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Letter from Ronald Sokol to Daniel Meador, Saturday, August 5, 1978

I guess I am suffering the usual tribulations of law
practice as I wanted to reply to your last letter which
reached me on June 24th before I left for the States at the
end of June. Then when I didn’t get to do it, I consoled my-
self by the thought that I would call you from the States. I
have now been back from the States for nearly ten days and am
only now actually able to try to get at least a few of the many
thoughts, questions, etc. that have been the source of much
mental communicating with you over the past month and a half on
to paper.

Let me first thank you for taking the time to write a recommendation
for me.  Despite recommendations by you, Hardy, and the
American consul in Nice, I was turned down at all three seminars,
much to my astonishment. Prof. Cover at Yale Law School was kind
enough to write a personal note to explain why in light of the f[act?]
that the subject of his seminar was to deal with some of the same
themes I dealt with in Justice After Darwin, and he assumed I wo[uld?]
not understand the decision. He said that the Natl. Endowment for
the Humanities (NEH) has a policy not to make grants to any profe[s-?]
sional people exercising their profession abroad unless there is [an?]
insufficient number of qualified candidates from the U.S. I confe[ss?]
that the possibility of such a policy flitted across my mind prio[r to?]
applying, but I dismissed it as being too unlikely. And as the NE[H?]
does not make the policy publicly known, for reasons which do not
seem clear, I blithely went ahead. I was grateful to Prof. Cover [for?]
his explanation, and I particularly felt bad that I had taken you[r?]
time and Hardy’s to no avail. I remain very grateful for your ef[forts.?]
I am very anxious of course to know what the situation is wi[th?]
your sight. Whether the “interlocutory” operation has already bee[n?]
performed, whether it went well, and, if so, when the next one is [?]
for. It would certainly be wonderful if you could at least get so[me?]
sense of light and movement back. I gather you have none now. I [was?]
struck by your analogy in a prior letter to the Jones v. Cunning[ham?]
“in custody” argument. I remember very well our discussions toget[her?]
when you were honing that argument down prior to going up to the [?]
Court to educate the justices, and I had the pleasure and privile[ge?]
of being an anvil against which that argument was hammered. I suffered[?]
no ill after-effects from being so used. Quite the contrary.

I did see Hardy and his new wife whom I much liked for her
modesty ftftiuaoofl cheer. We had lunch together in Paris at Hardy’s
hotel. Although I know Paris well, he had [?] a hotel I didn’t
know for a reason that much appealed to me. He chose it because,
Hardy said, “Lafayette stayed here.” It gave me enormous pleasure
to see him again. Although I have been back to the Law School
three times since I left in 1966, I hadn’t seen Hardy. I thought he
looked very well. Erect, alert, and with the same readiness to be
amused and to amuse others. I think what prompted me, in part, to
to see Hardy again was a sentence I remember: from one of Holmes’
to Laski when Holmes was in his late 80’s and Laski had questioned
him I think on what he regretted. Holmes said that he regretted when he
was young not having asked more questions of the old. I have taken [that?]
lesson to heart and have been trying in the past few years to app[ly it.?]
I was also greatly pleased with myself for working up the [courage?]
to ask Hardy for a photograph of himself. I wasn’t so courageous [?]
ask him when we met, but I did write him afterwards, telling him [?]
he would be amidst photographs of Justice Black, Thomas Jefferson
Twain, a Karsh photograph of Picasso, and a reproduction of the [?]
Lupas sketch of John Kennedy. While disclaiming such august compa[nions?]
he sent back a lovely photo very ‘kindly’ inscribed which is his [official?]
ICJ photo showing him, as he said, “in some silly Belgian lace.” [?]
he told me he was sending the official photo, for he said it was [the?]
only one he had, I was delighted to be getting one, but did not anti-
cipate an unusually good one, as official photos invariably seem [to?]
neutralize the person to the utmost degree possible. The photo I [have?]
of Black, for example, is his official one, and it fails to show [the?]
man’s real face. But Hardy’s official photo is sensational. The “si[lly?]
Belgian lace” is there but by some miracle it adds to the portrait[?]
which, far from being a mask, shows Hardy’s goodness and humor like [an?]
open book.

Having recounted all this, I should like to finish up by aski[ng?]
you if you would be kind enough to send me a photo of yourself. I [have?]
the same shyness about asking you as I did about asking Hardy but [having?]
worked up the courage once, I am able to do so again. The rog[ue?]
gallery into which you will be put is an assembly of reasonably go[od?]
company. I should like to add to it, besides yourself, Holmes but [have?]
not yet found a suitable picture. Hardy made the observation which [has?]
escaped me, “that your friend Darwin does not seem to be there.” I[f I?]
can find a picture of Darwin, I shall round off the gallery with h[im.?]
I have followed some of your progress from the articles in th[e?]
Journal about you. I also read somewhere quite recently that Griff[in?]
Bell felt that his greatest accomplishment to date was the creati[on?]
your office which of course gave me great pleasure to read.

It is astonishing to me to discover that I am becoming a corp[orate?]
lawyer, although an odd sort of one I suppose. It is also pleasant
and a bit surprising, to discover that I am enjoying the practice
law.

As ever, [handwritten]

Ron [signature]

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