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XXX

To Mrs. G. W. Hale

ANNISQUAM
DATE DO NOT KNOW
[Postmarked: August 28, 1894]

DEAR MOTHER

I have been for three days at Magnolia. Magnolia is one of the most fashionable and beautiful seaside resorts of this part. I think the scenery is better than that of Annisquam. The rocks there are very beautiful, and the forests run down to the very edge of the water. There is a very beautiful pine forest. A lady of Chicago and her daughter, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Sawyer, were the friends that invited me up there. They had also arranged a lecture for me, out of which I got $43. I met a good many Boston people — Mrs. Smith Junior, who said she knows Harriet, and Mrs. Smith the elder, [who] knows you well.

In Boston the other day I met a Unitarian clergyman who said he lives next to you in Chicago. I have unfortunately forgotten his name. Mrs. Smith is a very nice lady and treated me with all courtesy. Mrs. Bagley is kind as ever, and I will have to remain here a few days more, I am afraid. Prof. Wright and I are having a good time. Prof. Bradley of Evanston1 has gone home. If you ever meet him at Evanston, give him my best love and regards. He is really a spiritual man.

I do not find anything more to write.

Some unknown friend has sent me from New York a fountain pen. So I am writing with it to test it. It is working very smoothly and nicely as you can judge from the writing. Perhaps Narasimha's difficulties have been settled by this time, and "heathen India" has helped him out yet, I hope.

What is Father Pope doing? What the Babies are doing and where are they? What news of our Sam?2 Hope he is prospering. Kindly give him my best love. Where is Mother Temple now?

Well, after all, I could fill up two pages. Yes, there was a Miss Barn (?) who said she met me at your house. She is a young lady of Chicago.

Magnolia is a good bathing place and I had two baths in the sea. A large concourse of men and women go to bathe there every day — the most part men. And strange, women do not give up their coat of mail even while bathing. That is how these mailclad she-warriors of America have got the superiority over men.

Our Sanskrit poets lavish all the power of expression they have upon the soft body of women — the Sanskrit word for women is "Komala", the soft body; but the mailclad ones of this country are "armadillas", I think. You cannot imagine how ludicrous it appears to a foreigner who never saw it before. Shiva, Shiva.

Now Narasimha's Mrs. Smith does not torture you anymore with letters, I hope. Did I tell you I met your friend Mrs. H. O. Quarry at Swampscott? — she can swamp a house for all that, not to speak of a cott — and that I met there the woman that pulls by the nose Mr. Pullman?3 And I also heard there the best American singer, (Miss Emma Thursby.) they said — she sang beautifully; she sang "Bye Baby Bye". I am having a very, very good time all the time, Lord be praised.

I have written to India not to bother me with constant letters. Why, when I am travelling in India nobody writes to me. Why should they spend all their superfluous energy in scrawling letters to me in America? My whole life is to be that of a wanderer — here or there or anywhere. I am in no hurry. I had a foolish plan in my head unworthy of a Sannyasin. I have given it up now and mean to take life easy. No indecent hurry. Don't you see, Mother Church? You must always remember, Mother Church, that I cannot settle down even at the North Pole, that wander about I must — that is my vow, my religion. So India or North Pole or South Pole — don't care where. Last two years I have been travelling among races whose language even I cannot speak. "I have neither father nor mother nor brothers nor sisters nor friends nor foes, nor home nor country — a traveller in the way of eternity, asking no other help, seeking no other help but God."

Yours ever affectionately,
VIVEKANANDA.


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Chronology→

  1. ^A city in northeastern Illinois on Lake Michigan, near Chicago.
  2. ^Sam Hale, the only son of Mrs. Hale.
  3. ^Possibly Mrs. George Mortimer Pullman, wife of the wealthy and powerful Pullman of the Pullman Palace Car Company.