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- The Letters of Franklin K. Lane - 86/86 -

but I'm up once more and with new light in my eye, new faith in my heart, more sense of the things that count and those that don't. And affection, love for the good thing of any kind; loyalty, even mistaken loyalty, these are the things that the Gods treasure. They live longest. So I turn to give you my hand, dear boy,

[Illustration with caption: LANE PEAK IN RAINIER NATIONAL PARK]

I was most badly infected, but I really never felt better than when I stepped out of the auto on to the hospital steps. And it took some nerve for me to say, "Go to it," under such circumstances. (I am patting myself on the back a bit now.)

Well, Glory be!--that step is taken and now I must fight to get fit. They say I am making as good a record as a boy, as to recovery, so all my Scotch whiskies, and big cigars and late nights with you politicians have not ruined me.

Say dear things to your Mother for me, Jack, and give greetings to all your family.

F. K. L.

To Robert Lansing

Rochester, 14 [May, 1921]

MY DEAR LANSING,--I am disturbed because you may be disturbed. As I lie in bed I read and am read to, and some of the papers do not treat you decently. The very ones that were loudest in their declarations against W. W. at every stage, now suggest that you might have quit his service if you didn't like it. I hope it will not get under your skin ...

What comfort you would have given the enemy if you had resigned! Have they thought of that? I came to the brink when the President blew up my coal agreement to save three or four hundred million dollars for the people, But I was stopped by the thought, "Give no comfort to Berlin." ... Good night and good luck.


Manuscript fragment written May 17, 1921, and found in his room. Franklin K. Lane died May 18, 1921.

And if I had passed into that other land, whom would I have sought--and what should I have done?

No doubt, first of all I would have sought the few loved ones whose common life with me had given us matter for talk, and whom I had known so well that I had loved dearly. Then perhaps there might have [been] some gratifying of a cheap curiosity, some searching and craning after the names that had been sierras along my skyline. But I know now there would have been little of that. It would not have been in me to have gone about asking Alexander and Cromwell little questions. For what would signify the trifle which made a personal fortune, that put a new name up upon some pilaster men bowed to as they passed? Were Aristotle there, holding in his hand the strings and cables that tied together all the swinging and surging and lagging movements of the whole earth's life--an informed, pregnant Aristotle,--Ah! there would be the man to talk with! What satisfaction to see him take, like reins from between his fingers the long ribbons of man's life and trace it through the mystifying maze of all the wonderful adventure of his coming up. The crooked made straight. The 'Daedalian plan' simplified by a look from above--smeared out as it were by the splotch of some master thumb that made the whole involuted, boggling thing one beautiful, straight line. And one could see, as on a map of ocean currents, the swing and movements of a thousand million years. I think that I would not expect that he could tell the reason why the way began, nor where it would end. That's divine business, yet for the free-going of the mind it would lend such impulse, to see clearly. Thus much for curiosity! The way up which we've stumbled.

But for my heart's content in that new land, I think I'd rather loaf with Lincoln along a river bank. I know I could understand him. I would not have to learn who were his friends and who his enemies, what theories he was committed to, and what against. We could just talk and open out our minds, and tell our doubts and swap the longings of our hearts that others never heard of. He wouldn't try to master me nor to make me feel how small I was. I'd dare to ask him things and know that he felt awkward about them, too. And I would find, I know I would, that he had hit his shin just on those very stumps that had hit me. We'd talk of men a lot, the kind they call the great. I would not find him scornful. Yet boys that he knew in New Salem would somehow appear larger in their souls, than some of these that I had called the great. His wise eyes saw qualities that weighed more than smartness. Yes, we would sit down where the bank sloped gently to the quiet stream and glance at the picture of our people, the negroes being lynched, the miners' civil war, labor's hold ups, employers' ruthlessness, the subordination of humanity to industry,--


The Letters of Franklin K. Lane - 86/86

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