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SBButler Letters, October 1918
de La Rochefoucauld family photo
Today and to-night we are having a certain reminder that there is such a thing as winter not far off; also a most welcome one that the shindy over here will not last forever. The Bulgarian truce, announced in to-day's papers, no doubt is the forerunner of startling events, and much more may have occurred before you are reading this. The resignations of the German Chancellor and Foreign Minister coincident with Bulgaria's defection must indicate that things in Germany are in very unstable condition. I hope this general Allied offensive biting at them everywhere can keep up till winter and that the Italians will begin soon a nibble over the Italo-Austrian front.
Freddies bought a couple of oil stoves and installed one up here to-night, and he and Pop are fighting over it. Pop is no friend of cold weather. "This is a terrible night in the trenches" he is just saying. I hope you're thinking of us in our discomfort, with the ground for a bed, and a plank for a pillow.
Good-night. I love you, dear.
Good morning to the dearest girl in the world.
You've heard how bad pennies always come back. Well, the Aching Void has become the Bad Penny! He is just back temporarily, on his way from one place to another, but he has stayed over two days and his presence is always ominous. I think he's trying too hard to get back and it's got me worried. I would like to see some of the insides of the matter. He is a clever politician.
Tonight I had occasion to go out to see an officer at the chateau which has been turned over to our general and his staff. I didn't see very much of it, but it was quite the real thing. I went thru an old banquet hall with fine oak furniture, mantels, wainscoting, etc.; wonderful settees and a giant old fireplace; and an old suit of armor; and went thru low passageways and down dark winding stairs; in fact, almost got lost on the way out. I think officers are invited to visit it at any time, and probably we'll go out and look thru it some Sunday.
It's now midnight, and I've got to get up at 4:00 or there abouts. So, you see, it's almost time I went to sleep.
All my love dear,
We got up all of us in this billet very early this morning and went off by motor on a disagreeable errand, from which we returned about the middle of the evening. We have been about a hundred miles in all thru the best looking farming country I've seen. Except for the hedgerows between each field it looks very much like New England landscape! And along the road there was frequent opportunity to get broad expanses of land in view. Then too, the long lanes of poplars along so much of the road were very much of an ornament. Altogether it was a very pretty ride.
I wonder if you know what happened two years ago to-day. I'm beginning anniversaries all over again to-day, and will not bother you with repetitions. For two years ago to-day we first saw each other, and you introduced yourself to me on a little sheet of paper passed out to you and the others of my illustrious History class. Little did I dream what was in store for me, before you crossed my threshold that now eventful morning. I hope the third Oct. 3 which comes around in our lives may see us together forever.
We made up for yesterday morning on this, and now I'm beginning the day's work about time for you to be turning off the alarm clock.
Lots of Love, Sylvester
301st Supply Train<-- Supposed to put that in every
American Expeditionary Forcesletter but usually forget
This evening I have been hearing for just a little while in private conversation some interesting anecdotes from a French captain. The ones stationed for some time 13 months, I believe, in the sector west of Verdun where the Americans made their big success in the recent big drive. He was stationed where he could see Mount Faucon, a very strong place on a hill, which the newspapers have told you the Americans captured on their first day. It was a place thought almost impregnable at one time and the French tried more than once to get it while he was there, though they knew it was of not much use to attempt it and, as on all the front for so long a time, just spent his time worrying the Germans as much as he could. At one place the trenches of the opposing armies were only 40 yds. apart, and one day some Boches hoisted their flag at a point in their trench. So at night the captain went out with four men, captured the machine guns which were nested right behind the flag, turned them on their own gunners, then planted the French flag in the German trench before returning to their own.
There are a number of French officers here in various capacities with the American troops, and all speak excellent English. That's part of the qualifications which give them the detail of a military attache.
Good-night, dear heart. A world full of love to you.
To-night we have an extra hour to sleep because the hand of time goes back once more and we regain that little hour we lost out of our lives between March 31 and April 1. I believe that in America it changed back Oct. 1, didn't it? but here it was not until to-night.
It has been brought most vividly to my attention to-day, the spirit of saving everything for some kind of use in our army. Almost nothing need be waste. A big order came out this morning - which I spent half the morning digesting - directing in detail how bones, grease, fats, burlap bags, flour sacks, tin cans, used automobile tires, and any number of things should be collected, treated, or prepared for turning into a Salvage Depot. We are directed to save even the torn flour sacks and waste cloths of any kind, all of which can be made very useful at the Print shop. Who would ever think of that? This morning I tried to reduce the order to lowest terms so that short understandable notices could be put up at various places around our mess hall and the company bulletin boards with the watchword "SAVE EVERYTHING - DESTROY NOTHING" at the top and bottom, and also taken steps to get the saving habit into immediate operation in the organization. It's not a bad habit to acquire.
A Good-night. I love you.
A leaden-skied Sunday. Perhaps the long-threatened rainy season is beginning with us again. Good day & lots of love -- Sylvester
Did you ever suppose that generals had hobbies, and especially could you expect some to have mushrooms for a hobby? I think they must be our general's specialty. The Major and I were out at his chateau this afternoon, and while we were sitting at the gigantic fireplace with one of the officers of his staff, the general himself came in with a paper bag full. Then he went up to his room and got some mushroom charts he had and brought them down to compare, and see that he wasn't getting toadstools for himself.
Our cook had a funny experience yesterday with one of the local photographers, which is going to have a funny ending, too, tomorrow or next day. He has grown a big mustache since he got to France, and it accentuates his unmistakable foreign appearance. Well, he got into the photographer's store, and friend photo-man got immediately excited, and grabbed some papers he had out of his hand, threw them on the floor, and then ranted and tried to search him. That was a bit too thick for Cookie and he started naturally to protest. When he protested, the photo-man thought that surely meant he was a Boche and he called him one. So Cookie went up to the police station and I guess before he got thru the matter went about to the mayor. At any rate to-day we got a notice from one of the French military attaches with our troops that if soldier Piranian would go to the photographer's with his immediate commanding officer at the latter's convenience, he would receive an apology. So tomorrow or next day if Cookie wants to I'll take him around with a little preliminary work on my dictionary.
Today's papers have the news of the big peace bid of the Central Powers. It doesn't look to me at present as though it promised much, but still it shows clearly the inevitable way things are going. The finish is on it's way. The sooner the quicker - it must be at least safe to say that.
Take good care of yourself.
Lots of love and good-night.
Good-morning, sweetheart. Lots of love again.
I have been thrown "on my own" for fair to-night, meaning my own capabilities at the French lingo, in this case; for Fox and I have been up to call on the Sous-Prefet, and as Fox knows less French than I, the burden of conversation was mostly mine. Usually Fred Leviseur is with us, then he does all the French-talking, and the rest of us don't try. It's a good thing to have to. It really isn't hard to hold an interesting conversation even with the little French I can speak and it must be that the fact that you have to think harder makes you more intent and alert.
The poor gentleman is always glad to have the American officers come to see him, and is, I know, especially fond of Major June. He was telling me to-night how he wanted "Major June and his children" (that's us) to consider his house just like our home.
The big peace bid of the Central Powers looks if anything more encouraging to-day, it would seem, that it looks more as though they were ready to talk business on our terms. On the face of it, Austria is ready to do anything to quit, but I don't dare yet believe that our enemies are ready to come the whole way. It doesn't seem possible. They want to save what they can before the inevitable end, which they now see as something that is natural. There are great possibilities in the situation but we've got to be wary.
Lots of love.
I just bet all my September letters are 8/-/18. I just noticed how I was dating.
I have just returned from Dorcas' and my hands are still cold - hence the terribler than usual writing.
"Tricia's" daddie did die last night. I'm so sorry.
I took the kiddies for a walk in the woods this noon and we found some ghost flowers, a turtle, some acorns, and I showed them how the sleeping plant went to sleep, how the little milkweed fairies danced away on the breeze, and how the little leaves were putting on their dresses of red and gold as they were going on a long journey with the wind.
One little girl brot me some snapdragons and I let one dragon open his mouth and bite off all their noses. They certainly did enjoy it.
Dorcas' brother, George, has arrived in England. He went thru Westminster Abbey and seems to be enjoying himself.
I'm still not poisoned and feeling no terrible ill effects.
It is rather late Dearest, so I'll say I love you, send you three kisses and whisper goodnight my bestest Boy.
PS. Please don't work too awful terrible hard.
The Senior Class gave a box social for the benefit of the Athletic Association tonight. I went up with Daido and Dorcas. We stayed about an hour or until so much noise was made as the boxes were being auctioned off that my head almost split.
Dorcas and I danced awhile. The High School certainly has a fine orchestra. There is so much spirit in school this year, too, it does one good to see it.
I was out for another walk with the children today. We certainly had a nice time. We went down a new road and came out to a cat-tail pond. There were acres and acres of reeds and a rickety old one board walk wound in and out around them and finally ended in a tiny pond and an old boat.
It is way late. I love you.
