thankful for your so-called Merry
letter. Tis a joyous missive, come as a grand recuperative.
I have been quite low for some time, having quite
lost the use of my (metaphorical) arms, and so incapable
of embrassing [sic] you in due and proper form as belongs
to love of all kinds. To be quite híarmless is only
the cockney for the same thing. A week ago I finally
went to my doctor here (a mere allopath!) for a slight
swelling of a gland in the jaw, fearing some obscure
poisonous tooth trouble. Nothing so dignified. Only
a slight cold akin to mumps! Praise Allah! Well. I am
all well again, and loving as ever. Arenít you glad?
And no danger of infecting you at this distance. Arenít
you thankful? Think what you escape. I love you! Arenít
you glad? Love and life are one with me. When I canít
love, I am not alive. Love is not a malady of youth,
it is the only health. I love Madeleine Lawrence. But
if you want the French you will have to spell it as
above. If you want the "g" in it, you must
spell Magdelene as in the College of that name at Cambridge,
or Magdelen as in the Oxford College. Only in Oxford
vernacular the College is pronounced
Maudlin. However any way you spell it will suit me,
and I shall love you truly.
I have dug up several
new poems in the past three or four days, out of years-old
stuff, and revamped them into shape. I am trying for
book of lyrics for next fall (donít breathe a word of
it!)[.] It is to be "A Wild Garden"2
perhaps, full of Wild Flowers, Black Tulips, "Immortelles,"
Golden Madeleines, Black Madeleines, Wood Lilies, Pied
Carnations, Scarlet Poppies, Blue Campanulas, August
Moonflowers (Dianas with white knees) &c. &c.
including red-haired Daphnes, and Sea-blown Beroes.
I want it illustrated or maybe with music!!
Slow-moonlight-music, galloping-shafted-dawn music,
languorous-noon music. Yes? No? Could you lend me Giordini3
for the purpose?
Or could you give me a sitting for one
of the lyrics?
As the old grandmother4
says in Jalna, "Somebody come and kiss me! I want
to be kissed!"
Again I am full of geographic lamentations.
New York, Toronto, Virginia, Arizona, Hollywood, and
Vancouver, all so hideously apart!
It is near lunch time and I grieve (Willie
I cannot slip into the Wellington Arms,6
and lounge before the fire.
It is too cold here. I
want to go to Tucson! Or Banff
even, to the Carnival!7
Mediaeval Paris was colder than this, but what did Francois8
and his Ladies care! Not a damn!
her letter of January 19, Lawrence suggests "Magdaleine"
as a new name for herself and remarks on its appealing
French and numerological associations. [back]
Letter 47 n.2. [back]
George Finn (see Letter 4 n.6). [back]
Whiteoak, the grandmother in Mazo de la Rocheís
novel (see Letter 34 n.10), "would frequently,
on awakening from a doze, cry out pathetically:óKiss
me, somebody, quick!" (Jalna [Toronto:
Macmillan Canada, 1927] 217, and see also 347).[back]
Letter 8 n.12 and Letter 28 n.3.[back]
the Lawrence bequest contains photographs of Carman
inscribed "Winter Carnival at Banff, 1926,"
he is probably referring to that annual event; however,
he may have been anticipating the Highland Gathering
and Scottish Music Festival that was held in Banff
from August 31 to September 3, 1928 under the auspices
of the C.P.R. (see Letter 7 n.3). The first such
Gathering was held at Banff during the summer of
Villon (see Letter 34 n.5 and Letters 40, 44, and
45). Carman may have been thinking specifically
of Villonís "Ballad of Dead Ladies," the
haunting refrain of which was famously translated
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti as "But where are
the snows of yesteryear." [back]