The Correspondence of, and to, Charles Hoy Fort

Fort to Dreiser

03 June 1916

New York, June 3, 1916.

My dear Dreiser:

You're a good, old chap, and I deny--though not absolutely--that in my letter there was any covert inquiry as to "X." That book is in your hands, and I don't need all the evidence we've had, of all you've been doing for it. It is "Y" that is bothering me. This is partly because of a great calamity that has come upon me.

After sending "Y" to you, I went on collecting data, and now have so many more matters of evidence that I want to write the whole thing over. I haven't discovered anything really new, but have re-enfocring data for almost every kind of evidence in "Y."

But, as I say, there's been a great misfortune. I have only a few more months of present circumstances, and I must give them to "Y".

My uncle died last Sunday. But that's not the worst. The worst is that my wife, from the best and most helpful womean in the world, has become a snob. She insists that now I must almost always have a clean shirt on. My dear Dreiser, pity me; I must have my shoes blacked--but I must leave rear houses.

My dear Dreiser, for twenty years, I have lived with strange orthogenetic gods, who are not snobs; who brood over stables and


dumps and rear houses. If I desert them, "Z" will never be written, because it was from the great god Syntheticus, himself, that I derived "X" and "Y." But now Amorpha, who, being feminine, scorns dumps and rear houses, has in the past overlooked me, will, in three or four rooms and a bath, have me at her mercy. This matter of a bath room is breaking my heart; my wife insists, but she's playing right into Amorpha's hands. Think of the scorn of strange orthogenetic gods, if they should ever see me in a bath tub. There's only one chance: that the sight may so affect Amorpha that she will not be cruel to me.

No, I'm doomed. I must now take my place among barbers and policemen and firemen and their wives, or in fact become a member of a class that in the past has been far, far above me. The Executors of my grandfather's will don't like me, however that has come about, and won't advance me a cent; so I still have a few months of communion with strange orthogenetic gods; and that time I shall give to "Y."

Then I shall lose my literary soul. There is another part of the estate that comes to me upon the death of an aunt of mine; here there has been such gross mismanagement that I shall have to bring suit. I shall speak to lawyers; strange orthogenetic gods will never forgive me for that.

Pray for me. Have masses said for the repose of my aspriations. It may be that, by means of surreptitious old shirts, that I can hide from my wife and rub around on the floor when she's not looking, I may propitiate Syntheticus and the still greater god Equalization; or may be I'll go into that bath room and only splash


around the water, and make a noise, but not really get into it--

I don't know. I'm all broken up over this calamity--Read "Y." It will be an experience.

Charles Fort

Courtesy of the Theodore Dreiser Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.

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