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SBButler Letters, November 1918
I had the letters of the last two days already to mail this morning, but not addressed, but as soon as I reached my office found so much waiting for me I had to put it in my basket, and didn't get a chance to address it all day. I haven't had such a busy day in a long time. There is a great deal under way in the way of impending changes to keep us busy; in fact, we may soon have to leave our comfortable tent home.
I've been out to the kitchen and brought Pop back a perfectly delicious piece of prune pie which he turned down with surely unwarranted scorn, and he's just come back himself with an onion sandwich, all for my benefit - he just told me to write you that, also what a nice old man he was. I have begged to disagree, as onions are disqualifying.
The first letter from you in a week came to-night. Your dear familiar handwriting is most welcome again. I love you so, and wish you might be right here, so that I could kiss you good-night.
A good morning kiss for my sweetheart. S.
Isn't that a beautiful purple tear I just shed? I guess it's because I can't think after racking my brains, of a thing I've done to-day, to interest you in the writing of it. So I'm just saying I love you oceans, and sending a good-night kiss to my dear little sweetheart.
My brain was somewhat dried up last night but another rather late Sunday morning snooze has quite restored my mental energy.
The Major and I spent another interesting visit out at the Marquise's house this late afternoon and evening. Her son-in-law, a young French count, was home over Sunday this week-end. He is the sort of person who typifies in my mind the French count who is caricatured on the American stage - a sleek little chap, not overly endowed with brains, with little jerky manners. This chap isn't at all unlikable, however, and perhaps I don't do him entire justice. The old Marquis appeared on the scene to-day, too. He is a dried -up, matter of fact old individual, who doesn't seem to get any enjoyment out of life. And he is so irresponsive, and dead-like, for the life of me I can't talk with him and show a sign of intelligence. He can't speak a word of English, which of course doesn't improve matters. The Marquise and her daughter, the Countess, are much more intelligent and have considerable more personality, surely, than their husbands, the old Marquis and the young count. The Count had been hunting today and brought in a wild boar, one quarter of which we were given to take home with us.
I inquired about that old round hill Deck and I climbed the other afternoon, with the ruins of an old castle, which I wrote you about; and was told that it had belonged to the family of the Prince of Conde who was a famous military leader under Louis XIV, which makes it all the more interesting.
The news is coming so thick and fast it is getting hard to keep up with it. Tremendous events have surely occurred in the last 3 months.
Freddy's come in and is throwing things, so that it isn't very safe. Good-night Sweetheart.
I have letters for the last two nights not mailed yet, but as it was already sealed this will go separately. The reason it hasn't gone is that my mail orderly didn't stop in the office as he should have done to-day on his way up to the post-office. However he brought some mail back from there, and if something that somebody said once is correctly quoted as "It is more blessed to receive than to give", why I suppose that's alright. Your letters and one from Ralph both told me of the great trouble you are having over in the States with the Spanish influenza. Of course we have read a lot about it in the papers, and I have been somewhat solicitous, I assure you. It seems to be so very bad in the camps especially and at Devens, my old camp, worse than anywhere else. Ralph wrote me about a group of 3000 who came to Camp Hancock from Camp Grant, Ill., out of whom 600 had to be rushed to the hospital as soon as they arrived.
I wonder how long your school will have to be closed on account of it. I hope not long. I am glad you are being careful of yourself, and surely hope you won't have any trouble with even as much as a cold this winter. I've thought about a thousand times when I could read of all that grippe over there, and have wished I knew right then that you were all right.
I have spent the evening working up to 9:00, then took some exercise on my bicycle for a half-hour or so. I haven't had the bicycle out for a long time. My chief relaxation nowadays seem to be solitaire in my tent. It's queer how one will get streaks on a thing like that.
We had the wild boar meat we brought home with us last evening for supper to-night. I didn't care such a very lot for it, I think it must have been too freshly killed, and pork is no great favorite of mine in any event. Pop and I have advertised it as our catch, I alleging most stoutly that it was Pop's shot which did the finishing touches on the beast's life. Pop almost spoiled it though by telling how he held a bag and I chased it in. So now a great many refuse to believe we did anything else than buy it at some store.
This afternoon's French papers have the astounding reality of Austria's surrender. It hardly seems possible to me to be reading it. They have gone quickly indeed. And now Germany stands alone against the world. How long can she do it? I rather hope she tries just long enough to lose her Kaiser, which the way things are going - revolution in Austria and everything - would seem perfectly likely even before this reaches you. These are thrilling days.
