Dear Lucile:

I was so sorry to receive your lovely letter of Oct. 25th. In going to the mailbox every day for weeks, months, and almost years, I had come to feel safe from any further epistolary intrusion (this is litrachoor ) from you. Day after day, after examining the contents* of the mailbox with trepidation (more litrachoor ) I'd exclaim "Goody, goody, no letter today!" And then — all of a sudden — my god! another letter! You can imagine how taken aback I was! (Back where? I never did understand the expression)

* (Footnote: Categorically speaking , these foregoing statements are absolutely false! The fact is that I had forgotten all about you and was almost pleasantly surprised when your letter arrived. After some thought, I remembered you.)

(Second Footnote: This gets falser and falser. The fact is, Lucile, that I like you almost as much as I like Perky, and I was actually glad to see your all-but-illegible script again.

(Third Footnote. Your script is not illegible. It's beautiful!)

Since we now have a perfectly clear understanding, I'll answer your very dull and boring letter (It is not dull and boring! It's lovely!) Well, first I must tell you about the Royal. We had bad luck in a way; but we had good look too. We took Bourbon Stonewall and my three-gaited pony, Spring Dream. Bourbon competed with a big field of top horses (from all over America) — all of them experienced — and, altho' a junior he took sixth. But the horsemen were excited about him, & several asked that a price be put on him. Marty Muller of Barrington, Ill., one of the foremost horsemen and trainers of the country, said, "He is the best young horse I ever saw!" He was, indeed, the outstanding horse in that ring, I can tell you; and Alice made a good ride, a corking good ride, against men riders who who did everthing to block and frustrate her. She said today, "Next time I'll not feel apologetic — I'll fight and old Bourbon will help me. We were very proud of Bourbon, the beautiful, beautiful being that he is! And so strong, and yet so gentle!

Both Bourbon and little Dream had bad cases of distemper — runny noses, and droopiness. Bourbon got in their ​ & did his damndest, but little Dream poked around the ring. We could hardly believe our eyes! She is normally a fire-ball Well, she lost to the pony she beat at the State Fair — Sugar Time; and, really, no kidding, she is far & away the better pony pony. But ever even though she lost, there were several efforts to buy her, for her quality is apparent. (Isn't this a perfectly lovely letter? Aren't you enjoying it immensely? I knew [?] you would! And I think it's awful nice of me to write you such a nice letter.)

This is the next page after the last one.

I could say things about the politics at the Royal, but it's beneath one's self-respect to squawk. There are inter-locking loyalties, acquaintanceships, interests that are in control Sooner or later, with a great horse, one can break through & Alice says, "I know I can break through with Bourbon." And I too know she can.

After the affair, when he came back to his stall, he Bourbon put his big head down close to me as though in sympathy. (He was streaming with sweat) you know, he & I were boys together down on the old farm. We were pals when he was was a colt, and he remembers.

It's fine that you have found so much in Smart Set. I remember now, but I had forgotten. I know Mencken believed in me (rather wistfully, I thought) but I don't remember the comment you mention. What did he say?

As for the combining of the stories in the novels, I can only say that it was not a matter of long-range planning. It was rather a slow process of seeing seeing the possibilities. No, I never really felt like a novelist. I did feel like a story-teller, however. I now think I was practicing the art of story-telling for my big job — the Cycle. And I really can tell a story when I try, can't I?

(Your You must agree with me, of course. Thank you.)

"Love-Cry" is in the "The Quest", isn't it?

I don't mean to lugubriate, but I do want to say that I feel things completing themselves in my life. Whether it means anything or not, I do remember how long I have thought I'd go on at the age of 83. This may be just a notion. But I want to see the two busts placed and the my library installed in its permanent place at the University. I may not see the biography, but I know (how I do know) it will be a fine piece of work. Yes, Connie is right. There are passages in the dissertation that are "better than you can do". There will be much of that in the biography — and I know why. Just don't try hard consciously. Just be you with your belief in me & what has come through me, and "something will help" most certainly.

Hug Perky for me. I do love her with my other four-legged friends — and I'm proud of their friendship.

And I don't dislike you very much, Lucile.

John N.
(See page 12)
P. S,

I've just heard from a California lady about the Lyrics record. She is excited. How did the record get around so far? Wisconsin, Phoenix, California!!

John Neihardt Route 7 Columbia, Mo.
[C?]OLUMBIA, M[O?] NOV 1 330PM 1961


Dr. Lucile Aly 1138 22nd Ave., East, Eugene, Oregon.