William Allen White to Jane Addams, July 23, 1921



July 23, 1921.

My dear Miss Addams:

I am not quite sure whether I have acknowledged your kind letter about Mary's death. I have been slow about it because I have not been quite up to letter writing. Not that I have been broken with grief, but Mrs. White has not been very well, and I have not known exactly how to express my feelings.

Mrs. White and I have none [page 2] but most joyous memories of Mary. She gave out humor and sunshine as beaten steel gives out sparks, and all of our recollections of her are merry ones. It is hard to think of her without smiling, and the very shadow of her face across our hearts brings laughter. We are not deceiving ourselves about the blow. It was a terrible stroke and we are infinitely lonely. But we are not shaking the bars of this finite cage and asking unanswerable questions of fate. We know only that we do not know and that it is all mysterious. [page 3] Yet because our most uncommon lot of happiness for [twenty-seven] years has, by this cruel circumstance, been made the common lot, we are not dubious of the goodness of God and the decency of man. Mary is a net gain. To have had her seventeen years, joyous and rollicking and wise, and so tremendously human in her weaknesses and in her strength, is blessing enough for any parents, and we have no right to ask for more.

I am setting these things down because you were kind enough to write to us and because I thought you would [page 4] like to know how we are going along the hard and lonely trail. Accept our sincere and affectionate gratitude for your kind words; they helped. To know that our friends are with us in spirit is about the only answer to prayer that will be vouchsafed in this material world. As for the other, we can only hope and trust ad be cheerful about it.

Sincerely yours,

W. A. White [signed]

Miss Jane Addams,
800 S. Halsted St.,
Chicago, Illinois.

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