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Volume 2085
Danton Burroughs Family Scrapbook Series

The ERB Connection


Jane Ralston Diary Entry

June 10, 1934
This has been a most wonderful morning. I know that I have made a friend who will always be glad to hear from me - Jack called at 10:30 and asked me to walk up College Ave. to Holmes where he was sketching. I went up about 11:00 and about 11:30 Mr. Burroughs came - and he is such a dear man - so like Jack. He wanted to see Jack's tiger so Jack went up to get Mr. Beggs to open Rembrandt - we had to wait quite a while because they couldn't find the key. Mr. Burroughs and I talked about Jack, about Pomona College, and I told him how much Jack had inspired me to work - he said that he was so glad that Jack had helped me.

Mr. B seemed so unhappy -- almost nervous and worn out. I felt as though we understood each other and I think that he must have felt that way too -- for as we left he said, "Aren't you going to eat with us Jane?" I said no and Jack said "I thought that we would eat at the Dorm" -- and Mr. B. said - "Oh, I hoped we could have Jane with us." That meant so much to me - he is such a dear. I hope that everything will be all right for Jack and his mother  and Dad. Jack said that it was the first time he had seen his Dad for months. I wish that I could have a chance to see Mr. Burroughs more and talk to him -- maybe I shall. I'll try very hard anyway.

Mr. Beggs helped things very much too -- he pointed out my etching and Mr. Burroughs asked if I had any more work there so of course he saw my tree -- I'm so happy and proud of Jack -- Dear God -- may we always be the best of friends and some day -- more --

Edgar Rice Burroughs
   Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
January 3 1941
Dear Jane:
Your little note was very welcome, and I was so glad to know that you had such a lovely Christmas. Reading between the lines, I think I can understand why.

In a "Dear Children" letter mailed to Joan, I told all about our Christmas; but as none of you ever acknowledge a letter, I never know whether they are received; or, if so, whether anyone beside the recipient ever reads a "Dear Children" letter. However, if you cannot contain your eagerness to know what we did Christmas, maybe Joan will let you read the letter.

I was going to start this letter off with a sweet little though about how women never date a letter. It is just as well that I didn't, as I discover that I wrote you and Jack, Joan, and Hulbert shortly after Christmas and failed to date any of the letters! Well, Hpmer used to nod occasionally.

If he had ever lived in the Hawaiian Islands for eight months, he would have fallen asleep in his soup every evening at dinner. The only difference between going to bed here and getting up in the morning is that you are tireder in the morning.

I have discovered a great soporific: beer. When I can't sleep, I get up and drink a can of good old Schmultz, or whatever it is; sometimes at one o'clock, sometimes at three; this morning it was six. It sounds simply godawful, I know; but it puts me to sleep, and growing boys need their sleep. The only trouble is that I am getting so fat that people can't tell whether I'm standing up or lying down. I am often embarrassed by having people peeking around under me looking for my face.

Florence has been doing a great deal of knitting over here; sweaters and rugs. She was working on something recently that might have been a floor covering for the Grand Central Station. Every once in a while she would crawl out form under it and look at my waist line; it was only then that I realized that she was knitting me a pair of shorts.

I think I have talked about myself enough; so I will now tell you what I did New Year's Eve and New Years. We went to the Haerles' for cocktails; and from there we were supposed to go to a party at the Royal Hawaiian given by Mr. Phipps, who is Canada Dry.  I did not wish to go, as I don't like parties at hotels; wok, as we could find on one to stay with the children, I generously volunteered to do so, and went home at 9:30, while the others went to the party and got home about 3 A. M.

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
January 24 1941
11:01 A.M. Thursday, H.T.
or 1:31 P.M. P.S.T.
Dear Jane:
Thanks for your nice letter of Monday afternoon, January 13 1941. I guess I'm getting places at last. If I have influenced one girl in this whole world to date her letters, I have not lived in vain. If I've seen one, I've seen a couple of hundred letters dated "Friday". Now, there are fifty-two Fridays in a year; sometimes fifty-three. It is cruel to keep a person guessing on which Friday a letter was written. It is these important matters that make such a difference in life; they also help to pad a letter when you haven't much of anything to write about. You and my youngest son, being writers, will appreciate what a Heaven sent gift is anything that promotes padding. After thirty years of padding, I am something of an authority on the subject. I have just written four pages of a new Venus story and haven't said anything yet; but that Ann's nuthin' - wait until I really get going strong. However, I take my hat off to my betters. I have read entire novels in which the author never said anything; I have read or listened to millions of words of Fireside Chats in which nothing whatever was said. Words! Words! Words! Some day I am going to invent an entirely new and unique novel. It will consist of a small pocket dictionary containing all the words that the reader can understand and many that he can't; then all he'll have to do is select the words he wants to make up a complete novel, and the beauty of it is that he can use it over and over again and never have to buy another novel as long as he lives.

Am glad that you so enjoy the little house. Don't rave about it too much, or Ralph will start charging you rent, probably adding a few dollars a month for the cows. The flies we will throw in.

So my little Jackie weighs 180 pounds! I used to carry him around on my shoulder once upon a time. If I had kept it up every day, like the farmer with the bull calf, I - well, what? I should probably have been knee sprung and bow legged long since. Right now my old pins that I used to be so proud of occasionally buckle under my own weight as I totter on toward the grave. The damned old things have aged at least ten years since I came over here. And I calls it very ungrateful of 'em, too; for God knows I've always been kind to them, using them and my feet as little as possible.

You might preserve this letter as an example of expert padding.

Florence joins me in sending love to you both.


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
April 5 1941

Dear Jane:

Thanks for your letter and the enclosure: THE SUCCESS, which you say reminds me of you. The only similarity that I perceive lies in the fact that the guy was a pulp writer. There the analogy does a complete and pathetic Brody. I ain't writ any "It Rained Down Fortune"; I ain't goin' to write any, because I haven't one in me. I used to think that I had, but no more. If I ever write again, which I doubt, my deathless prose will appear in SHRIEKING THRILLERS MYSTERY MAGAZINE, unless they reject it, as they probably will, because as one editor said of a story I submitted under a pen name, it was too "amateurish"!

My great trouble right now is that I still think I have to write for the readers, when, as everyone knows, I should write for the editors. The fact that some umpty-steen million readers like my stories makes no never mind to the editors. If I don't use Plotto and a correspondence school formula, my stuff doesn't get by.

From almost any angle, my stuff probably exhales halitosis, athlete's foot, and B.O., or, as the French so succinctly express it, it stinks; but so does most of the godawful tripe I occasionally try to wade through in magazines like Satevepost. I guest the trouble with my stuff is that it has the wrong bad smell. You know, probably, that we smell bad to Negroes, just as they do to us. So my stuff smells bad to editors who can't smell themselves.

I had to smile at the very different reactions that you and Jack exhibited toward The Racquet Club: most women like it, and I think that most men do not. Most men do not like to be looked at; most women do, and The Racquet Club is the place to exhibit one's self down to the barest essentials - and sometimes even the bare essentials.

You guessed it the first time: I don't know when I am coming home. I hope Joan's house is not a crumbled ruin before I get a chance to see it. Maybe I shall have to peek over the edge of my cloud and look at it, if I can ever lay aside my harp long enough. O, Death, where is thy sting, when one can lookforward to siting on the edge of a cold, damp cloud, playing a harp? I am going to stipulate that I be buried in rubber pants.

I hope that you have been uplifted and inspired by the delicate nuances of literary expression in this. Yousee, I'm practicing on you as I prepare to write a "It Rained Down Fortune".

Aloha to all and sundry,

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