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Letters between Sylvester and Eva, October 1917

Oct. 1, 1917
Oct.4, 1917
Oct 11, 1917
Oct.14, 1917
Oct.19, 1917
Oct. 21, 1917
Oct. 24, 1917
Oct. 28, 1917
Oct.29, 1917

[Not dated but probably written right after midnight on Oct.1, 1917 and postmarked that date]

Dear Eva,

Please pardon me if I wait a couple of days longer before writing. Since Friday evening the Supply Train has gotten 430 new men, & you can't imagine the work that brings us. I have worked all day & evening up to now, 12:30. & must get to sleep. for I'll have just as heavy a time to-morrow. "The busiest Sunday in my life," is the terse comment in my diary to-night. I'll try to write by Tuesday.

Yours as always

[undated, the envelope is postmarked Oct.4, 1917. There are two folded sets of pages in this envelope. The first starts "Dear Sylvester", is written in pencil, and just stops mid page. The second set is typewritten and just starts out without a salutation and ends "Your friend, Eva. As the penciled part seems to have been written earlier, I am sending that as a separate letter, and perhaps it was and the envelope is lost.]

Dear Sylvester,

This is going to be a very gossipy letter at least it is starting off so.

Did you know that Mervin Wilson had taken between six and ten thousand dollars from the Trust company? Mr. & Mrs. Frambes are going to make good but he has to leave town.

Most all the girls from our class were or are working in Pleasantville. Margaret Price is working at Tom Wooton's; Gladys Stebbins is working at Thompson's; Katie Wynia was working at the Ford shop and I am working at Hammell's.

Even if it is a place where they make monuments it isn't one bit gloomy . Most of the monuments too in the show yard are surrounded by flower beds and the place looks rather parkish. I have my back to the cemetery too. Do you know, I suppose I am rather queer, but I have no horror or dread of cemeteries. I suppose it is because I never lost any one dear to me.

They also carve beautiful vases, statues, and stands for the different mausoleums and some of them are quite beautiful. They make lots of "Soldiers and Sailors" monuments too and I am learning quite a bit about art and different grades of marbles.

They are so considerate, too, they never let you work one minute over time. When the whistle blows you must go for the boy comes in immediately to sweep and clean the the office so it's get out or be brushed out.

It is raining hard this morning and I have not a thing to do. Mr. Hammell is away. He dictated enough letters to keep me busy until he got back but I finished before he started so I have nothing to do. I have begged everyone around to give me something but they all laugh and say I worked too fast. I think they are mean.

There was a little fellow down here now who is a draftsman. He really belongs upstairs but you know "the boss is away". He is so funny he keeps you laughing all the time. One of the fellows said he was a sound sleeper. A few seconds after he said he talked in his sleep. Then the draftsman said "Oh that's why you're a sound sleeper."

I went upstairs to get some envelopes, they were circular envelopes not quite white and that is what I asked for. He said they were more expensive than the white ones. I said, "well they're not so good." He said, "Oh well, you always get stuck on envelopes if you wet them." You can't say one word but what he twists it some way matter how hard you try. All his jokes aren't puns nor do they all have as little point as some of mine.

I guess Miss Tolbert will go over to Cape May over the week end so maybe Frank and I will get to go up to the Manor. I hope the honey- suckle is out up there. There is a bush of it on my way to work and I stop and get some every morning. It is so dewy and fragrant then. Miss Tolbert declares she never will go there until all the mosquitos have vanished and just at present there are bushels of them down here.

This is noon. The whole force nobly rose to the occassion and presented me with enough work to last a week. I was sorry then I had made my appeal so pathetic.

The bookkeeper, whose place Miss Parson's took, had enlisted and he came in for two minutes visit this morning. He is going to Alabama tomorrow. He came in to offer consolation to Ward Hammell, Mr.O.J.'s son who has enlisted in the Navy and is waiting to be called. They had him on view in the office to see how well he looked in his new uniform.

