from Twenty-Three to Twenty-One*
Hon. C.A. Arthur,
Of course you don't care--- do you? ---
whether I am pleased or not
But, as I always growl
when I catch you doing wrong,
my own sense of justice requires it
that I should make some kind of a sound,
when I catch you doing right" :
"your veto of the Chinese Bill delighted me
And, what is more to the point,
a great many other people also were pleased---"
I went out for a ride and now
anything seems possible:
"I may even get down to Washington
before your administration is over"
And I would say then as I say now
"that it is time for you to have done
with political dirty work"
"ask yourself if there is anything in the world
that can make you happier
than truly to serve your fellowmen"
Saratoga, N.Y. [Julia I. Sand]
Public service is indeed a pleasure,
but it would make me much happier
if Nell and little William could
somehow be restored to life
Hon. C.A. Arthur.
What a peaceful time you must have had
when I was not able to read the papers at all"
I know you have been inundated
with letters urging you to do so,
but I ask you not to pardon "that Mason"
For you to do so "would be giving
direct encouragement to Lynch law"
His attempted murder
of a prisoner in his custody
was "cowardly & contemptible" ,
& a dereliction of duty
"his sentence is merciful, not harsh"
"try to make those idiots understand"
Saratoga, N.Y. [Julia I. Sand]
I have not yet reached a decision
about whether to pardon Mr. Mason
When I do, you'll be among the first to know
Hon. C.A. Arthur
What is there to admire in mediocrity?"
"You have an impartial mind,
when you choose to exert it" , so
"Why do you not do what you do with your whole soul?--
or have you only half of one?
When you vetoed the Chinese Bill,
the better class of people
throughout the country were delighted
Now you sign it"
Are you going to let your Administration be a failure?"
The lesser period of exclusion
is consistent with our treaty obligations,
and my veto would have been overridden
There will be other issues in the future
when I will veto a proposed bill
even if an override seems likely
Hon. C.A. Arthur."
"I had just made up my mind never, never,
never again to write you another word---"
"then somebody brought me a newspaper
I felt like flinging it in the fire---
newspapers make me so sick!---
but I condescended to glance at it" :
"District Attorney Woodford was going to . . .
continue the prosecution"
"I couldn't see anything more,
for there were two big tears in my eyes" ,
"very cheerful tears though---
the kind of drops rainbows are made of"
"Will you ever forgive me for not
having trusted you quite enough?"
"Sincerely your friend,
[Julia I. Sand]
* [These] Twenty-Three to Twenty-One are so titled because a woman named Julia Sand wrote 23 letters to Chester Arthur, the 21st President. Her letters total over 150 pages, so I have done some condensing and rearranging as well as adding a few imagined parts as connective tissue. If Arthur ever responded to her letters, no response is known to have survived, therefore [the author has] imagined what he might have said.
© Michael Ceraolo
Bio: Michael Ceraolo is a 63-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length books (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press) and has two more full-length books, Euclid Creek Book Two, and Lawyers, Guns, and Money, in the publication pipeline.