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Letters between Sylvester and Eva, June 1917

June 3, 1917
June 6, 1917, Eva
June 7, 1917
June 10, 1917
June 10,1917, Eva
June 14, 1917
June 17, 1917
June 23, 1917, Eva
June 24, 1917
June 25, 1917, Eva
June 30, 1917

SBButler Letters, June 1917

Plattsburgh, N.Y.
June 3, 1917

Dear Eva,

It was a relief to get your note Friday evening and know that commencement had not been too much for you or that nothing else had happened to you. And I'm glad we have Sunday mails as today brought me your longer letter [note - no sign of this longer letter]. I don't see but what your commencement exercises went off first rate, and I'm glad you enjoyed it and received so many lovely flowers. I wonder if the amiable Dr.W.W. enjoyed it with his usual bubbling enthusiasm; back about the middle of April he told us teachers that there was only time to get up a fair commencement, and as things weren't moved much faster even after that, I thought the whole thing might be prejudged as impossible on his part. Didn't Dr.McClellan or whoever the minister was that was looking out for your spiritual welfare have any argument in rebuttal after listening to your answer in the class poem?

The lightening must know you enjoy it, and probably doesn't bother friends.

I am surely pleased that you are to be where you can continue to be near Miss Tolbert thru the summer.

This noon I went down town with Tom Beers (of Cromwell - and Co.2 up here) for the real meal we promised ourselves. We tried the New Cumberland Hotel and what a meal we did have - chicken soup, roast turkey and roast pork, mashed potatoes, corn, apple charlotte, strawberry shortcake and ice-cream - at a real table, with real chairs, real table linen and china; I never dreamed that such things would seem so extraordinary. Whether I can go back to mess to-night or not I don't know. I guess I've never written you but what I've talked something about eating, have I? So, lest you think that the satisfaction of my appetite be the chief end of my existence, I think I had best say no more.

I wrote you Wednesday afternoon, as we had a free day of Memorial Day, but don't much believe it reached you before you left for Philadelphia. This past week has seemed shorter in passing than the others, presumably because of the holiday. We have had drill in marching movements two hours every morning except Friday, & Tuesday when it rained so hard. More of our drill is now in the formations on the firing line, - how to deploy from the column of march into the skirmish (firing) line, (called extended order drill), and how to advance the firing line during engagements. The drill before this week has been more of it what is known as close order drill - marching movements used when not under fire ; and we still have work in this close order drill - I hope it's kept up , too, for some of the movements are pretty complicated to the untutored , like myself, and it needs a lot of practice to get them fastened on the mind. Then every morning we have had a half-hour, as usual, of calisthenics, setting up exercises, or whatever you want to call them, and a half-hour of bayonet drill. The last hour and a half of the morning, & of the afternoon have been as before conference and study periods, and the evening will always be a study time; and we are certainly getting crowded. When I get back to teaching, I am never going to have any mercy any more, and worry as to whether the lessons I assign are too long or hard or not. When the students object, I shall have as a byword, "Why, when I was at Plattsburg", etc.,etc. I'm sure that will be a silencer to all except the keen ones who discover ancient passages about considering the lilies of the field. The first hour of each afternoon we have had signal work, and there are two codes we have to work on now; the first code we learned was what is known as the semaphore, in which certain relative stationary positions of the arms indicate certain letters, and as its based on a system, its not hard to learn, but it takes a great deal of practice to get to read a message fast. The new code we have been taking up this week is known as the wig -wag (and I believe in one of my earlier letters I erroneously referred to the semaphore as wig-wag); it might be called a visualization of the international Morse telegraphic code. For instance, A in the telegraph is .- (dot-dash) - in the wig-wag signal it is inclining the flag to the right 90 [degrees] & then to the left, starting from a vertical position in front of the body, & going back there on each movement. A dot is going down & up on the right side, & a dash going down and up on the left. There is a definite number of words we shall have to be able to send or receive in a minute, in each code, as part of the qualifications for our commissions, and of course we are trying in our practices gradually to work up to the qualifying mark. We practice this signal work in the large pine grove south of the camp, each squad (8 men) practicing together; none of our squad has reached the qualifying mark in either code yet, and I don't believe many others have either. The other half-hour of every afternoon has been spent in the position, aiming, and trigger-squeeze exercises with the rifle - under the head of musketry training. I think I've described them before. Friday morning we had our first practice hike with full marching equipment, rifle, pack , and cartridge belt; only a little two hour jaunt but rather hard on the shoulders at first.

Each squad, for practice in giving commands, and exercising leadership, beginning this last week, has had to furnish the platoon leaders and guides for one day in all the drill & exercises we have. The company is divided into four platoons, as I think I said before, and in an engagement, or anytime, as far as that is concerned, each one has a leader, and next under him the guide; the 1st and 2nd lieutenant in each company are leaders of the 1st and 4th platoons, respectively, and the leaders of the other two platoons and the guides of all of them, are usually positions held by the six sergeants that each company has. Our squad had Friday, and I drew by lot the job of 4th platoon leader. This was the morning of the hike, so there wasn't the usual close order and extended order two hour drill; this would have been some what harder to take care of than the rest of the day's program was.

Yesterday morning we had another examination, and this is to be, I believe, a weekly affair. In the afternoon, so that I wouldn't forget how to do it, I stood in line at the quartermaster's department for about an hour to get a little more equipment. Church, who occupies the lower tier of my bunk, (in Plattsburg language, my "bunky") was with me in the line, so that we practiced signals to pass the time away. Later in the afternoon I took a walk with a man by the name of Bodurtha, who teaches school in New Haven, Conn.; a man very much of the right sort, but he asks questions & says things in such a peculiar - blunt way, is it? - way that I'm absolutely at a loss as to how to take him; and I make answers, which seem positively insipid at times, but there seems nothing else to say.

Last evening, the New England division was treated to an entertainment outside Co.5 barracks, (where they have a piano) and men from each of the New England companies, who were clever at Scotch songs, vaudeville songs, tricks, and humorous recitations, and all that sort of thing, performed. And in between times a man at the piano played songs for everybody to sing. I found Tommy Woodward, a classmate and fraternity brother of mine at college, and of Co.1 here, and enjoyed the performance with him; and except for one or two things it was very enjoyable.

This morning I went out with Ralph Gabriel and some other men for a little drill on our own hook, until a thunder shower drove us in; and then I worked on a little stunt, the results of which are enclosed. {note - Gram must have put the "enclosed" elsewhere as there was nothing else in the letter]

I think I must be completely accounted for, for the week.

