James Weber Linn to Jane Addams, June 23, 1901

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June 23rd
Sunday

Dear Aunt Jane:

Today I finished my book! You are in it--I put you in the other day, under the horrible name of Robertson. I give you only a few words to say but you say them so nicely, that if the book is ever printed I am sure you will not resent being in there. And you keep very nice company; there is only one person in the book who is disagreeable, and even he, poor devil, means well, and though rough and coarse, lives in the fancy that he [isn't] so. The rest are pleasant and rather clever people, [headed?] in a kind of romanitic atmosphere, in a city which is and is not Chicago,--though it goes under that name. Hull-House is [illegible] in. It [sends?] hope to help [page 2] out big, poor thing, if I can get this  book published: for in that case I shall write another at once which I have in my head and wherein Hull-House must play a part with the rest. But we will be good to it and not sickly sentimental, and maybe it will forgive me.

Which is counting chickens a long time beforehand. I have [illegible words] any publisher. I wrote to Mr. Herrick telling him I wanted a note to either MacMillan or Small, Maynard of Boston, and he will send it to me when I want it. I am not sure of the plan he follows in seeking publication, but I am sure that influence of a sort is wise, or in other things where one can get it. I [page 3] think that I can get a publisher sooner or later; for with all of its faults of style it has few faults of structure, I am sure; and it is not stupid. My people are too fond of epigrams, and I am too fond of using figurative language; but when they say, or the second-nicest girl does--the girl I was going at first to have him marry, till I found the other girl was better for him--"Why do we all want what the rest have, another one not satisifed when we get it? It is as if we were all right-handed children, and God had given us left-handed toys!"--don't you think they talk well? If you like that you will like the book, for that is the style all through, and I quote it <only> because I wrote it out ten minutes ago. But I think it is good.

Do you think I run on too long about the book? Let me enjoy my little minute of pride. You see, it may never be published, and even it it should be, I have lost the place by then. Now, I am happy. It is all mine, and finished. I wrote the whole sixty thousand words of it in twelve days, from June 11th to June 23rd. Now I shall put it away and loaf again. I have done what I came to Europe to do--and it is my best, now. [page 4]

I have been neglecting letter-writing lately, but when you drive a pen over paper for seven steady hours a day, your hand grows tired, to say nothing of your brain. Besides, I have been reaping the reward of writing earlier; I got as many as ten letters in the last week, in a flood. One of them was an enclosure from Pres. Harper, confirming what Mr. Herrick had promised me for next year, at the university. Another was from Joe Flint. He has an offer--but oh be of good counsel, and don't tell! from the University of California, as I knew last January; and he has been out in San Francisco for two months [page 5] though he has by no means accepted the offer yet. He told Pres. Wheeler that should get me from the university, when Wheeler asked him if there was any man in English at Chicago whom he knew well; and he expects that Wheeler will make me an offer to go out there.  But I should not [illegible] accept if he did (that blot is when I tried twice to write "accept," and my fingers refused.) He have fallen in love with Mrs Phoebe A. Hearst, he says--thirifty boy!

When I realize that by July 1st I shall have spent half my summer and 3/4 of my money, I am not so sure I did well in engaging a passage on the S. S. Menominee [page 6] of the Atlantic Transport Co, sailing September 5th. I am not sure that I shall last until September 5th! But a card from John informs anew that he is in Europe, and I expect a long letter from him in a day or two; surely I can borrow a few thousands from the Duke, to say nothing of getting board and lodging at the castle.

From now on, for some days at least, I expect to look at the view and ride my bicycle. This town and country are Switzerland without the lakes--[illegible] towns, views and sky. La Belle Dame, to the south-east, is 13000 feet, the Casque of [Néron], running right up at this town's edge, is 8000. My friend Magee has gone today to climb another, of 2300 metres. There is snow in sight from horizon to horizon, although the sun is baking the streets of the city. The [Isère] spins at one side, another river whose name I don't know spins at the other, and the sleepy town makes gloves and listens to the soldier's armies between. It is a garrison town, you know, with thousands on thousands of funny little fellows, red, yellow, or blue, roaming the streets and saluting suddenly. And here my cramped hand rebels. Give me a kiss when I come back for doing my best, even if nobody [illegible] ever hears of the book;  and later I shall try again. yours ever affectionately, I am Weber Linn