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Letters between Sylvester and Eva, March 1918

March 2, 1918
March 5, 1918
March 14, 1918
March 24, 1918

SBButler Letters, March 1918


[postmarked March 2, 1918]

Dear Sylvester -

I just got a little note this morning from Daido saying she would try and get home this afternoon to me and rest. Our house is a regular conservatory. I got daffies, a sweet pea and a freiza and a pot of wonderful sweet alyssum which she loves so much, for her. I will write more later but I wanted you to know.

Eva.

My eye missed a robin but today I heard one sing.


Camp Devens
Sat. eve., March 2, 1918

Dear Eva,

Do you know the Berceuse from Jocelyn? I have it playing right side of me now on our borrowed victrola. It is such a beautiful thing. I just went out to the dining room and got our only source of music, with the best records, to bring in here and play to myself, while I wrote.

Today I have been lazy, oh, disgracefully so. Of course I can excuse myself by saying it's Saturday and I needed the rest, and so forth, but it doesn't put down the feeling of self-reproach I have just at present. I seem to maintain wherever I go always a reputation as a hard worker, but to-day is one of the days when I feel that I am a gigantic hoax. What do you think?

This morning I spent the morning out in the "pits" or "butts" with my company; that is, they marked the targets out on the rifle range while the other companies shot at them. This imitation sketch will give you some kind of an idea of the way the arrangement is made:

    .        .        .         ## | . |
    .        .        .         ## | . |
    .        .        .         ## | . |
    .        .        .         ## | . |
    .        .        .         ## | . |
    .        .        .         ## | . |
    .        .        .         ## | .<- slides
    .        .        .         ## | . |  and targets
  300yds   200yds   100yds    Bank  Trench 
	       Firing Points

You notice there is a bank leading up to the trench from which the targets are hoisted up and down. This is sufficiently thick so that bullets hitting the bank cannot come thru it & injure men in the trench. The targets are worked up and down on a slide and the men operating them have different kinds of markers to put up for different scores, and a flag to put up in case of a miss. In what is known as slow fire a man fires one shot at a time, and the target is hauled down by the man up in the pit to see whether a hit has been made or not, then it is hauled up again, the proper colored disk put up to indicate the score, and the man back on the firing point for that one particular target fires again. In rapid fire, every man on all the targets is firing at the same time, and must shoot ten cartridges in a certain amount of time; the targets are only up for that length of time. Perhaps you will wonder how it's arranged that the targets know just when to go up & come down; that is taken care of by having a telephone connection between the "pits" & the firing point; all the men are called up at the same time taking their positions at the firing point for their target; the command is given by the range officer "load!", and the telephone operator telephones up to the pits that they are loading, the men there are informed to that effect & get on their marks. Then the range officer calls "Ready on the right?" "Ready on the left?", the officers from the right & left signal "Ready" and then the range officer calls to the telephone operator "Targets up". He communicates that to the pits immediately, the telephone operator then informs the officer in charge who blows a long blast of a whistle, which is a signal for the men to put up the targets; he keeps the time from the time they go up for 1 minute or whatever time is allowed, & when time is up blows another long blast of the whistle which is a signal for the targets to come down immediately. It's quite a sensation to be up there & have the bullets whizz over your head, and know how easy it would be to come up & stick your head out, and secure exemption from further cares & worries of life.

This afternoon I occupied myself in what is known in the Army as "bunk fatigue", in other words, lay down on my bunk and went to sleep, although I did get up about four and got good and busy on a couple of pairs of shoes & leggins that needed considerable polishing. I've spent quite a little of the evening talking to Greene and Spaulding who are the only other officers here to-night.

I think I told you that the Major had been temporarily detached from the Supply Train to go on duty at the Officers' Training School. This has made Lieut. June commanding officer here again, and it's like old times, as we all say. Of course, being two different men, they have different ideas, and the Major no sooner got out of sight than "Pop" began abolishing some of the customs which had been instituted by the Major. "Pop's" ways are more to the liking of most of the officers, as may be evidenced by the heart-deep rendition of "This is the End of a Perfect Day" by the officers of the Supply Train last evening at supper, the end of the first day Lieut. June was again in command of the Train. I doubt very much if the Major will ever come back to us; he would prefer straight infantry work, and before he gets thru at the Officers' Training School, think he will have effected a permanent transfer to an infantry regiment. If this could only work out so that Lieut. June could get a promotion to a Major, & be in command of the Train, everything would be fine, but I personally would prefer to have Major Schoonmaker back than take a chance on any one else except Lieut. June.