I am alone.
Forna is at a Fair in Trenton, and Daido is to a teacher's meeting.
I'd rather like to have some one to talk to tonight. I wish I knew lots more than I do and could really know children better and life better and lots of things. A teacher certainly should know lots more than I ever dreamed. Children are so queer. They frighten me sometimes, they say such queer things.
Most of my children are just so real I love them but I am afraid for some and I feel so helpless sometimes. I'll do my best tho - it's wonderful to think you are really helping someone to become a good man or woman but I think sometimes I am not able to give them all that is due them and in the right way.
I really want to get them to learn what is nice and how to enjoy it. When they gather leaves for me I have them tell me the names of the leaves before I will accept them and yesterday I had them paste leaves on cords and then I put them up in the back of the room. We call it our leaf board and I quite like the idea I want them to enjoy the out of doors and the good things of life.
Even down in my grades I have some who are regular heathens - who use swear words far worse than those hurled at an innocent dog on the Hemlock Manor Road, and even worse. I hardly know how to meet the situation but I suppose a remedy will suggest itself and then Daido is going to help me.
Whenever I feel lazy or helpless I just think how you work and how good and wonderful you are. I love you so.
I won't talk "shop" no more. I get paid tomorrow, I feel like exclaiming "Thank Heavens" but don't dare.
I'm tired, dearest, so I'll kiss you good night.
School closed today because of the Influenza epidemic - not that it has broken out to any remarkable extent in our school but that the schools are being closed everywhere.
It was rather a relief because yesterday when I gave each of the kiddies their milkweed fairies I never dreamed that the kiddies would expect so much of them - such as the fairies bringing wheels, victrolas etc, and leaving them under pillows.
We had to go for our checks to one of the Board of Education member's house and finally went down to Bargaintown Pond. We ate our lunches and then walked up along the meadow - startling a wild duck and finding lots of pleasant things.
It is rather stormy tonight and I am afraid there is going to be quite a rainy season.
I love you.
I had rather a cold so went to the doctor's. He said not to worry as it was nothing at all and I had to do lots of insisting before he would give me any medicine. He didn't want to as he said I could throw it off but I didn't want to take any chances.
Daido, Miss Stevens a high school teacher and I rode over to Somers Point this afternoon. We wander up the beach to Fishermen's Point and gathered lots of bittersweet, partridge berries, autumn leaves and all kinds of flowers.
There was a terrible powder plant explosion at Perth Amboy last night. We could feel the shock way down here thruout the night and even the day. It is burned out now I hear and already plans are being rushed to build a new one.
I love you. Goodnight
I surely didn't mean to hold your letter over three days but I didn't have a single penny stamp.
It rained hard all morning but this afternoon the sun came out and Forna and I went Atlantic to get some fresh air.
We went to see Dorcas and she sent us up on the deck and had the porter tuck us in the comfy cozy steamer chairs with the dandiest warmest blankets and we just sat in the breeze and enjoyed the sea, the sky and the boardwalk. After we left Dorcas we wandered up to the Inlet and Manney's. She played for us - Chopin's "Etude", "The Music Box", and the "Prelude". I enjoyed it very much.
We saw a splendid sunset from the Inlet and a magnificent thunderstorm from Manny's house.
It is getting late so I'll say goodnight.
I love you.
I has been raining dreadful hard all morning and I haven't been up to the post office yet but think I will go now.
I love you.
My own dear Eva,
There was a batch of mail in this week but the officers didn't seem to figure in on it at all. My mail clerk got a letter dated Sept. 16, yesterday, but my last is Sept. 2, and as with most of the officers. That 's the way things are apt to go. It does seem a long while since I have heard from my little sweetheart. I get lonesome lots of times and read some of my collection of letters from you, and that helps out a lot. The last time I went home was about June 10th, and I have all your letters since then in my trunk over here, and hope I shall never lose them.
John Achorn got a promotion to a 1st Lieutenancey today. I was surely glad of it, for he surely has deserved it a long, long time.
You are more than the whole world to me, dear Sweetheart. I can see too, the ray of light leading to the time, not very far distant, when you and I shall live and love together till the end. Good-night dear.
You did give me a big surprise to-day. I am more glad than I can tell, Sweetheart, that you had the opportunity to take the school. I know you will succeed with it, and hope you will continue to like as much as you show you did with your first enthusiasm. It must have been very sudden for you, to come back to Pleasantville and find that you were going to teach school the day after next... Your letter is very interesting, about your first days there.
I have been working a great part of the evening by folding lantern light in a brand new office we have. I'll tell you about it to-morrow.
Dear Eva, I love you.
Good-morning, dear. I think I'll get a little time later in the day to write more. S.
My expectations haven't come true for I've been kept busy all day and all evening. We just got our freight from the States today, which we last saw exactly 3 months ago. We had given it up for lost and as a matter of fact are short a number of boxes. I put a few of my own things in the Hdqrs Co. boxes such as rubber boots, shoe polish, Lux washing powder, which I am surely glad to recover. I also had an old gray sweater there which I have worn for at least 12 years, and so have a sort of sentimental attachment for it. I recovered it to-day. I have been busy during the afternoon sorting out the Headquarters stuff saved - lots of books, forms, etc. The books are many of them all moldy from dampness.
It's funny how my letters come - of course everybody's the same, probably you, too. Yesterday I got the first letter after you got back to Pleasantville, you know, with your big surprise and your first day or two of teaching. This noon a letter following that, and one from Philadelphia mailed on the way back, and one from Hartford; to-night I got the other letters you wrote while you were still up at Rocky Hill. I got the first letter that's come from Mother for some time to-night, too, written just after you left there. She did enjoy your visit so much, sweetheart, and I am very happy that you made it, and had a good time.
President Wilson has answered the German peace bid in the only possible way to-day, and surely the world will look with breathless interest the next few days to see what Germany is going to do about it. In the meanwhile the armies at the front are putting some real forceful arguments. Things are going our way, and if the Germans don't come to our terms now, they are coming nearer to them every day. I wish we might see an uproar from within that would get rid of their Kaiser and his government. It would be a great blessing to the German people and the world.
I do like to think of you in that little school of yours. How those children must love you! I know somebody else right behind this pencil who loves you, too. Guess who.
Lots of love and a good-morning kiss. Thinking of you always.
Some more letters to-day and I am spoiled again. For three or four days the mail flows in and then shuts down for another week or more. I do bless those three or four days. Two letters today, one about your day with the hurt and sick children, and the bellicose mother you smiled away. You're all right! I can see you're getting on . The other letter had the rose form our garden and it is very nice and rich - and thank you dear.
I had a letter from Ralph to-day, too, which has surely made me feel good - written the night before the end of his course at the training school. He had learned he was successful in getting his commission. I am tremendously glad to learn it, you can bet.
Pop and Fred have gone away for the balance of the week, so I am boss for a little while. It has kept me going pretty steadily all afternoon and evening. Just before coming home I dropped into the Officer's Club as we frequently do most days and looked at the big war front map, fixed up with thread and pins to map out the line from day to day. It's a most interesting way to follow the progress of units and much more intelligible than reading of names in the communiques. The huge dent in the line between St. Quentin and Cambrai is the most outstanding feature at present. It has been a great fall.
Exactly midnight, and you're just starting the evening, aren't you? Good-night, dearest One, Lots of love and lots of kisses.
I'm in a new home to-night, having left my canopied feather bed for my old faithful bedding roll and a cot under a tent, down on the same field with my new headquarters. We haven't all moved down yet but will be all in our row of tents by Monday. I imagine, my tent isn't much fixed up yet; I have got a floor but that's about all. Tomorrow however, although it is Sunday, I think I'll inveigle a few soldier-carpenters for a slight consideration to fix it all up according to a scheme I have ready to surprise the Major with when he comes back from a trip Monday morning. He and I are going to occupy a tent together; it's really two tents joined, and we'll use the back for sleeping room and front for sitting room.
I was going to tell you about our new headquarters the other day, but I guess I didn't do it; nothing specially interesting, I expect, but it serves to illustrate the ever-active resourcefulness of our own Major June. It is on the same field my tent headquarters were on, for temporary use, while this was being built; and in the same field there is also a gasoline station, repair shop, a rock road, a fine bottom for a big garage, floors for ready-made wooden barracks - all illustrative of the same gentleman's resourcefulness. The gas-station, the repair shop (50x150ft.), the headquarters building, the floor of the barrack have all except for uprights, doors, and windows been made from scrap slab lumber, and even the latter are home-made by our own men. The buildings look like regular log cabins, but they have all the comforts of home, or perhaps better! regular shops or business offices inside. We look quite like business now, and I'm sure it really makes it easier to work while I have to be in the office. I haven't conveyed much of an impression of them; you should really see them to appreciate them.
While talking about the wonders of my building here, the roof just leaked on to one of the other sheets, as I suppose I'll have to admit it isn't waterproof. I wouldn't admit this only I thought you might see the big blotches and think I'd been shedding tears or something.