Good-night, and my best love.
There have never been such red letter days as the last two, or should I say good letter days, or make an atrocious pun and say read letter days. At any rate yesterday brought me five letters from you, and to-day six, which, considering they are one week's worth, is surely rewarding me well. You are a dear good blessed sweetheart, that's what you are. The chocolate has come, as it did in two of these, with very little loss of freshness, and I surely enjoy it. The little pansy and the honeysuckle came too with much of their freshness. How could they help it if you have kissed them or even touched them? While writing you I have opened another of the letters and remembered I must thank you for the late rose, too, which looks as though it must have been very pretty.
Ralph writes me that our friend Curly Barrows is engaged - again. You know, he was the first of our whole crowd to get engaged once, but his first one only lasted about four or five months. He swore by all that was high and holy he'd never let another girl get him, but he seems to have forgotten his vows. Perhaps it's because he's the last of the five of us, and was the only bachelor left. I was really quite surprised to hear that Curly was engaged again, for I didn't even know he had a girl he was interested in. I always thought him the type of man who would naturally remain a bachelor, and used to vow most staunchly to him how I was with him to the last on that score.
Those two fancy boxes I wrote you I had designed and got a carpenter started on awhile ago, are finished now, and my Polish carpenter surely did a good job. Especially with what I am pleased to call my Field Library or Folding Library. It is really two small book cases which close together; made of splendid oak lumber, obtained from a nearby French sawmill, for only a few packages of cigarettes slipped to the foreman. It looks first-rate in an office. At the same time whenever you want to move, all you have to do is close it together and lock it and carry it to your next station - no packing, unpacking or bother of any kind. I hope to get it back across the ocean and use it as part of our library furniture, when you and I start housekeeping. I just like to write that last out, to see how it looks.
Good-night, dear Sweetheart. A world of love and a good-night kiss.
I'm going to say good-morning before I start the day. I love you.
I spent half this afternoon signing my name, which little task I performed no less than 500 times, which perhaps doesn't seem like very much, but when it had the "S.B.Butler, Capt.301st Sp.Tn." added to the labor, and as each one was in a separate book, that added also. I ought to be able to do it backwards with my eyes shut now.
This morning I ran into Tom Beers, who has only been near here for a short time. It's the first time I've seen him to speak to him since we came to France. He hasn't had near the good luck I have had in getting letters, and tells me the bunch he got yesterday and the day before were the first he had had in a month. I suppose there are lots of poor chaps who have gone a great deal longer than that, especially the soldiers who come over as replacements, and whose address changes as soon as they get here, and perhaps again so soon as their folks learn that one.
I am sending you a little Christmas package to-morrow, so as to be sure it will reach you in time. There is so little from which to choose to send, and I don't know whether it will be a practical thing for you or not. At any rate it goes with all my love and a thousand kisses which I hope will keep it from not having any value at all. I wish we might have our Christmas together, just as you, dear; but I know we shall have it so next year. My! I will be so happy to have you once more with me. Nothing can keep us apart then, can it? Certainly, nothing can ever keep me away from you. I love you - you know how much I love you - nobody ever loved anybody else any more.
Always you Sylvester
I went to a little luncheon at the Sous Prefet's to-day with the Major and Taylor, which, well, I guess I shouldn't have called it little in the first place, for it lasted two hours and a half. These French people surely take their time at eating. It was a splendid spread we had to-day, though. After some preliminaries, we had a nice roast chicken - which I was unfortunate enough to have fall to my lot to carve. Incidentally I never carved chicken before in my life, but I expect it wasn't a bad idea to have practice, what do you think? At least everybody got some chicken to eat, and was polite enough to say how nicely it was done. I had one on Taylor the next course, for there appeared a whole lobster, and it was his turn to work. So I was glad I had taken the chicken. It was necessary to send the maid for a pair of pliers before the lobster was completely broken up.
Just before we left, while we were up in our bed-ridden friend's room - poor chap, he invites his friend to his house, but can't come down to sit with them - he received a telephone message thru French official sources that Germany had accepted everything. I haven't let myself believe it, and shan't until I see it in print, a substantiated fact. It doesn't seem possible to believe they are ready for such terms as we are bound to give them. The rumors have flown thick and fast the late afternoon and evening and in a large city up north of us they say there's torchlight processions celebrating. I can't see this idea of celebrating on the strength of a rumor.
