I am sure that this sort of salutation ought to convince you that I am, or at least am in the process of being, born again. I am certainly less formal than in the days gone by.
My wife sent me your letter of inquiry, and I write to say that I have just returned from a month in Michigan where I have been working on the land and have a good substantial evidence of character in the shape of callouses on the palm of my hands and the best supply of health that I have had for many years. Tolstoy is right; the carpenter Jesus was right; Nelson is right. Life for me lies in simplicity. Every guideboard on the road leading to it bears that same magic, delightful word that has charmed Thoreau and all the poets and prophets of all time and will ever charm more and more. The open air and “the open road.” Liberty, life, freedom--all these I found and found more abundantly. I lived out of doors, worked out of doors, ate out of doors, slept out of doors and learned that I may have all the health that I will work for; in other words, all that I deserve. Henceforth and forever more I am done with indoor complaints. I am not going to destroy property or abandon anything but evil and damned foolishness; of course, that includes a great stock of refinement and respectability and that sort of nonsense that destroys bodies and damns souls--big houses and things too numerous to mention; but I am for liberty, the largest possible kind. I want every man and every woman too, to have things to satiety. Years ago I told our men to get drunk as often as they pleased. I was ridiculed, hooted at by business men, for “business”, you know, has “rules” that “govern” all that sort of thing. But I have arrived at the point where I do not see what difference it makes how a soul is destroyed--whether with the drunkenness of beer or opium or prostitution or even clothes, big houses, love of the ease and indolence and laziness that luxury and luxurious living bring.
I have found life and “found it more abundantly” just as you have, and what is better, I know what we are going to go on finding it [page 2] forever [illegible]. I salute you.
[several illegible words] you coming to spend a Sunday with us at [illegible] 324 [Dearborn] Street., Chicago, Ill.