I got two more of your letters to-day. I'll get Cookie to make me a cup of "fairy brew" from the chocolate you sent me in one of them, and think of a day long ago.
I'm sorry your daddie hasn't been well and do hope indeed that you've heard better news of him.
I have the purple and white pansy for your constant thoughts and it is good of you, sweetheart - the thoughts and the pansy.
I'll be burning lots of candles in my new home. I wonder who it is I always think of when I burn candles and why? But I think of you always anyway; some things bring reminders of one previous memory, some of another. You are everything to me. You are my own dear sweetheart, aren't you?
I love you.
This letter was destined for this morning's mail but it got left in the tent, and on this busy day, though Sunday, it hasn't gotten off.
I got some men who were glad to work on my tent to-day for a consideration, and now have it all walled up with slabs on the inside, the floor and walls papered and the floor carpeted - a carpet of a sandy color with red strips with a thin line of black down each side. They have also made me two washstands, one for me, one for Major June, and to-morrow they will continue with a table, some shelves and a few other comforts. I have bought me today also an oil lamp and a mat for the entrance. It's a lot of fun to fix up a place like this, and it seems a lot better to be down here all together. Major June sent word that he couldn't be back for another day, and I am rather glad, so that I can have everything all complete to surprise him with when he does come back.
Germany's answer came out this afternoon, and I don't quite know what to make of it yet. It's hard to believe they are sincere. It would be a tragedy if the end of this war didn't really settle things on the right permanent basis, but I guess we can trust Pres. Wilson not to get caught in any trap.
I'll say Good-night, Sweetheart, my sweetheart, with lots of love.
Your own Sylvester
A good morning kiss for the girl I love.
I am writing to-night on my new home-made table in my new home-made tent home. The carpenter chaps certainly made a good job of this table to-day, as they have of everything else they have fixed up for me. It has nice planed edges and it would take nothing more than a coat of stain to make you think it came from a first-rate furniture store. I had a little shelf made, extending along the middle of the table, the long way, about 6 inches above it; this divides it so that one side can be the Major's and one mine, and we won't quarrel. It's really such a good table, I'd like to be able to take it back home with me.
I dropped in at the Officer's Club this evening to look at the map of the battle front and it surely is moving eastward rapidly at many places on the line. The rapid captures of Lasu and La Fere seem phenomenal. La Fere was one of the places I lost a bet on with Davis a year ago last spring. San Quentin, which fell a couple of weeks ago, was the other. At that time I bet Davis they would pass inside of three weeks, but you see, some little time has elapsed.
The news from the front does indeed keep very encouraging, a bit more so each day. I do wish I were having a more direct share in it.
I just went out and robbed the pantry of three crullers and I guess they have made me sleepy. Anyway, I am sleepy and a bit chilly and am going to say good-night. I love you always dear.
I am up at Hammell's for a little while helping them out as Jennie is sick, Mr. Wilson is sick, Mr. Collins is sick, Mr. Long's wife is sick and Mr. Yard's wife just died - so you see I am needed badly.
I want my time for studying so am only planning to come up and help out when needed most. I am glad to be able to do them a good turn as they always were more than fair to me.
You will be glad to know, I s'pose, that I got two letters form some one I love this morning. It was really five letters.
Really, dearest, I can't understand why you don't get my letters. I write every day even if I don't mail the letters every day and really I always try and think up enough for a letter to be mailed daily.
Didn't you rally hate to make a dinner of the goose Major June might have allowed to leave muddy tracks on your face had you been asleep?
Are you still at St. Amoundmontrount?
I wish I could pick up the telephone and talk to you now. I'm lonesome for you.
I've just had lots of work to do and now it's time to go home.
I love you.
I am studying tonight in front of our fireplace as it is cold outside. Clear and cold and a tiny moon.
I wrote you short letter this afternoon when I was up helping Hammell's out, so altho that wasn't a long letter I haven't much to say now.
Miss Foreman and I made some more marmalade with lemons and carrots tonight. I s'pose you like carrots but really I think you would enjoy this as it tastes like regular marmalade.
Dearest, I noticed on the outside of the envelopes you didn't put your address any more - just US Army - and not 301st Supply Train. Have there been some new regulations made? I hardly see what harm your address on the outside of an envelope would do.
Goodness, Forna just came and said it was dreadful late - not that she wanted to hurry me to bed, she just wanted the fireplace for the bath room.
I love you much.
I don't want to stop writing - just guess I won't but I better I s'pose.
I love you.
Me again and yet.
I thot you might like another little s'prise extra note today so I am sending you one.
I forgot to tell you yesterday I saw Dad last night and he is looking fine again. I am so glad as I was really worried about him.
The painter and paper hanger are at the house this morning so you can imagine how upset we are. I had said I would come here to Hammell's this afternoon and here I am.
I'm short of work just now as Mr. Hammell isn't in yet but I am not worrying as I have a premonition that when he does come in I will have enough to do.
I have gotten the work pretty well caught up as Jennie wasn't taken sick until Saturday.
I wish you were here now just because I'd like to have you. Letters aren't very satisfactory substitutes and especially when they don't come frequently and are ages old at that.
Are you sure you won't freeze to death in tents? Tenting in summer is ideal. I've never tented in winter altho I have slept out in our yard tent until November.
I never thot I would be having two vacations this year altho I really am trying to study at night and in the mornings.
We rather expected frost last night but it didn't appear so I suppose the farmers are glad for a little more grace.
I love you best in the world.
The paperhanger has gone and I wish you could see how smeared up he left things. We have been scrubbing and cleaning most ever since.
I bought the nicest little library table from the lady next door tonight. It is small but holds about a hundred books and it seems to me I have that many school books.
I saw Dorcas up the street for a few minutes tonight but only for a few minutes.
I picked a little pansy out of the back garden tonight. I might sent it to you. Would you like it if I kissed it first?
I sent you a little more chocolate this afternoon. I am not going to send any candy or anything heavy in letters that I want to reach you at once as I am afraid candy will delay them. Will you let me know please whether the candy is all spoiled when it reaches you or not?
If I send your Christmas present to you on the installment plan you must not open it until Christmas but, of course, if you possibly could come home by Christmas don't let the fact that I have sent your present to you keep you from doing so. I just suppose the only way I'll be able to send you anything will be by sneaking it thru on this plan in letters. 'Course I know something that you are going to have for Santa was talking to me quite recently and the jovial old fellow actually grew quite confidential and told me a thing or two. He even asked me to assist him by just sorta looking after you as he is so busy. Of course, I said I'd do anything to please him so now I must provide you with a fireplace, a tree, a stocking, candy, and nuts, a drum and oh, what do boys like anyway? Won't you please make my task less hard and assist me. I'm afraid too I won't be able to come and personally supervise the erecting of the tree and all those things.
It must be late.
I love you so much and want you so. I do wish we could have Christmas together this year - but some day - who knows. Est ne pas? (not responsible for spelling as it isn't in the dictionary.)
I love you.
Sylvester, dear, I love you.
I saw lots of roses out today - all kinds - isn't that a surprise for this time of the year? Real roses and the trees are all blossomy and fragrant too.
All our doctors are leaving. Drs. Harley, Johnson, Suran and three others are in France. Dr. Kaighon is in New York at a base hospital and Dr. Hudson leaves next week for Georgia. It is rather a good thing I suppose that Dr. Conover moved in from way back in the country. Dr. Fish is sick but Doctor Monroe is going to help him out. I have bushels of faith in Dr. Monroe. He is certainly well liked by all his patients. One always feels so much confidence in him. When he gave up his practice to take charge of the Asylum and County House. I heard the most people complain that they didn't know how they'd ever be able to get along. I'm sure they'll be glad to see him back. I like Mrs. Monroe, too. She helped us lot s with the Camp Fire Girls.
I like lots of people but I love You.
You should have seen me this morning in my new food Administration outfit I bought from Forna. It is a dandy big white apron and cap. I like it very much and think I will make several and maybe you'll see me wear them sometime. (That's not a threat.)
You mustn't read the next page until you are lonesome.
I found this little honeysuckle this noon. Isn't it fragrant?
I just hated to part with it but thot you just might like to have it.
It certainly is a brave honeysuckle for it dares blossom out in spite of the threats of frost.
I love you.
Something very strange took place this morning - I worked. We scrubbed paints and varnished floors so you can see we were busy.
My new table looks rather nice. I have it in the dining room under the mantel.
Dorcas is on her vacation now but both of us are busy at different times. I'm up here in the afternoon and she helps at home in the morning so we don't seem to have much of a chance to see one another.
I didn't get up to the post office this morning and therefore didn't get to bring your letter up until I came to work so it won't get out until this afternoon.
It is awful warm today - I really mean awful warm.
I am working on something for our home. How would you like a Christmas present of some towels or napkins or something? Please don't say you don't want towels or napkins and you'll take a chance on the something.
