Your letter helped to shake off the last bit of “blues” that had me gripped for the last two weeks. Since you left I just couldn’t mix with anybody down here at all. Dave Harris, Herman and many others tried to find out what was ailing me, but I was as silent as a clam. And it was all caused by a foolish dream!! Needless for me to tell you how much importance I attach to dreams. Dreams are material for damned fools to dwell on —- and yet I couldn’t get over the one I had the very night you left. Just listen to this —- I dreamt that I came up to Troy and found you married. You looked so beautiful in your husband’s arms. I couldn’t recognize his face. I saw all this through the front window from your stoop. I cried like a beaver. In the morning when I awoke I knew I was dreaming but somehow I couldn’t shake off that depressed feeling. Last Saturday evening I ran up to see Mr. Diamond, I thought mabbe that would make me forget. While I was there I forgot all about myself. I gave Mr. Diamond a good rub down. He thanked me and said that it helped him a whole lot. Mrs. Diamond I bought a box of chocolates in appreciation for the hospitality she extended to Dave Harris + I.
I read Zola’s Dr. Pascal about four years ago. It was one of the novels that stuck to me. Zola certainly proves his motive. The Doctor’s love for his niece grew logically enough. Only a machine would not respond. At present the only thing that I read is the Nation, People and N.Y. Times. The Nation is carrying a series of articles on Sandino the Nicaraguan patriot and rebel. There’s hardly anything to equal these pictures depicted in all modern literature. Sandino is just like Robin Hood only fighting a mightier foe, the U.S. Marines. Last night while I was practicing at Ann’s and watching her babe, while she was at the show, I read a couple of Dr. Moupesant short stories, while I rested. How’s that for cramming time. Who said you couldn’t do two things at a time. If you can’t do them good, you can at least do your best.
When you come down in April you are going to be with me only. We are going to hit the very best thing that’s in town and I don’t mean mabbe. You won’t disappoint me because I am going to start counting the days. Living down here away from you is enough to drive me mad. The self discipline I exercise is the only thing that keeps me here.
Conditions down here are growing worse daily. The unemployment here is the keenest, and those who are fortunate to have a job are squeezed to death going to and from work. Traveling in the subway is more of a task than my job. Sometimes I wonder if it is all worth the candle. Tonight when I came home and found your letter waiting for me I was as happy as could be. As if by magic that subconscious depression disappeared. Now I feel like a new born and am writing these lines faster than a mad man. Tomorrow night I am going up to give Mr. Diamond another rub down. I will write you all about it.
Did Leo tell you about the violin incident. Dave Harris and I went down to try it and found it much inferior than Leo’s. I lost my temper, when Mr. Mukle Eiser said that Leo had to take the violin. That I didn’t punch him in the nose proves that miracles are still prevalent. Wow! I never remember flaring up so fast. It almost compared with one of Bill’s uprisings.
How are your pupils coming along? Are they increasing? Write me all the news and gossip you can gather about Troy. It’s comforting to hear about things that one has known for years. I never thought I’d miss Troy until lately. Holy smokes it’s nearly two A.M. My eye lids feel like tons so I close with more love than your little bean could ever imagine.
P.S. Regards to everyone. If there is anything you want me to send you just let me know.
The Mr. Diamond that Izzy is visiting was the man who was in Mt. Sinai Hospital in the previous letter. He is also, presumably, the father of Ms. Lillian Diamond whom Izzy declares as having “something radically wrong with her” (Dec 20,1927) and “must overcome her “complex” if she can expect to make any progress along intellectual lines” (Dec 5, 1927).
Massage is a practice that elder care professionals use to ease pains and symptoms of loneliness in their patients. Specifically, in the early 20th century World War I veterans with nerve damage or shell shock underwent massage therapy. I am supposing Izzy gave Mr. Diamond massages as a gesture of respect but I am unclear who Mr. Diamond is to him and what Izzy’s care for the man is the result of.
Thelma must have picked up “Doctor Pascal” by Emile Zola 1893. Zola was a French writer and acitivist; “Doctor Pascal” was the last in a series of 20 novels called Les Rougon-Macquart about hereditary “success”.
The “With Sandino in Nicaragua” series consisted of 7 articles published from January-March 1928 in The Nation. The Nation still appears to be under copyright restrictions but archives can be viewed online at physical NYPL locations. To read about Sandino’s story click here. Guy De Maupassant, another French writer, “is considered one of the fathers of the modern short story” (Wikipedia).
One more month before Thelma makes another trip to NYC to visit Izzy. He dearly misses her and becomes depressed by a dream/nightmare of Thelma in another man’s arms. Her letters lift his spirits but his commute and the daily grind weigh on him. U.S. Unemployment at the time was at 4.2% and Izzy does not forsee the 23.6% unemployment in the near future of 1932.
The “violin incident” seems to be that Leo, Thelma’s brother, had purchased a new violin from a shop owner (name unclear: Mukle Eiser?) but it was not as impressive as he had hoped. Izzy tried to defend his friend Leo and lost his temper at the shop owner when Eiser forced Leo to buy the violin despite its shortcomings. Izzy acknowledges his anger and switches to closing the letter with a bid for gossip and a declaration of exhaustion.
Etymology: :”not worth the candle” comes from gambling by candlelight and the game winnings not being worth the cost of the oil to keep it lit.