Mr.Hammell's daughter goes to Welsley [Wellesley] and is a senior this year, altho she has been out a year because she "flunked" (good word) a subject. Perhaps your sister knows her. I have never met her as she lives in Ventnor but I have often heard of her.

I just sharpened all my pencils so that means I'll have nothing to do tomorrow.

[This is the end of the penciled letter and the beginning of the typewritten one]

I have a chance to teach as substitute but don't think I will take it as I like this place here and I don't like to change positions so often I never will get settled. The teaching probably will last a month and then I will have to change again so I think I will stay here for at least I have time to study for the exams and probabily will either be able to take a regular position next year or be able to go away to school. Of course I would just love to teach this year and it is first grade too but it seems uncertain how long it will last so it hardly seems worth while. It is in a little country town near Bridgeton. If I go, I will have to go this afternoon and I couldn't give Mr.Hammell a chance to get another girl

They have gotten a new desk, chair and typewriter for me and they tell me I just seem to fit in so I think it will be to my advantage to stay. The work and the people here are nice. My desk is a lovely light oak and I think it is grand. It is fine to be in a place you like and just seem to suit. I really feel quite at home here.

This is just a section of a letter that I am jotting because I have nothing else to do. The letters are usually just little disjointed indiwiduals that come out whenever they get a chance.

Ithdkdksjdhdha;sldkfg , ha efdfasdflkjf alskdgskdjfd

That is a message in cypher. Don't let the Germans get a hold of it! I should probably be shot at sunrise if they did, so be very, very careful. I an not quite ready to die yet, I "do want to live until my twenty-fifth year."

It seems most like nine days since I got a letter from you but I believe it was only last Tuesday.

Miss Tolbert did go over to Cape May last week end so I went up to the Manor with Frank and two of his friends.

The new desk has started a housecleaning campaign worse than the one when the chair arrived. We almost had to work this morning. A boy is supposed to sweep and clean the office every day so you can imagine things are always well swept and dusted. We only got a half bushel of dirt when the old desk was moved. I am going to give him lessons in cleaning tonight. The fact that I am a girl seems to prove that I should know better than he how to do it, so Marian and I are going to take charge of operations this evening, at least we can tell him that he should always clean out corners which he has been unable to do and still leave at four-thirty-five which time he thinks he dare not stay one minute later than. We will inform him differently of course it is very pleasant to stay and work when every one else has gone so he should not mind it in the least. If anyone is not out by four-thirty I think Mr. Hammell would die of surprise. At four-twenty-five he starts to look up his hat and coat and we all do likewise and as soon as the whistle blows it is good-bye and away

I am a very busy woman just at present I am making a hat, a skirt and just finishing a sweater. I guess that must be why I have found so much time to write because I usually can work better when I am rushed to death.

I suppose now that you went home last week your family will not be up to see you.

Notice the wider margin. I thought it would take me a week to finish that other page and I thought I would take no such risks again because it takes me a week to make up my mind to write and a week to get it mailed after it is written and if it took me a week to write it I am afraid you would get tired waiting.

Do you realize that I really wrote two letters last week? I had a third also but forgot to get it finished in time to send it so it probably will come with this.

How do you like the work up to now? Are the men as nice as the first promising lot? I certainly am glad you are in the supply department because you at least perhaps will get enough to eat and if you wish you can order a Porterhouse steak, corn, and potatoes and pie I suppose if you wish rather than beets, beans, and salads. I almost forgot that I thought you could get all the raised doughnuts you wished.

Miss Tolbert and I walked out in the moonlight last night. We certainly have a wonderful moon down this way. I wish you could see it. It is all big and goldeney just like a--oh anything that's big and goldeney. It certainly is a nice one tho.

Marian Campbell has gone back to school and Solomon Fox is not going back for one year. He is working in Chester and making Twenty Dollars a week so of course he could not be expected to leave such a position. (I mean JOB).

