17 December (1922): Edna St. Vincent Millay to Arthur Davidson Ficke

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Edna St. Vincent Millay and Arthur Davison Ficke maintained an epistolary “platonic love affair” over the course of the 1910s, which culminated with a single kiss toward the end of the decade. At the time of the following letter, however, they were already drifting apart; by 1922 they were “more distant friends, with only some bittersweet poems left to memorialize the affair. ”

December  17, 1922, France 

Arthur, dear,

It’s not true that I don’t like the sonnets. I love them. You know perfectly well, you lying dog, that I think you write wonderful sonnets. The reason why I haven’t said anything about this is this:—I have been sick, so that I can just drag about, & what strength I have must go into the novel which Liveright is to publish in the spring; and I couldn’t bear simply to write, “I received the sonnets; they are very nice;” I wanted to have time to speak of each one separately, go over & over them, telling you what I thought about each little thing. And I haven’t been able to do that. So I’ve said nothing. And you know that what I’m saying is the truth. So that’s that.—And you can just stop nagging me.

Isn’t it funny about you and Gladys?—My God—it’s marvelous.—You don’t need to tell me what a nice girl Gladys Brown is—“nicer than that!!!” I know in my way, just as well as you know in your way, how nice she is.—I knew it the first moment I set eyes on her in Prunier’s. You can’t fool me. And you didn’t think we’d like each other!—men don’t know very much.

Is this a snippy letter, dear?—No, it isn’t. I shall love you till the day I die.—Though I shan’t always be thinking about it, thank God.—Yet I shall be thinking about it every time I think about you, that’s sure.

As for Hal, there’s not the slightest danger that I shall marry him: he has jilted me!

With love,
Vincent.

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FURTHER READING

To read some of Arthur Davison Ficke’s poetry, click here