this letter belongs to set 5 and line 5
La Paix, Rodgers’ Forge
August 8, 1933
I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.
All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?
I will arrange the camp bill.
Halfwit, I will conclude.
Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
With dearest love,
The answer after getting lost in the city:
Prague Czech Republic
June 25, 1933
I am afraid that your letter gave me a no end of nuisance. I remember that on my fifth anniversary you told me that the greatest display of love that a father could have towards his daughter was not caring if she would turn out to be a drunken-gambling-lying-cheating-morphine addict-syphilitic slut. You said that for a father to wish his daughter to be a well-behaved and caring woman was as selfishly bourgeois as putting your money in the bank or feeding a pig just to kill it when it was properly fat. And “worry abour horsemanship”? Are you kidding me? “Make my body a useful instrument”? What for? To work? To be a well-adjusted slave of social duties before the body starts to rot away and die? These are contradictory signs that you are sending me, Dad, and can only lead me to be a problematic old woman. Shame on you, Papy!
Anyway, blue caps seem to be all the rage in Asia, now. Like you always said, you don’t automatically look ridiculous by wearing a cap, but you do have to try pretty hard not to.
And have I told you how bothered I am with this technology of photography? I really miss portrait painting. Like you said to me once: having people to sit still and quiet for hours can only be good for humanity. The way things are going, I am afraid that the work of the artist is on the way of the dodo. And when you don’t have someone to told you frankly how stupid, cruel, ugly and fat you are, the prospects of civilization can only look grim.
Anyway, Papy, send my regards to White Cat. Hope he is still alive when I get back.