Dear Sterling:—

You guessed wrong about the manuscript business. The reason I haven't sent you any is as follows: Ever since I've known you, I've been writing on the epic cycle. Maybe not for the whole period, but at least for over eight years. In that time I've written only "Hugh Glass", "Three Friends", "The Splendid Wayfaring" and now "The Song of the Indian Wars". Extracts of long poems of this sort don't make the correct impression, since it is the mood of the whole that counts, the cumulative effect. I've always thought it fine of you to send me manuscript poems, and I prize them so much that I keep them all carefully. I don't know how to break even with you. Maybe my profound admiration of your wizardry lifts a little of the debt. Anyway, I don't believe there is anyone who admires your artistry more than I do, even though I grieve to think that you aren't washed in the blood of the lamb. O George, I'm afraid you're a naughty man and that you'll never see Heaven and the angels. (Weepter)

You ask my opinion of "small town" literature. I hate to say it, Old Man, but the "small town", as now being exploited by the best-selling guys, is an urban superstition, a mere literary convention. The "small town" disappeared with the coming of the automobile, the movie, the phonograph, the widely circulated newspapers and magazines. It may be that there is a small town here and there in out of the way places; but I'm sure they must be scarce. On the other hand, it would be possible to discover the "large town" and make it appear to be wholly a jazz proposition, which it isn't. Such general- izations are usually false. There are sophisticated and unsophisticated people in and out of both large and small towns. There are different manners, too — all shin deep.

I'll be on the road in less than six weeks. Will be at Stanford November 15th.

Will there be any chance for you and me to get gentl y drunk together in some secluded place? I want to weep with you over your sins.

Say, Old Man, that poem in which the lady dances is a holy gem. I'll change the line as you wish.

Good luck in everything, including horiz ontal exercises!

Yours always,

Jno. N.

I've run out of ink, which is a d— lie. I'm simply too lazy to hunt my pen. It's very hot here. I'm going swimming in an hour. Give me some information on the art of natation (learned language!) I know the following strokes & can do them so so: breast, over-arm, Trudgen, crawl. back what others should I know?