Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski

Letter 40

The Huckins Hotel

Oklahoma City

29. Nov. 1927



Dear Margaret: Two letters of yours reached me yesterday at Durant. Quite wonderful, they were. As to your glimpses of revelation and the recognition of submerged character,—if that is the proper term. I have no faculty or gift of the sort, but I know you are right to guard it. I wonder what you will think or know when you see some of my friends all in a flash.

But me and Villon!!1 I should not have supposed there was any vital similarity. Wine, women and song,2 perhaps, but that is not uncommon.

However I will take whatever you give me in the way of spiritual ancestry, since I know so little about it all. Just as I believe many mysterious things and ideas to be true, though I have almost no experience of the occult.

I do know, however, that nervous dyspepsia is very tedious. You must try to keep a steady diaphragm and not travel in high gear too constantly. This is fine advice coming from this ego, who so often becomes over heated over speeded. I must have got it from Villon. When I was an Amerind I was not bothered so.

This town has been very instructive, and San Antonio was a rare pleasure, but it has been speedy. Yesterday I travelled six hours by bus. Trains are usually better.

Now I must be off again to my next town Chickasha for the reading to-night.3


Love from Francois4


? ? ?




Willie5 and I are both sceptical about Francois, so I had better add

Love from Willie



  1. In a letter of November 20, 1927, Lawrence expounds her belief in re-incarnation, explaining that she has had intimations of the previous lives of various people and, in this context, reiterating her sense of a likeness between Carman and François Villon (see Letter 34 n.5). [back]

  2. "Who does not love wine, women, and song / Remains a fool his whole life long"—the English translation of a couplet attributed to Johann Heinrich Voss (1751-1826) and, less plausibly, to Martin Luther (1483-1546). [back]

  3. Probably at the Oklahoma College for Women (founded in 1908) at Chickasha, Oklahoma. [back]

  4. In adopting Villon’s first name, Carman consistently omits the cedilla. [back]

  5. See Letter 8 n.12 and Letter 28 n.3. [back]