George Sterling--As I Knew Him
"Aldebran and Mars,--Ask Greek."
I find the penciled note, laid weeks ago on the writing table in Jack London's workroom. It is one of many jottings made aboard the big gray cargoboat from Stockholm. As times before on starhung nights of wonder under tropic skies there had to come to mind George Sterling's first published book of poems, "The Testimony of the Suns." We liked to refer astronmical questions to him.
"--Ask Greek." Jack's "Greek." Once, after Jack's death, I said to George, "May I, now, call you Greek?" And George: "I wish you would, Charm!" What was it I would now ask Greek? Shall I ever remember? Numberless are the nvoluntary questions I have deired to put to Jack, the Greek's "Wolf." They, only, those friends, know the answers.
So short a time ago I sent George an old Carmel magazine, on its first page a poem by himself, "the Sea Gardens of Carmel." The remainder of its contents was variously signed by otherday neighbors of his and Carrie's, since grown famous, who pattered to their brown door through the redolent pine forest that mumured to the Carmel surf. For the first time since my late year in Europ, George and I met, when dropped in after the P.E.N. Club dinner at the Red Room of the Bohemian Club. He looked everything fit--younger and stronger, more keenly sentient than a year ago. It was a good old-fashioned gossip we had, all else forgot--though I did catch,from Gertrude Atherton, enthroned on a davenport near by, and appreciate white-and-gold gleam for our enthusiasm. George's voice was one of boyish awe in raving over his niece, Cecily Cunha, having won to championship among girl swimmers of the Pacific Coast.
He had called at the Ranch, he told me, shortly after my arrival from the long voyage. I had been away horseback on the mountain. "but come again, as soon as the quail season open, and bring whoever you want," I begged. He lighted with warm pleasure at that and what I next suggested: "As soon as I am settled a bit, we'll get Carlt and Lora up and have as near a real old party as is possible now..." He met my eyes, for the same thought was with us--the season of anniversary. Jac Lond died ten years ago. Too, it was the very eve of our wedding date.