139 East 35th Street
New York City
July 6, 1943
Thank you for your letter. I should add thank you for the things you said about my book, but that seems inadequate. You say that it is difficult to write about “The Fountainhead”, so you will understand me when I say that it is extremely difficult for me to thank those who like it. Both the book and those capable of responding to it mean too much to me. I will say only that I appreciate particularly your saying that “The Fountainhead” was to you “in the nature of a revelation and reaffirmation.” I don’t know how many people will understand the kind of reaffirmation that book is, but thank God for those who do, I firmly believe that they are the ones who will save the world—if it can be saved. I still think it can.
I had heard that you were in the Army, and I had been thinking of you, wondering whether you will discover that the book is out. So I was rather thrilled to get a letter from you beginning with “I have finished it!” You might remember that you practically witnessed some of the birth pangs of this book—it was in Stony Creek that I was going through the worst agonies, trying to work out the plot and outline. I suppose I may assume that you agree with me that it was worth it.
Now to answer your questions: yes, Dominique is entirely a brainchild. I have never met anyone from whom she could have been copied. No, I don’t know Gloria Braggiotti, but I should be delighted to meet her if she reminds you of Dominique in any way.[*] “Francon” is pronounced Fran-kon, with the accent on the first syllable, without a cedilla, it’s a “k” not a “c” sound.
To answer your personal questions: Frank and I are very much the same as usual, or so it seems to me, I don’t know that we ever change. We’re still here in New York, and our apartment is as messy as ever—my fault—and it’s full of cat hair from Tartallia. (This is Tartallia II, if you remember, not the same one we had in Stony Creek.) I am more or less taking a rest now, after the terrible rush I had to finish the book. No future plans at the moment, and no definite idea of what I’ll do next. It is really wonderful to feel a right to be lazy for a while. Nick [Carter, Frank O’Connor’s brother] is here in New York. Yes, he is writing and doing quite well, he’s had several political
booklets published, and has sold a short story to a magazine. Faith [Hersey] is still working for the opera company, she is their press agent and doing excellently, they have grown into quite a big organization. She has been travelling all over the country and I have seen her only a few times in the last year. She was here recently and looked wonderful. She has acquired a new kind of assurance and cheerfulness—it made me very glad to see that.
As to your being in the Army, I would like to say that you have all my admiration. I don’t mean that in the usual flag-waving way, I mean only that of all the classes of people in this war, I feel a true respect and a sense of loyalty only to those in the Armed forces, and a great deal of very bitter contempt for all other groups of society. If you remember my views, you’ll understand what I mean.
Since you say that you live on letters in the Army, I hope this will serve as one meal and as my small contribution. When you have the time, I should love to hear from you again. Frank sends you his regards—and all the good wishes from both of us.
*Gloria Braggiotti Etting was a dancer and newspaper columnist, prominent in New York café society.