I am not at all sure I can do what I am going to ask you about now, for leaves of absence are not expected to be given except over week-ends, for other than reasons of necessity; but I have to ask you, just the same. I have thought of trying to get an extra leave over some week-end, say beginning Thursday noon or night which would let me go down and see you. Last fall & early winter when I kept thinking we would be getting on the move, I had resigned myself that I would probably not be able to see you until after I came back from the Great Adventure across the pond, but we're still here, and I would like to see you. If I could leave here on a Thursday evening, I ought to be able to get to Pleasantville by Friday morning reasonably early, and then would have to leave sometime Sunday to get back here by Monday morning reveille. What do you have to say about it? Now don't hesitate to say, Eva, if along about now would be a bad time for you. I'm writing to find out. I was afraid that perhaps now with Miss Tolbert just back to you after her mother's death, you wouldn't perhaps want to divert attention from her company. Or there might be some other reason. I am going to ask you to let me know just as soon as you get this letter, as it might be this very next week I would suddenly bolt off in your direction. And then of course again I may not be able to secure permission, so I can't ask you to count on me. If I did come down, I am sure I wouldn't have any difficulty finding a place to stay. And whatever week I came, I might have to let you know on very short notice, & if so, I would use the telegraph. I have been trying to talk Deek Spaulding into making a trip to Wilmington, Del., where he is anxious to see friends at the same time I go down your way, if I do; so as to have company. These long train rides, particularly coming back, are not to my taste.

I must say good-night, with the hope that your solitary house keeping is over by bow, and also with the hope that I may get another chance to see you. I wrote Miss Tolbert a note to-night with an expression of sympathy.

Your friend

Sylvester.


[postmark cut off, must be March 3, 1918]

Dear Sylvester,

Daido is back. I didn't know her when she got off the car and walked way up the street in back of her so disappointed that she had not come.

She looks so tall and thin and different in black.

She told me all about her mother dying. It was the doctor's fault and Daido is very bitter about it. The first thing she did when she came home was open her letters and she threw a recent on the table and said, "That's from the man that killed her."

She is so tired too, as there has been much work connected with her setting up things. We certainly have lots of flowers besides all I got she brought home a lovely bunch of violets and a little friend of mine gave me some darling little pussy willows.

Work is getting harder again for the Spring season and then the girl in Camden has left or something anyway I got a lot of her work. I wouldn't mind this extra work at all but it brings me in contact with Mr. Long the Camden manager and I just can't stand him. He's so petty. Sure, I ought to be working now but instead I am taking my recess preparing for complete annihilation when I get a whole book of stenography in a few minutes.

Your picture came this noon. It certainly is a good plain picture, isn't it? Are they all manageable kids - getting up for breakfast and going to bed on schedule as all children and soldiers should. How does one ever manage such a large family anyhow? I told Daido I was going to adopt five white ones and a pigtailed pick-a-ninnie and she said it couldn't be done but it seems to me if seventy more grown up can be managed by one surely six less grown up ought to be easy.

I guess I must close now.

Eva.


Camp Devens
Sun. eve., March 3, 1918

Dear Eva,

I am surely glad to get your letter this afternoon, telling of Miss Tolbert's probable early return. She is no doubt with you now, and how happy she must have been to have returned and found how nicely you had fixed up for her.

I have been working like a Trojan all day. I made up the schedule for the Supply Train to cover the coming week for Lieut. June and finished going over and making general criticisms & suggestions on the Major's book. He dropped in about 5:00 this afternoon, and he & Lieut. June & I went over the proofs, I giving my suggestions. They adopted most of them, and have left me now to work out the details according to my general suggestions, such as where I have suggested a new chapter on a subject not covered, to write it up. I expect to spend most of Monday and Tuesday on it, having secured Lieut. Taylor to look after my company on the rifle range to-morrow.

The mail to-day also brought me bad news, telling me that Sam Sewall, my room-mate at college during Junior and Senior years, died on Feb. 13, of Tuberculosis. I knew it was coming, the end of a long-fought battle against disease, but he was a loyal friend whose going leaves a big vacant spot. It was he who came to visit my classes in Pleasantville about a year ago last November or December, and whom Mildred Burns mistook for my father.

Up to Christmas Day last year, not a man who had ever entered my class at college had ever died - that's out of almost 400 men. The record was broken on Dec. 26th last when Max King was killed in an automobile accident in Texas. Then Sam Sewall was the second on Feb. 13th, and three days later Jimmy Cooper ( James Fenimore II, and great-grandson of the novelist) a captain at Camp Dix died of pneumonia.

This has been a perfect day, especially in the morning; wonderful clear bracing air and a wind. It has come off very cold toward night and to-morrow I guess we'll realize Spring doesn't begin until March 22nd.

Good night.

Your friend, as always

Sylvester.


[Postmarked March 5, 1918]

Dear Sylvester:-

Daido was back just two days and is gone again.