You addressed your letter to Plattsburg, Pa., but apparently it didn't delay it any. I'm wondering if on that first letter of mine from here, which you never got, I did a similar stunt and wrote Conn., or did something like that.

Your first Sunday in the city, where you like nothing except the milk wagon on stone pavements at four A.M.! I hope you'll find other things to like during the summer.

Now I must write Mother.

Ever your friend
Sylvester B. Butler

About June 6 1917

[This is only part of the return letter Gram wrote to Gramp. I have not found the rest of it in among the others. Strangely enough, Gram seems to have been the more careful one about keeping letters. This letter is written on paper with a raised round seal that reads "THE WANAMAKER STORES" around the edge, and in the middle "Philadelphia, New York, Paris, London." It would probably have been written about June 6th as that was Wednesday and her day to write, though from Gramp's next letter , it sounds as if there was at least one other letter, earlier than this , that she wrote him. --Sue Czaja, granddaughter]


.....I see the next corner says Market & 11 then I know I am going the wrong way and walk back.

I always bump into City Hall before I remember that I only wanted to go to 13th Street.

Aren't you afraid to have a Church in the bunk right next to you? I'll give you the nickel for that next time I see you. Perhaps by that time you will have forgotten to ask for it.

Did I tell you that Mr.Davis wants you to write to him? He asked me to ask you to, Commencement night and I am afraid I forgot to ask you.

I sent home for my camera so that we could take some pictures of the hills and falls here. They are very nice.

What did you mean by saying in your Memorial day letter that in Middlesex they have a theater, a theater that is better than the Strand? Don't you know that is impossible? I was in it twice, once for 8th Grade Graduation and once for movies and I know. They have real movies there "shootin' movies" that poison High School students minds. You must remember and be careful how you talk about Pleasantville.

You aren't the only one who ever marched at the head of a parade on Memorial Day. That was an honor I once had, just because I happened to be a Camp Fire Girl leader.

Dorothy and Harvey Battersby

I have also been to a flag raising - almost. I was going to take cousins Harvey and Dorothy [Battersby] last Saturday but I forgot to come home in time, but I saw "die Band" and heard it. It struck two correct notes so it beats your bugler. It is time for Miss Tolbert.

Your friend,
Eva Lutz

A night of thunderstorms after a day much like any other,

by the calendar June 7, 1917. [Thursday]

Dear Eva,

Your letter, or should I say, letters, of your first days in the city expressed you in a thousand ways and hence cheerful during all of them. Your scheme for the summer comes rather suddenly. I think it will be a very nice, and no doubt a wise thing to do, but coming as your announcement did, as new to me, and without any of the details as to just how you came to do it, it is rather hard for me to know just what to say - and you asked if I didn't think it a "dandy scheme". Is the course a training for kindergarten work or grade work? When do you begin? What is it you're going to work at for your tuition? What does Miss Tolbert think about it - or perhaps she did some of the arranging? I'm a regular question box, am I not? Tell me all about it you can; I'm eager to hear everything you can tell me about your plans. I'm sure that to spend your next fall teaching would be the next best thing to going to college; I know you would enjoy it, children couldn't help liking you, and you would no doubt have more time in that work to do other things you enjoy, than in other kinds. I'm very glad for you that arrangements are all made so nicely, and do hope you'll enjoy the course . Don't get discouraged if some things seem hard at first; I know you will do just as well as you possibly can - which is a very great deal.

The lights went out on me just two lines above last night, so I am now writing by the rather doubtful 4:30 light which is filtering thru the west window. I hope you and Mrs. Miller will grow to be good friends, and then probably you won't have to stick to formal tidbits; that difficulty was perhaps eliminated after your Sunday afternoon talk. It is a great comfort to have Mothers who take her attitude in times like these; I know, for my own blessed Mother is taking everything very wonderfully, too. Ralph has been trying to get into the Connecticut National Guard, which will be called into active service the latter part of July, but on two occasions in the last two weeks he has been going to have his examination and has been prevented by illness. For some time back he has had occasional terrible attacks of indigestion, and I just got word from Mother last night that he may have chronic appendicitis; the doctor hadn't as yet definitely determined.

All my folks, that is, Father, Mother, Ralph and Winnie Russell, his lady, drove way up to Wellesley last weekend to see Lucinthia, the first time any of them had been up to see her in all the three years she has been at college. It's quite a beautiful ride, and Wellesley is situated very beautifully. I was mighty glad Mother took the chance to go, as she never goes away very much. I had been scheduled earlier in the spring to be on the party, but later events have naturally prevented me. I am the only one who has been up to see her before; I went up a year ago last fall and took her to the Yale-Harvard game, which was played at Harvard that year.

I had some rather startling news yesterday - well, it would be of scarcely any interest to you, but I'll tell it, now that I've started: my friend Ernest Binks and Miss Stieberitz of Bridgeton, the folks who were to come down to Pleasantville Easter vacation to see me, were married on May 19th in Rye, N.Y. A very sudden affair, and I presume the war had something to do with it; Mother in her letter wrote me he had registered Tuesday for the draft as married, and in the very next mail came the formal announcement. I am disappointed because I'm afraid it will make unpleasantness in both families, but hope not, and I know nothing of the details.

This week I heard from that Educational Psychology examination I took in April; probably you will recall my speaking of it at the time I took it. I passed it at 77, and feel quite puffed up about it. I really had been somewhat afraid of the result as I hadn't been able to spend a respectable amount of time studying for it.

It's almost getting-up time, and I must get this off in the first mail, if you are to have it before Sunday. I think you are doing the right thing not to get into the war arguments, even though you do burn; you know how much you would convert your aunt and the rest if you did. But I know how hard it is to sit and stifle oneself at times.

Good-bye for this time.

Ever your friend
Sylvester B. Butler.

This letter is addressed to Gram at Llanarch, Pa. c/o Mrs. A. Battersby

Plattsburg, N.Y.
June 10, 1917. [Sunday]

Dear Eva,

We are having another rainy Sunday, and everybody seems as glum as some old rheumatic. It has rained some the whole week; I think there hasn't a day passed without some. Plattsburg is a great place for thundershowers, I'm told, all summer, and I think we had four last week. They always bring you to mind, because you like them so, and have spoken of them so often and so enthusiastically.

I neglected to acknowledge the class day and commencement tickets and invitation when I wrote you Thursday evening. Thank you for sending them. I don't believe I ever gave any opinions as to the merit of the performance, did I? Well, it was very fine, only the red and black necktie wanted to know if it wasn't tied straight.

