The World of Jack London

The Kempton-Wace Letters

From Dane Kempton to Herbert Wace


3 A Queen's Road, Chelsea, S. W.
August 14, 19—.

YESTERDAY I wrote formally, rising to the occasion like the conventional happy father rather than the man who believes in the miracle and lives for it. Yesterday I stinted myself. I took you in my arms, glad of what is and stately with respect for the fulness of your manhood. It is to-day that I let myself leap into yours in a passion of joy. I dwell on what has come to pass and inflate myself with pride in your fulfillment, more as a mother would, I think, and she your mother.

But why did you not write before? After all, the great event was not when you found your


offer of marriage accepted, but when you found you had fallen in love. Then was your hour. Then was the time for congratulation, when the call was first sounded and the reveille of Time and About fell upon your soul and the march to another's destiny was begun. It is always more important to love than to be loved. I wish it had been vouchsafed me to be by when your spirit of a sudden grew willing to bestow itself without question or let or hope of return, when the self broke up and grew fain to beat out your strength in praise and service for the woman who was soaring high in the blue wastes. You have known her long, and you must have been hers long, yet no word of her and your love reached me. It was not kind to be silent.

Barbara spoke yesterday of your fastidiousness, and we told each other that you had gained a triumph of happiness in your love, for you are not of those who cheat themselves. You choose rigorously, straining for the heart of the end as do all rigorists who are also hedonists. Because we are in possession of this bit of data as to your temperamental cosmos we can congratulate you with the more abandon.


Oh, Herbert, do you know that this is a rampant spring, and that on leaving Barbara I tramped out of the confines into the green, happier, it almost seems, than I ever been? Do you know that because you love a woman and she loves you, and that because you are swept along by certain forces, that I am happy and feel myself in sight of my portion of immortality on earth, far more than because of my books, dear lad, far more?

I wish I could fly England and get to you. Should I have a shade less of you than formerly, if we were together now? From your too much green of wealth, a barreness of friendship? It does not matter; what is her gain cannot be my loss. One power is mine, — without hindrance, in freedom and in right, to say to Ellen's son, "Godspeed" to place Hester Stebbin's hand in his, and bid them forth to the sunrise, into glory of day!

Ever your devoted father,
Dane Kempton


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