Last night she got a telephone call for her to come up at once as her sister was critically ill and to be operated on today.

She cried all night. She is frightened to death knowing her mother just died in an operation. But Walter, her brother-in-law said he has had two specialists and the local doctor and they all say an operation is absolutely necessary to save Aida's life.

Poor Daido she was just getting on so well in school too. She said yesterday she was so discouraged. The debate had stopped, and none of her classes had gone on with their work except the Seniors and she was quite discouraged and she had been so interested and satisfied with her work this year.

All Sunday night she says she never went to sleep but what she dreamed "when sorrows come they come not single spies but in battalions." I laughed at her and tried to cheer her up and to think this should come. I am so worried.

I s'pose she'll bring little "Bricktop" down here while his mother is in the hospital. We have been wanting him for some time but we would rather have had him at a happier time. The house doesn't seem right without having to scold a boy about wiping his feet and leaving all the dirt on the towels as proof that he has washed. Brick-top is one real boy too. He sure does keep you busy. He is the original "Penrod."

I wonder how long Daido will be gone this time and what will happen while she is gone. I'm so sorry she's so sad.

I have to have some one to scold and Daido isn't here so I'll scold you. What do you mean by falling in brooks and getting all wet? Don't you know that pneumonia is going around and it's awful dangerous. You really ought to be careful tho' because there are lots of people getting it.

This is anuff.

Eva.

[written around the back page margins]

I didn't have room for a P.S. or any more paper but I just received your letter and I would be glad to see you anytime

Daido just called up that she won't be back tonight. The operation is tomorrow.


Camp Devens, Mass.
March 5, 1918.

Tues. eve.

Dear Eva,

And how are you this fine evening? So calm and peaceful you wouldn't ever realize a great battle had gone on at Camp Devens, in the Officers' Quarters of the 301st Supply Train. The silver stream of the fire extinguishers has been going full blast, Andy and Deck Spaulding being the two chief combatants. The two closing features of the struggle were the pouring of a whole pailful of water over Deck's head, followed by Andy's hasty retreat behind the mess room door; Then Deck came out and banged on the mess room door where Andy was peeking thru the key hole, which caused the door knob to hit Andy in the head and "knock him cold", as we say. Which was the end of the struggle. I trust the fire extinguishers will stay in their place for a while now.

I have been spending the lion's share of my time yesterday and today on the Major's book, cutting and pasting and combining and slashing and inserting new material, and generally raising run with it. I am keeping two typewriter men busy with the typing changes & additions to be incorporated in it. To-morrow I hope to get to the chapter which is to be entirely my production "The Training of Supply Train Troops"; perhaps when I see it in print a couple of months later I'll be rather glad not to own it as mine. I hope it will prove to be a valuable book, and that the Major succeeds in getting the government to adopt it for general distribution.

Did I ever tell you about the deserter from my company? Private Howard Sweaton a lanky and ungainly creature from up-York state, a member of my company, went down to Ayer on a pass I issued him Jan. 4th and immediately thereafter disappeared from existence. I got a clue that he had been in Albany but nothing resulted from it even though the Albany police were notified. About two weeks ago I received a telegram from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, stating that he was held there awaiting information as to his status. On the advice of the Division Adjutant, I telegraphed back that he was a deserter, and requested that he be sent here under guard. Today I received a copy of a special order from there which designated a Sergeant to bring him here on March 2nd, so that I am expecting him any day. This means a dickins of a lot of bother with preparations of general court-martial charges, and attendance at trials. He is a peculiar duck; not all there is the current belief. He is absolutely irresponsible and did everything in a rattle-brained manner, and was the worst cry-baby I ever saw - always coming to me with an ailment & some excuse to get out of work. I guess he'll have his medicine coming to him now.

Good-night.

Yours

Sylvester.


Camp Devens
Thurs. eve. Mar. 7/18.

Dear Eva,

Miss Tolbert is surely having her troubles and I am indeed sorry to hear of her further necessary anxiety on account of her sister.

To-day I have been down to Boston. Four companies, or rather, about half the men from four different companies went down to attend the Annual Automobile Show, which we felt would be valuable to them for instructive purposes. Lieut. June & Taylor and myself went down in the Major's closed overland, so that we didn't mind the snow-storm outside. We drove to the North Station where we joined some of the other officers and the men, who came down on the train. The Dodge car agency had arranged to have cars there to take all the men from the station to the exhibition hall, in fact, to have a parade, for we also brought a band along at the request & expense of the Dodge people. I suppose the Dodges didn't like the looks of our Overland, the third car in the parade. The first was that of the Governor of Massachusetts, the second, some of the other officers of the train, the third, the Overland, with Lieut. June and myself, then a long string of cars with all the rest of the men. When we got to the exhibition hall there were a lot of fool moving picture men and photographers taking our pictures. Perhaps they'll appear in Current Events at Nicholas Nickleby's Nickelodeon or whatever the name of the movie house in Pleasantville is. I really truly have forgotten it. The Show was immense, the hall beautifully decorated, and the exhibition interesting. Our especial interest was of course in trucks, of which the exhibition was on a separate floor. We were in there from about one to half past three, then Lieuts. June, Fox, Spaulding & myself went out and got a bite to eat, in fact several bites, & then drove back to camp.

