I told Watt to send you, he writes to Bok, the first four of my child stories (you see I hadnt forgotten my promise), and they may serve to amuse you for a while personally, even if you dont use them for publication. Frankly, I dont myself see how they can be used for the L. H. J.; but theyre part of a scheme of mine for trying to give children not a notion of history, but a notion of the time sense which is at the bottom of all knowledge of history; and history, rightly understood, means the love of ones fellow-men and the land one lives in.
James Whitcomb Riley was another who believed that an editor should have the privilege of saying No if he so elected. When Riley was writing a series of poems for Bok, the latter, not liking a poem which the Hoosier poet sent him, returned it to him. He wondered how Riley would receive a declinationnaturally a rare experience. But his immediate answer settled the question:
Thanks equally for your treatment of both poems, [he wrote], the one accepted and the other returned. Maintain your own opinions and respect, and my vigorous esteem for you shall remain deep-rooted in the fruitful soil. No occasion for apology whatever. In my opinion, you are wrong; in your opinion, you are right; therefore, you are right,at least righter than wronger. It is seldom that I drop other work for logic, but when I do, as my grandfather was wont to sturdily remark, it is to some purpose, I can promise you.
Am goin to try mighty hard to send you the dialect work youve so long wanted; in few weeks at furthest. Patience and shuffle the cards.
I am really, just now, stark and bare of one commonsence