The Clarence Darrow Digital Collection
Written letter from Clarence Darrow collection
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Clarence Darrow Signature

The Clarence Darrow Letters

Ruby Darrow to Lillian Andersen Darrow, November 23, 1911

Mary Olson Darrow died in 1909.

Click on the image to view as a PDF. A transcription of the letter is on the right.

#803 North Bonnie Brae

Clarence Darrow
Higgins Building
Los Angeles

Thanksgiving Day

Dear Lil —

How are you getting along? Of course you must have returned long ago, tho I've never really heard some real words from anyone come to think of it — I hope you have not allowed Anna's rather sudden passing away to upset you too seriously, because of your own welfare, and your own little family — which in your life now demands first consideration; and of course the general happiness & wellbeing of you all depends so largely upon you that you must not let yourself be very deeply affected by the inevitable partings that

are bound to keep occurring in every large family — and even in small ones?It is all a part of this great Mysterious scheme of life that all of us people must die, in time, the same as everything existing must wither and wear out and go back into clay — and a life shouldn't be devoted to grieving over those that have had their day and are gone — if it can possibly be overcome — and we all have to overcome it — and we all can so long as we still have the dearest and nearest — our very own under our own roofs — Where any of those have to go it will have to be hard to bear! But meantime let us

enjoy life with them & for them, and we can't do it right either for ourselves or for them if we allow ourselves to be torn around in too many directions over too many other connections & separations . To be sure we must have some of the others — to enjoy and to regret — But the most important side is our own —and when we are married & have our own closer relationships we have to let the others fade off into the distance and into the past — and it comes of itself as we ripen and as we ourselves drift away we own our direction.

Nature has constituted no for this plan, too, — When we defy it we go wrong in every way. See D — 's sister Jennie, for instance: — She has nursed and petted her grief over Mary's death until it has almost Killed Jennie — or worse — almost — Made a living wreck of her — Perhaps she is better by this time — but she certainly was worse off than dead up to the time that she & Mr. Moore went south for her health as well as his — Fortunately, you have enough "live interests" around you to furnish all the worries you want and I guess they'll Keep you too busy to even remember any others very long at a time

I presume Nellie & you saw each other in Chicago. I got a cheerful natural=sounding letter from her last week — She has a whirl of live wires around to Keep her hopping — too — Her sister has temporarily adopted a schoolgirl that Nellie writes a very funny letter all=about. D — is working same as any other day — "The other side" is very busy with traps & tricks and treachery that makes a lot of counterplay necessary, and the papers whoop it up for both sides, til goodness Knows what they may say next — So don't be disturbed by any "news" — (?) you may read

I will send papers occasionally. D— said he'd arrange for one of the papers to be sent to Paul? I'll find out which one & attend to it tomorrow, or first of next week? Awfully busy for awhile getting garden ready for rainy season, til I've a cross between a hayseed & a harvesthand? Talk about the horny=fisted toiler! I'm getting my proper training for D—'s ranch, that he's always threatening to get- but if he doesn't get it pretty soon about all I'll be good for there will be to turn out to pasture? I've "pegged" about 600 pinks and planted all Kinds of bulbs and seeds including table=peas-lettuce and radishes? and I can run a hose like a fire=department?

Might be able to use my right Knee for a curry=comb — and my right hand makes a good spade — come to think — D — thinks out loud about some timberland upnorth in Bret Harte's old haunts — that he has a hand in — or has a finger in — as result of a law case won — and he is pleasantly planning to pick out a plantation in place of [?] as his part of the plunder — So you and Paul had better plan to cast your bread upon the waters of little lake what you may call it halfway down to Denver and come sink or swim with us "on the Stanislaus" don't you Know.

Well maybe ranches in dreamland are better gambling than imaginary wheatfields or mud=mines, anyhow — Write sometimes, little girl, to yours the same as ever —