I would like to see that old, old house you spoke of, as I am quite crazy on the subject of ancient houses and relics. It's strange, I had a letter from Sister just a couple of days before yours, telling me about an old house she had just visited - one known as the old Fairbanks house, ten or a dozen miles from Wellesley; she said it was built in 1636, and was the oldest frame house in the country, and was kept in its original shape, and filled with old heirlooms of all kinds. It was in the course of quite a wonderful trip she took - 15 miles and back in a two horse carriage - to the Blue Hills Meteorological Laboratory with a Meteorology class; the observatory was on a very high hill from where they could see way out into Boston harbor on one side, and, on the other way up to a Mount Monadnock, in New Hampshire; and it was a beautiful ride all the way.

How many people are there at your Aunt's home? Does your Aunt Katie, whom you mentioned as helping out in your scheme, live there or somewhere else? It surely is nice that you have them there to make your home with. Have you heard very much from Pleasantville? How is Frank? It seems so strange that I never saw the boy, for I feel as though I knew him. I'll bet he misses you. Is he keeping the Manor for you? The chief reminder I have here of our Manor is the frogs, who nightly carroddle in a swampy section across the road back of the camp. The first note of the frog brings before me in an instant the field and little pond back of the barn, just as it appeared that moonlight evening when I barely escaped a sewing party in time to join your exploring expedition - the night of the hoop-skirts and the lantern. But you won't want me to say any more, as you didn't want to write any more than a little bit, because it made you so lonesome. Me too. I get set off into the most poignant fits of lonesomeness at times, but I am thankful for pleasant memories.

Company 4 has acquired a piano but it grows wearisome already. A choice of about six current popular pieces is all one has to hear, except occasionally, as today, when there has been a little more variation, and some decent music has been played. I can't see what it is that anyone likes in those silly, shallow, mountebank popular pieces, played over and over and over again. A lieutenant with our company turned around to me the other evening I was standing near the piano, and some clap-trap was being rattled off, and with a sort of smack of the lips remarked enthusiastically "That's good stuff" - well, perhaps the expression of appreciation fitted the object of it.

This week we have had our drills every morning with our full packs on our backs , but I think are getting quite used to the burden. It was worst Tuesday morning, when after an hours close-order drill, we marched on a two hour and a half hike; I never knew quite such a physically relieving feeling, as when I removed the pack on our return that morning. Next week will complete the first month of work, which ends the first period of training; the instruction everyone in the camp has had has been purely in infantry work. For the other two months, men will be separated into infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineer companies; I am sticking to the infantry, as cavalry won't be used much in the war, artillery doesn't appeal to me, because too mathematical & mechanical, and I haven't had an engineering education, so there's never been much question as to which branch of the service I should try for. Some men in the camp have already been discharged as unfit - physically unfit, or in any way showing themselves incompetent for the duties of an army officer, and in the course of the reorganization this week, a large number of others will be given their discharges. Just how many no one seems to know; the newspapers have had it a large number but our captain inferred that the reports were greatly exaggerated. In one of my first letters, I wrote you what would happen to the men of the camp at the end of the training period, according to what we were told at first, and according to what I supposed it would be when I enlisted - that is, some to receive commissions and be put into immediate service training and officering the draft armies in the fall, others, a great many, to get commissions and be called on when needed, and some to be discharged as unfit. But a notice posted on all the barrack bulletin yesterday, one given out by the War Department, seems to change this materially; I wouldn't burden you with the tale of it, only I believe it affects me considerably. This notice says: (I'll put it in numbered form to remind you of American History at 9:55 A.M.)
1) The best qualified in each training company will be selected as officers (Majors (4), Captains, 1st lieutenants, and 2nd lieutenants - about 15 of each) for the corresponding regiment in the first draft armies of 500,000. That is, for instance, Co.4 here will furnish officers for the 4th New England regiment of the draft armies.
2) Others who are qualified will get lieutenant's commission, and be put into service as additional officers for training their corresponding regiment, and be regularly constituted officers in the later half- million; also might be put into service as temporary officers in the regular army.
3) Men who give promise as competent officers with additional training will be encouraged to enter the second camp, which will start Aug.27th, and according to the notice, their number will be small, and they will be men of exceptional merit who had no military experience before coming here.
4) Men who just survive the training camp for the three months and do not "demonstrate affirmatively that they have the fitness and efficiency necessary in an officer", will be discharged at the end of that period.

This makes it appear that men without military experience can look for little more than encouragement to take another three months, and only men of exceptional merit will get this far (according to paragraph 3). There are so many such men in camp, and as they were encouraged to join without regard to it, that I can't quite understand this new phase of things. It makes it look like a long time before I'll be of any use to the nation, and that I don't like. But as I just wrote Mother, we'll just keep plugging, keep our eyes and ears open, and see how things go. I'm at least glad I didn't wait to try to get into the second camp; there is definitely going to be one, or series of them at different places, as now starting Aug.27th, it was announced last week.

I haven't heard any more from home about Ralph, so I am hoping he is getting along better. I think from the persistence of the attacks, whatever, that he'll have to have his appendix out sometime. It's hard for me to think of chronic appendicitis without thinking of one whose pet topic was "My Side", next possibly to "Hearts I Have Enthralled." Not so the brother - not a word from him till he has to.

I must do a little studying, after I've gone out to get an orange or something to remove the taste of baloney hash we had for supper. What a horrible parting thought! Forget it a second - Good night

Ever your friend,
Sylvester B.B.

[Included with the letter was a little folded piece of paper, with a flower inside, that read:]

A fringed polygala, ragged robin, or any- thing you'd like to name it - for your collection.

The whole company was studying Field Service Regulations of the U.S. Army one afternoon last week in the pine grove south of the camp, and this peeped up at me just as I was finding a good shady place to read. I had no place but my pocket to put it in for some time, so that it was a little faded before I could press it.

[note - My Field Guide of Flowers show these two flowers he mentions to be quite different flowers, and this looks more like the picture of the Ragged Robin, but is hard to tell after all these years. -- Sue]

About June 10, 1917

[This is another letter from Gram with no date or salutation, but perhaps she was just being unconventional. It must have been started about June 10th, and then posted the 13th -- Sue]
[written in pencil]
I made a resolution never to write you anymore in pencil but it seems that when I feel like writing pencil is the only thing near at hand.

We have had thirty-two people to see us today at least half of them are down stairs now and I'm tired of company.

I am going to make company taboo at Hemlock Manor if I can coax Miss Tolbert to go back with me. I want her to go and turn farmer. I hate the city. I don't care if I have to stay a hecka [note- I have no idea what this word means, maybe it is German? Any idea Karen? I'm sure of the first 4 letters, but what I have as "a" could be an "ov", "or", "er, or something else] all my life. I don't want to get experienced as Miss Tolbert says I must. I just want to do to suit myself. I want to do things I like, not horrid insincere things that I hate and I don't think I'm selfish because I want to suit myself once in a while, but I don't care if I am.

