To Isabel Paterson [Letter 149]

Item Reference Code: 145_PA5_002_001

Date(s) of creation

August 28, 1945


Isabel Paterson


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10,000 Tampa Avenue
Chatsworth, California

August 28, 1945

Dear Pat:

Yes, of course I’d like to “ride in triumph through Persepolis.” If that’s your romantic streak, it’s mine, too—I like and understand that kind of romanticism. I’d be delighted to meet the man from DuPont, if he likes and understands “The Fountainhead.” You didn’t mention his name—is he by any chance E. E. Lincoln, their chief economist? I believe I told you about Mr. Lincoln—he was one of the men to whom my “nature’s nobleman” John Gall sent copies of my book. He (Lincoln) made a trip to New York to meet me—and I liked him very much, he seemed to be one of those who don’t compromise. In any event, I’d be very happy to be invited to Wilmington [Delaware] and see some of those men. You may tell the Du Ponts that they and I have something in common: I deal in explosives, too.

Thank you for your letter—it was delightful—sounded like your old self. (And I don’t mean just because of the compliments to me—though the compliments did make me happy—I mean the general tone and mood.)

As things stand, I think I shall be in New York definitely on the 8th. The studio cannot get the train reservation set until the day before, but they told me that it’s practically certain they’ll get it. We’ll start from here on September 5th and arrive in New York on the morning of the 8th. Our hotel reservations are at the Essex House. I’ll telephone you in Ridgefield the moment we arrive. I’m beginning to feel terribly excited—and can’t concentrate on anything, I’m completely and most wonderfully demoralized.

What do you mean about not being sure whether I’m happy to see my book rising on the best-seller lists? I’m so happy about it that I’m practically unable to think of anything else or to concentrate on my new book. I catch myself in semi-Peter-Keating moments of just sitting and staring at the best-seller lists spread before me. Though it’s not quite Peter Keating—I worked to get it there. I suppose Linda didn’t write to you how you contributed to throwing me into a fit of hysteria once—when you sent to her the first list on which my book was reported by a New York store. When Linda gave me

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that list, I started screaming—literally and aloud, just plain screaming. Frank came running from upstairs, thinking I was hurt. Hal Wallis’ secretary was in the house at the time—and he must have thought I was totally nuts. That was the first time in my life that I wanted to scream inarticulately from a kind of pure physical happiness. No, I guess I’m not glad about those lists—not much! I asked Linda to thank you for sending that list—it gave me one of my nicest moments that I’ll always remember.

Why, yes, I used to be mad when you told me that the book would sell big—not mad at you, but at the whole rotten situation. That was in the first months when it looked as if the book had been most efficiently murdered—and none of our goddamn “conservatives” would lift a finger about it. The fact that the book was potentially a big seller just made the situation seem more horrible. But now I am glad—though with a touch of bitterness—that the book made its own way, without their help. It’s better as a tribute to the book itself—but the bitterness is for those people who’ll profit by the fact that I broke two blocades for them, the book publishing one and the movie one, that I’ve done more for their free enterprise than the N.A.M. with their million-dollars-a-year budget—and those so-and-so’s will now pat me on the back—yet where were they when the book needed them? But to hell with them. You were right, we can do it without their help. We’ll have to save capitalism from the capitalists. You told me once that the time would come when I would be able to help “The God of the Machine.” I think I can now. I have a plan about it, which I want to discuss with you in person.

It’s wonderful to think that I’ll be talking to you in less than two weeks. I haven’t attempted to answer your letter-before-last—it would take a whole philosophical article—so I’m bringing it with me (your letter) and would like to answer it and discuss it in person. Also, I’m most eager to tell you about one result of my philosophical reading—I think I have a definition to make about free will which will be as important in that field as my anti-altruism was in ethics. No, it’s not atheistic nor theistic, again I think it can fit either—but nobody seems to have thought of it. I’d like to check my idea against yours—see how it strikes you. And I am most interested to hear your explanation of the end of a cycle in Asia, which you only mentioned. You have certainly been right about so many general developments before that you souldn’t be surprised if you predicted it right again.

Love from both of us—and an enthusiastic “We’ll be seeing you!”


There is a two-and-a-half-year gap until the correspondence resumes.