I am thinking quite seriously of becoming a draftsman. You know I was always am expert at drawing, if I remembered to lable my pictures and wrote plain enough no one could ever fail to know what was meant. I have an excellent opportunity here because all the draftsmen have been drafted and so I think they might be willing to take me if there were no one else in the world so I have some hopes of becoming an artist if everyone else dies. Wonderful chance,

Marian has invited me to come over to her house to a dance she is going to give next week. I am not sure that I will go yet as I fear my steps will be so original that everyone will want me to teach them to--do I say to them or to him? after everyone.

I'm on the outs with the whole office force because they all are jealous of my desk. They say all sorts of horrid things about it. They say it's to high for me, that it doesn't suit my complection and all sorts of teasing things that aren't so and what's more they know they aren't so. So I just won't speak to them and they say the new desk has made me stuck up which aren't so, so I just shut my little office door and it has private on it and they hesitate to come in because of that perhaps the fact that I turned the key a teeny little bit has a little to do with it but I really think they are more awed by my attitude.

You know I have a private office of my own. It is connected with Mr. Hammell's office and also the main office but when they tease about me working to death and such things I politely lock them out. Just because they choose to loaf I don't have to. But I do have lots of time especially if they give me all the work in the morning because I can get it all out soon and then do as I please the rest of the time.

My typewriter is one of those you hide away in your desk so naturally I have to open and close my desk fifty times today as it is lots of fun working the new spring.

All afternoon I have not done one stroke of work and I am beginning to get tired I am going on [note- end of typing-pencil again] a strike. I don't like to sit around doing nothing. Really I don't.

I made a wonderful discovery today. Geometry is not true. Things equal to same things are not equal to each other. I was making a skirt on that principal and tho I worked scientifically it didn't come out right. It varied one quarter in so I know the mathametician who framed the rule should have said, Things equal to same things are, within a quarter inch, equal to each other. Don't you think he should?

Well this is all.
Your friend, Eva

[Postmarked Oct 11, 1917]

Dear Sylvester,

I suppose you are still busy. I am sorry you have to work so hard. You'll lose those twelve pounds gained at Plattsburgh.

I am quite busy too. I am home with frank and have been since Thursday we are getting along famously. Monday night tho we almost had a quarrel and last night. I wanted to make some rolls for breakfast next day and wanted him to go for a yeast cake he was determined I wouldn't "sparament" on him as he called it, but at last he left at seven forty- five; he walked in at eleven. I raged all evening to myself but I didn't say a word when he came in as I have always said you couldn't make him mind by quarreling with him but I certainly was angry. Last night I sent him upstairs for something (when we first moved in this house the kids filled him with the story that my uncle, who owned the house and boarded there {he had rented it} was poisoned) one night he (Frank) came screaming down stairs saying he had seen Dr.Sooye up stairs . I don't get the connection between Dr.Sooye and the uncle but it was more than a month before we could get him up stairs. That was ten years ago and I had forgotten all about it until last night he ran down again screaming and saying he tho't he saw Dr.Sooye again and I couldn't get him up to bed. I had to bring a cot down and put him in the front room and I take the couch in the other. I don't know what to do because he really is frightened. I went upstairs a dozen times but it was no use he wouldn't go.

He is lots of help too for a boy. I get up at quarter of six and usually call him about quarter of seven. I get breakfast and he does the dishes usually as the milkman often does not come in time for me to do the dishes afterward.

I read an article one time called "Keeping House Backward". The author said it was better to sweep and straighten up the house just before going to bed as you were tired anyway those last ten minutes. The next day you would wake refreshed and you would not need to spend all your new energy in such laborious work. Perhaps this is not according to good household ethics but at least for me it is common sense for I am not a bit tired when I go to work in the morning as it isn't hard to get breakfast. I am going to get a fireless cooker as I am going to Philadelphia in a week or so and that will save lots of work.