My watch says mid-night. Good-night, darling. I love you.
Well, I just had to quit Hammell's today as the examinations start tomorrow.
I don't believe we are going to have school at all until the 11th.
Dorcas was around a little while tonight. At last she got a letter after four mails having come in without any for her. Harry has been very busy. I certainly was relieved when the letter came as she has been so worried.
Little Stephen came in after supper to show me his false face so we had to pretend it was Halloween and treat him.
It is rather late, so I'll say good-night.
I love you.
I took four examinations today, and already I am wondering how many I passed. Mr. Cressman gave the examinations in Atlantic City High School.
Daido and I had both lunch and dinner in Atlantic as neither of us felt much like cooking.
You know Monday is her birthday and so I bought her a lovely little silver filigree moss agate pin. It is really characterful and I know it will just suit her.
It has looked like a storm all day and we actually had a two minute snow this morning, however, I missed seeing it and, of course, have been rather unhappy ever since.
I came home early for the mail but there wasn't even one single letter for me so I have to go to sleep without any.
I love you, dearest.
I just know you are coming back to me soon. The papers are so full of good news. I saw in the paper that it had been officially announced that all the boys would be home within ninety days after peace was declared.
I haven't been out more than a minute today as I got industrious and gave my hair a good washing and as it didn't seem to want to dry I didn't dare go out.
I just wrote a letter to Katie tonight altho she owes me one. I sent her an envelope as you never can tell what's the matter especially when you are away from home.
Daido has gone out for a walk up to Marian's so I am alone. Do you know what I wish I had now - a great big bowl of yellow chrysanthemums. I'm just hungry for them. They seem so wonderful and sunshiny just like all happiness. I do love them.
I just can't seem to think of much to write tonight. I guess it's because I haven't been doing anything.
I love you, dearest. Here is a goodnight kiss.
I love you but your mother has loved you as long and as loyally as ever a wife could hope to. I know it hurt your mother for you to send me the slip for the Christmas package. She really expected it as she wrote the other day and said the package would probably have to be sent thru the Cromwell Red Cross and for me to send my gift to her.
Sylvester, dear, I just hope you didn't think I would be so selfish as to feel hurt if you had sent it to her. I know you love me but wouldn't want you to love your mother one bit less because of that. Real mothers have done so much that not half enough can be done for them to repay and please whenever it comes when you must decide anything that might hurt her don't take a chance. I'll understand for real mothers are first. I wish I could have gotten the slip back to you as you could have sent it to your mother. I sent the slip on to her tonight suggesting that perhaps the package had better be sent form her end as there would be more individual packages from there. I would have loved to have sent a package, a real Christmas package but I am sending a small one to your mother tomorrow.
I love you.
I love you.
I have been around to Dorcas' tonight. We played Peaknuckle, of course, I know that isn't the way to spell it but I was sure you would know what I meant but if I attempted to spell it correctly I'm not at all sure you would.
Today I received notice that a teacher's institute will start at the High School tomorrow and tacked on, to make you attend I suppose was this remark, "Light Refreshments served at noon." As Daido, Forna, and I are all invited or commanded, as it really is I suppose, we have decided to omit lunch tomorrow and divide the 98 cents saved thereby between us.
I am in a terribly reckless mood tonight having put Mr. Davison and myself in the hole 'most every inning. They actually say I bid once on nines, a king, and two tenspots. I am wondering now if I did. Once tho I had a whole suit of [drawing of a spade] - I think I mean spades so bid something like 44 or some other absurd number because I wanted it and here when I melded Dorcas had the very same suit. Did we win?
I'm going to send a few candies in this letter. They are for Christmas but if you are terribly awfully starved for candy you might eat one. I said one! Now how am I going to know if you do eat only one? I really won't care tho if you do eat more.
I'm sending a sunshine flower to you too. I really do always want to be happy and never cross but goodness.
I do love you dearest best in the world and I want so hard to make you happy.
I love you.
I have had the bestest day today. There was a meeting of the Atlantic County teachers at the High School and it was so inspiring!
Mr. Scott, the Assistant Commissioner of Ed. of New Jersey arrived late so Mr. Cressman had Mr. Sullivan and Daido speak. Daido did wonderful and she was certainly lionized. The Ventnor Principal carried her off and introduced her to his teachers and this afternoon Mr. Scott came up, shook hands, and said he had arrived just in time to hear a very interesting talk. My but I was proud of her.
