Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski

Letter 6

Twilight Park

Haines Falls, N.Y.

6. September. 1927



Margaret, a thousand thanks for this last letter just come. It only confirms the happiness I have had in hearing from you. It was dear of you to give me the brief history of yourself.1 "A chela," "a child of light," and the limpid sincerity of soul so evident in every word, the perfect open frankness so unusual in the world—are all rather terrifying, and I seem to be standing before one of the all-seeing ones. It is very sobering and rather shaking, banishing light-hearttedness for the moment. I understand all you say so well. And I could reply with a volume of biography most willingly if it were necessary. Also I wish I could make you see this Twilight Park.2 But I am a niggardly writer, being most indolent. I had to go to N.Y. last week as I told you. A most doleful day of rain in torrents. I was thankful to be back here, and have [sic] a wonderful long tramp on the mountain trails yesterday, that you would have loved. These Catskills lie with their Eastern edge along the line of the Hudson, about ten miles back from the river, and there is a trail running some miles along their front some two thousand feet above the great plain of the River. The peaks rise a couple of thousand feet higher westward from the trail, which winds through pines and over warm rocks, always with the immense outlook at one’s side.

In the Park here our cottages are set down right in the woods, and we look down the Clove to the Hudson valley far away. There is a great roar of falling rivers in my ears as I write and the trees are close around. "Moonshine"3 [h]as a large living room 24 x 36 and very good for music and reading. Here we have one or more entertainments every year, as good as we can make them. The one this year was particularly good I think. The Costumes were most beautiful in color and fitness. You would have liked it, I think. I am sending you copies of "daughters of Dawn" and "Earth Deities",4 which happen to be on hand here. They have long been out of print, and will give you some notion of what M.P.K.5 and I have been trying to do all these years. She is a great personality, and all my things owe more than can be said to her constant co-operation. Whole lines and happiest phrases—not mine at all.

Don’t think I have any better snap shots here, but will send one when I get back to New Canaan. I treasure your letter and all you are. Don’t move away. After having discovered you, it would be to[o] desolating.

Allah be with you!



  1. In a letter of September 4, 1927, Lawrence describes herself as Watson’s "chela" (see Letter 1 n.3 and Letter 5 n.7) and explains that on his deathbed he called her "a child of light" and urged her to "swing in [her] own orbit" should she decide to return to the academic life. She also credits Watson with introducing her to the work of Walt Whitman, Edmund Carpenter, William Bucke and Thomas Troward (see Letter 5 ns 5 and 6) and provides some details of her education at the University of Toronto (see Introduction xi xviii n.3). [back]

  2. See Letter 3 n.1. [back]

  3. The name given by Carman and Mary Perry King (see following notes) to the Unitrinian School of Personal Harmonizing that she founded in Twilight Park (see also Letter 52 n.2 and, for the unitrinian philosophy, Letter 18). [back]

  4. Daughters of Dawn: a Lyrical Pageant or Series of Historical Scenes for Presentation with Music and Dancing (1913) and Earth Deities and Other Rhythmic Masques (1914): two masques or pageants written by Carman in collaboration with Mary Perry King. [back]

  5. Mary Perry King (1861-1939), born Rebel Thorn Perry and married in 1887 to Dr. Morris Lee King, practised a philosophy of mind-body-spirit harmonization based largely on the writings of the French musician and thinker François Alexandre Delsarte (see Letter 18 n.2). For discussions of Carman’s relationship with Mary Perry King, see H. Pearson Gundy, "Lorne Pierce, Bliss Carman and the Ladies," Douglas Library Notes 14.4 (1965), 2-24 and "Kennerley on Carman," Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 14 (1984), 69-74. For a discussion of the genesis and importance of Carman and King’s collaborative works, see Laurel Boone, "Bliss Carman’s Pageants, Masques and Essays and the Genesis of Modern Dance," Bliss Carman: a Reappraisal, ed. Gerald Lynch, Reappraisals: Canadian Writers 16 (Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1990), 165-80. [back]