Letter by CJD to J.G. Roberts 1913.10.09

Oct 9/13

Dear Mr Roberts,

You make a man feel that he would like to begin a letter to you with a couple of pages of "thanks you's". The Belgian poetry I know I shall appreciate, and it will be a help. It is the sort of stuff from which one may hatch ideas without plagiarism.

Not so long ago I thought I could evolve ideas out of nothing, but I have seen the folly of that. They certainly appear to come from nowhere or some inner consciousness sometimes, but I do not doubt they could all be traced to some vague association of ideas.

The brolly was delivered by the mail driver "for keeps" today. Thanks, also, for the thoughtful ad.

As regards the trip to S.Sassafras; it is like you to credit my pleasure to the good chaps who came with us. I certainly did enjoy their society; but, also, the extreme kindness of Mrs Roberts, yourself and family added much to my enjoyment. There is, as you will know, a vague sort of telepathy or something at affairs of this sort on which depends one's state of mind. The code spelt nothing but pleasure and goodwill at "Sunnyside."

I am rather a lonely sort of coot and have made few friends in Victoria, and I would like you to know that you have given me the best time I have had during my five or six years here. Certainly I have good friends amongst the people here, whom I admire for their pluck and kindliness, and clean living, but I got into a new world during my trip the advantages and pleasures of which I think I can fully appreciate.

I am not much good at expressing my feelings off-hand, and I would sooner have faced a mile of bush fire than stand up and speak a piece at our supper the other evening. But I think you understand that I appreciate none the less the kindliness of the clan Roberts.

So I've got that off my chest.

At the risk of being accused of the beauty-actor habit, but knowing your love for grangerizing, I send you one or two photos of myself which you might like to stick in my book. I have another and better one which I can't put my hand on. I shall send that later if you would care for it.

Am hard at it on a story for Norman Lindsay. Afterwards I have to satisfy "Worker", "Punch" and "Weekly Times."

My kind regards to Mrs Roberts and family. I wish you a good time at Scarsdale.

Yours truly,
C.J. Dennis

J.G. Roberts Collection, MS8508, Book 1 - State Library of Victoria.

The story for Norman Lindsay was most probably "A Night Out" which was published in Norman Lindsay's Book: No. II in 1915.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002