I write you in these sad and trying times from what might as well, for this month at least, be the capital of the world. For tonight I am staying in the Grant Avenue rooms, it being far too late to take the drive down to Santa Clara after being presented in a receiving line to the American delegation. I have taken the liberty of finishing up this letter, as I cannot sleep.
Thus you know that all of this comes to you from my pen a month after the death of the President, even though that tragic event is in the ambit of this letter, and I am plunged back into my feelings of that time, which I omitted from the last letter, out of some misplaced sense of the historical importance of keeping things in their place.
Oh, what am I saying? That my last letter was cold because I didn't want to confuse a grandchild reading these letters, as I sometimes read your father's? That this letter comes to you with a month passed, to let the President's death recede in the rear view mirror? That I have some excuse to write of things economical and political and technological, and not simply my feelings? It was so easy to adopt Uncle George's cynicism as an observer of the press's ever so careful handling of the President's health over the last year while he was still with us. Now that he is dead, it is like a death in the family, as so many people have said. It is made the worse for me by his being taken from us by the same illness that took my Mama and left poor Father a widower at 40.
But enough of this. I am not away from my darlings lightly, as you know, and I was not in the city only to play a second-rate Scarlett O'Hara. The conference is well on, and it has been suggested that we might throw some events in this building as well as at Arcadia. I am ambivalent about this. The Brotherhood can find places for our longterm tenants, I am sure, but they are fragile and old, and lonely. They would not be living here if they had families to take care of them, and any deaths of broken heats would reflect horribly on us in the community. The last thing I want is for Grant Avenue to be angry with us!
I also have to think very carefully about what kind of events I want to stage at a Benevolent Association hall in Chinatown! I have already had to ask the builders to take down the gate at Arcadia. I have a suspicion that we shall have guests at the ball tomorrow night who can not only read the legend, but make the connection between世外桃源 and "Arcadia." I'm being paranoid in thinking that this will be enough to lead to the leap of associations with Shugborough, but there are enough navy men around the city that stories of Jame's parentage might be heard.
Appearing out of thin air is the Rose of Allandale, which has made harbour at Oakland instead of San Diego due to engine trouble. I am told that Du's men were not aboard, however. I might even look into it on my way back to Santa Clara tomorrow, as I have promised to stop in at Uncle Henry's. He is in a sulk, as he had promised someone that he would have the Engineer as a "get," and now the blasted man has decided to spend the season in New York, giving the Conference the shoulder and besieging the White House for attention.
(It has also not escaped my attention that after a . . .vigorous. . . interview with Father, Mr. Donald has accompanied some officers of MacArthur's family to New York.)
To be fair, he is not a black-hearted man, and that, combined with his natural conceit, probably has him thinking that he is just the fellow to feed the hungry of Europe again, no UNRRA needed. He has left his (favoured) son in charge. Which reminds me that he apparently telephoned the ranch house this morning looking for me. The housekeeper tells me that he sounded agitated, but wouldn't leave a message.
I hope that it wasn't about our "anthropology" ball.
And with that I must put this to rest, as it is late, and I must leave early tomorrow, and be up very late indeed. Wong Lee's black bag operation is going to very extended, and he has repeatedly urged me to have an iron-clad alibi from its first minute to its last, and I really should listen to the voice of cautious experience. The "naval" GRU is apparently very amateurish, but it would be arrogant to underestimate them. And I certainly want to be fresh for the party.