At the end of that last paragraph I was dragged down stairs again.

Today I have met so many aunts, uncles, and cousins and would be cousins that I don't know who is who or what's what. But I did have some pleasure. I went and gathered daisies and I also picked two whole tubs full of peonies for our guests. I certainly did hate to give them away. Miss Selfishness again but they were so beautiful and sweet.

It is now time for all good childrens and grown ups to be in bed so good-night.


Monday June 11.

Tomorrow is me brudders birfday an' I don't know wat ter git him?

I took the loveliest bunch of peonies down to Miss Tolbert today. Everyone on the subway (almost) stopped to admire them. They were all white and so many of them you couldn't see me.

I suppose I am foolish but I really am tired of the city. They don't even have a four o'clock milk wagon out here for my amusement. I am trying to coax Miss Tolbert to go back to Hemlock Manor with me and turn farmer. We could have lots of fun and it would be grand there. We could take lots of books and just read, live, and be happy. I know I can never be happy in the city. My aunts think it is just because I don't want to be. Maybe it is I'm sure I don't know why.

Next day- Today. June 12.

I was awful, terrible today. I spent the whole day with Miss Tolbert. Came home in a terrible crush in the subway and found Aunt Mealie had a visitor - a man. She had made me a new rose pink dress which is very pretty and she told me to go up stairs and dress up. So up I went fixed my hair all nice and pretty, put on my new dress and my Aunt Katies old fashioned breast pin and bracelets and down I went. I slide into the room and made my prettiest bow to my uncle Jacob whom I had not seen for ten years. I was never very much of a favorite of his because I used to be so quiet ["used to be so quiet" is underlined] so of course I had wanted to look my best when he saw me for the first time after I had grown up. He must have been favorably impressed as he spoke to me twice during the evening. [now written in pen]

It has rained every day for a week or a month. I'm not quite sure but what it might have been a year. I never saw such weather. It don't keep me in tho: I'm out in all kinds.

I suppose I'll have to get used to the city. I guess I'm not going to get to leave it.

I have seen so many different kinds of uniforms that I have been wondering what yours is like. Is it blue or brown? Does it have brass buttons? It should you know according to tradition.

I guess I better stop writing in this letter now as I just started again but see some tennis racquets approaching and I can't write with a racket around.

Your friend
Eva Lutz
Highland Park,
Llanarch, Pa.
c/o Mrs.Battersby.

Plattsburg, N.Y.
Thursday Morning [June 14, 1917]

Dear Eva,

It's starting in to be good and hot now; yesterday was extremely so, and to-day promises similarly. It cools down quite a little in the night, though, and the early mornings are delightful. I frequently get out before the regular rising time, before the majority rise, and enjoy a few whiffs of it when its so nice and clear and fresh. This morning I saw the moon the narrowest I think I have ever seen it between last quarter and new moon; it was almost like a new moon, only that the crescent was of course on the other side; it had rained in the night and the last clouds hadn't quite gone down over the horizon, so that the sun , just filtering thru, was a great dull red ball, and that was why, I suppose, it was easier to see the moon. No doubt a great many have seen the moon even smaller - the comparatively few who are ever up so early - but I don't ever remember seeing it so myself.

The army is a great place for rumors. Someone has a brand new one about every five minutes, so that any remark outside the ordinary run of small talk is greeted with "Another rumor started." At present there are three subjects about which most of the rumors are concerned: first, the somewhat dubious time we are to receive some remuneration - the sum and substance amounting to little more than that we'll get something sometime; second, the place where the men who have been selected to train for the field artillery service are to be sent, rumor having it Fort Sill, Okla., Syracuse, N.Y., Montauk, Long Island, and various places; third, the number of men who are to receive their honorable discharge at the end of this week, and on what basis they are to be invited to go.

- afternoon -

We got caught in the rain this morning way out in the woods without any ponchos or other protection; a few men were able to get into an abandoned cow shed, and a very few who weren't particular into an abandoned pig-sty, and the rest, including myself, under the poor protection of young trees about the height of those in that big field by the green ghost house. Someone asked me if I had been hiding under a leaf so you can see how dry I was; it was only a brief shower, and as it's come out pleasant since, I've gotten quite dry again.

It seems strange up here to use so much Canadian money as we do; as this is so near the Canadian border, it is natural for it to circulate here freely, and I should say that it constitutes a quarter of the small change in circulation. Down home, one gets a Canadian piece every so often and then has a dickens of a time getting rid of it, but it passes just as freely here as United States currency.

I had a letter from my brother early in the week and he is getting better. He is recovering from a slight attack of appendicitis, and I hope it won't bother him again for some time. I presume he took his physical examination for Troop B, Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard, Tuesday evening, but haven't heard from home as yet whether he was accepted or not.

I wish that I had a little picture of you of some sort. I was going to ask you for one, before I left Pleasantville, but when developments took me off in such a hurry, I forgot to. I know once you told me that you had quite a few, but I suppose they are all down at your home. But if you happen to have some little snapshot taken by some of your cousins or friends there sometime, or if you do have some earlier ones with you, would you send me one? I should appreciate it very much. If you'd care for my honorable physiognomy in exchange, I don't have very much to offer, but believe I have left down home one or two of a set of inexpensive photos taken two years ago, which, according to my folks, make me look frightfully young. Or I may have a snapshot or two, more realistic, but I don't happen to think of any at present, which only include me. If you'd like one, whatever I have, I'll send, or bring it to you, if I can get down to Pleasantville, in late August, after the training camp is over.

I haven't heard from you for a week. Didn't my last mid-week letter get to you before Sunday? I'm not waiting for your letter, before sending this along, so as to be sure it reaches you before Sunday this time. Something tells me, though, a familiar handwriting will appear in the next mail, but it will be just too late to hold this and still get it off at the right time. I'm the original anniversary man, as you may know, so just to keep up my reputation, might remark that tomorrow is a year since I accepted the Pleasantville teaching position. What's the matter with people who remember such things? A fellow in my squad with whom I've been practicing signaling quite a little persists in sending me Spanish words, so, to show how much I know, I'll say Adios instead of Good-bye (only I knew that long ago) this time. I hope everything is going to your liking.

Ever your friend
Sylvester B. Butler.