I woke last night and just for a minute thot you were there. I didn't dream you were there, I just seemed to think you were. I don't dream of you very much I s'pose 'cause I think of you too much. I do love you.
Edgar Baker has finally gotten to camp. He is down in Maryland. He sent Daido a postal this morning. He is at some sort of a student camp in western Maryland.
All my love.
Just think - only 18 more years, 8 mo., 2 days some hours and minutes and seconds.
I love you.
I heard a story tonight that makes me rather sad. You know I am very very awful sometimes. There is a girl in this town who is not very good looking as she is very thin, and cross-eyed. She also wears the most hideous color combinations and paints and powders. Her mother always said that Reba could hold a candle up to anyone which was, in English - as she translated it - that Reba was the most beautiful girl in town. Once Pearl and I saw a "Wanted a wife" advertisement so we sent her picture - which wasn't very nice of us, of course, but we never got an answer. Now after I've confessed what wickedness I committed against her, I'll tell the story.
Some soldiers form Camp Devens were sent down to do guard work in Luckahoe near here. She met one and married him after a six weeks acquaintance. He went back to Devens soon after and since then they have been telegraphing him money frequently. He came down about six weeks ago on a furlough, presumably, and a telegram which was supposed to be from his people in Kansas came and asked that he and Reba come out. They went one night via the window and about $400 of the life savings of the Smith's exited also.
The government is after him for desertion and the Smith's are after both. They received a postal from Chicago from Reba. It certainly is dreadful.
Now I'll tell you a nice story. I love you. Here are three kisses.
I love you.
Would you like a long long letter today. This morning's paper says Germany agrees to accept the plans of the United States. I hope she means it.
Daido and I have been out for a long, long hike and now she is off again with Marian.
Autumn is really here now and if I were an artist! We wandered down California avenue amid a veritable forest fire so burning were the reds, yellows, oranges, flame! I was so good.
We went out past the green ghost house and a little black pig-tail ghost yelled "Heah you Nell you come heah," to a shaggy black and white goat that bounded out to meet us. When the refractory Nell finally rejoined her she greeted us with white teeth spread wide and "Hullo".
A little past the ghost house Daido discovered a "Solitary Gentian". It was the first either of us had ever seen. It's "starry eye" of a wonderful ultramarine shyly peeped out from under some ruddy berry bushes. It is so beautiful and innocent looking. I wish I had been the discoverer but shame to tell I had walked right past without seeing it for I had fixed mine eyes on the glories of the hills and the forests.
We stopped at Stony Creek for a drink - rested at the dam and then wandered back in the woods to feast on bacon, tomatoes, cake, peaches and bread, of course. We were going to have roasted potatoes but for some reason our fire didn't appear to want to cook them.
We came back the way we went - stopping at Stony Creek to make some lemonade and pick some cranberries. We sat down in the woods to rest awhile and found a whole vine of wild grapes which needless to say I suppose, we picked.
I forgot to say that I received my self respect in regard to the gentians by finding quite a lot myself. I am sending you one. Some have four petals and some five. The one I am sending has four but it was the finest one I ever picked - that is why I am sending it.
We arrived home just laden with asters, persimmon, gentians and some of the red berries like the ones Daido and I got along the canal route Thanksgiving before last.
I have just bushels of studying to so will give a little kiss now and probably will write more later.
I didn't write this afternoon as I hadn't really one thing to say. I studied some this morning and went up to Hammell's this afternoon.
Marion C, Dorcas and I took a short walk in the moonlight. That is, we searched all the fruit stores in town, (there are eight now) for oranges and we couldn't get even one tiny little one.
I'm just now eating some dandy candy I got when I was up the street. It is Yellow Jack. Shall I send you a tiny taste?
The Germans seem to want to give up very easy it seems to me. I'm just thinking all kinds of unsayable things about them for giving their beastly "Kamard" cry before we have had a chance to give them a taste of what they richly deserve and I am afraid they mean it only while their land and their lives are menaced.
I'm cross tonight, I suppose, but I get so cross when I think of all the separations and heartaches this hideous old war has caused. Even if it should end tomorrow I mightn't have you back for goodness knows how long and I do want you so. Queer I spose but I do get awful lonesome for you sometimes.
Well, I love you. Here's a goodnight kiss.
The carpenter chap has accomplished another master-piece for me to-day - a bunk, with rope springs. It's put together in the neatest fashion I ever saw home-made furniture put. I am mighty pleased with it. The other officers have had other men fixing up necessary things for them, and they are all doing well. We have a lot of talent in that direction.
The Major and Fred came back this morning and I've had a lot to report to the former as innumerable things came up in his 3 1/2 days' absence.
I've had a young grouch all day - which is a real pleasant thing to talk about, isn't it? I've combated every idea that's been put up to me, and argued and cross argued till I was blue in the face; and once was invited to "hire a hall".
The Major was pretty much pleased to find the tent all fixed up so nice and will be coming down to occupy it with me in a couple of days.
It is real late, for I have chatted with Greene over in his tent all evening long into the small hours, about every subject under the sun. Being tired and grouchy to-day, and staying up all to-night most of the night won't tend to improve my disposition for to-morrow, I fear. Still, I haven't got my grouch now. It would be bound to disappear for the time I forget everything else to write to my sweetheart.
I love you.
To-day I've accomplished very little, and I'm gong to bed early to work on to-morrow.
The President's second reply to Germany was published to-day. I have read it several times hoping to guess something of the effect it will have. It's not like a simple Yes or No proposition, to me, but appears more like a checker game, in which you have to make mustic moves, guess the other fellow's game, and ponder and think till your head aches. A situation like the present needs a man who can play such a wary game, and it looks as though Pres. Wilson were a master hand at it. I should imagine now the peace efforts would end for a while but if the military successes keep up as they have wouldn't be surprised to see them renewed again in a month, with a much more abject tone. These are interesting days.
I wonder if the children have been good today and not trod on your white shoes, or made faces at you, or snapped ink at each other from their ink wells, or other innocent pleasures.
Good-night Sweetheart, and worlds of love.
A morning kiss to my Sweetheart, and then I might have a good day.
What do you think of the purple lining to my envelope? I must have some French in me if they like purples and lavenders so much. It does seem to be quite a favorite with the French people.
Our rainy season, long promised, I think must have started now in earnest. It has rained now for the past three days and the ground is a sight, especially in our truck park, with the constant traffic in it - despite the fact that it is all laid with rock. My foot-prints look double their normal size with the mud I collect as I walk along.
I am enclosing a coupon which allows one Xmas present to be sent to me before Nov. 20, 1918. I can only have one box sent to me from the States; it cannot be heavier than 3 pounds nor larger than 9x4x3", sample of which we are in formed the local Red Cross chapters have. Mother will want to send something I suppose, and Lucinthia, and a couple of my aunts; but I am going to explain to them to go light, and shall write Mother to send anything she and they wants to send to me to you so that you can put it in the box. You see, I'm not allowed to get a separate box from her, only one box altogether. and it will be necessary for you to have this coupon to mail me the package. Isn't that a great way to make an honest soldier invite someone to give him an Xmas present? Now if they send down too much from home and you need room for an extra kiss for me or something, I won't feel real awfully angry if you opened what they sent me and took out a little bit. Only be sure and write me what you take out so I won't forget to thank them for it. I'm afraid it will be quite a job. But you are first of everybody to me, and that's why I'm sending it to you to take care of.
Another Christmas may be very different. Who knows? I'm sure it will, and we shall be at home to each other, you, dear, and I.
I love you.
One more improvement in my tent to-day - a wood-burning cylindrical stove in it's center, which is much warmer than oil stoves, has a much more satisfying heat, and no disagreeable odors. So we are real comfortable to-night. The Major moved down to-day and we are fully settled.
To-day's news from the front is the greatest thing ever, with ?? and Lille in one fell swoop. It's been done so remarkably swiftly, it hardly seems possible. If the movement up that end of the line continues it might well turn the whole German army, and force its complete retreat from most of Belgium and France. There are immense possibilities.
After writing a fighting letter for the Major, which occupied about an hour, I have been amusing myself at solitaire in my tent. I beat myself twice out of five times. Not so bad, is it?
I am pretty tired and dull this evening and think I must say good-night.
