fo’ced.”
On the Democratic side all of the forces have united to destroy Wilson, who is the strongest man in the West. The bosses are all against him. They recently produced an application which he had made for a pension, under the Carnegie Endowment Fund for Teachers, which had been allowed to lie idle, unnoticed for a year or so after its rejection, but owing to campaign emergencies was produced, at this happy moment, to show that Wilson wanted a pension. As a Philadelphia poet whom you never heard of says:—
“Ah, what a weary travel
is our act,
Here, there, and back again, to win some prize,
Those who are wise their voyage do contract
To the safe space between each others’ eyes.”
This line is in keeping with my reputation as an early Victorian. ... Do write me some good long letters. You have a better literary style than any man who ever wrote a letter to me, and I love you for the prejudices that are yours. Give my love to your wife. As always yours,