Plattsburg, N.Y.
June 17, 1917 [Sunday]

Dear Eva,

This week-end has seemed in some ways much like the first days of camp for we have been all split up and companies reorganized. for the first month everyone got the same training - elementary infantry training - and were divided up into 18 companies (or 36 if I counted both the New Englanders & New Yorkers); now for the next two months, or eight weeks, to be exact, we are divided into 9 companies of infantry, 1 troop of cavalry, 3 batteries of field artillery, 1 of coast artillery (the branch of the service your cousin is in), and 1 company of engineers; as a general rule men were allowed to state their preference & assigned to different branches accordingly, but there were more applied for field artillery that could fill the three batteries, so that a selection was made from those applying and the rest had to stay with the infantry or the "doughboys" as we are called. The cavalry men & artillery men are in separate barracks; this of course takes a great many men from each company, the way we were before, and infantry men from companies above No.9 were assigned to fill up the gaps in companies 1 to 9. So I am still a member of Co.4, but it is a somewhat different company than it was before. After the new men had come in yesterday we were taken out and lined up according to height just as we were that first day, redivided into squads as we stood, and reassigned to bunks according to our new squad. I still have an upper but Church is no longer below me (perhaps that will absolve you from the nickel debt). A fellow by the name of Burke, a new man in the company is now my "bunkie", and he seems to be a nice fellow. He just graduated from the University of Vermont. Church is still in the squad, also Mr. Short, the corporal of our old squad; the rest are elsewhere, some in other squads, one to cavalry and one to artillery. Goodness! You don't care about all this truck, I imagine, but I get started & seem to take a long time untangling myself. I wonder if you know what I mean when I speak of the various branches of the service, infantry, etc. You recited very well the military information you had gotten from your cousin John, but "nary a word" about the vast store of information I have given you, so I imagine that what I have written about military matters hasn't meant very much. Infantry includes of course the regular foot soldiers, & cavalry those on horseback; artillery men are those who man the big guns that are drawn on wheels.

Last week I wrote rather discouragingly of the chances of an inexperienced man like myself getting a lieutenant's commission at the end of the present training period. But after a talk the whole New England regiment had from Major Stewart, in charge of the training of the regiment, Friday evening, things look brighter, as he gave us some definite assurances on the matter - about 45 in each training company here will be regular officers in the first draft contingent; all others who are qualified will get their commissions and will probably be assigned to the first draft contingent as additional instructors, and will be appointed regular officers in the next or a later contingent; a few will be ordered to train another 3 months; and a few will be discharged. I hope that's final, and that I can at least fall in the second group. There has also been a lot of newspaper talk about great numbers of men being weeded out shortly, but he also assured us on this point that no one would be discharged except at their own request, or for physical disability, of for obvious unfitness, until the end of the three months. It's a relief to have the matter settled, as everyone has been pretty much worried.

My brother joined the Connecticut National Guard this last week, having passed the physical examination Tuesday. The National Guard, as you probably know, is composed of the various State militias, and may be called into national service in part or whole, whenever the country needs it. That part of it which has not yet been called out, will be called out July 25, I believe, and put into training; and I presume, although I don't know, that National Guardsmen - not all of them of course, but a great many - will be the next to go across the water after Pershing's army of regulars, which may be now on the way, or is going shortly. The first draft contingent - a half million - will train in the fall and I suppose start going over in the winter, if the war last that long.

The Saturday night entertainments are getting added features every week . This last week a stage was built out in the pine grove south of the camp, and rude seats to accommodate two or three thousand. Last night a band played, and there was the usual run of vaudeville skits, the best ones being hits on various aspects of out camp life.

Yesterday afternoon I took a lovely walk around the grounds of the Hotel Champlain, two miles south of the camp. The hotel is at the top of a round hill which slopes on the eastern side to the lake shore, and commands a magnificent view of the lake and the country for miles around , with the mountains for background on almost every side. The sides of the hill are all wooded with splendid trees, especially the tall stately cedars, finer than any I ever saw - and one can walk for a long time thru perfect silence. I saw many fine large wild lilies-of-the-valley, one of which I selected and am sending you; also I found a four leaf clover there, and am going to let you have some luck from it too. Mine hasn't come yet, but the four leaf clover is a really-truly good luck omen - my one superstition - and if you say you must find it to enjoy its benefits - why you have found it, - in this letter. This morning I took another walk up to the same place with Mr. Short and made what I consider a great find, the yellow lady slipper which I am enclosing. These are very rare down home, but perhaps not so much so here; at any rate, it has been a life long, but hitherto unfulfilled ambition of mine to find one, and I was tickled to pieces to get this; I think you said you were making a collection, so I thought you would like to add this to it. [note - the lily-of-the-valley and about a leaf and a half of the four leaf clover are still in the letter. the lady slipper must have been a very moist flower when he sent it as there were obviously some damp spots making for some later moldy spots making for some difficult reading at this point.]

I have become almost certain, after reading your letter some more, that two or three letters of mine haven't reached you, because these were some of the questions I asked which you didn't answer, and there was nothing in your last letter which referred to anything I had written in last Sunday's letter or the one in the middle of the week before that. I think the reason is probably that you didn't tell me to put Highland Park in the address, as you did in the last letter. Naturally I don't remember all the thought-gems included but I know one asked you some questions about your summer scheme. I hardly knew what to say, you sprang it on me so suddenly without saying anything about how you came to get it fixed. But it seemed to be a wise thing at any rate and, if the college plans failed to go thru for the fall, and you could teach, it would surely be the next best thing. I was mighty glad everything was fixed so nicely for you, and was hoping and still hope you will enjoy it. And I was interested to know, if you could tell me, when you were to begin, what you were to work at for your tuition, whether it was for kindergarten teaching or what, how you came to work out the plan, and what Miss Tolbert thought of it, or what part she had in working it up. Please tell me all about it next time you write, unless in the meantime you have gotten the letter I asked you these things in before and have told me.

You ask me about my uniform. It is the brown one, which is the regular service uniform in the United States Army; if there are any blue uniforms worn now, they are probably just dress-up uniforms of some National Guard organizations - probably your cousin knows more about that than I do. And there are no brass buttons - only black painted metal ones with an eagle and some other figures stamped on them; I'll try to remember & get some post cards and send to you to give you some idea of the way we look (when I get paid).

The next two months they tell us will be much harder than the first one ; as far as actual work is concerned, I presume they will be, but we are more used & better adapted to the life, and that will make up for a great deal - at least I think it will be so with me.

I am anxiously waiting your next word.

Ever your friend,
Sylvester B. Butler

June 23, 1917

[Postmarked June 23, 1917, apparently started about the 19th- Front page again missing.]

....store where we used to live and the house next to it. I knew every step of the way altho it has been over ten years since I have been there .

