James Weber Linn to Jane Addams, June 14, 1901


Dear Aunt Jane:-

I sent off a letter last night to Esther; and as though it had been in answer to a prayer there, I  got today one from you--deceptively fat, for it had in it various letters of recommendation, which I shall try to use in a month or so, when I return to Paris. But at that time I shall be there only a day or two, I fear. Here in Grenoble, so far I have found a room, changed it perforce, [I] wrote Esther, found another, took two or three excursions, and found time to write about [ten hours] and [most] of my story. I am rewriting it in the light of reflection; and it is, some of it, pretty fair now.  I think I am improving it all. I told you what it was -– a romantic episode in [illegible] if you can conceive such a thing; placed in Chicago, [page 2] and of course largely a sketch of society as I know it and guess at it there. I have been heretofore bound down a trifle too strictly by the truth, I think. I am sketching more freely now, putting in light and shades not exactly as they are, once I think they are, but so as I convey an impression of [illegible] and at the same time be interesting. I think in the past & have been sacrificing interest.

I have received a letter from John, from England, and am writing him tonight. I have some hopes, from what he says, that we may go back together, though I have my passage already engaged on  the Menominee, of the Atlantic Transport, sailing September 8th from London to New York. I shall leave here, I think, about July 20th, and spend the rest of the time in Paris and London. [page 3] Any letters you write after July 20th I think you would better send to the Back of Scotland, in London I shall send you its exact address later.

I fancy I really have the advantage if you at last in one thing. I doubt if you have even been in Grenoble.  Grenoble itself is nothing much; but it has a university, with courses for strangers; they are said to speak excellent French here; and it is quiet.  All of these things move me. I am doing no regular work in French, but of course we speak else, and I read it every day to the madame. When I say we, I mean a family,  mother, son and dauther, Magee by name, who live in Chicago, (and like all others, know you by sight at least). The boy is a member of my fraternity at Chicago, and was really the moving spirit in my coming here. He has been in Grenoble nearly nine months, and speaks, for an American, excellent French. It is a curious commentary on French as it is taught at Chicago that when he arrived, he could [page 4] neither understand nor pronounce a word, and yet he had had a full years work in French at the university, just previous, and has credit for four courses, so that his work here will not give him a [particle] more-credit at Chicago! We teach English badly, our side of the shop, but better than that, at least.

I have heard by the way, since I came here, from Mr. Herrick. The [news] is, I am to have a rise in both rank and salary. There is nobody in the department now, since Damon resigned, immediately ahead of me–-a great point, you see, since consequently there is nobody to hold my promotion back. Frequently the necessity of [page 5]  promoting two or none, means none. This year I am to have seven hundred dollars, six months vaction, and the rank of Associate. Don't get that confused with Associate Professor – [Zueblin] is not that yet; and don't, please, tell anybody, as the affair is not quite ready to publish. But it is really more than I expected, and all I hoped for.

My address in Grenoble is 11, Boulevard Gambetta, Chez Madame Baron. But as I don't know just when I shall leave, perhaps you had best continue sending letters to the Credit Lyonnais--only omitting the Boulevard Haussmann part. This was a case where a little knowledge was a dangerous thing, n'est ce pas? But your letters, since I [page 6] have begun to get them, are most delightful – especially the signatures! I always know it, but I like to be re-assured occasionally. If only my story goes through, so that you can speak of me in the present tense occasionly to your friends-–not always hopefully only, and in the future. I continue by the way to wonder where my classes are. I conclude you must have missed a letter or so.  Give my love to Stanley if he is with you. I shall send him some postal cards in a day or so, with Grenoble views. We have magnificent views-–foot hills round and green, mountain peaks square, pyramidal, conical, and irregular, piled all round us as they happened to lodge when God threw down the world. I think still with respect of the Spanish scenery, though. Those mountains were the first, you see.

Yours affectionately,
James Weber Linn

June 14, 1901