I love you, dear,
It just so happened this evening that it fell to my lot to try, as I did successfully, to keep the electric lights of this young city going. Seven out of the 8 regular stokers at the plant had the Spanish influenza, and the one had worked for 30 hrs. steady. There were no French men available to relieve him, and the lights of the city were ready to go out. By coincidence I got roped into the situation because I took Deck Spalding up to call on the Sous-Prefet at the moment when the manager of the plant was up to see what he could do about it. The Sous-Prefet was calling our ?? officer and couldn't make him understand, particularly as the French word for stoker or fireman is "Chauffeur" just as for the driver of a vehicle. So then I got called in, and after some effort, I got a fireman from the Engineers, and three men from our own outfit, to help them out overnight. Then we didn't know where the light station was and the Sous-Prefet called the Gendarmerie to get a French military policeman to show them the way. So pretty soon a gendarme (policeman) appeared and then we had to wait for a truck to bring up the men I had arranged for by telephone. After a while we thought we heard the truck come up, bade the SousPrefet good-night and went out, but no truck, and for fifteen minutes no truck with our men. Finally Spalding hopped on a passing truck and went down to see what was the matter, and I stayed on the cold street corner and talked my best French (about as good as a mule's English, I guess.) to the gendarme. He started to tell me how 8 years ago he lost 5000 francs, all the money he had, in some French-American banking house, and I thought perhaps he was touching me for a loan. But I only tried to go him one better by telling him how all the people in my town back in America once lost all their money in a scheme to get gold out of sea-water. However the conversation wasn't over-vivacious and I had time to know I was tired waiting around. another truck finally came, which Spalding sent up, and I found suprisingly had already taken the men to the light station. So if the passing truck Spalding took hadn't appeared I might be still up on that street corner. Well, I went around to the light station then and saw that they only wanted two, and then two to relieve them in the morning; also saw the manager thought he had them for good, so didn't leave till he understood I was just helping him out for tonight with my men and in the morning would refer the whole thing to American headquarters in this area and the French mission. So he thanked me profusely and I left him satisfied. But I'm robbed of a lot of extra Saturday night sleep I was going to have.
Well, I don't believe the above's a very interesting story, but I'm afraid you've read it now and can't help yourself.
Three letters today. They are coming along splendidly. You surely did have an adventurous time getting stuck in that meadow.
A good-night kiss.
Good-morning, dear heart, and all my love.
Some more letters to-day, some further back than those which came yesterday. The bar of chocolate you sent me came thru all safely and tasted real good after supper to-night. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
I thought some of giving you my APO number (773), which you discovered on my envelopes, but I feared that we might get moved out and then instead of getting letters to me quicker, its insertion would make them come slower, for they would get shunted off. So I decided to say nothing about it. And as a matter of fact my letters come just so quickly as those of the officers who told their folks to add the APO 773 to their addresses.
I am glad that you appear to enjoy you school so much and I can tell that you are taking hold of it real capably. You letters have been just so interesting as can be. I am interested in your housekeeping stories, too - your pumpkin pies and apple pies and everything. I am interested in everything you do, for you are my sweetheart, and I love you more than anybody ever loved anybody else, and soon we shall be always with each other.
Your own Sylvester
This is a perfect autumn day, and you should be with me to enjoy it. Perhaps it will be just as good to-day next year, and perhaps then I won't be writing you a letter about it, because I wonder why? Of course I could write it on a slip of paper next year and pass it over the dinner table or something to you.
I am sending you a rich red-purple snapdragon for the love you give me, with the love I give you.
It takes a kiss to you too.
My own dear Girl,
I can't seem to make my fire go this evening, so the chill may, I'm afraid, take a bit away from my writing. Besides, although I haven't done any fiendishly hard day's work, I feel as though I done a week's without stopping.
I think I'll set myself up as an architect pretty soon. You should see the fine folding library, as I call it, I designed to-day. It's only on paper thus far, but at least I made my pet Polish carpenter understand what I wanted. Also another box with all sorts of compartments for records and forms connected with personnel work, which was perhaps even more complicated. I'm a thorough believer in the use of contrivances for army administrative work - that is, to hold books, papers, forms, records, stationary, etc., which can close up like a box and be taken away any time you have to move, at the same time can be opened up at any place and used just as they are, without in each case a lot of packing or unpacking, and rearranging in general. I'll have to save the designs so as to show you what a beautiful architect I am. Probably you know already - one thing I certainly cannot do is to draw. But I made my pet Pole understand, and that's enough. He seems to be tickled to death to try some such hard job for me. He's the same one who made my bed, table, and nightstands.
To-day has warmed up a very great deal for October, also dried up considerably, and it is a relief not to carry around a few cwt. of mud on one's shoes.
I've been thinking of you a lot this evening, and wishing for you, more than ever. There is a day coming and everyday brings us nearer to it, at least, a day when I can once more hold my sweetheart Eva in my arms, and be in transport of wonder and happiness, wonder that it is really you again, and marvelous happiness because it is you. Here's a kiss for my sweetheart, who's waiting for me
I love you.
Mr. Hammell has gone gunning so I have a little extra time before I get hard at work.
I was just rather hoping I'd get a letter form you this morning but I didn't. The mails are getting terribly slow again.
Daido is a regular Trojan. She just picked up the things in Forna's room this morning and vanished and cleaned everything. I'm afraid she will over do it as she is not extra well and is going at everything with too much vim it seems to me. What would I do without Daido and with you away?
We had quite a heavy frost here last night. I believe that altho I didn't see it as my fingers almost froze this morning.
We are having lots of fun experimenting with cooking. Just at present we are trying out the one hundred ways of serving potatoes. We have tried about fifteen different recipes and also invented several but I am rather afraid we will find some one else invented them before us, when we reach about recipe 79 or 80.
You know I rally am quite worried about cooking for you. I just never seem to be able to cook things right. Will you scold much if I don't? Of course, I'll let you scold a little as goodness I'm afraid I'll scold if you don't hoe the garden right etc.
I love you just lots and lots and lots and always will.
Seems to me I haven't much to say tonight but then I did manage to write a little this afternoon so will you excuse me please if I don't write very much.
We are having just delightful days and moonlight nights now.
I got a lovely letter from your mother this afternoon. She said she had just finished writing to you. What a pleasant week end she must have had last week with Ralph, Lucinthia and your cousin Dorothy.
Now tomorrow isn't the day for letters but I'm going to wish and maybe I'll get one.
I love you
Two - think of it! Two letters from you this morning and good happy letters too. From Sept 19 to 22. They aren't a month old either. So I know you were well and happy less than a month ago.
I love you. I will write a long letter tonight.
We have been having one strenuous time tonight. You have often heard of Solomon Fox our ex-High School pitcher I suppose. He went to Dickinson College for awhile and now is on a submarine cruiser. Daido has been corresponding with him and asked him to come and eat one of our sumptuous dinners some time when he was on leave. Tonight he came in about 5:30 and as he brought Bill Bowen with him we never dreamed he intended to stay and especially as he had not announced his coming. We had only prepared dinner for ourselves but at last in desperation decided about 6:30 to put on what we had and I went up the street to see if Pisleys wouldn't let me have something for desert. I met Dorcas and explained our dilemma and she said that Fox had told Marion Campbell the day before to tell Daido he was coming. Wasn't that terrible? Of course, we had to explain and try and straighten out things but I am not sure how successful we were. We are all alive tho.
Two letters from you today sweetheart, they were lovely letters and I love you.
I am just a bit tired from the unusual excitement we have had so will say goodnight.
I love you.
I thot I would write you a little letter this morning as I had forgotten to bring your last night's letter to the mail this morning.
I rather thot I might get some more mail from you today as I am short from the 15th to the 19th but I didn't, however, I'll wait patiently - which I suppose I'll have to do whether or no.
Today is one of October's bright blue days - at least the sky is blue and a soft blue mist is everywhere. It is a day for a real walk.
Perhaps you aren't an artistic carpenter now but under my expert guidance you probably will be able to make us some jam closets and benches for our summer house and porch and lots of nice things. As long as you made such a success of soap box carpentry I think we'll make out all right for once I made a clothes rack.
Do you know I'm glad Lt. Moody is leaving. I just can imagine what he's like and rather don't like him one bit.
Now, if you really will have the ocean frozen over about Christmas time and do get a favorable wind for me and a seven day leave of absence I might consider skating part way across to you. I'm rather afraid of submarines tho and goodness it might be terrible dark at nights, and the sea wolves might howl and chase me and the flying fish might fly all around my head and I might think they're bats and be scared for I do just hate bats. Goodness there are so many sides of that proposition to be considered, but I just might screw up my courage to the sticking point and come, if you have guideposts put up and the wind is told to be sure and bring me straight to you.
I do love you.
PS. My clothes rack fell down before it was even used once so I might be magnanimous if the benches fell down, thinking of my experience and that I love you.
another PS 'Course you wouldn't expect me to be magnanimous if I were sitting on the bench when if fell, would you?
Dorcas wasn't up to the mail tonight I suppose her first day in reentering work after her vacation has been too much for her.
I received a letter from your self-styled "kid" brother today. He is at Camp Meade, Maryland and say if he gets a chance he will run down to Pleasantville. He accuses you of gross negligence as he has written you about eight letters and so far has received only one from you, however, he excuses you on the ground that "the girl and mother come first." I wonder if he means me by the girl. He can't because I'm way grown up - a school marm - and soon twenty-one. But do you know even if I am getting big and old and grown up I'll let you call me "little" just once in a while if you want too terribly bad.
I wrote a letter to Eleanor. I have owed her a letter for ages and ages but really I have been pretty busy and have not had as much time to write as I would like.
