Feb. 4, 1953

Dearest Claire:

Your letter just came and I am answering it at once. We found the transcripts and all the necessary documents in the house. They look most encouraging. We think you are wise in making your decision. That banging of the typewriter is only a study or exercise in cacophony.

I have already dropped a note to Miss Cécile de Banke of Wellesley as I had to Doug Bush some time before to be on the look-out for a visit from you. You remember Cécile, don't you? She would have some influence at Wellesley, I'm sure. You mention a donship or tutorship or perhaps at first a 'coach-ship.' And a year studying would get you in touch with the staff. Besides, the longer vacations would leave you time for a 'spot of travel' particularly to Toronto – which the other position might not allow you.

Ditch that doggone typewriter deeper than plummet did ever sound or keep it for personal use.

Don't worry about finances.

I looked into that bond matter again and found that it was sold and the proceeds sent to the First National. First I clipped the coupons which had matured and then the Bank rook possession of the bond (not as security but in exchange for the $1000 approximately). I messed up the explanation over the telephone to you, partly because I was a bit excited at hearing your silvery tones, and partly because my mind was on my uproariously sneezing conch (sea-shell to you).

The other $1000 is in the vault which may be treated in the same way when you need it.

We have now in the Bank vault $8000.00 four thousand of mine and four of mother's. Mine you may have whenever necessary.

As I see your income it stands thus:

(1) $900.00 from annuities yearly.

(2) $300.00 through us to you as I explained in the last letter.

(3) Jack (hiatus) Kent (hiatus) Cook is paying me $1200.00 a year till I decide to drop my connection. You may have at least half of that. By the way, whenever you pronounce Jack's full name give it all its essential and emphatic dignity as one might say Elizabeth the Third.

The house at 21 is now almost clear of all mortgage debt. My income next year will be nearly what it is this year. I am mentioning this because it is highly probable that we may take the odd trip to Mass. USA. to see a blue-eyed dragonette and by that I don't mean Ruth in that description (if you can gather my ulterior meaning).

So don't worry or tax your physical energies too much. A part-time job fulfills all requirements, doesn't it?

Further advice:

(1) Don't pound the keys too hard.

(2) Try to sleep after hearing a symphony.

(3) This above all, don't sneeze too much. One in the family is enough at that sort of unease.

(4) Let me know what else you need at any time.


'A happy birthday to me.' Both of us sang that song this morning. – Mother used her best soprano on 'to you' and I varied it with a basso profundo 'to me.'

Double underlining on the number '4' emphasizes that it is Pratt's birthday.

your decision
Claire was still searching for work and had turned down a position as a typist.

deeper than plummet did ever sound
Prospero's words in The Tempest when he resolves to give up his magic: "I'll break my staff,/ Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,/ And deeper than did ever plummet sound/ I'll drown my book" (V, i, 54-57).

'Jack' and 'Kent' are underlined twice, while 'Cook' – a misspelling of Cooke's last name – is underlined four times. Cooke was the new owner-editor of Saturday Night. (See the letter to Earle Birney, 20 Nov. 1952.)