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The Clarence Darrow Letters

Helen Kelchner Darrow to Ruby Darrow, February 12, 1912

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

41 Rue Galilee, Feb. 12, 1912

Dear Ruby,

This morning's mail brought your letter of Jan 22 — to Everete Jan 26 to me, and clippings for Karl. It is not necessary to say how eagerly and seriously we read and weigh every word you write about the case. The impression left by what you tell this time is — well, mixed; hopeful, puzzled, surprised, worried and angry, perhaps something more, that baffles us for the moment. What we glean out of newspapers leaves us in a still more indescribable frame of mind — except that in me a hot rage predominates that would blast, if it could become a physical power, a batch of capitalists, labor

unionist, socialists, detectives, and above all that Satantically endowed Burns. It is not of much use for us to try to unravel the business you can't get any and to begin on.\r\nIt looks as though everybody in Clarence's office, according to the newspapers, were hired by the opposition to lay a snare for him, and although Clarence may have been too wary to be caught, they in their double-dealing must have had opportunity to dove-tail a really fitting scheme of lies that leb looks as smooth as truth. I wonder whether even your lawyer may not at this moment be secretly in their employ. It looks as if they think they can get able chief labor men like Gompers


through Clarence. Why on earth are they so blood thirsty? Otis is not so distraught over the deaths of his employes, and not so righteous that he is specially destined to wipe corruption from the face of the earth. Why are they acting like hounds let out of hell? – – – You tell me a number of things I never knew before. I had supposed Clarence was more fixed financially, and that you were but temporarily embarrassed by the mess you are caught in. Everett wrote him about ten days ago and returned the check. He would not have dreamed of borrowing the money, if we had had any idea of the situation. You must have


back his late letters by now.

As Everett says, the main thing is for him and you both to keep health and sangfroid. It is a terrific strain on you both but you must rest confidence in Clarence's reputation. Nobody who knows him could believe him capable of either such underhandedness or such stupidity. It is all a plot formed by his opponents, probably long since, to besmirck him and wreck the unions he worked for. Their dictaphones will report anything they themselves said into them, and they will say what can do most damage. If they could reproduce the voices of the speakers, the plotters would


never be able to resort to them. We don't know whether what papers give the most unbiased accounts, we see the Chic news & Indianapolis papers, but the latter are Burns organs. Damn Burns! Curious how efficient the government is in hunting out the dynamiters and purifying labor, and how unsuccessful in prosecuting the big crooks like Armour and the Steel crowd. Everett was remarking that the Federal authorities have barrels of documents belonging to the labor unions, but they allowed the beef officials time to burn theirs. I read an item in some paper that they had wanted to employ Burns to hunt up evidence in those cases, but he was too expensive. However they dont shy at the cost in running down the


weak and powerless small fry. How virtuous! Let's be patriots and salute the flag.

You won't care to hear much about ourselves. We don't at present feel a very lively interest in our own affairs. We are leaving here Mar. 1st for Italy. Shall reach Rome about Mar 7. Stay in Italy, chiefly in Rome, probably until April 15, then go to Munich for the university term beginning Apr. 20. Our address in Rome — care Thos Cook & Son 54 Piazza Es a edra di Termini.

If we had a home to go to I don't know but that we should cut off our stay in Europe and come back, to be nearer you. We fervidly hope for good news of the situation; that it may even yet clear up and let you out of the cloud. Write us


was much as you can. Letters will be forwarded us. In Rome we shant see any American papers, so send clippings. Tell Clarence to defend himself no matter who else may have to take blame or attack. This is no age for the Arnold Winkelried type. He wants to live to fight another battle. When it comes to a question of own's one''s own reputation, nobody else's is entitled to precedence. Let the sc roundrelly Judasism of Fredericko Ford and the bribing crew revert on themselves. Bribers indicting for bribery! But don't forget to be suspicious of your lawyer. Let not the snakes monopolize serpent-wisdom.

I hope you will have many more opportunities to show me how to do things, chum with Karl, and tempt people's appetites s with dinners vegetarian and otherwise


We appreciate, better now than ever your warm hospitality and helpfulness Perhaps we may make some return some day. – – – Now I'll have to stop, that this may get off for tomorrow's boat. Sorry that it takes so long to get messages to you.

With—love from all


Karl thanks you for the clippings. He says tell you there is no coffee in Europe as good as yours — Truth!

Mrs. C. S. Darrow

Ocean Park


Etats - Unis

From Helen K. Darrow

41 Rue Galilee