Thurs. [29 Nov. 1951]

Dear Jack:

Three phone-calls naught availing, herewith a brief reply to yours of the 26th.

I appreciate your remarks, which do not surprise me greatly. The ending gave me trouble and raised doubts of my own. I agree it needs more work though I am dubious about a 'recap.' What it needs is a stirring coda of some sort to bring the thing to a crashing finale. I am not so sure that the other parts are so bad as you suggest, though the 'omelette' is probably a bit overdone. I'll see what I can do.

Yours,
Ned Pratt


yours of the 26th
Gray had written him about his readers' reports on Towards the Last Spike. All agreed that the poem's ending – originally at line 1594 – was 'something of an anticlimax.' They also felt that 'the Lady of British Columbia' lines (in which Sir John A. Macdonald woos British Columbia as if she were a coquettish woman) and an incident involving Edward Blake, in which Pratt made use of a rather graceless 'omelette' metaphor, were below his usual level. He agreed to delete the 'omelette' but not 'the Lady' section. And he did write thirty-one new lines to end the poem.