He called on me to express my views on good reciting. I was 'most scared to death. I explained that I didn't know everything about it yet as I had taught only a month and then told a little personal story about a cat picture. How most all kiddies had cat stories or some personal things about which they could tell much better stories than they could summarize a book story. He said he would never have known I had taught a month - I guess he thot a week was my limit.
We had a wonderfully interesting physical training teacher and she won us over into doing such gymnastics that I am sure I will be stiff for a week.
This afternoon a Red Cross man (Dr. Dan Alden) who had been in France a year spoke and then showed us all sorts of trophies, among them an iron cross and when it was passed to me I secretly made a terrific face at it.
Miss Asquith also made a plea for the United War Work Drive that was wonderful and Mr. Boyar, Atlantic City Superintendent, and Miss Crowder did likewise.
Really I did have a busy day.
Dearest, I love you. I love you I do. I'm starting a wee bit on your Christmas letter so will kiss you goodnight.
I love you.
Peace has been declared and that means I'll have you soon. Could ever anyone be so happy? Oh it just doesn't seem possible as it really came so suddenly.
This morning I was down and fixed up my school room as I suppose school starts Monday. I walked thru the woods and gathered a little holly and am going to send you a piece.
This afternoon Daido, Mrs. Barras and her sister Mrs. Hance and I went down to Fisherman's Point it was just wonderful but all I could think of was you and peace. I'm so happy.
Tonight's papers say peace has not come. Oh I don't see how such a report dared come out and not be so. Everyone was so happy.
I just don't know what to believe.
I love you.
It is midnight already, for Pop and I have been talking about everything under the sun for the past two hours, until I have finally talked him to sleep. Before we started our confab we rummaged all over for some thing to eat, and the store-room had nothing better than dried prunes for me, and I'm tired of them, surprisingly enough. Pop passed up an onion sandwich which he could perfectly well have made but considerately didn't. It finally became necessary to steal some sweet chocolate from Deck's tent, and then put his good mirror in Greene's tent so that he'll think Greene took the chocolate, too. Earlier in the evening we walked uptown, and dropped in on our friend, the Sous-Prefet, then to the Officer's Club to watch the pins showing the battle line on the big map there go steadily eastward. The gains they are showing each day are astounding. As nothing has been announced to-day, it is plain that all those torchlight celebrations last night were premature. But then the human is prone to seek excuses for celebration. Andy wants to celebrate in a few evenings a year and half since he entered the service, while Greene says he wants to celebrate the date which is a half year before he gets out - which is on a par with the chap in my town who wanted to have a director's meeting of a certain corporation one week before the president's death.
Some one has just come by and thrown a stick of wood in at us. Real playful, isn't it? Playful, that's us all over.
I am disgusted with the news from the Congressional election in America, to think that the people could elect a Republican House of Representatives - possibly thereby making Germany think the country wasn't backing its President; and particularly after the low-lived treacherous statement of Taft and Roosevelt just preceding the election - that is the dirtiest piece of politics I ever did see. Such a low down lie, too; and apparently there are over half the American people who haven't seen that it is. Pres. Wilson has not shown any sign of weakening or back down to the Germans; nothing but unconditional surrender on the part of the present German government will satisfy him and he has plainly told them so. Why then when the whole country should show a united front, should two ex-Presidents try to discredit the President of the United States. It is little short of treason, in my estimation. I hope they will learn what the soldiers think of them. I am going to write one stinging letter home about it, which I hope Mother will read to certain of my Republican relatives, who I suppose voted the good old ticket just the same.
I must say good-night, my dear Sweetheart. I love you, Eva.
Good morning dear. I need your sunshine for a rainy morning. Would you have lots for me if I were with you?
Pop has gone to bed and doesn't want me to build a fire, so if I catch the influenza or freeze to death to sit up and write shall I blame him or you? It surely is a most important question.
We had the chance for the first political arguments since we got into the Army, and they have waxed loud and heavy at times. It's funny thru what blurred glasses some people see right and wrong in two sides of a question - I mean particularly just now those who can stand up and defend Roosevelt and Taft for the treacherous and untruthful canard they published just before election.