My deserter has returned, and along with my thousand and one other duties, I've got all the red tape of getting him tried to go thru with. I questioned him at some length yesterday, and he allowed as how he didn't know why he went away, also gave me a history of his trip. But I got a letter from Jefferson Barracks, where he was taken after being captured in St. Louis, to-day containing a signed statement from the prisoner to the effect that he left because he wanted to get to France right away. I wonder how he thought he was going to get there going in the direction of St. Louis !

I can't make a Jerseyward trip this week or next; for the weeks following it is too early to predict anything, but surely hope it can be done.

As always,

Sylvester.


Camp Devens
Sunday eve.

March 10, 1918.

Dear Eva,

Winter is with us again. We have had a regular blizzard all day, and I haven't stirred outside except to stand with the company at reveille, as required. In the first hour after cleaning up my room, I read the Sunday newspaper, that first hour being always sacred for that newspaper. Then I went to work on the schedule for the Supply Train for the coming week - I am acting as Lieut. June's adjutant while he is acting commander, in addition to my company duties, and so help him out with things like that. From about ten or half past until supper time I worked on the Major's book; worked over his chapter on matters to be looked after in the movement of troops in the morning, and pored over a number of orders & material for additional data which should go in. I spent the afternoon in writing the additional chapter which I suggested "The Training of Supply Train Troops"; but wasn't able to quite finish before the Major came down at supper time to go over the whole thing with me. He only had time to go over them hurriedly as he is now a very busy man, jumping into the middle of that Officers' School, and he authorized my sending it to the printer as soon as I finished up the last bit. The printer will go crazy, I'm thinking, when he gets his proof back, all cut up and shifted 'round, wording changed, additions put in and everything.

I must drop a line to Mother and then get some sleep against a tremendously busy day which is ahead of me to-morrow.

Yours

Sylvester.


Bricktop 3/10/18
Sunday
8:45

Dear Sylvester ­

Harold has arrived also the excitement. Not a drawer, desk, or closet has escaped him. We took a walk down to the bay this morning to get up an appetite, as he said, and believe me we did. We came back to a delicious breakfast of sausage, hot cakes, grape fruit, oatmeal, oatmeal cookies and marmalade - and we sure did justice to it. We learned that it is very easy to climb up the side of the house, and in thru the kitchen window, incidentally getting covered with red paint. We were also introduced to the sable robed, white booted Princess Narcissus Eucalyptus Erudition Eradicator, and she graciously deigned to drink milk from our chins.

Reds and I took a long windy walk out to my house to get Frank. I lost my hat twice and Reds' his at least a dozen.

Frank came down and in the afternoon he and Reds borrowed a table cover and we saw them with it fastened on two poles sailing up the Boulevard in a wagon. They said they had a grand time and I guess they did, the table cloth has not been returned to date.

Reds cut his finger this afternoon and bled about a quart, fell down the cellar steps twice, up the attic steps once and has proved, quite to our satisfaction, that the cat could eat two bananas and fourteen oatmeal cookies without one bit of trouble.

We arose this morning at 5 to an original tune of "Arise, sweet maid, arise, arise, Arise, ARISE, WAKE UP !" What will it be tomorrow, I wonder. Alas! That the peace and privacy of two old maids should be so invaded so rudely shattered.

The last night I was down to Somer's Point was a wonderful night and I wrote a teency weeny verse about it. Perhaps it will give you some idea of the night.

----------------------

The fragrance of salt was in the air
And the sea breeze lured to places fair
As my slow feet wandered along the shore
The sandy barren shore
And the foam like sprite
In the white moonlight
Danced to the song of the waves
The mysterious song of the waves
About my feet 'twas a whisper lay
But loud from the rocks far, far away
Came the deep base tones of old Neptune
The resonant tones of the god, Neptune.

 

You know I just sort of (awful expression) expected you last week but you didn't come. I suppose you had too much. I had bushels to do too on account of that girl at Camden getting married and leaving but I think I am getting caught up now.

Well I suppose I better stop.

Eva,


Camp Devens
Tues. eve. Mar. 12, 1918.

