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

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Orpha is having a rough recovery from her tonsillectomy. The wedding is less than a month away, and it hardly seems planned. They both see the ceremony as a formality to be endured before getting on with their lives together.

Postmarked Monday, 8.16.26, from Orpha in Glens Falls NY


Its easiest to write with pencil, and Im doing whats easiest ces jours so do pardon, please. A week ago today, you were with me down at that hateful place and this is the first day I have felt well enough to hold a pencil or think. It has been unusually bad. Until last night I have had absolutely no sleep hypos and sleeping potions being utterly ineffective. Ive wasted away till Im scarcely recognizable, my tummy and abdomen a hollow. Ive eaten scarcely anything have just lain in almost unbearable pain and weakness.

Friday the pain became more intense in my ears and throat until I almost screamed involuntarily when I attempted to swallow, talk or move. Saturday, my throat began to bleed, and the pain to increase in frequency. The Doctor was alarmed but nothing serious came of it just a day and night of bleeding and pains like knives. Saturday and yesterday were the worst days Ive ever borne torture but Im better now. Im awake at last free from the weight of dullness that seemed to crush my spirit and mind my bodys still dull and weak and my throat still pains moderately all the while, and severely when I swallow. Last night I slept some with intermittent knife-like pains in my ears. Mom fears mastoids, but luckily theyre quite all right. How glad I shall be to be well and strong again.

Perhaps youll have to produce a male attendant and a tux, too.

Your letter was helpful, though rather down-and-outish. If we cannot do it safely, lets not try till later. Im weary of great debts and financial worry. Will you have your mother send the list for invitations immediately, please? After discussion, and going over Moms and my friends and relatives, we find that it will be much more convenient and easy to send them. Circumstances make it so they do not require gifts, so are not indelicate. Perhaps youll have to produce a male attendant and a tux, too. Were doing it the simplest way (though it does sound paradoxical) with least effort for the family and for me keeping it all out of the house. Please try not to worry, be angry, or disillusioned. Its all explicable and no more uselessly symbolic than many things we accept.

I derive more strength from, and see more loveliness and truth in the story you wrote to me, as the days go on.

Please write to me Im tired Im going to rest and pretend youre by my bedside again you will never know how you helped, my James.





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