I received a letter form Katie today. She likes school pretty well but says most of the students in there class have been to college or normal [school] and all are practically three or four years older. It's a good atmosphere for her tho, I hope, and I am looking for it to benefit her greatly.
Won't I be happy some day when I have my boy back building jam closets, 'setera.
I do love you.
PS, I heard something good about you last night - "You have good taste in literature". Daido said so. She recommended "When a Man Comes to Himself" to Fox and told him you had given her the book to read first, that it was a good book and you knew what good books were, etc. Fox wanted to know who you were and all about you and she spoke so well of you I almost blushed I was so proud. However, I didn't until she spoiled it all by saying you were my el Capitane. She really shouldn't have ended that way because
I love you.
I'm blueish tonight again. I just heard that Hobart Irelan died yesterday. I'm so sorry he was such a fine young fellow. He has been sick for about a week down in some chemical camp where he was a corporal and at various times has been reported dead but his mother and sister were to phone Dorcas dad to get the house ready if the worst did happen and I knew it wasn't true before and now a telegram came saying it was so. It did seem he should have been spared. His mother has worked hard in the Atlantic City library ever since his father died and he has a sister who has tuberculosis. He had so much about him to make one like him for he was strong and manly and he had so much grit. He was working his way thru college by waiting on tables and doing all sorts of things that he wouldn't have had the courage to do if he hadn't had real courage and real determination to get an education. It really makes me discouraged to think about it.
I'm just a bit tired.
I love you.
Got most a million letters from some one I know. They certainly were interesting.
I'm glad you had a chance to go on a real hunt. I've always been really anxious to go and have liked the idea of the English hunting parties so much. I never thot much about the French as hunters, in fact I don't believe I have ever connected them with it.
I'm thinking rather hard about your suggestion that we light the Manor candle together sometime - as long as you helped me rescue it I suppose I'll have to acquiesce. 'Course I would.
I'm glad tomorrow is Sunday. I feel like a long sleep.
I love you.
I slept and slept and slept this morning. I really ought not want to sleep for a long while again but I suppose I will. We had a dandy breakfast this morning - hotcakes, sausage, and jam and toast too and we had a big dinner but only two meals so I feel rather cheated.
Do you ever have any pictures taken at your work or at play(?). I really would like to see a little bit how you look.
goodness I do wish something could be done so your tooth wouldn't hurt. Shall I send some more medicine?
I didn't go out all day today. I was just as lazy as could be and as a matter of fact we all have been affected the same way.
We had quite a heavy shower this afternoon but now the moon has come up just as clear as can be.
I love you. Goodnight.
I have been up to Red Cross this afternoon and it was so funny-looking with masks on. We really accomplished quite a lot tho.
I really thot there was a fire tonight when the moon came up - she was so red and the sky just flowed all over the east.
This morning Daido and I went for a little walk down tho the meadows and then on to the golf-links. It was almost as warm as summer out and we really made up for what we lost Sunday.
I love you best.
I certainly did miss a date in the letters as I received another this morning.
You said in it you thot it was only fair that you could have lots of people to our wedding because I had invited lots of visitors to our home. Goodness, don't you remember I said I was afraid of a wedding! If you only were near now I know I'd scold you good. Really tho I am.
Mr. Hammell went deer hunting again this morning. I suppose he would go whether or no. He certainly loves to go.
I worked up there this morning but this afternoon Daido and I went out in the country to "Aunt Roxie's" to get some quinces. "Aunt Roxie" is quite a character. She is not related to me at all but is a dear old soul and we have always been good friends. She asked me if it were true that I expected to be married and I said, of course, she wouldn't have asked me such a question if it weren't for the fact that we were so "near". When I was quite small I just loved to go to her house heaps as she used to give me pears and apples and let me work the cider press. She told me today that she still had the same old press and was quite pleased that I had remembered and asked about it.
Her dog "Night" was buried out in the orchard and I used to like to decorate his grave very much.
She wished me happiness and said she hoped you were nice and Daido assured her that you were and you certainly are. You know she likes me lots and she really wanted to adopt me once so she said she really felt as if she wanted to know about you.
Daido is tired and is calling so I s'pose I better say goodnight.
My own dear Eva,
I'm not having a very successful fire to-night. Either this stove isn't what it's cracked up to be, or else I'm a poor fire-builder. Perhaps the trouble is I haven't a certain person here to help me - a certain person who has watched fireplaces with me - with dust on them. What do you think? How I wish I could fly over to our old fireplace there now, to You!
The third German note is out to-day, and for sure they are trying hard to get peace before they are beaten too badly. It is hard to guess what more the immediate future will bring, in the meanwhile the Allied armies keep going East in France and Belgium, and north down in Serbia. This morning when we got up we found a lot of truckloads of lumber not yet unloaded. So someone started a standing joke for the day by allowing that the men must have left them there last night, 'cause the war's over. And every once in a while to-day someone would say he thought he would do a certain thing but "what's the use? War's over" or something to that effect. Jim Greene bet a few days ago we'd be home before Aug. 1st next, and maintains always the fighting will be all done by Christmas. Jim has a beautiful scheme for mustering out the army at the gangplank when they come off shipboard in America - one booth for each man to get paid, another to get his discharge, then have his relatives meet him with a suitcase full of civilian clothes (or "floppy pants", which has become the pet word for civilian clothes), and a room where he can change his uniform for them, then a place for him to turn his uniform back to the government. To-night he says he's going to be practicing law again before the end of the spring. All of this, of course, in a humorous vein, of a special Greenese variety. Greene has a solid, pretending-cynical sort of humor which is lots of fun. I've gotten more enjoyment out of knowing Greene than anything in the Army, I believe.
Fire's absolutely out, and it's getting cold.
Good-night, sweetheart, and loads of love
I have searched to-day for a little something for your birthday. I hope it will get to you by Nov. 13, also hope they won't charge you a duty for importation, at the other end. There isn't much that we can send from here, and for usefulness the little remembrance I am sending may not rise very high. But I thought they were handsomely worked, and they are supposed to be quite fine - hand-made, as the lady at the store kept saying. At least they are distinctive souvenirs of France, and I hope you will like them.
When I came into my tent to-night, Pop and Fred and Jim Greene were sitting around rather expectantly, I didn't know why at first, but as I went by my bed I thought it looked queer, and sure enough if I had gotten into it, it would have collapsed completely. They had a beautiful time watching me put it together. I don't know now but what I'll find something inside when I go to get in.
I'll have to say good-night. I send you all my love and a good-night kiss.
My own Eva,
I've been listening to a band concert again this evening for the first time in over a month, I guess. Pop and Fred and I walked uptown for the exercise and the music. We are somewhat farther away form the center of town than we used to be and we don't get up there so often. There is a new band playing each evening and a much better band than was playing for the previous month.
I would like to hear some wonderful orchestras or violinists. I believe it would restore a lot of the vitality I have lost, as it would seem. I am not lazy, I am positive of that, but I do feel at a low ebb in vitality. Oh, but I shouldn't bother you with this. I expect to get a rest for two or three days soon, and feel perfectly vigorous again.
I received two letters to-day from my dear sweetheart, and have delivered the message to the Major according to orders. I've told him that I didn't mind messages going from him to you and vice versa, so long as I was the medium and could censor everything. Though he threatens to write you direct and tell of all my misdeeds. He hasn't sent any message in reply to yours but did remark "she's a good fellow, isn't she!" Which if you knew Major June as I do, is the highest and sincerest compliment possible from him.
I must say good-night again, with lots of love.
Your own Sylvester.
Good-morning, sweetheart. I love you.
The lace bordered handkerchiefs which are with this letter are the birthday remembrances I spoke about night before last. I was going to send them in a little box separately but while I was still hunting for a box I found that it was allowable to enclose them with a letter, and I am sure they will get to you more quickly. So again, many happy returns of Nov. 13, which will be happy both for you and for me. I selfish, am I not, trying to get meself into it?
We haven't had any newspapers all day to-day, and won't have any more now the middle of each afternoon, as we have had, for the express from Paris has been cut off, which means we have to wait until the next morning. Terrible hardship, isn't it? It's always made a little break into the middle of the afternoon, which was something to look forward to. Old Greene says he just lives by a few little events each day to forward to - 1st breakfast, then dinner, afternoon newspapers, supper, and finally sleep. That sounds like an interesting existence, doesn't it? Life surely is not half as exciting as we were looking for when we came over.
Must say good-night. I love you, sweetheart.
There's just one disappointment about this tent. the fire's forever going out. If you leave it for an hour, it's bound to go out. It's cold as can be here right now, for I've been over talking to Greenie for an hour and a half and found the stove when I came back without a sign of a spark. It is nice in the morning, though, when your man comes around and lights it up and gets it going fine and gets water heated before you get up. Isn't that a pampered-son-of-luxury sort of existence? Once in a while he wants to do too much, though, as for instance when he tried to tell me not to wash and wipe off my razor after shaving, for he'd take care of it; which did stir up a little spark of self-dependence and cause me to remark I wasn't quite so helpless as all that. And to think back in Devens I was learning to wash my own clothes even! Well, one has enough to do without spending all the rest of his time being his own valet.