Dear Eva,

I have spent two densely occupied days (you see, "busy" has gotten to be a time-worn adjective, as I always seem to think I've been in that state when I rehearse the past, recent or remote). Yesterday morning Lieut. June hadn't come back so I had to see that things went right in the main office; Lieut. Anderson went away on a Government trip Saturday, and I had agreed to look after some things for him (he's Supply Officer for the Train); I had work on the book to do, and I couldn't entirely neglect my own company, so between the four the morning went away without my getting into any mischief. Lieut. June finally got back yesterday noon.

This deserter of mine is one grand nuisance. I have to bring the charges against him, and with the charges submit a summary of all the evidence which may be expected on both sides. So in little chinks of time I could get, I have been collecting evidence and finally got the bothersome charges out to-night. For my trouble I don't wish him any bad luck but hope he gets an extra year. Now that charges will be in to-morrow, I won't dare leave the cantonment until the trial comes off, for if I should be suddenly notified that the trial would be next day, some time while I was away, I'd be in a pretty pickle. So I hope the blooming thing is speeded up.

I have forgotten two letters to tell you about a peculiar sunset phenomenon I saw last Thursday dusk, coming home from Boston: a conical shape red glow standing right up from the horizon just like this - [there is a small drawing of a tall inverted "V" coming up from a horizon line]. Did you ever see anything like it? I figure it must have been due to the Aurora Borealis which were unusually bright as the evening came on.

Good night.

Your friend as always

Sylvester.

 


O. J. Hammell Co.'s.,
Pleasantville, N. J.
Thursday, March 14, 1918.
2.30 P. M.

[note - This is a mostly typewritten letter and I will put any changes she made in the color typed or when it reverts to writing in between brackets, such as [RED].]

Dear Sylvester: -

Harold is still with us and we are alive yet. He is a great help. He saves us money, according to Harold. He picked some coal for us on the railroad (carried it home in the pockets of a brand new suit Daido had just bought him) and piled it in our sink as a surprise. We were surprised all right. We have used a whole ten cent can of Dutch Cleaner on the sink with out much effect so far.

The debate is over tomorrow night. Thank heavens! Daido has worked herself just about sick over it. Every night the boys come up until after eleven and practice and it's too much for her. (especially with Harold).

He knows (Harold) where every candy store is, the movies and has made friends with the boy on the corner because the boy's mother manufactures jam to sell. Boys are fond of jam but none so fond as Harold, I'll wager, but Harold is fond of anything in the eating line.

Our door locks with a spring lock and the other day I came home to find I was locked out, and it was pouring rain. Harold had gone out to play and left the key on the table. I found a window unlocked and got in and grabbed a half dozen umbrellas and started out after Harold. I was afraid he had gone up to the High School and worried Daido about being locked out. He wasn't at school.. We went home to find him in the jam. He, too, had known about the open window and had only been away from our jam a minute to visit the jam window. All my worry and grey hairs for nothing. The little red-headed imp I just love him. He saves a clean spot for Daido and one for me to kiss and always keeps them clean as much as he hates water.

I'm supposed to go over to Manney's tonight as she is going to have a little party and she says no [RED] more excuses from me will be accepted. Oh for a dose of ammonia or something in the meantime.

I just had a new ribbon, black and red, put on my typewriter. I don't know why the red for I never have any use for it.

[BLACK] You must be busy this week too ­ only one letter and a short Sunday one at that.

I'm sure Spring has arrived down this way all the pussy willows are purring in the trees as I said to Daido and she says when those I have in the vase commence to purr she is going to drown them. Isn't she cruel?

[HAND WRITTEN] I made so many mistakes on the typewriter I'm not sure you will be able to understand what I have been trying to say but my fingers seem to be stumbling all over themselves.

It certainly is a dull day. Neither rain nor snow and lots of work but not interesting just fill up work and it makes me tired to do it so I've "chucked" it again to suffer for it tomorrow I suppose.

Well I guess I'll stop.

Eva.


[ Another letter with the end missing. It seems to have been started on Saturday, March 16, 1918 and finished on Monday the 18th ]

Dear Sylvester

Well the debate is over and we lost 70 to 72. I think we did wonderfully well for the time we had to practice.

The sun is up, the birds are out and little buds breaking thru, but still the snap of winter has dared to come back.

It's an ideal day for a long walk. Say up to the Manor or down the Sunset Trail to English Creek.

I believe I am doomed to take Harold sightseeing this afternoon, altho I am not quite sure as when we were coming home from Ocean City he deserted me for Miss Risley and I have not quite made up my mind to forgive him as yet.

Mr. Penhollow brought us, Mr. Wh---- [chewed up by silverfish], Mr. & Mrs. Corson, Armenia, Daido, Harold and I, over from Ocean City to Somers point in his car in time to catch the 10:17 Suburban as no Shore Fast left Ocean City until 12:15 and we took the car home from their while Mr. Penhollow went back for his family.