Pop, Fred, Lou, and I have been out at the Marquise's again for supper and the evening. The French dine very late, usually about half-past seven, and with the length of time they take at meals, it lasts well into the evening. We had a delicious supper this evening, the most especially delicious thing being a "mousse des lapins" - rabbit mousse - a sort of rabbit meat jelly, which would just melt in your mouth. There was also turkey stuffed with chestnuts, chocolate jelly with whipped cream, grapes, the usual salad and the usual cheese. The young Count waxed funny to-night, particularly when he got on the subject of cats. He doesn't "like ze cat. He is good for not'ing. Oh! but I love ze dog, and I like to see ze dog chase ze cat. Always when I see ze cat, and I have my pistolette with me, I say "Come nice kitty, kitty" and when she comes I shoot her in ze head. Ping!" and so forth. The smooth brown cats were walking all over the table again to-night, and he takes out his dislike for them by snapping them on the tail if they come near him. His wife was speaking of some cousin of theirs who she thought was quite attractive. Pierre admits she is very nice, "but her eyes, ze one it looks at New York, ze ot'er it looks at Paris. It's not good" It's a scream to hear him talk. Pop was trying to embarrass Freddy all thru supper by accusing him of trying to take too much whenever anything was passed to him. The faultless butler might come with some more chocolate jelly and it would be "Now, Madame La Marquise, you want to watch Freddy" or "Fred, why don't you just change your plate for the platter" and so on, but Fred is always equal to the occasion.
I'm not quite frozen to death yet, but think I should say good-night. Just think, in somewhat less than 19 years, I'm sure, now, I am going to kiss you good-night always, that is, if you'll let me, and you'd just better. I'm sending you one right now.
I love you.
Dearest Sweetheart, I am sending you my love and a thousand kisses this morning. I do love you more than the whole world. But I've told you that before, haven't I - however, just so you don't forget it, dear.
Nobody loves me (but you) and my hands are cold. So won't you come? They're almost so cold I can't write. So you'll have to come. I wish I could have you this minute, for I love you so much.
I have been to-day for quite a long motor ride with Don Fitts, a lieutenant who has come with us recently; I knew him at college, however though not well; he was a Freshman when I was a Senior; joined Zeta Psi after my graduation. It was a very pretty ride thru miles and miles of forest, filled with autumn colors on ground and tree. And the roads were long straightaways, like ours in Jersey, though hillier, which probably you would dispute, wouldn't you, dear? Dispute without looking - yes? We visited a chateau owned by a Madame Thuret, who knows Don because his brother, who's an aviator, once landed on her estate. Her place is beautifully appointed on the interior, as all the chateaux. Also beautiful outside, where it is all covered over with ivy, 2 ft. deep at places. Her estate is about 1000 acres. She took us for a little walk about it, thru her woods of nice straight pines, luxuriant firs, and other beautiful trees - also a summer house with a fireplace - did you ever hear of such a thing? By her pond there are lots of wild ducks - I should think one would call them tame wild ducks. Just as we got to it, she began to call, "Venez, venez, venez," incessantly, and gradually out of nowhere the ducks began coming and she threw bits of bread out to them in the water. She has a son lost in the early days of the war, and another in the cavalry at the present time. Her little grandson Philip, 8 years old, is a remarkably good piano player, and gave us selections of quite difficult technique, surely so, for a child. It was quite interesting to learn from Madame Thuret that she has a niece who owns the chateau where the armistice negotiations are going on at this moment. Everything to-night looks as though the terms of the armistice would be signed tomorrow. Then I wonder how long the discussions at the peace table will take. If the Allies are agreed on everything surely it ought not to take long, for they are dictating to Germany just what they want.
Good-night, and I love you, Eva dear.
Dearest, I have been thinking of the sunshine of your smile, the sunshine of You this morning, and how I wish it were here for me. You are saving it for me, aren't you, sweetheart, then it will chase all the clouds away forever more. I love you. Sylvester
Dearest Sweetheart of mine,
The great day has come indeed. Who would believe our victory could have been so complete in so short a time? All France has been celebrating and this little town has done its share. What a greater measure of joy these people must feel than me, since they have fought for over four long years, thru many days that looked absolutely hopeless, and now see the end of it all and complete victory, all that they fought for, in their grasp. It never could come out any other way. I never would believe it could, for it was the only right way. Surely this is one of the greatest days in the history of the world. Flags sprung up everywhere late this morning, French, American, British; people began crowding the streets, most of the male population apparently started to celebrate over their cups. This evening there were fireworks up in the square, thrown in the most promiscuous manner imaginable. A lot of the rockets and bombs fell right back in the crowd. Up the street we came on several small boys firing rockets which they just lay on the ground. If unoffending pedestrians a little way down the road happened to be in the way, why, he'd get the rocket, that's all. I should think if they have such celebrations on their 14th of Julys, half the population would be dead each 15th. We couldn't miss calling on our friend, the Sous-Prefet this night of nights, so we spent a little time with him and talked over the good news. We drank his toast to "the country which got the last kick at Germany" and then of course we drank to France, too.