Yesterday it rained all day and Frank came down in the pouring rain to meet me and tell me he had swept the house. He was so proud altho it was evident to me that he didn't realize that other places than the middle of the room should be swept..

I am fixing him up a dandy den and I told him he could have company whenever he liked but he couldn't go out at nights. I suppose that means too no nights out for me but I have enough to do to keep me busy at present.

Katie is boarding at Adam's and mother and father are in the city.

Frank is going to get a little dog too a white and black fox terrior. I wanted my collie but he politely informed me a collie was too large for a house dog but that the dog he wanted was just right of course I couldn't have my way after such proof that it wasn't the dog that was needed.

I took him out the other evening and I told him not to do something as it wasn't proper. The next day the milkman had not come and the biscuits and things were getting cold so I wanted him to eat the rest of his breakfast and leave his cereal until last but he told me it wasn't proper and he stuck to his post until the milkman arrived.

I just do hope he'll get over his fright so we can get things running smoothly again.

Well I suppose this is a long enough letter as you are so busy and if I said anything more it really would be a time waster.

That last letter was terrible but I never tho't about you being busy and I sent you the product of my idle moments, silly things with not a bit of sense to them.

Here's for less work.


[postmarked Oct 17, 1917]

Ayer, Mass. Oct.14, 1917 [Sunday]

Dear Eva,

What ever will you be saying to me one of these days? I have been trying vainly to get at writing you and Mother to-day, after having to skip two Sundays, but to no avail. One thing after another has come up or gone wrong, and I'm stuck again. At any rate, I think of you much oftener than I've been able to write. I never was quite so continuously busy in my young life. Things are getting straightened out, though, I think & hope, so that I won't have to be quite so completely absorbed. Please bear with me and remember that I am

always your friend

Monday morning I repented and didn't send this letter feeling ashamed not to send a real one, but Monday & Tuesday have gone by, without a chance to write, so here goes. -- S.

Postmarked Oct.19, Thursday was the 18th.

[We are missing whatever correspondence from Gram that went along with this "party".]

After the party Thursday night

you dear blessed girl! To make me such a lovely party, so full of appropriate good things, and reminders of the happy times I have spent with you! I got into the Manor side door, where we last came out, a little after ten this evening. Then I set the table, as ordered, and spread out the feast. And when ready to begin, I lit the candle for a few minutes. I could get no wood for the fire-place, so I had no choice but rub Aladdin's lamp and bring an oilstove here Presto! Your blossom honey is simply delicious and your fudge, though it didn't need the poem certainly couldn't help but be good with it. Everything was eloquent of you, Eva, and everything, oh, ever so much appreciated. Though you haven't been with me in body I have brought you here in spirit as much as I could, by getting into the spirit of the occasion and forgetting other things for the nonce; also you have been present thru the pictures , standing by the bush, with the checkered book in your hand - said picture mounted in its little dull-gold frame. And now you appear just at the end of the feast; at first I was going to ask you if the dress had the hoops I brought down from the Manor, but you sort of smiled, and I allowed to myself they were just tucks, & I'd better not try & display my ignorance. You are, may I say it? very beautiful tonight. I wish you were really partaking of the party with me. And why should they tear down our Manor? They at least cannot destroy precious pleasant memories. I can never thank you enough for the care and thoughtfulness you must have put into making up that box for me. Good night.

