For several years Pound had been seeking an opportunity to meet George Santayana the Spanish philosopher and former lecturer at Harvard who since the 1920s had lived in Italy. Santayana's secretary and assistant, Daniel Cory, had been seeing Pound on and off at Rapallo since about 1930 and it was no doubt as a result of his remarks that Pound felt the desire to arrange a meeting. When he made his first attempt in 1937 Santayana was busy and did not want any distractions; in July he wrote, ‘For heaven's sake, dear Cory, do stop Ezra Pound from sending me his book’, and a few days later, after he had been apprised of the philosopher's attitude, Pound let the matter rest; but on 4 January 1939, while on a visit to Rome, he called on Santayana at the Hotel Bristol. ‘He is taller, younger, better-looking than I had expected’, wrote Santayana to Cory the following day. ‘Reminded me of several old friends (young, when I knew them) who were spasmodic rebels, but decent by tradition, emulators of Thoreau, full of scraps of culture but lost, lost, lost in the intellectual world… On the whole we got on very well, but nothing was said except commonplace…’ Santayana mentioned Rimbaud and was pleased when Pound singled out the poem ‘Au Cabaret-Vert’, for this was one of his favourites. Two of the things which impressed him were the great mop of wavy hair and the beard: ‘His beard is like a painter's and his head of hair (is it a wig?) like a musician's.’ In the autumn of 1939 after a holiday at Cortina d'Ampezzo Santayana went to stay at the Hotel Danieli in Venice and on 30 November sent a postcard to Pound at the Hotel Anglo-Americano, via Quattro Fontane, Rome: ‘I have finished The Realm of Spirit and apart from proof-reading shall be free to amuse myself with other things. I had thought possibly of going to Rapallo, with a prospect of seeing you and perhaps getting Cory to go there also … but I shall be glad to see you anywhere.’ This was good news for Pound who in his search for material for his cantos saw Santayana as the man best-fitted to answer his questions about belief and philosophy. In his reply from Rapallo on 8 December he said that having dealt with ‘money in history’ he now had to tackle ‘philosophy or my “paradise”’ and badly wanted to talk with some one who had thought a little about it. There were ‘one or two gropings’ in his Cavalcanti notes and one or two Chinese texts he would like Santayana to consider. He hoped to be in Venice on 26 or 27 December. Santayana sent a postcard to Rapallo on 13 December: ‘I shall certainly be here on the 26th and 27th … But you must not count on my philosophy to answer your questions, because questions are apt to imply a philosophy and don't admit of answers in terms of any other; so that you had better find your answers for yourself. But you might show me some of the beauties of Venice, which I have very likely missed all my life.’