I peeped in the police station to see my favorite policeman but he wasn't there. My aunt told me he hadn't waited for me to grow up but was married and had three children. Then I went to the cemetery to see the two graves all covered with pure white pebbles which had always interested me when I was small and had not known their story but only that a girl and a boy who had been drowned were buried there. It seems that a girl went down south one winter and became engaged to a young man . She came back North and he and his sister came on a visit to her. These three and two more boys and another girl were going to visit Atlantic City when he received a telegram from his mother saying not to go as she dreamed he was drowned in the ocean. They didn't go but went out on the Delaware instead, a storm came up and the whole six were drowned. The mother took the sister's body south but let the boy stay here with the girl. Wasn't that a sad story. The graves are so different from the other graves being just covered with pebble and plain head stones - one saying

Age 18.

the other

Age 22.

It is no wonder that they attracted me as a child even before I knew their story.

(I am out under the cherry tree writing this and it is getting dark so I am not sure whether I am hitting the lines but am trying my best.)

I climbed the tree last night all by myself and got some cherries, they were fine. I wish you could have some. Could you? If you can and let me know and there are some left when I get your letter I will send you some. I got your two last weeks letters today at once so I doubt by the time I get your letter that there will be any cherries. Today is the nineteenth.

I can not say "I am glad to hear your friends are married." Nor would it be proper to say I am sorry to hear they are married. I can only say I am surprised and wish them happiness. I can do that for I almost knew them, didn't I?

I am glad that you enjoyed the commencement and the red tie was tied straight. Did you see the poem in that weeks paper and the essay the following week.

You ask how many people there are in my aunts home. I will give you their names. Aunt Kate - lives in South Vineland but was up all last week fixing up her Highland park home which she wants to sell. Papa's aunt. About 60. Uncle Jake - her husband he is up this week. About 58. Aunt Katie - It is strange but few of the Lutz's ever marry, she is an example of this. She is papas half sister and about (sh) forty-two - don't tell! Uncle Harvey - The head of this house. He is Aunt Melie's husband, Aunt Melie - Aunt Katies sister and Harvey & Dorothy's mother. Cousin John - about 32 another shining example of the Lutz failing. Dorothy - age ten - curly haired - dark. Harvey - age two, dark, mischievous (temperful) in short a boy. I am his especial pet and he'll be good as long as I stay up.

I have to kiss little Harvey and Dorothy night and morning and so tonight at supper Harvey looked over at me so pitifully and said, "I can't eat yet where you bit me this morning." Everyone nearly died. It seems he got a gum boil and never noticed it until after this morning's accident so of course I got the blame.

Do you know I have only received one short note from home. I wrote to Frank and sent him a little birthday present but I never received an answer and that was the twelfth of June. I haven't heard about the Manor either as he hasn't written. I certainly would like to see it again. I think I will run down about Sunday a week and get some more things and visit it.

Did I ever tell you that our two lilies of the valley were the only ones that bloomed up there. I picked them the day of our house party and did not know which to send you so of course I kept both for myself. I also got two tiny leaves of ivy just shooting out and I will send you one of them.

At least thirty times I have tried to get enough news in this letter to send but I am going to send it this morning "whether or no."

I got you last letter last night and feel highly honored because you sent me your yellow lady slipper. Don't you really want it yourself as it is your first one?

I am afraid my collection is rather biased as most of the things are mementoes from Hemlock Manor.

[no name at the end]

Plattsburg, N.Y.
June 24, 1917

Dear Eva,

Your letter came this noon, so once again I am glad we have Sunday mail . I am taking the long wait I have had as punishment for the imperious passages in you-know-what letter; and for them I ask your forgiveness. I hope I need say nothing more.

Aren't you frightened at all the thirteens around your work? I always found 13 very lucky, however; so does Pres. Wilson, (or is it Friday he finds lucky?). With these two illustrious precedents, you can go on your way fearlessly.

I have also been out to Willow Grove; only two years ago, too, at just about this time, but wasn't too old to ride on the roller-coaster, and take in some of the other things. Now I expect you'll tell Miss Tolbert that the next time you go out. I remember hearing a fine concert by Victor Herbert's orchestra when I was there; do you know who is the musical attraction at present?

Probably your cherries are all gone by now, but I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I could have them; there are no rules here about not receiving and keeping such things at your bunks. I love cherries more than any fruit, and have been thinking lately quite regretfully of the cherries ripening and going by without my assistance down home.

This afternoon I took a fine long walk with Church, and took in lots of nice things I know you would enjoy. We went by way of the western part of the town, where there are some beautiful homes & shrubs and shade trees, not huge and elaborate estates, but just fine old homes. Plattsburg must be a very old place, as there seem to be a great many very old homes here. The shade trees along the residential streets are very beautiful, fine tall elms and maples, and there are hardly any vacant spots. Then we went west along a country road for three miles perhaps (What difference does the distance make, I wonder? I guess it's because we have to be so careful of it in military map work). I saw my first oriole here; I remember you said you saw one right after you got up one morning on your Manor House party. After a while we turned to the south, where for a while I succeeded in imagining myself going toward Bargaintown mill pond from the English Creek road. There was a field along this road where I believe no less than an acre was covered with deep orange colored flowers something like a purple daisy in shape (naturally not in color); it was simply lovely. But that wasn't all; the field had a background of slim birches, thickly grown together, and practically of the same height; they were the white birch, so there was first the white of the slim trunks, then a silver color to the leaves, at least the light struck them to make them appear that way. And finally at one end, just in front of the line of birches was a little grove of pines; Orange, white silver, deep green - I wish I could give you an adequate idea of how they looked. As we walked on a little further we came to quite a large saw mill on the Saranac river; the logs come down the river from where they are cut and flow thru a runway right into the mill where they are sawed; on the other side there is a very large dam, and a waterfall over it 25 feet high, which makes a tremendous spray down below. After we crossed the river we turned back toward the camp by another country road; we found lots of wild strawberries there. I picked one of those orange flowers to send you, but it faded, and I can't bring it back, even after having put it in water.

My new bunkie - Burke - is a very funny chap - humorous, I mean, not odd. His natural Irish humor and humorous manner is of just the sort to set me off. I'm afraid it will get me some time when I'm not supposed to laugh. The whole new squad is more congenial than the old one. This week we have had rifle practice every other day out on the range, and this will continue for three weeks more. I think you would perhaps be interested to hear how we do this - hope I'm not telling you a lot of things which are very boresome reading.