Your friend

Ayer, Mass. Oct. 21, 1917 Sunday afternoon

Dear Eva,

Now! I hope to remain back in the land of the living for awhile. These last three weeks I have seemed to myself to be wholly detached at times from the outside world. It's getting things started that takes so much time; now, though there's a-plenty to do to keep things moving & progressing. I don't believe I'll be quite so swamped, unless they go and move us somewhere. Rumor would have us in Boston Harbor, South Carolina, & Fort Sam Houston, Texas - take your choice, - or we might be here all winter. It has been very good of you to write me as often as you have - don't talk about my being too busy to read a letter from you. I could have of course written short notes or cards but I was ashamed to send imitation letters, as I was afraid you would think them - but still, I know I wouldn't think that if the case were turned around. I did send you two short ones this last week; mail service is increasingly poor, so I don't feel any assurance about your getting them; one earlier in the week & one late Thursday evening after I had had the party - with you, shall I say? The party you said you were sorry you had sent; I surely did enjoy it all and hope you aren't still sorry about sending it or haven't given me up as a bad customer. I forgot to speak the other night of the quarrel I tried to pick with you over the two lavender jordan almonds, but you refused & let me have both of them.

To-day has been beautiful, although a little too cold for comfort. It's strange to hear me complain of cold, but when you don't have any heat indoors when you're sitting still you begin to wish for the good old summer-time. Among the ten of us in this barracks there are three oil stoves, which you see hardly goes around with ten rooms; every once in a while I manage to appropriate one for myself, as I did Thursday night & also have at present. Today ended with a whole sky full of thin red clouds, which were magnificent; and this reminds me that I haven't acknowledged the Sunset poem and the others you sent me. I like them, and am happy to have them to add to my collection.

My! I've got to account for myself for three weeks. Then do the same thing for Mother, and then perhaps account for it myself in my daily record which has lain dormant for the same length of time. Practically our entire quota of men were suddenly transferred to us that memorable Friday night three weeks ago, increasing the numbers of the men in the Supply Train from 32 to over 400 (464 is the full number). These men had to be provided for - that was my job, as far as food was concerned; they had to be divided into companies (76 in each), each under command of one of us 2nd lieutenants - here's where I came in for more work, to get my particular company together, organized, and started on its work. The quarters we had for our men were altogether too cramped, and the following Tuesday or Wednesday we moved to the next section of buildings , where there were six buildings instead of two, one for each company. We only occupy four at present, two of them being still occupied by men of another organization whom we have been trying hard to hasten out, as yet without success. So Co.1 is split up between Co.2 & Co.3 and Co.4 between Co.5 & Co.6 until they can get their barracks emptied for them. In handling the mess, this splitting up, first from two to four, & now as it will be from four to six makes the keeping of the accounts very complicated, and I have been keeping track of them so as to see that each company gets its proportional share of what is saved - (you are allowed so much per man, & whatever you go under that amount in a month, you get in cash from the quartermaster) - well, this involves one in all sorts of figuring, and I abhor involved figuring, even though I have kept a cash account for eight years. How an expert account or a book- keeper gets any joy out of life, poring over figures all day long, is more than I can see. But I have gradually been getting this mess work off my hands, except for our own company - Co.3, and that I leave most altogether to the men I appointed mess sergeant. The first week and a half, however, I had to spend a great deal of time on all the different messes of the Train, get them going on a system, trying to see that they were kept clean & the men fed well, getting them all supplied equally in the way of kitchen utensils, listening to salesmen from outside firms, and getting ready to tell the other officers about the running of the mess, for each one was to take & has now taken his own mess to oversee. I still take care of the Officers' Mess, for we now eat separately in our own new barracks, but that isn't any job, for I have as a cook an Armenian named Piranian, who is a jim dandy, has owned a restaurant & knows all about the business. So I let him buy everything, & just talk over with him what he has done & plans to do about once a day. He is a fine cook, a real born cook, and we certainly do have crack-a-jack meals . One thing I will have to do pretty quick is to see how much it's costing us to eat, by adding up our bills, but I don't believe it's an exorbitant amount, for the cook is saving & makes everything count.

