c o p y
Dear Mr. Stefansson:
Your letter came to-day. I am sorry to hear that Mr. Noice is again trying to make it unpleasant for you. I believe that if you would ignore his threats or call his bluffs he would soon try to find some other way of making a living. I hope you will get the best of it in any trouble he may try to bring to you.
On Dec. 13 I sent the biography of Fred's life which you asked me to send. I hope you can get out of it all you need. No doubt you will want to make it as brief as possible.
As to my coming to New York, I want to thank you for your offer. I should be glad to come and visit with you and Mr. Taylor but believe the expense can be saved. Business has been very poor this year with me. No doubt you can use money for other purposes which would do more good. If you think it of enough importance I could come any time after Dec. 25th.
I will give you my opinion of Fred's letter
which may help you to determine what to do. My brother Tom was in N.Y. about a month ago. I asked him to call on you and take several matters up with you, but unfortunately you were out of city. My opinion is that Fred did not want to leave the island and that Knight and Crawford insisted and brought forward the argument about the shortage of food and he was persuaded to go with that reason and gave that as his reason in the letter. No doubt he also felt that the two young men [Crawford and Galle] needed some one with experience to go with them to cross the ice. You spoke of Fred accusing Knight of shamming sickness. I could not find in Knight's diary where he did so. Knight wrote when he and Crawford were on the ice that they would return and Crawford and Galle would go, he and Fred would stay, which would have been a dangerous thing for the two young men to do. In reading Knight's diary carefully I get the opinion that Fred allowed himself to be persuaded to go for two reasons, one to protect Crawford and Galle and to the other to leave Knight and Ada enough food.
[handwritten note in left margin] That the crossing could be made
I am sure that the boys could have caught enough game to keep alive and perhaps to have saved Knight if they had all stayed on Wrangel Island. The A.c. Diary shows Knight and Crawford making arrangments to leave long before they did, only waiting for the right season
to travel on ice, but not a word about Fred or Galle wanting to go. I don't say this to criticize Knight, for he no doubt O.K. thought it the was the best thing to do. No doubt Evidently Fred felt sure of getting safely across to Siberia and Alaska, as reports of weather conditions show they probably selected the very worst time.
I have taken up with the family the question of publishing Fred's letter up with the family. We all agree that the letter
as a whole itself should not be published, as a whole for it is of too private a nature.
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I have not taken the matter up with Delphine and have not sent the manuscript to her.
There are some things that she had better not read, and I understand that the book will be revised to correct those things. I don't see why Mrs. Crawford can insist on the letter being published when they were not written to her. I haven't heard from her for some time, but have been told that her health is much improved and that she is looking at things in a more sensible way, for which I am glad. No doubt as time goes by she will become reconciled. I would suggest that you proceed with the book leaving out letter unless Delphine insists on it being published. If she should do so, advise me at once and I will do all I can to persuade her to see things as we do. The letter is a private one and concerns her and she has right to withhold it from the book. It is my opinion that Mrs. Crawford has nothing to say in the matter. If you want me to take it up with Delphine before your book goes to print I will gladly do so. I have not seen her since early in Sept. and at that time she was not concerned about the book and it was not discussed. But she feels very kindly towards you and am sure she will agree with us in this matter.
If I have not made matters clear to you or if you want to know any more, kindly advise me.
With kindest regards,
Sincerely, (Signed) John Maurer