The Works of George Santayana

Category: LETTERS Page 1 of 274

Letters in Limbo ~ July 18, 1927

charles-lindbergh-05To George Sturgis
9, Avenue de l’Observatoire
Paris. July 18, 1927

Dear George,

I have your letter of July 6, and a previous one also, and have seen with pleasure that all goes well with you. As for me, I am as usual. I arrived after the excitement about Lindberg; found Strong here, who left for Switzerland not long after; and later Margaret Strong has been here, but we lead a strange life together in this apartment, hardly ever seeing each other. I believe she is moving into her new house at Saint Germain in a day or two, but her ways, like the Lord’s, are past finding out. Don’t think I say this in any spirit of complaint: she gives me no trouble, and supplies me with food and service, which I don’t pay for when she is here; but she hides in an odd way; it is suspected that she is secretly engaged to be married, and altogether she is a puzzle to her friends.

. . .

A German friend dines with me (at restaurants) every evening: he is a friend of my friend Baron Westenholz of Hamburg, and my guest in Paris, although I had to get a room for him at a hotel near by, as I couldn’t put him up in the apartment, occupied by Margaret, her dog, her maid, and sundry bales and heaps of carpets, stuffs, blankets, antique furniture, and bandboxes in ever corner, on all the chairs, and behind every door. My own room, I need hardly say, is sacred, and I live happy in it, like a monk in his cell.

It is decided that I shall not go to Avila this summer. Your aunt Susie and Celedonio wrote giving me a formal invitation—too formal, perhaps—but it seemed to me safer not to accept it, as it was at least possible that I should have been in their way and given them too much trouble. This decision leaves me free to remain here quietly until the middle of October when I shall doubtless return to Italy, either directly to Rome, or stopping on the way to pay a visit to Strong at Fiesole. Love to all from

G Santayana

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Three, 1921-1927.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002.
Location of manuscript: The Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.


Letters in Limbo ~ July 17, 1939

1024px-TaorminaCoast-pjtTo George Sturgis
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. July 17, 1939

I think I haven’t told you of the change that I am forced to make next winter. Pinchetti is going to pull down the Hotel Bristol and to rebuild it. He expects the work to last two years, after which he invites me (if I have not acquired a permanent mansion in the skies) to be the first guest in his new establishment. But meantime, at least, I shall have to look for other quarters. . . . As my serious work is now nearly completed, I could, in strictness, try some other place than Rome, Capri perhaps or Taormina; but I should miss my books and my familiar gardens, and probably shouldn’t be any happier for the change.

. . .

I am pleased to see that income is flowing in well in spite of Roosevelt and the war-scare. Here there is perfect tranquility, but some murmurs among hotel-keepers in view of the total absence of rich “democratic” travellers. There are plenty of Germans and Swiss here, but impecunious, and the Italians are beginning to troop in, but only for a month’s holiday.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Six, 1937-1940.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004.
Location of manuscript: The Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.


Letters in Limbo ~ July 16, 1939

berninifountain-lTo John Hall Wheelock
C/o Brown Shipley & Co.
123, Pall Mall, London, Ss.W.1
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. July 16, 1939

The title Triton Edition has become historical in an unexpected way. I don’t mean that the whole edition has been sold, although I understand that such is practically the fact. I mean that Pinchetti, the proprietor of the Hotel Bristol, who is a personage of note and said to be rich, has decided to pull the house down and rebuild it in the latest style—no doubt seven or eight storeys instead of three, and severe concrete, brass, and glass architecture, to suit the spirit of the age. So that I shall no longer see the Triton of Bernini from my windows; at least, not for two years, because Pinchetti says that he hopes (unless heaven is then my permanent mansion) to welcome me back as the first guest in his new establishment.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Six, 1937-1940.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004.
Location of manuscript: Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Libraries, Princeton NJ.

Letters in Limbo ~ July 15, 1928

FDS_654671To William Lyon Phelps
9 Avenue de l’Observatoire
Paris. July 15, 1928

Dear Phelps,

It is very pleasant to hear from you and I hope and believe that I shall be here when you pass. Strong and I keep planning to go somewhere, together or separately, in order to avoid the heat and idleness which have settled upon us here, but neither of us can think where to go. I admire your courage and that of Mrs. Phelps in going to Madrid in August. We might apply to it a story Strong likes to tell about a delegate’s description of the summer breezes of Chicago: that not content with coming out of the very mouth of hell, they had first blown over the State of Texas. For Texas read the plains of La Mancha, and you will know what awaits you.

Do drop me a line when you reach Paris, and we will arrange a meeting.

Yours ever,

G Santayana

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Four, 19281932.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003.
Location of manuscript: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven CT.

Letters in Limbo ~ July 14, 1933

santayanTo Daniel MacGhie Cory
Hotel Miramonti
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. July 14, 1933

This veiled threat of discontinuing your allowance is not new on S.’s part: he has spoken to me in the same sense repeatedly; and the collapse of the dollar, added to a great fall in capital, will reduce his income, in Italian money, to perhaps half what it was. As he can’t very well give up his villa or motor, or take in boarders, he may be really compelled to dismiss you with his blessing. When he has talked of leaving you (for your own good, of course) to make your way in the world, I have always said that perhaps it might really be for your ultimate interest. I feel partly responsible for having kept you so long dangling, and I should do what I could to help you in any difficulty. After all, how long are S. and I likely to live? The important point for you is that he shouldn’t revoke the legacy in which you are concerned. There is a trick about it, even as it stands; but with the old value of the dollar it would probably and ultimately have provided you with an income sufficient for all your needs, especially if you remained unmarried. But if the dollar settles down to be half a dollar, or 66 cents, that prospect becomes less smiling. Still, that is the point that really matters: and I have besought S. not to rescind his arrangements in that particular: and when he last spoke to me about it, perhaps a year ago, he seemed definitely determined not to make any change. In order to keep him in this mood, it is in your interest to continue doing what you can to keep his conscience satisfied. You know his character as well as I do: in fact, better, perhaps; because until lately I took him so completely as a matter of course, and as a . . . thoroughly conscientious and just man, that I may not have seen to the bottom of the well. His attachments are not matters of personal affection . . . He has moments in which he is enthusiastic about you: but it is because he then imagines that you will fit in beautifully into his plan of work. He has never cared for anything but for his work, his health, and his duty: his health, because necessary to his work, and his work, perhaps, because necessary to make it an absolute duty to nurse his health. He loves you, he loves us all, when, and in so far as, we fall into this picture: otherwise he feels no bond. You are therefore always in real danger of being erased from the tables of the truly deserving.

My nephew wrote the other day, saying that my income for the halfyear ending on the first of this month had been nearly $8000; even if the dollar should drop to 50 cents, or to the value of the Mexican or silver dollar which has always fascinated the democratic mind, provided American securities don’t depreciate further, I shall still have all that is requisite for keeping up my present way of life: and I could transfer something from my American capitalist income to my London bank-account, if my literary earnings are not enough to replenish the latter. It is probable, therefore, that I shall be able to keep sending you what I send at present, in any case: but the dream of wealth that visited me two or three years ago has vanished.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Five, 1933-1936.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003.
Location of manuscript: Butler Library, Columbia University, New York NY.

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