In addition to the oversight of the messes, I have had a young company of my own, all my own, to start & keep going - in any number of ways, providing for their drill & instruction daily, establishing rules for the guidance of the company, thinking up & putting into execution plans for the improvement of barracks & grounds, and numberless other things. One of the first things I had done when we moved to our new section was to have a half-acre of ground, covered with small brush, cleared to use as a drill ground and it makes a good one. The first couple of weeks I couldn't be at drill very much, but had to leave a great deal of it to the man I have as acting first sergeant. He is one of our original 32, a chap by the name of Folsom, who was a year & a half at Norwich University ( a military school), so that he knows a good deal about drill. He is proving to be, I think, a valuable man for his place, & a great deal of help to me; and it seems good to have someone to rely on when I can't be present. But this last week I have been with my company most of the time during the day, giving them close order drill three hours a day, physical drill an hour a day, signal drill, instruction in guard duty, hikes, conferences on various matters, and usually an hour of athletics in the afternoon. That hour is a pleasant one, I think, for all the men, & breaks up the monotony of the day; we have relay races, jumping contests, boxing matches, any number of things. Every six days my company furnishes the men for guarding our section, & while the guard from my company is on (5o'clock one day to 5 the next) I am what is known as the Officer of the Day and have to inspect the various sentinels on post once between midnight & reveille, also be ready at any time to be called on in case of fire or disorder. I have been Officer of the Day last night and today, and last night as I went out about a quarter after two to go the rounds a man was just running down the street with the news that the Base Hospital was on fire. I had visions of having to rout out the Supply Train & march them up to the Hospital, but called up on the telephone first to see if help was wanted, & found they didn't need our men but did want automobiles to carry up some men whose duty it is to answer all such calls. I got hold of one, & got its owner to use his car for that purpose, then tried to get the Ford we have to run around in going, but fifteen minutes of cranking wouldn't budge her. By that time the fire had been gotten under control, though two buildings were completely taken away. The Hospital must be two miles from our section.

None of the work that our men have done thus far has anything to do with their truck work, which will be the whole thing when we get the trucks. Heaven only knows when that will be. At present they are getting the same instruction as the infantry, practically, - primarily to make soldiers out of them, that is, get them into the habit of conducting themselves like soldiers, and get them used to military discipline.

The barracks where my men stay is a building two stories high, divided into four principal rooms, two upstairs & two down. One of the downstairs rooms is the mess room & off of that the kitchen; the upstairs room over the mess room is to be a recreation room, and the other two rooms sleeping rooms. Then there is one small room where the first sergeant sleeps. Our recreation room is at present occupied by half of Co.1, but pretty soon we hope Co.1 will get its own barracks & then we can get it fitted out. Co.3 will have a pleasant recreation room, I think, for we have had a pool table given to us for nothing, also a piano merely for the cost of repairing it - just $10.00, and a victrola at a reduced cost; we expect a couple of checker boards will be given us, and I am also making plans for newspapers & magazines. Naturally I want to have it just as pleasant and homelike as possible, for it's that sort of thing which keeps the men contented. Some of the men are very willing about everything, others are trying hard to loaf on the job, to think up all sorts of aches & pains to see if there isn't some chance of their being discharged. These men who have come to me with their ingrown toenails, headaches, sides (a la Cruse), &c, wanting to get out of drill, and other men, who want passes to go home & do some business, are the chief worry & time-taker of my life here. I try to be as reasonable as I can, and perhaps that's why I'm getting so much of it . My heart is gradually hardening, I'm afraid, however.

It's no small responsibility, having 76 men for whose welfare, for whose conduct, for whose proper instruction, you are solely responsible. It's much bigger than any I ever had, and naturally I want a good, efficient company that will be a credit to me; and it must be my tireless endeavor to have it so. And then I want to have the men with me, to have their confidence & good-will, at the same time to know that my orders are to be carried out & to do them with out question. That's the biggest task, perhaps, that I have; how much I have succeeded thus far, I don't know.

