the background, I doubt my capacity to lay a play in it, likewise the capacity of Broadway to accept such a play even if one were well made. It grows more obvious to me year by year that Broadway is not interested in fine distinctions, least of all in spiritual ones. Our theatrical capital would be likely to avow that it knew all about Indians, feeling that they were done once for all in wood by Mr. Cooper, and in trochaic tetrameter by Mr. Longfellow. If Parkman suggested something to me a great many bored auditors who had never read Parkman would inquire by what right I made the monosyllabic Indian eloquent, and what possible originality or novelty I thought I had achieved in picturing the Jesuit as devoted or the Indian as a noble savage.
Nevertheless the history of the Jesuits is fascinating on its own account and I feel richer mentally for knowing it. If I change my mind on better acquaintance with the material and do find a play in Pontiac or Father Joques, the play will probably be its own reward and cost the Theatre Guild a lot of money. This will sound pessimistic to you but I don't mean it that way. It's the business of the playwright to please both himself and his audience and I have looked long and hard at that Broadway audience and found only a narrow margin of overlapping between me and it.
Thanks for your letter and for thinking about me on the St. Lawrence. We do very well for strangers. 2