We have all taken to wearing our rubber boots. I was the last to fall, but couldn't finally hold out any longer. I read in a book once how the adjutant ought to be the smoothest and slickest looking officer in an organization, so that's why I held out so long. At least thats what I have told the rest, quoting aforesaid book, as I often do, for their amusement. So that "our smooth adjutant" is more or less of a byword.
Here's hoping you're happy, you love me several billion bushels, as I do you, and that soon everything and everybody - that's you and me, and me an' you - will be happy ever after.
I love you.
Early (?) Sunday morning
11:07 and I have just finished breakfast. Scandalous, perhaps, but there isn't such a tremendous amount to do to-day. If you could just come and visit me to-day, I wouldn't work a bit.
Lots of love,
This is such a beautiful afternoon that I must write to you. It's the first day I haven't had much to do for some time and the first day we've had sunshine for some time; it's a soft, refreshing Indian summer afternoon, and it has made me long for you doubly hard, and with a great big capital L. I wonder how Hemlock Manor is this afternoon, and if it isn't nice and soft and refreshing and Indian-summery like there; and if it isn't just waiting and looking for two people who belong there together to be there. I would love to walk up the long, long road to it to-day, with you, my sweetheart, and without a care in the world. I want to so much that I can't do much of anything, or don't want to do anything else, but skim along over the day with a restless, uneasy, beating pound inside of me, and wish.
I love you a whole big awful lot.
Since this afternoon Pop and Fred and I have driven out to the Marquise's for tea and a visit. It is real pleasant to go there, for she is sensible and solid and interesting, and makes us feel very much at home, and there's that big library especially which makes it an interesting place. We had some delicious nut and raisin cake, other cookies, jelly, fruit, and tea. They have two beautiful cats with a smooth brown fur in various shades. Though one might be prettier for she was born with a bob tail. They let the cats walk over the table, but they are pretty well trained, and they look so clean and smooth that one thinks nothing of it. The Marquise's little grand-child, Roget, is a likable little fellow, though spoiled some; he speaks quite a little English, because he has a middle-aged English nurse and then his mother and his grandmother, the Marquise both speak excellent English. He shakes hands with all of us gravely when he comes, says "How do you do" and calls us by name. He passed around the cigars after tea this evening and when I told him in French I couldn't smoke the cigars, the conversation turned toward Freddy's and my ability to speak and read French (Freddy's is quite a little, but mine yet quite slight), and Roget's mother wondered if we wouldn't like to take some books from their library to read. I jumped at the chance and before we got thru Freddy and I had half the library, pretty near, to carry back with us. I have a set of memoirs of one Baron Hyde de Leuville, who was closely familiar with events in the period of the French Revolution and the first Napoleon, also a book called "Le Roi", which is a historical discussion of the kingship in France, attitude of the people toward it, and what-not. I don't see how I'm going to get much chance to read them, however. I do hope to get a little time, evenings. They should be interesting, also valuable if I teach history again some fine day.
De La Rochefoucauld family circa 1954. Roger is in the back row on the right holding a child on his shoulder. His mother, daugther of the Marquise of whom Gramp talks so much., is just right of center. Her hustband just behind her. I met Charles de La Rochefoucauld (third from left in front) in May 1998. -See also a picture of the Chateau. -David Butler, grandson.
I'm having a terrible time with this fire again to-night. I think I've started it no less than ten times, the last with kerosene, which is safe enough with the type of stove which I have.
It was six months ago today I got my little bump in Bridgeport, which, turning out as it did, without ill effects, I think I shall always sort of silently thank, for the time it gave me to be with you.
If the Germans would only have to crack on the front the Americans are covering, probably the most difficult and important section of the whole line, perhaps I'd have something else to thank for letting me see you once more, only this time for more than two little visits of a day and a week. I'm sure it will come soon, dear.
I love you - lots and lots. Good-night, and a kiss.
Greetings of another nice morning to you, and just a word to say - I love you.
As I write you , you are looking at me from that little picture you sent me a long time ago, when I was at Plattsburgh; the picture I have in the little gilt frame; the picture I looked at for a long time just before I went down to see you last "April and wondering what you would say when I asked you. I always thought it quite a nice picture, for it seemed to express at the same time your serious side and your lighter side - I don't know whether I express myself very well - you have a very thoughtful look, at the same time the expression of wholesome happiness which is so much You.
One of our officers who has been away at another School has just come back to us today, although he must go away again immediately. I speak of it because he has had some very interesting experiences - including the privilege of visiting the whole battlefield of Chateau-Thierry where the work of the Americans counted for so much in turning back the threatening advance of the Germans last spring and summer, and he also visited several other fronts, including the one where the Americans are principally engaged now, and was near enough to see air battles, artillery in action, and all sorts of interesting things. I do wish our organization might be having its active share in the great events occurring right up there where we're giving the Germans their big body-blows; of course we're doing work of value, but we never expected we'd be so far behind, before we came over here. Perhaps, though, as I've said so many times, we'll get our chance.
After I wrote you last evening I decided to sit up awhile and try reading some of my French books. Having read almost three pages in one, in the preface at that, I think I'm quite well on toward the complete perusal of three volumes, don't you? And I'm not reading any this evening.
Tonight we started a little party in honor of our returned officer, in the mess tent, but we were so unsuccessful in keeping up a fire there, came up to my tent where I had a half-apology for a fire going, and we have chatted well into the night. My fancy table is now all covered with bread crumbs, cheese scraps, and onion peelings left by the un-Christian people who honestly believe that onions are good to eat. Would you believe there could be such people? Also people who like beets and potato salad, and other kinds of salad?
Well, I can't say any more. Good-night, my own best sweetheart, and a world of love.
Dearest, I'm sending you a kiss for good-morning, with lots of love.
Two more letters today!
There is no use talking, I will be quite spoiled if it keeps up, however, I am afraid it won't keep up as all my back letters are caught up on.
Funny I suppose but in the letter I received tonight you mention football and a certain one of your students. I was just talking to Daido about the football games before I went to the post-office and I guess my inside thots were about the same as yours were when you wrote the letter.
Daido has been rather disturbed by some news today. She hasn't told me what it is yet but she says she will when things get in a little better condition. I do wish she would tell me.
Now, Mr. Man, I'm calling you to order. I'm scolding. Your mother told me several weeks ago that your Cousin Raymond said you had been moved a long distance from where you were first. I waited a long while for you to tell me but you haven't yet. Have you been moved? I really want to know.
I worked at Hammell's this afternoon as they sent for me. I had to spend the whole afternoon up there for an hours work. I wish school would start again,. I'm getting tired of no real exertion.
Sweetheart, I love you just lots. I want you so much. It seems ages and ages since you have gone.
I love you.
Daido and I were over in Atlantic awhile this afternoon.
I worked only a half day as we expected Harold and Mr. and Mrs. Smith to come down in the machine this afternoon but they didn't come. Daido and I have been just awful lonesome for a machine ride so we invented a machine of two rocking chairs and a quilt. We placed it on our front porch and rode away headlong into the teeth of the breeze.
We stopped in to see Dorcas for a few minutes when we were over this afternoon. She hasn't had any mail from Harry the last two mails and is beginning to get worried again. Still for all she's a good sport. Goodness I know I'd be awful worried if I ever missed a mail.
I am dreadful sleepy, dearest.
I love you.
Jennie's brother told Mr. Wilson Jennie would come to work Monday. I am glad because I really want to have some time to study and I am getting rather tired of shiftless working. I do wish school would start.
Forna has been away for several days attending a convention in New Brunswick but she came back tonight.
I made four glasses of quince honey today and five glasses of quince jelly. It's such a pretty red. I might give you a taste if you were here.
I got a letter from Lucinthia today. She said the jar of huckleberries I sent her arrived "OKEH". I have one jar now, if you come back real soon I might make you a lovely pie.
Well, I'll kiss you goodnight. I love you.
I'm just about disgusted. Awful much. Forna and Daido and I went to Atlantic. Daido kept on the car to go see Marion and Forna and I came home. I just felt there was a letter or something here for me and opened the mail box. It was empty but when we got the light lit under the door was a letter from Jenny saying she was afraid she wouldn't be able to come to work tomorrow. I'm really disappointed as I really did want a little leisure to do just as I liked in but they are so busy up at the place I won't dare leave them entirely alone.
Irma Stiles, Sarah Bowen and her brother just stopped in to see if I had found the card from Jennie.
Daylight change went in to effect today and I really don't like it much. I prefer having it a little dark in the morning rather than have it get dark so early at night.
Daido got a card from Francis Paucoast yesterday. He has been made a second lieutenant in the Sanitary Corp and is at Yale. You remember he was down one Christmas.