My brother was taken ill again three weeks ago, and was operated on for appendicitis in a New London, Conn., hospital. While he has been in the hospital, his organization has gotten on its way to France; I don't know whether he knows it yet or not; the folks were keeping it from him while he was pretty sick for fear the news would make him feel worse. The last I heard was that he would have to spend four more weeks recuperating; then what steps will be taken for him to join his company abroad I don't know. We are all glad that if he had to have the operation, the time for it came while he was on this side of the water, even though sorry he had to be left behind, if only for the time being.

Pretty soon I mean to write Miss Tolbert as to the desk, whether she found she could use it or not. Do you see her a great deal? I guess you are glad that your brother is under your care. Pretty soon I expect to go over to see my sister for a Sunday, & then I'll try to think & ask her if she knows Miss Hammell Did you know your post office box number is just two above mine? My box last year in Pleasantville was 295. I surely was surprised to hear about Mr.Wilson. I am returning you a picture you sent and asked me to return. I take it I may keep the two little ones you cut out, showing yourself in the old fashioned dress, for the party. I surely want to.

Your friend as always

P.S. I have had difficulty in finding any misspelled words lately. -- S.

Ayer, Mass. Oct. 24, 1917 [Wednesday]

Dear Eva,

Fifteen minutes are left of to-day. I have just finished planning out to-morrow in detail, and as I expect it to be a rainy day, it has been kind of hard to fill it up. Today has been the stormiest day we have had in Ayer. It is decidedly unfortunate, for to-day was to have been a big day here, as everywhere in the country, the big Liberty Loan day. The camp was to be thrown open to everyone, the men were given a holiday , visitors were coming from all over, and there was to be a big schedule of athletic events. The weather dished the whole thing and the events have been postponed to Saturday. The men have had their holiday just the same to-day, but the weather has let them do nothing but hang around the barracks.

There are constant rumors afloat that we are going South very soon. I don't take much stock in them, but if we don't get some heat pretty soon I certainly wish we were there. This wasn't the best place in the world to put a camp, for I don't see what earthly use it's going to be in the winter time. The camps in the South will have a great advantage over us , without the snow & the cold hindering their operations. Another reason I wouldn't mind going South is so that the men will be farther away from home, and won't be so continually thinking about getting home. About all some seem to think of is getting passes to go home.

Nothing special has happened since I wrote you Sunday, except that somebody came into the barracks of my company at night and stole 50 pounds of sugar the other night. Sugar is terribly scarce up this way; in fact the army is the only place they have any, as far as I can make out; in many nearby cities the stores absolutely haven't an ounce. I wonder how it is down your way.

I have just looked out-doors and see that the moon is shining, so our storm must be over. And I've got a rainy day program made out, too! I think I'll stick to it just the same. It will take a day at least for the ground to dry out.

What are you reading now? I should imagine you'd have a chance to read a great deal, or does house keeping occupy most of your spare time? I wish I were where I could drop in on your little household suddenly someday. But then most people take me to task when I drop on them suddenly, for they think, I suppose, it's so hard to know what satisfies my appetite. And except in the case of the bean, the army doesn't seem to have improved me.

I'm afraid this is a pretty dull letter, but I must say good-night.

Ever yours,

Ayer, Mass.
Oct. 28, 1917 [Sunday]

Dear Eva,

I am trying hard to get warm, also to shake off a dose of sleepyheadedness, if there is such a word. Between the two efforts you can see what a promising beginning I'm making. I've hooked an oil-stove for the evening, but it doesn't seem disposed to give off much heat. This is the coldest place in New England, they say, and I'm quite disposed to believe it, particularly at nights.