[illustration of the rifle range set-up]

Did I ever claim to be an artist? I hope not. At any rate, in the background there is a bullet-proof embankment. that is, they can't get all the way thru. Against the embankment are 36 targets, in front of which is a trench where men reach up with a disk on the end of a long handle to indicate where a shot hit on the target. Back at the 100 yd line, and every 100 yds, there are stakes, numbered to correspond with the target, to indicate positions from which each target is to be shot at. And back of each stake from whatever line we are shooting on for the day, is a frame field desk for the scorer. Only one company goes on the range at a time, and each has about an hour, I think, perhaps it's less. The company is divided up into groups of five men, and each group assigned to a stake corresponding to one target. One of the group acts as scorer until the others have shot. Each man has ten shots, five of which this week have been from lying down, five from sitting or kneeling . If you hit the bull's eye, it counts 5, the first ring around it 4, the next 3, and the last 2. You know what you have done because whoever is in the trench at your target indicates with one of his disks just where you have hit; and if it's a bulls eye, he uses a white disk, if a 4, a red disk, if a 3, a cross, if a 2, a black disk, if a miss, he waves a red flag across the target. The scorer at the desk behind you records the score for each shot and when the ten are made, they are added and the score sheets are turned in at the end of practice. The first day we shot at 200 yards, the second at 300, and tomorrow we shall shoot at the 500 yard line. Someday pretty soon our company will be detailed to indicate the shots for the rest of them, in that trench. Naturally there is no danger in it, unless you take a notion to climb out of it. With the bull's eye counting 5, there is, you see, a possible count of 50 on the ten shots. I only made 26 the first day and 20 the second. The low man in our squad buys ice-cream for the rest of the squad; it was my privilege to buy the ice-cream Thursday; if I have to buy it again tomorrow, I think it would be wise to "squeal" on the bet - Discretion being still the better part of valor.

I'm sorry you have heard so little from your home. I hope when you go down for a week-end you will find everything allright.

No, you didn't tell me about our lilies-of-the-valley before. Don't you think I ought to scold you for not knowing which was which? Thank you for the little ivy leaf. Of course I don't want the yellow lady slipper for myself, even if it is my first; I meant you to have it. You keep the two lilies-of-the-valley for a time - subject to demand on sight, should I say? (Being a business woman, you ought to know.) Very gladly I give the titles of the Wind and Weather poems; One without any, Gypsies, When the 3rd gypsy and I went to Somers Point, Smugglers Cove, Hemlock Manor, My Sparrows, All the World's agin a Feller, Spring fever, My Spring Garden at Hemlock Manor, Stars, The Elegy to a late- lamented Arbutus (this one didn't have a real title, but probably my designation will tell you what it is), Reddy Redbird, Mein little Deutsch Girl, Skating - All of which have been kept a deep dark secret, as per instructions, and opened, from time to time, like a miser's treasure box, for the sole enjoyment of the miser, me.

You must be sure and address my honorable last name on the envelope very plainly after now, for one of the new men in the company is a Sylvester B. Bubier; I almost opened a letter from his girl the other day, when I didn't know that his first name was the same as mine. Isn't it rather strange that we should have just the same initials, last names starting out just alike, and a rather uncommon first name alike? He isn't afflicted with Benjamin in the center, though.

Ever your friend
Sylvester B. B.

June 25, 1917 [postmarked June 28]

Dear Sylvester

Yesterday Miss Tolbert and I went out along the Wissihicken again and we certainly did have one fine time.

We started out for "dress parade" but we ended with my making her climb to the top of some of the steepest hills. Hills that went straight up to the skies.

We walked and walked, I guess we walked at least eleven miles, and I was getting worried as my aunt had told me to come home early. At last we met a park guard who told it was just two miles to Valley Green an old inn about a mile this side of Saint Martin's station.

We decided we would dine there and I could telephone in that I was going to spend the night at her house. We walked and walked and at last we came up to the old inn and I telephoned and secured permission to stay, then I gave myself up to enjoyment. Oh it was so beautiful, a real real old country farm house turned into a tea room. The house is along the banks of the river and the happy people were singing as they floated by in canoes. Gay couples galloped up on horse back, stopped for a bite to eat and were off again. The house itself was just too nice almost to be true. The floor was covered with bright rag carpet, an old spinning wheel stood in one corner by the dandiest fireplace, and there were built in window seats and spindley furniture and old fashioned pictures. We had the cosiest table and the darlingest light turned down real low right in the middle of it. We had toast and marmalade, and salad, and lamb chops, and tea and I poured it. That was the first time I ever officiated at the tea pot so it is no wonder that I am enthusiastic about it. The china was so pretty and dainty and tiny you just feared to touch it and everything tasted so good. I wish you had been there, I know you would have loved it. The house was just like you would think Hemlock Manor was once, only Hemlock is much nicer and larger. There were millions of Hemlock trees there, trees whose branches it seemed would brush the stars from the skies, but of course no hemlock will be as nice as my first Hemlock nor any hills as nice as My Hills. That shows a narrowness of mind I suppose but that is a characteristic generally accredited to women so I'm not different from the rest of them.

We talked about you while we were there. Don't you think it is horrible to talk about people behind their backs? You can say all sorts of things and they'll never know it.

I copied the pattern of the luncheon set in my head and I have started to crochet the lace already. If Miss Tolbert and I live together this winter we are going to use it, I mean if it is presentable of which at present I am in doubt. I am doing the crocheting and Miss Tolbert the criticising so we are both doing our bit. It is seven chain stitches, a double crochet into the third stitch, three stitches another double crochet into the former stitch, three more stitches, a double backward crochet, three more stitches and a single crochet into the third of the seven, and then repeat. Please don't attempt to understand how to do it as I fear you will get as mixed in it as I do in Military matters. You complimented me on remembering the military officers and I felt elated until just now I discovered that I had forgotten all but the different names, which I have always known, but as for positions ---. Please send me a return list of their order and I will memorize it. Before I had rushed in and sent my knowledge to you because I wanted you to think I was up in military matters, but that was over a week ago and of course as I had only learned them for the occasion I have forgotten them.

Yesterday when I was on the car I met my cousin Melva whom I have not seen for two tears. She is my Mother's, father's, brother's, son's, daughter and the girl who perhaps I told you came down one day and went crabbing with us and who threw the crabs back overboard because they were green and not red ripe. She said she was down last Sunday and going down again this Sunday, to our house. She said they have bought a boat house down along the bay so I guess they will go down often.