What do you do when you have a list of about a thousand things that absolutely must be done at once and it's positively impossible to do more than ten of them?

I have been getting out "ads" for the papers all morning and it's some job. I like it tho. They were to go out yesterday but Mr. Hammell forgot to tell me in time as he had lost his memory - or memory pad, rather. So I worked and I really had to work too but now they are all written, and typewritten and stamped. Thank Heavens!

Harold isn't so fond of Jersey since he has learned that Jersey breeds freckles as he is afraid of getting more. As if he could!

I meant to get this off in the noon mail Saturday but Mr. Hammell told me I might go early as he knew I had been working extra hard and in my hurry I forgot it until I was at the post office but now I can make it a real long letter because lots has happened over Sunday.

We worked hard all morning to reduce our home to some semblance of order again and we did.

Then I had to make Harold some fudge and it was really good. I made one pan plain chocolate and the other really Hemlock Manor walnuts and raisins. It was needless to attempt to save any for any other purpose than Harold as he is an irresistible force when it comes to jams and .


[note - no date or envelope, but it seems to fit in about here. It is probably March 19, 1918]

Dear Sylvester -

I had to stop my letter rather hurriedly yesterday as Mr. Millian came in to see me about an "ad" for his paper and he had no sooner gone than the man from the Camden "Courier" came in and the man to fix my typewriter followed him, so I was quite busy.

Harold went home yesterday and I certainly do miss him, so does Daido. Poor dear she was so blue this morning I just hated to leave her.

Our alumni Association is actually formed at last and now you will hear of something doing in Pleasantville.

It certainly has been spring like the last two or three days.

Next Friday the play "Mr. Bob" is to be repeated by the High School students for the benefit of the Red Cross.

I guess Dr. Whitney is getting it all around. #3 School was closed this winter and the protests were many, an investigation committee is to take up where are the $3000.00 worth of books bought last year and the $2000.00 and over this year. We gave Miss Ryder and Miss Bryant the money to get our picture last spring, just before Christmas they turned it over to him and I suppose it was with that money stolen [over] vacation, but at any rate we have written him asking him to forward a check at once as we have decided to buy it ourselves.

I'm "jumpy" this morning. That is my mind won't think two thoughts an the same thing consecutively. I guess I've gotten Spring Fever again and hard. It was so nice yesterday I found an excuse to go to the printers at 10:40 and incidentally stay out until my noon hour was past. It isn't so nice out today so perhaps I can manage to last the day thru.

(I lasted)

Harold has written down asking for the recipe for my oatmeal cookies and as I have made all the ones he had "out of my head" as he calls it, I feel quite flattered and am now going to risk Hot Cross buns. [note - she must have had the Red Cross on her mind, as she originally wrote that, then crossed out "red" and wrote in "hot".] I packed him a jolly big bag of cookies, raisins, apple, and candy and he said "By some miracle there were a few cookies left for mother and she wants Eva to pull the recipe out of her head and send it to her (his mother) so she can make me some when she gets well."

We are going to send him a box of jam, cookies, and easter eggs for Easter. I suppose he will be pleased. I certainly do miss that little red head and that ever busy little tongue.

The honey suckle on my way to work has started to leaf. I saw a scarlet maple in blossom yesterday. I suppose Hemlock Manor is just wonderfully beautiful now.

Easter will soon be here. It is expected that Atlantic City will be crowded this year.

Today is Friday and I am just finishing this letter.

I saw some chick-weed today. My first real outside Spring flower. It seems just yesterday that winter was here. I was surprised the other day when I saw leaves on my honeysuckle and more than surprised today at the chick-weed. "Time sure do fly"

I'll stop now it's most time to go back to work.

Eva.


A year from the Hoop-Skirts

Dear Sylvester,

At last we have gone and done it. We have bought a fire place for Bricktop. What tho it is a portable gas one its most as good as a real one. So cheery and warm you can spread a rug down or a quilt down in front of it and pretend its a silver fox rug and dream and see flame pictures and imagine the little gas flames are floating way away some where and you can say "Coming back Are you coming back." You can read by its glow too and I lay on my silver fox rug and read fairy stories and other stories that were not fairy stories to Daido, and she lay snug in bed and dozed and listened and dozed again. We can arrange it, too, very quickly in any room we want and it really is quite wonderful.

We went down to Somers Point again yesterday and out by some new wood paths. It was lovely out.

Last night I woke up to find it raining and I consoled myself with the thought that it was only an April shower a little bit early, but it rained and it snowed and it hailed and it blowed and did lots of other things it shouldn't but now it is almost noon and it has cleared again. I was so worried about the little early spring comers, but I don't believe they are hurt very much if any. I hope not.

