005163To George Sturgis
Hotel Danieli
Venice, Italy. December 7, 1939

I was very glad to hear that Bob had got home again after an unconventional voyage that probably will make a pleasant memory. I remember with pleasure a voyage I once made in 16 days from London to New York in an empty cattle-ship. My money had given out, or nearly, and I went to some agency to ask which was the cheapest 1st. class accommodation to be had for America, and they suggested this, price £10. So I took it, was never sea-sick, and had to walk all day on deck, because there were no deck chairs, and I had neglected to bring one. I also made an interesting acquaintance with a man who had been before the mast but was a nice person and knew French. Something of him and of his experience of the sea went into The Last Puritan.

Scribner, by the way, has today exploded a bomb under me, most unexpectedly. Two young Jews, a few years ago, got out a collection of articles and lectures of mine called Obiter Scripta; and most of these were included in the big edition of my works. Now they have sued Scribner for reproducing their book without leave; and Scribner, fearing “considerable damages”, has settled the matter out of court by paying the Jews $690.00 Very well; but now comes the explosion. Scribner says that I am to pay those $690.00 or whatever I think “proper”. But there is a seamy side to this matter. Being pleased with the care and diligence of those two students, I asked Scribner to pay them whatever royalties might come to me from the book: but, according to them, Scribner never did so! That, I suppose, is why Scribner settled out of court. And now, I am to pay to get them out of the scrape! I have today answered Mr. Scribner as politely as I could, saying that while I do not, frankly, think it “proper” that I should pay for any part of that settlement, if I am legally in debt for the whole or a part of that sum of $690.00, will he please ask you for it. I hardly think he will have the face to do so, but if he does please pay whatever sum he names. There is a particular reason (besides putting him to shame) for doing it in this way, but too complicated to explain here.

From The Letters of George Santayana: Book Six, 1937-1940.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004.
Location of manuscript: The Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.