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Letter to Amy Lowell on the Biographical Article of Augustus Lowell

Aug. 30, 01

Dear Amy, Thank you for your appreciative letter on the memoir of Father. I am very much pleased that you like it, and are so kind to its virtues and blind to its faults. To the points to which you object, I have given my attention and hope the result may meet with your approval. I quite agree with what I conceive to form the basis of your distaste to the dream - the impression that Father was idle in college and regretted it afterwards. Such an idea I did not intend to convey and I have accordingly modified the story with that point in view. Properly presented I think the dream decidingly worth preservation and should be very sorry to throw it overboard. For it is a distinctly interesting and valuable bit of psychology. Think over my explanation of what a dream is and see if you do not come to the same conclusion. I am naturally fond of my own child but I do not think myself blind to it nevertheless. It is the presentation at which you shy, unconsciously, for almost anything can be put commendingly if discreetly put. Furthermore you will tame it to insipidity if you cut out the stories. I only wish I had more not less. Read Darwin's or Huxley's autobiography and mark, as you will, that it is the very things which as a relation you would suppress which most interest the reader. Darwin's questionable morality as a boy for instance. Because such incidents are human and so appeal to man. A faultless statue stirs no one who is not superlatively gifted with imagination. At all events read the pages I send herewith and see if your aversion be not a little mitigated. Your 'fundamental' was an excellent criticism and I have substituted 'deep-seated' to the great improvement of the sound. Lastly your suggestion of a paragraph added to touch on Father's thought and kindness for others was most judicious and I have instantly followed it.

...In conclusion let me add how well 'Miss Postscript' writes and how much her appreciation is appreciated her 'Stepbrother', alias,