Daido and I have the box all ready for Harold. One egg has "Bricktop" on it, another "Carrots", and another "Reds", I mean a candy pig has "Reds" on it. He'll want to eat me alive I know when he sees them but suppose he'll be content with eating the eggs as viciously as he would eat me.

Miss Higbee has gotten into the plot now to remove Dr. W. W. W. She has brought forward a note which he wrote her when she first came which practically demands she received his attentions or lose her position. I wonder what the balm to her wounded feelings there is in presenting it to one side of a political faction, now. Seems to me that if satisfaction was wanted it should have been taken somewhat over a year ago.

I'm awful worried about Daido. She doesn't want to do anything but sleep and she complains of terrible pains at the base of her brain. She looks terrible too and every one is telling me about it. Wouldn't it be terrible if she should get typhoid now after all her trouble. I wish I could get her interested in something.

Miss Quimby leaves for France today.

We expect to start a little garden soon. I expect we won't get to raise another bountiful crop at Hemlock Manor this year.

It's been way over a week since I got a letter and I suppose you are up to your ears in work - I was going to say again - yet.

I believe I have nothing more to do this afternoon than get out about fifty letters so I suppose I better start.

Eva.


Camp Devens,
Sun. eve. Mar. 24, 1918.

Dear Eva,

Why will folks like this Butler person wax refractory and fail to write even his best friends, for a long time after he knows he ought to write and wants to? I can plead no real thing except for forgiveness; I could say "head over heels in work", grown moldy with time, even though doubly true at present; I could say "So tired at the end of the day I can't do another thing", which might be half true. But the whole case is against me - thru life I have been fortunate enough to have friends, and you as a very near one; to my friends I want to be known as loyal, as I ever mean to be; I have run the risk of making myself appear otherwise.

I have run over that week's signal time, too; you will think I am started overseas, and will be disgusted to find now that I am still here.

I have been busy; I have been used up; now I have humbled myself; and please let me go.

If you ever see advertised in passing a motion picture house, under the Current Events bill, "Calisthenics at Camp Devens" or some similar title, you can't afford to miss it, for the Ancient and Honorable S. B. Butler is there with his troops, over in left background standing behind Co. C, 301st Supply Train, his crack outfit. Every morning at present the Supply Train goes up to Headquarters of trains, where, with the Ammunition Train, Sanitary Train, and Military Police, they go thru calisthenics to music. It makes quite a sight. Following the calisthenics the whole outfit is marched around the drill ground at double time a few dozen times. This last Thursday there was some moving picture man taking it all in, which is the cause for my wheeze at the beginning of this paragraph.

I have completed this week the plans for a thing in which I have been much interested for some time - I don't know whether you will be interested in it or not, but it will show the kind of thing you have to be thinking up for the good of your organization - at least I hope it will prove to be of value. This thing is what I choose to call a Company First Aid Service. To start it, I bought from the Company Fund about $60.00 worth of standard medicinal accessories, - iodine, quinine, aspirin, unguentive, mentholatum (preventative against frostbite), iodoform, collodion, bandages, absorbent cotton, adhesive plaster, etc. With them I am buying a number of individual bottles and tin boxes; and then I am going to have these filled with the different materials for each chauffeur to carry, and have on hand for any emergency. In addition in each of the three sections of the company there is to be a special First Aid non-commissioned officer, who will carry a larger packet with certain things we don't need such a large quantity of, and which each chauffeur does not carry; and whose special duty will be to assist in first aid measures when any man of his section needs it. At the head of the organization, I have put Serg. Fernald, my company clerk, who will keep the main stock, and thru whom all such materials will be issued. Everyone who has found it necessary to use some of the material will be required to make a report to him of the fact, together with a statement of the cause for which used. The Sergeant will keep a record, for my perusal at anytime, and this record I shall take around at company inspections, if we get a chance to have any overseas; require the men to show their packets & contents at inspection and call them to account where part of their stock is gone & no report has been made. At any rate some such check will have to be made to see that they are careful not to lose it, and don't use them extravagantly. I have felt that when we get into the field across the water - that seems so far away - we would be oftener far from medical stations of any kind and could have to provide for ourselves; and as I say, have taken no little interest in getting this thing together.

Wasn't last night, the 23rd, the anniversary of our moonlight trip to Hemlock Manor, the first time when Miss Tolbert was with us; when we went up garret and found the hoop-skirts, and went down cellar and found it was full of water; and walked over in the field near the little frog hole. And I saw something - I can't tell you now - and asked myself a question; perhaps it will be answered some day. It was right by the old swing gate - garden gate, I'd call it, only it is in front of the house.

