mad in pursuit: letters from james & orpha, summer of '26

LETTERS from James & Orpha: contents

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Orpha's announcement of her impending operation arrives. Even though she asks him to be with her, he hesitates. He is literally up to his eyeballs in work. The slower he goes, the deeper in debt he will be. He'll go if she insists... but wouldn't she rather recuperate on Long Island...?

Postmarked Special Delivery Friday 8.6.26, from James in Lynbrook NY

5 P.M. Friday

Your letter came this noon; since then I have been shoveling, as up to then; now I am so tired as to feel sort of numb mentally. I have been trying to decide about coming, but you’d better decide.

As for conditions here, I am in the midst of cellar work; by tomorrow night I’ll be finished shoveling, and the cement contractor will come Monday with a machine and a gang; I ought to be here then to keep the forms going up. Pop won’t be here Sunday or Monday, so it means chucking everything if I leave. As it is, we probably won’t be able to move in until November, and delay now means delay then. Financially I am of course insolvent; every cent that goes out comes from Pop, and if I go away for a few days the money for the trip and for a man to take my place all comes out of Pop.

As for conditions where you are, I should probably to more harm than good; your mother will want me out of the way so you can keep quiet. I shouldn’t be able to be with you at night, the most important time. And I should have to leave so soon after I arrived that I could only come in, disturb you, and go, perhaps leaving you less at rest than if I didn’t come at all.

...delay now means delay then...

A much better plan, perhaps, would be for you to come here for a rest and a change in about a week, when you are well enough for the trip. Randy could come with you to Albany, see you safely on the train for N.Y., and then you’d have only to sit there for three hours, and I’d meet you in N.Y.

I am afraid that for me to be there now would disturb things more than to have the operation without me around. But all these words I have just written are only words – if you want me send a telegram and I’ll come Sunday.

In brief, if you are strong enough to wait, it would be better for your family, for mine, for the castle, and perhaps for you, if I do not come. But if you think it is best that I come, send a one word telegram and I’ll be there Sunday night.

I must rush up to the six o’clock mail now with this. I’ll write again tomorrow. Write as often as you conveniently can.




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