Dear Mrs. -Aly:

I'm so glad you found my old pal John the same as I knew him. The twinkle and humor are characteristic. I used to insist that he would be a great humanist ( and I a ditto poet!) I often urged this. He became a fine workman, like his father, who could join wood as though it had grown that way. After love, the instinct of workmanship is surely the finest thing in man (mean, of course, at least half woman!) I'm eager for your report on your second interview, and I'm glad that Dr. Aly will be with you.

I remember when Edna was born. I'm moved by what you say of her. I have the recording rights for the Cycle. Macmillans wrote me, granting full rights, so you may use what you like, merely giving credit, if convenient, to The Macmillan Co, pubs. of the book.

Neihart, Montana (in the Little Belt Mountains, Meagher County) was founded by my Uncle John L. Neihardt. He was a Montana pioneer. Went out there with "a pick, a shovel, and a jackass", discovered a silver mine and became very wealthy. (He dropped the "d" in the name, as my father did.)

Uncle John L. came to visit us once in K. C. I was away fishing at Brush Creek, but my mother and sister met him. He came in a cab (!) and wore a silk hat — a topper! For a week or so after his visit we found an occasional bill stuck under this or that around the house. He married a widow with two daughters, who got all the money. Neihart, Montana, is much favored as a resort now. When I was building my boat at Ft. Benton, Mont., for the descent of the Missouri River I happened to mention my Uncle. As a result, I was treated as an old friend by many who had known John L. He was, evidently, much respected and liked.

The Song of the Hoe was done with the Youth's Companion in mind I had already written The Divine Enchantment (printed in 1900), and I was writing The Twilight Gods — a really good thing that I destroyed (125 stanzas).

I heard Theodore Roosevelt briefly in 1912 just after he was shot. Just a few words. He had no influence on my manner. But I think I told you what his sister Corinne said to me, & my explanation.

Yes, the Living! That's it! The whole life including whatever achievement there is and the becoming on the way! Your biography, I see, will be, as it should be, a story of becoming with whatever being resulted in this brief and fragmentary phase of life. (This view will take care of any appearance of mere vanity, I feel sure).

It would hardly be possible to overstate my belief in pattern, not only in the so-called "physical" realm but also in the spiritual realm back of all this sometimes pathetic appearance of things. (I use the word "spiritual" only because there is no other to express the non physical reality.) To feel the larger pattern and to strive to fit into it — that is somehow the only excuse for all the difficulties in this life of the senses.

I look back and see pattern all the way up to now. Often I was pushed out of a more or less pleasing situation, and always it was right to be pushed out of a nest and so forced to use wings! It will be so in dying, I am persuaded to believe. Surely some intimations and insights are more authoritative than much accepted "knowledge".

Isn't it at least remarkable that old John Chaffee (a piece of my life 60 years ago) should turn up near you in Oregon? Why did he write me after so many, many years of silence? So many things have been like that in my life "Coincidence" is a lazy word!

I saw a note from Dr. Loren Reid to Moffet, about your dissertation, which he asked Moffet to read. He was very enthusiastic about your writing and so am I.

Mona read your MS to me and I made notes. It was she who scratched out the reference to her working in Chicago. She said, "It was only a few months , and I hope I've been more important in your life than that". And she has been — infinitely more. We'll attend to that in the biography.

Kindest thoughts from us to you all

John Neihardt