Today has been a magnificent clear autumn day. My cousins, the Coes, from Worcester, (who had the bungalow where I stopped on the way up here in August) came up to visit me to-day, and I have been showing them around the camp, also set them up to dinner at our festive board. Later when they had gone I took an automobile ride with Lieut.June. This is very pretty country to travel thru, and I don't believe I ever saw the countryside look quite so beautiful in the autumn as this does up here. In the course of our travels, we went over Prospect Hill, which is surely a beauty spot - a high steep hill commanding a most wonderful view of a long, wide valley and other hills beyond. I was up on the same hill two mornings ago in the course of a hike, an all-morning hike, on which we took the whole Supply Train. This was the longest hike the men have taken; two dropped out on the way, & had to be carried back in the side-car of a motor cycle we had along. I suppose a few others looked rather longingly at the side-car, especially one man in my company who's always trying to get out of doing any work by pleading sickness. The great task on these hikes is watching that the men don't slip out of their places in ranks to pick up apples on the roadside; and quite a number of men have done some extra hard labor for a few bites of forbidden fruit. Lieut.Greene has rented a little farm out in the country near here, so that his wife can live near him, and he goes back and forth there everyday; when we went on the hike we stopped off there & Greene let the whole Supply train loose in his apple orchard. From later reports I judge that some men finally got more than their fill at that time. I guess Greene sometimes wishes he didn't have the house out there, for he says every cousin he or his wife ever had, are coming to see him, thinking what a great chance it will be to see the camp; and I imagine he's pretty tired of it. However, his experience seems to be no deterent for others, for the marrying fever seems to have spread. Travers gets married next month & is going to share Greene's house; and another of the lieutenants is to be married this next week. The fever must have spread to the men, for I just answered the telephone, to find they had a telegram from one of Lieut.Achorn's men that he was just married & had missed the last night train.

My goodness! I get more cold & stupid & sleepy each minute. Just for fun I have looked at my cash account book to see what I was probably doing a year ago to-day. By the looks, it is a year to-day since P'ville High School played Hammonton and beat them, 6-0; I know you must have been there for you were at all of our games; perhaps it's the afternoon you had Mr.McMillan's two boys out there - the first time I remember you with your curls. I wonder if they have a football team this fall at the High School.

I'll have to say good-night, for I have a letter to write to Mother yet , and quite a little work to do.

Ever your friend

[undated, postmarked Oct.29, 1917]

Dear Sylvester,

I am in mourning. Because of a terrible accident I am bereft of a relative. I have not received full details yet only the funeral notice and the notice to go in black.

"Betty Ishcabibble Tough-luck Lutz Lake" has died. She was named after my doll, and was a maltese cat. She was just a mere chei-ld not quite two years old. She is related to me, Mildred says, because of the doll connection, so I am ordered to don widow's weeds or something like that.

Saturday Miss Tolbert and I walked down to Bargaintown. There might have been some skaters there but we didn't see any altho we looked. The woods were just wonderful down there. We were criminals too, we helped ourselves to apples and pears when ever we felt like it and got a chance . We were going boating but we got started too late.

Sunday we went down again this time by way of new road and we branched off on some of the loveliest wood roads. We sat down and talked.

We read "Out Where the West Begins" by Chapman. It certainly is a good poem and if it expresses the true western spirit the west is "sure some place."

I am going to try and write two letters before November 1st and then I won't have to write for a long while. You ought to see me hurring up to get out letters that I know positively will have to go some time. I certainly am getting the best of the government. [note - Nov.1st was the day that postage went from 2 cents to 3 cents] Now am I not terrible saying things like that.

I am not going to the party tonight as I don't care much for parties anyway and I have bushels to do.

Miss Tolbert is coming up tonight I think and we are going to have a moonlight party.

[change from pen to pencil, perhaps written later]

Well I guess I am in for something to night. Mrs Fish called me up on the telephone this afternoon and asked me to come down. I can't imagine . I like to talk to her as she cheers me up or something she's so different.

I have been quite blue all day as I was disappointed yesterday. All day I felt as if something important were about to happen. I felt and waited all day and nothing happened. Wasn't that mean? I am all broken hearted because my hunch came to nothing.

I am finishing this letter with a square carpenters pencil waiting for Frank to finish supper so I can do dishes.

He's finished so I suppose I must stop.


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