Hope is the Thing That Is Left to Us, In a Bad Time

Mamacita says:  I have discovered another wonderful website: Letters of Note.  This site is edited by Shaun Usher, whom I would invite over for dinner every Tuesday and Thursday night if only he knew I existed, but of course he doesn’t, so I can only pay him homage this way.

In March of 1973, E. B. White — the author responsible for such books as Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web — received a letter from a Mr. Nadeau, who sought his opinion on what he saw as a bleak future for the human race. White responded with the following, beautifully written letter.

(Source: Letters of E. B. White, edited by Dorothy Lobrano Guth; Image: E.B. White, courtesy of Wikimedia.)

North Brooklin, Maine

30 March 1973

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.


(Signed, ‘E. B. White’)

Now, readers, if you would, please, run like bloody hell over to Letters of Note,  and feast on it.  While you’re there, get Shaun’s Twitter  and tell him you love him.  And that next Thursday, we’re having meatballs and brown rice.

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