Next comes the peace conference. It really doesn't seem as though it should take so very long. Till it does and I have no idea when troops will start to move back to America, and when they do, we never can tell what his luck will be in getting back early. At any rate, from to-day things begin to move forward to the day when we return, and for us, when I return to America, to those I love, most of all to You, my own dear sunshine Sweetheart. That is something, and somehow I feel that my luck is going to be good.
Eva, Sweetheart, I love you always.
Dear girl, this is a morning kiss, full of hope, looking forward to our reunion. All my love, for you only. Sylvester
Yesterday and today brought me quite a little mail from you, 4 yesterday and 2 to-day, so, just so you won't forget it, I want to tell you again you're the bestest sweetheart anybody ever had. Only I want to know why you say "Queer, I s'pose, but I do get awful lonesome for you sometimes." Now I'd just like to know why it's queer. I suppose perhaps it is queer anybody would ever get lonesome for me, but then somebody tells me always she loves me and maybe I wouldn't feel just a little badly if I thought she weren't lonesome for me once in a while. It was nice to have the little gentian. I am especially fond of them, and when I think of flowers in fall, gentians always come first to me.
Mother writes me often of the nice letters you write her, and I do want you to know how much I appreciate you writing her. I know it makes her happy to have you, and think you are a dear good girl to do it.
I acted on your hint passed on from Ralph this very evening and have written him a letter. He has been much more generous to me than I to him, I must admit. Though I think my last to him was only a couple of weeks ago. I was mighty glad he got an assignment to a division at Meade, and got away from that replacement camp at Hancock, for it's much more satisfying to work with an organization you know is to be permanent. It hardly looks as though he'd ever get across the water unless he gets started during the next month perhaps. I hope he did get over and see you a little while at Pleasantville.
Today we had several pictures taken around our tents, and Fred and I a couple of poses up at a photographers - just inexpensive postcard things. I hope they come out well, and of course will send some along if they do.
I have the feeling to-night, all around me, that there isn't another blessed thing to do, of course it's just the knowledge that everything is over at the front; and my reason can tell me full well I have plenty more to do.
The full terms of the armistice appeared to-day and doesn't seem possible they could be so complete. They have a fine chance of starting any more trouble - not.
Only ten, but I must get up early to-morrow, so good-night, girlie, and a kiss for the love I have for you.
Dearest, This is to wish you a happy birthday, my big grownup Sunshine Lady. Sylvester
I have been on a long motor ride on business with Pop and Fred and just returned now at midnight. It is cold as can be, and I am quite chilled thru, also the tent is freezing, and I think I had best get under cover as soon as possible. Will you mind, sweetheart?
I wonder if you feel about 6 in. taller, and altogether bigger and older to-day. I know you are my same Sunshine Lady.
Good morning! I am somewhat thawed out by now. I was surely shivering last night and my hands were so cramped up you can see the result in my handwriting. It's a lovely morning and I wish I were with you. More later.
Well, the armistice wasn't signed yesterday as I guess you know.
Daido and I were going up town shopping when a Suburban car for Atlantic started to come and she said, "Let's" and I said "Sure" so we did.
The ocean was way in and we sat in a pavillion enjoying everything. Incidentally in the midst of our musings Daido discovered she had lost her pocket book which made the second time the same had occurred this week. The first time a little boy found it and today I discovered it on the counter in the Mr. Foster store.
Dearest sweetheart, I'm dreadful lonesome for you.
I love you.
I took four more examinations today.
Atlantic City had a large parade for the United War Work Campaign. I didn't enjoy it much as I had to watch it alone. Daido came over for me but somehow we missed each other.
I got a letter from you this morning. I received later letters from you than this last week but really was glad to get this one telling all about your new tent and the good work the carpenters are doing. Oh, I do love you.
I also received a letter from Ralph and if he can get off he is going to run down tomorrow. Winnie will not be able to come as she is in Portland, Me. working now.
I forgot to tell you yesterday that Mrs. McDougal was down yesterday afternoon and she asked about you, wanting to be remembered and inviting us up the next time we could possibly come.