I want to stay with Miss Tolbert the rest of the week as her sister is going down to Cape May. My Aunt said I might. I certainly was glad I was away yesterday as my cousin John, my cousin Johnnie, my Uncle John, my cousin Elizabeth, her husband, my Aunt Elizabeth, my cousin George, my cousin Katie and her husband and daughter and at least sixty others were out to visit. It was some lucky escape for me. Anything I hate is to be on parade (also I have to be on good behavior) for a lot of relatives. Hasn't she grown? She looks like mother She looks like father. Are you sixteen yet? Do you remember me? Don't you remember the time I spanked you for stealing my forget-me-nots? and a million other complimentary things like that were hurled at me last Sunday so I conveniently had a visit to pay yesterday and I'll never regret miss seeing some more people, who knew my father when he was a tiny little boy in his first pair of red copper toed boots and a brand new cane, which he swung in a manner so "darling cute in imitation of his father." I don't really mind hearing people tell about my father and his father and mother, but then they usually also tell about such pleasant things as my spankings, and they even remember about the time I swiped a red pepper and they came in and caught me with my head under the refrigerator. Red peppers are pretty and attractive to children so they oughtn't burn so, or be put just out of reach. I'll never forget that pepper either but I do wish others wouldn't remember such things or at least not remind me of ....

[the last page seems to be missing this time]

Plattsburg, N.Y.
June 30, 1917 [Saturday]

Dear Eva,

I went to see the camp photographers today, so stopped in to see what he had showing Co.4, and picked out a few postcards which I am sending to you. They are taking lots of these pictures all the time, finding out from the men at the time they are taking them to what company they belong, and then, when they are made up, samples are posted up in the photographer's building, Co.4's and each company's being grouped separately.

That must have been a beautiful little party you and Miss Tolbert had last Sunday. Indeed I should have loved to have been there with you. It would have been rather different than the last time we had lamb chops together; I might possibly have made it bear some resemblance by dropping a chop on the floor and then immersing it in the finger bowl. I am so glad you can be with Miss Tolbert so much and have such nice times. And I'm really awfully glad you feel more contented with the city than you did; having Miss Tolbert there, I was sure you would after the first weeks were over. How long do you work every day? I hope you don't get too many days with "bushels of work." My sister is working during the summer, too, in a life insurance office, where she has been once before for a summer, and where my brother used to work.

Hills that brush the skies! I was going to tell you about mountains in the clouds, but you have beaten me. The mountains are visible here everywhere, but I never happened to see clouds below their crests until this week. Every other morning we go out into the country for field work, an attack problem one day, a defense problem another, some other combat problem another. And it was on one of these mornings this week I saw my first mountain clouds. It was a beautiful morning, the atmosphere was as clear as could be, and how the mountains and all did tempt one away from the problem in hand while wandering around the low ridge selected for the purpose, working out an imaginary trench system for the position. And not only did the mountains tempt the eye & spirit , but also oceans of wild strawberries underneath, the appetite. I allowed myself a few squints at the landscape, and naturally didn't let all the berries whose path I crossed get by. Others quite shamelessly hunted for berries - at least seemed to be watching the ground immediately underneath very intently.

Sunday afternoon.
Last evening I went to the Saturday night regimental show, which has grown with each week. Now they have outside vaudeville performers, brought up from New York to entertain us, and admission is charged. The first on the bill was a hoop-roller, who would have several hoops in the air at once, or would have several rolling on the floor and back to him at once, or would start rolling at some place where they would have to take a circuitous route to get into a certain enclosure, and he only missed once; every imaginable stunt with hoops he could do. Then there were a couple of strong men who did some quite wonderful gymnastic stunts together, such as one of them lying on the mat, holding the other by the feet as the latter stood upright, then letting his arms go down gradually backwards; really quite a marvelous feat, but I can't describe it very intelligently. Two chaps had an amusing dancing act - when they finished, they asked the audience what it's favorite dance was, and whatever it was, they agreed to do it; someone in the rear shouted to them to do the St.Vitus'. [note - for those unaware, this is actually a medical affliction.] We have Sunday night entertainments, too, now, and tonight's promises to be very worthwhile. Sousa's band is to be here, and a group of very famous actors from New York is it furnish the entertainment. I hear it talked of as the Lamb's Gambol. The Lamb's Club is, I believe, an organization of stage-artists, comprising among others those who are to be here to-night. I don't know much about it, for I don't follow stageland closely. I have heard that next week the Boston Symphony Orchestra is to be here for Sunday evening; I certainly hope it's true.

This morning I took a seven or eight mile walk with Tom Beers, the Cromwell man I have spoken of before, and another chap by the name of Cotterelli, who also came up here from Cromwell; but I had never met him until today. His home isn't Cromwell, but he had been working there for the greenhouse firm about a year. We walked up to the Hotel Champlain grounds to get the view, and incidentally envied the comfortable looking civilians in white flannels and civilized blue serge coats, while we were cased in by out tight fitting khaki uniforms. From there we walked back into the country.

This has been a hard week, and I have been working every minute of the time. We have taken up a new subject three hours of every day, which is very difficult for me; this is map sketching. We have a certain area given us to map out according to scale, indicating the slope of the land all over it by what are known as contour lines, indicating roads, fences , houses, trees, telegraph wires, and many other things by certain standard signs used in the U.S. Army for the purpose. It would be quite useless to attempt to describe how it's done in detail. I can't get good scores on the range yet, but hope to become as good a shot as I can , for if & when I have men under me to show how to do it, it would never do, or it wouldn't help matters, if they found out I wasn't a good shot. I think even now I could show anybody how to shoot, fairly well, but it's another thing to do it.

Another holiday this week; what's on the docket I don't know. I've heard there is to be a regimental parade, but that was the report about Memorial Day, too, and it never materialized. I used to think, as a child (when I was 1st, not 2nd), that the Fourth of July was about the finest day in the whole year, and for a month back would count the weeks and even days, before it was to come. And likewise, or contrariwise, I should say, the fifth of July, when it was over, was about the glummest day of the year, and I hated everything I had to do.

I had a letter from Carey last night. He is really quite an entertaining writer, and expresses himself very graphically. He tells me that Cruse has started in a law office in Millville, "beginning his meteoric career as a jurist". "His future appears roseate to him", he goes on, "and he thinks that he can handily bring into play his personal magnetism and wonderful oratorical proclivities to carve for himself a huge chunk of success." I can hear B.M.C. talking about it. I don't know how many times he told me about the $15,000 a year he was to make ere long, when he got into the legal profession. Carey has turned farmer for the present, and he and his brother are together running quite a large place their father has, working from soon after sunrise to almost sunset, he says.

Would you like a fleur-de-lis, or blue iris, for your floral collection ? I am sending you one I picked last Sunday; I have been pressing it in one of my books, so that it would get flat enough to send with a letter. I sent you the Wind and Weather titles last Sunday in a letter; did you get it? What does your bacchanalian mail-man do with the letters he doesn't deliver? Auf wiederschen.

Ever your friend
Sylvester Butler

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