Letter by CJD to J.G. Roberts 1918.09.09

9 September 1918

Dear Dad,

Very many thanks for your two letters, also for Frank's list of slang, which will be useful; and for your own suggestions which are very useful. I shall adopt a number of them in the final proof.

I am glad you like "Digger." So far everyone who has seen it seems to think it is the "goods." Robertson goes so far as to talk of its rivaling the "Bloke." It is certainly better than the Bloke in some regards - craftsmanship, for instance, but I hardly think such a universal appeal is there. Anyhow, we shall see.

Both the wife and I are delighted to have your promise to be up here before the end of the year. And, don't forget that it is a promise, and we hold you to it at the risk of stopping the trams.

I expect we shall be going over to Adelaide for a week toward the end of this month, but, after that, we shall be in Toolangi till after Christmas.

Hal, of course, is doing the illustrations for "Digger", and I think it is Robertson's intentions to have it out in time for the English Christmas mail. You might let me have Frank's address, and I shall send him a copy.

By the way, those verses of Bert's are remarkably good. He improves in thought and workmanship, and he undoubtedly has the knack of rhyme and easy metre, but - I remember twenty uphill years of my life. Let him do verse as a side line and stick to business if he wants a comfortable youth and early manhood. The apprenticeship sours the taste before the fruits are won. I was forty two on Saturday, and I have had a decent home of my own for only the last two years. And in a few years more I may go out of fashion.

In the meantime I am living well as one decently may in war-time, and the little crib is looking pretty good. We want you to see it.

Kind regards from us both.

Yours truly,

McLaren Collection, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne.

This letter was tipped in to the J.G. Roberts copy of Digger Smith which is held in the McLaren Collection in the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne.
"Frank" is Frank Roberts, the son of J.G. Roberts.
"Robertson" is G.R. Robertson of Angus & Robertson, Dennis's publisher.
"Hal" is Hal Gye, Dennis's illustrator.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-04