Friday, November 13, 2009

1930, July 13: HMK to RH - Cape Cod, Books, and Politics

217 Main Street
Kingston, Mass

Sunday, July 13th, 1930

My dear Miss Harrell,

     Your kindness in sending me this extremely interesting photograph of yourself surely deserved a far prompter acknowledgment than this belated one and I have no excuse to plead except that I came on to Cape Cod almost the next day and I have just been imbibing the beauty of this lovely country ever since.  There are acres of pink rambler roses, delphinium, Madonna Lilies, and trees that have stood here since before the Revolution and snowy white Cape Cod cottages with green shutters and picket fence enclosures.  And now that I have imbibed nothing but sea air and such beauty I can get down to work again.  Your picture was doubly interesting for you are not the least what I pictured you to be and I am very grateful to you for the great compliment you pay me in sending it.  I too am probably nothing like what you may have imagined the author of "Buddha" to be so perhaps it is just as well that you do not know for it is much nicer I am sure - not to exchange a thousand charming possibilities for one grim fact. 

I read your book and it has flashes of real beauty but it is so clogged with smug self-righteous propaganda and so full of palpable falsehoods that it exasperated me beyond words.  Having been connected with the government under no less a person than the now President, I know with what fodder a too gullible andromantic people were fed and if you have read the Post articles on war propaganda written by the head of the British Intelligence Department, you know that all that stuff was not in a single instance based on fact.  As a matter of fact I have been tempted to write a story on what that very kind of lying has done to people who accepted it in good faith and went about preaching it as gospel truth and then woke up that they had been betrayed into becoming the super liars of the universe.  Never again for me.  And now I have asked the Review to send you a copy of the August issue with "Silver Lotus."  I hope you will like her and that you will feel with me that her sacrifice was not in vain.  Do let me know as soon as you have read it for I shall be holding my breath for your opinion.  A friend of mine, a very famous old actress past 70, tells me that I must go on with the man-child born to the girl in "The Smile of the Buddha" for she insists that the child of such an almost immaculate union was destined for great things.  Perhaps I shall.  Do write me when you can.  Your letters are more than fascinating.

     HMK Smith

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