These are beautiful Spring days. We have had a perfect week. It must be going to be an early spring, for I have almost discarded my overcoats now when last year two months later than this I was shivering even in one at Plattsburg.

Midnight + 21. Good-night.

Your sincere friend

Sylvester.


Camp Devens
March 29, 1918.. Friday eve.

[note - From things said in this letter, it seems we are missing a letter from Gram here]

Dear Eva,

I had a letter all written, sealed, & stamped for you last night but it never went. I was half asleep when I wrote it and spent about five pages telling about my grievances against certain people around me, and had scarcely anything good to say about any one or anything. Hence the letter is in my fancy wastebasket (formerly occupied by Hood River apples), and being, I think, in a better humor to-night, believe I can do better.

These last three days have been occupied all thru the cantonment by what is known as General Police, in other words, spring house-cleaning, or more appropriately, grounds cleaning. The Supply Train grounds show a wonderful improvement, and present a very attractive appearance, with whitewashed stones used for borders around what might be the front lawn of each building. My company barracks are on a hill with rocks sticking out of it, and is hard as can be to make look like a real place, particularly as I'm not a born engineer or landscape gardener. But it presents now a much altered appearance from what it did.

The first of the week I enjoyed the first cold I have had while here. It got me into a good fighting mood, and by the end of Tuesday I had a grudge against everybody, starting with a scrap with Spaulding on Monday noon over a certain unjust remark made by the latter - full grievances stated in letter which didn't go. Wednesday I began to get over the cold, and with the reaction from that and from the bellicose state of mind, I went thru a loose-jointed, silly mood, - as shown by my evening indulgence in a talcum powder, shaving powder, salt & pepper fight - isn't that full of possibilities; at least one recovers sooner than from a fire extinguisher fight, which I always discreetly avoided.

Lieut. June has received a promotion to a Captaincy, which we are all mighty pleased to see. It seems naturally very strange to say Captain June, but I presume we shall get used to it before long. An order just came down to us to-night relieving Major Schoonmaker permanently from the Supply Train; so he will never be back to us. Now if they only would put "Pop" up one more notch, and make him Major, and in permanent command here, everything would be fine.

Won't I please? No. I must be stony-hearted, and as for endeavoring to arouse curiosity and make you show it, it was farthest from my thoughts; I just grew reminiscent, and what I did see has left such a lasting impression I never shall forget it. No, Eva, I can't tell you any more now, except that it was of transcendent beauty. You have me curious too; some where you keep track of dates, for you had "a year since the hoop-skirts" to head your Sunday's letter; and that isn't all that you have remembered lately. No doubt you are right as to Miss Tolbert's having been up to the Manor once before that evening, though I don't seem to remember being on such a tramp.

You are indeed having quite a time with my old friend Whitney. I should say decidedly, with Miss Tolbert, that Miss Higbee was about a year late in volunteering the information she did. It was known to a good many last year, for it got as far as myself. Whitney was a queer gazook.

Well, I'm getting as sleepy as I was last night, and I'll start writing about more fights if I don't stop.

Good-night

As always,

Sylvester.


Camp Devens, Mass.
Sun. eve. Mar. 31/18.

Dear Eva,

These are beautiful Spring days we are having. I imagine you must have stirred out this afternoon. You should have been with me taking the Massachusetts hills on High with the flivver, that is, if you would like to have your hair a nice silver grey. My brother was with me, and was foolish enough to worry just because I almost ran into a fence, and another time tried to pass a car and put the brake on just in time to prevent a side collision. Why let little things like that bother one? I say, "Well, I'm always a lucky devil," and drive on. He would ask me, for the sake of a certain well known deity, not to take the corner so speedily, but I'm sure he was thinking of himself. However he was able to take nourishment in the form of half a chocolate cake on his return. Today was muster-day, for which everyone has to be present, but Capt. June didn't make a very long ceremony of it, and Ralph and I got an early start (9:00 by the clock, 8:00 by the sun) for Worcester, where we went to see our cousins, the Coes. It has been my first good opportunity to get experience at the Ford, for I have been driving under all conditions today, good road, bad roads, city, country, where there no people, and where there are lots of people.

Did you stay up until exactly 2:00 A. M. to turn your clock ahead last night? Won't this be great, fooling ourselves that we're getting up at a quarter to six when its really a quarter to five? I wonder who first conceived that ridiculous scheme. Of course. I suppose as a means to an end, it's simpler to tell folks to turn their clocks ahead that to tell them to get up an hour earlier, but I should hate to admit that I would have to turn my clock ahead to get up earlier. In other words the American people goes on record as fooling itself for a period of six months to make itself get more daylight. It is to laugh.

I must say good-night

As ever

Sylvester.


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