Chrysanthemums are coming out and I am so glad. I am very fond of them. I love the yellow ones and the terra cotta color ones. I really think they are so nice I suppose because they are my flower.
When we were over in Atlantic we saw a wonderful sunset over the ocean and then it grew dark and we could hear only the roar of the waves and see nothing almost except the white spray. I liked it.
I love you. Here is a goodnight kiss. I wish it were a real one.
I love you.
An extra little letter this morning.
I'm back at Hammells again. I'm getting most disgusted enough with school teachering or rather not school teachering to throw up the job and stick to Hammells! but then I really don't know that they would have me now.
I saw by this morning's paper that the 76th Division is on the Meuse - also Harry's Division. I s'pose that is "the" river you have moved down to. Now I'll have to hunt up a map. I don't know at all where it is yet but I'll soon find out.
I really seemed to see Autumn just rush in this morning. As I was walking up to the cemetery the wind was blowing some soft gray clouds over in back of it and the trees were all red and gold. I really can't express it at all but the rushing clouds just seemed alive - they were smoke clouds.
Wish I were with you. I do certainly wish I could come.
Forna expects to go away again this weekend. Her brother expects to be married October 31st, that is if his bride to be can tear herself loose from some forty patients she has at present. She is a trained nurse. I wonder if I'll be able to have time. My thirty-seven children might be keeping me busy. Course I might have time. I s'pose I will. I don't believe I will have time for a wedding tho. Really tho I don't believe I'll ever get over being afraid of a wedding but , of course, I don't want you to be disappointed. I really wish you didn't want one.
Do you know how much I love you? I love you just as much as it is possible to love. I miss you so much.
I am all alone tonight as the Major has gone away again for another day or two. I walked up street and back with John Achorn, dropped in at the Officer's Club to see how the map was coming and read the communique's and stopped awhile at the band concert in the square on the way back. John has a bee in his bonnet that he wants to transfer to the Aviation Corps; in fact he tried last winter and didn't succeed, and now he has the bug all over again. I am most cool to his proposition and I guess it makes him a bit exasperated. He's always wanting to use my influence with the Major to get the latter to forward his application with a recommendation for approval; as a matter of fact my influence is thrown most strongly in the other direction, and I guess John knows it. To-night he saw his application still hanging around my desk without any action taken on it, and wanted to know why, or something, but all the satisfaction he got was a counter-question as to why he was prowling around my desk. He's one of our old original bunch, and I think, very able, and I feel that it is folly for us to recommend approval of the transfer of an officer as valuable as I feel he is; and I think the Major is of like opinion.
Yesterday afternoon Freddy initiated the scheme of a half-hour constitutional at the end of the afternoon's work, which three or four of us have started to follow. We get so little exercise that the need for it was manifest; we have all felt it, and the good weather we have started to have must have been the inspiration to start this means of getting it. In addition there are some very pretty walks around here, it being somewhat of a hilly country and many of the roads so located on them that you can command many excellent views.
Dear, I must say good-night, and send you once more all my love.
I was just thinking - 6 months - a half year ago today you and I were together; when you were my good medicine that Ralph went and got for me. I'm sure another half-year will find us at least looking forward to a very early reunion time.
Lots of love,
With the publication of Austria's note which looks like complete capitulation on her part in this morning's papers, Greenie is allowing that the only thing he conjectures about now is whether he'll get in his spring trout-fishing in Rhode Island or not.
Deck and I took our afternoon day's-end constitutional to-day to a most interesting place, which I surely would have visited long ago if I had known it was within 20 minutes walk. It is a round hill, wooded all over, which used to be the seat of an old castle. On the west side it was banked up at various intervals up to the top, and between intervals there are terraces which are planted with vines. It is grown over so now that you wouldn't know it except for the sheer straight drops from one level to another. There are many winding paths all over the hill, and picturesque little openings which must have been courtyards or something in the old days. All that remains of the castle or whatever was there is a ruin of a little chapel overlooking the East, and beyond that the foundations of what was probably once the entrance; all moss grown, and looking centuries and centuries old. Once it was no doubt the prosperous home of an old feudal lord whose demesne extended for miles around. There is a wonderful view from the top of the hill, especially to the west, and we were up there just at sunset time. I would like to be able show it to you. It's a place your imagination could build on for weeks.
Good-night, and loads of love, sweetheart of mine.
Your own Sylvester.
Pardon herewith begged for pencil this evening. Can't think of any excuse except that my pen is dry and this is Hallowe'en. But a most quiet Hallowe'en, at least on this section of the front.
I have a nice cherry fire going in my store to-night, and the sound of the flame breathes glowing warmth all over. I wouldn't be ashamed at all to invite you in this evening, for fear you'd catch cold, at least be uncomfortable. But to-night you wouldn't, and you would be so welcome here just now, you are as near as I can make you, anyway, with your Curl over my heart and your serious-seeming eyes looking at me from the little gilt frame on my table.
Jim Greene gets a little more optimistic each day and now his motto is "Out of the trenches by Thanksgiving". Today the papers we got printed the follow-up note of the Austrian government. They surely want peace badly - just begging for it, and I certainly don't see what's going to hinder the war from stopping on all Austrian fronts in 2 weeks at the most. It's surprising how far they are willing to go, let their empire be split up, and separate nations like the Czecko-Slovaks and Jugo-Slavs within it be free. Anything for peace, it seems to be with them. And I'm inclined to believe them absolutely sincere. An objection to the unconditional surrender of their military forces is the only possible barrier I can see ahead now. And if she goes, I surely don't expect to see Germany hold out long. Perhaps I shouldn't be quite so optimistic, but things do look promising, without a doubt.
Pop is pestering the life out of me, pinching my arm and pulling my hair, and I guess it's hopeless to continue.
Good-night, and all my love,
Well I worked again this morning and this afternoon. I studied and made some marmalade. It was an orange, grapefruit lemon combination and I am sure you would like it.
I received a letter from Ralph today and he will probably be down on the 10th and Winnie will come down and meet him here.
Daido had received quite a lot of the science books she ordered and is studying real hard.
I am looking for more letters again after just having gotten about a bushel. I just know I'm awful selfish but I do like to hear from you.
I love you,
I put up, with Forna's help, two jars of canned pears today. They are packed in halves with their stems on and look so pretty. I wish you could see them.
Mr. Hammell is going gunning again tomorrow so I suppose I won't be very busy up there.
There was some foreign mail in today and some yesterday. I heard tonight but I didn't get any. I suppose my turn will come tho.
I saw Dorcas for a while tonight. Walked up to her aunt's with her and back again. We really had quite a visit.
Coming back I met Daido and Marian and walked up to Marian's with them and now I am in my room alone and I suppose you can guess what I am doing.
When will school start, I wonder?
I wish you were here so much. I wonder when I really will be with you and tell you how much I really love you.
I do love you.
Two letters today - from the 7th to the 11th of August. [ I think she means September. -- David ]
I am so glad you like me to be teaching. I just love it. If only school would open again. I miss my family so much.
I found two real daisies today, real big daisies and I think they are wonderful as it is so late for them.
Chrysanthemums are out now and they are lavish everywhere. I am so fond of them.
It isn't night yet - only a four-thirty twilight that is intensified by a heavy mist. I might get some more letters tonight. I'm not selfish really but I do get lonesome for letters.
Forna has just come in and she has been crying. Mr. MacDougal hurt her feelings because he said she should come back from Baltimore, at her brother's wedding on Friday. I think it's so mean as it is an expensive journey and she might have had the weekend because she can't do school work on account of the quarantine and has been helping them right along in the office. Every other teacher in the county has had, at least, a month's vacation.
Forna has gone now and I just do hope she won't come back Friday. She was so blue as she has had so many shocks and much trouble lately. She actually kissed me good-bye as I took her to the train.
I went around to Dorca's own home with her tonight and Miss Bates went with us.
We met Frank and a whole crowd bent on "gate" mischief I am sure. Frank is getting so large. His voice is changing too. I haven't seen him for quite a while and he seems so different.
Dearest, I'll say goodnight. I love you.
Now you sure must be the one who looks in my mirror tonight because you know what that means but then really I wouldn't have any husband but you in spite of the witches.
Mrs. McDougal, Miss Hayes and a Hammonton teacher graced us with a Crawfordian call today. That is it was a 15 minute formal one. Mrs. McDougal looks fine and was as unconventional as ever (except in the length of her call.)
Halloweener's in the persons of the little boy next door and the boy on the corner have been making lots of noise on our doors and as near as I can make out seem to be having a grand time. It's queer but the little kiddies just put on a mask and actually expect you not to know them and to be scared to death. They are somewhat ostrich like. Really tho I think I can put up a bluff enough at being scared to please them.
I received another letter from you today in which you tell all about the French captain and his anecdotes.
I am rather afraid my school won't start Monday and I am sure Pleasantville won't. Well, I suppose I'll have more time for study.
I love you. Goodnight, dearest.
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