I'll give you a goodnight kiss now.
I love best in the world.
My own Sweetheart,
Ralph has been here today. He didn't arrive until about nine and had to leave on the 4:55 but we managed to make a day of it.
He didn't seem to want to go to Atlantic so I took him down to Fishermen's Point and we gathered some holly and bittersweet. If you had been he I would have been so happy.
We came back and Ralph got a film and we took some pictures with Forna's camera - some of Ralph and his oversea's cap - which I had taken especially for you and then he put his oversea's cap on me. We also took a long distance picture of each of us and Bricktop and over at the bay we took one of Forna and I and one of Ralph and I.
I am always lonesome for you my dearest but now that he has been here and gone I feel almost that I would give everything to have you here if for only an instant. I do want you so.
I suppose I feel blue but if only you could come I'd just be so wonderfully happy but you will be back for all time I know soon.
I am going to put a little of the holly and bittersweet, I promised you the other day, in this letter. they are for your Christmas and that's what I said when I picked them. I hope they reach you in good condition my sweetheart.
Just wait until you do get back.
I love you so.
Well, peace has been declared and this time the report is official.
We had school only for a few minutes this morning and after getting the United War Work Campaign launched and having a flag salute and songs in the yard we dismissed.
This afternoon I have been working on an idea I think is a good one. So many of my little kiddies hands looked just about frozen today that I set to work and made some mittens for them out of old stockings and while I was sewing them Daido came in and went my idea one better by giving me some perfectly wonderfully warm woolen material to make some out of.
That was one way I celebrated.
I also worked out some numberwork schemes that have been running thru my head.
Now, isn't that just like a girl. I have been so enthusiastic about my schemes I forgot to say I got two letters from you today - one talking about the stokers for the electric company and the other telling about the chocolate. I am so glad you received it. I imagine it was worse than flat tho, however, you say you ate it. Won't you please tell me what it looked like when it arrived?
I read your last letter to Ralph when he was here yesterday. I'm afraid Mr. MacMillan was wrong when he said the army improved a man religiously. Why goodness, the way you swore about the "flu" was simply fierce. However, as it has done lots of damage every where I forgive you. I really didn't know it was in France. It has about done its worst over here now.
Tonight Dorcas insisted I celebrate by going to Atlantic with her and now I'm repaid by being tired and disgusted as I never saw so many drunken civilian soldiers and sailors in my life. It's so terrible. Some night policemen arrested two soldiers who were in a saloon and just as we were passing the major was trying to argue them into giving the soldiers up as they were just a battalion down for the parade. When we got past the policemen were surrounded by soldiers about thirty deep. I'm afraid the outcome won't be pleasant.
Dearest Sweetheart, I love you. Here're three goodnight kisses.
Here's a little school letter. The gloves worked fine and there are not so many cold hands today.
I received a lovely letter from your mother today. She had received the package slip and has the package all ready. She says she hasn't received a letter for ages.
She is sending me a package for my birthday. I don't know what is in it yet except a pin made from the slide on her watch chain. I didn't think she knew when my birthday was. She said there is something for my hope chest and some candy from your dad. I'm sure pleased.
I saw Fred Layton last night. He has been across five times with the Merchant Marine. He said he thot he saw you in Hoboken last July. Did he? I mean was it possible you were there about July 16th and he could have seen you?
Dearest, my kiddies have been around so I got them to write a little line to you. Of course, they didn't know they were writing to you.
Dearest, I love you.
We had some more milkweed today and one girlie said her first wish came true when I gave her the mittens this morning. Wasn't that lovely? Your Sweetheart
Dearest, I didn't send your letter off this afternoon as I just didn't happen to have an envelope with me.
Your mother is just so lovely to me. She sent me the most wonderful pin, and a crocheted doily, a spatula, a tea towel, and a pan lifter for my hope chest. Your daddie sent me a box of candy and a giant cocoanut bar and the two of them sent me a beautiful card just full of wonderful best wishes. Do you wonder I am happy on my birthday eve?
Daido gave me an apple blossom pin and the sweetest waist and sister sent me a yoke which was started for me last summer, and as she said probably will have to answer for a Christmas present also.
The pin your mother sent me is such a one as I have always wanted. I'm so happy.
Dearest, I love you so.
Do you know I'm going to be a year older tomorrow. Twenty-one. My!
Tonight I arrived home from my school just in time to help out P.H.S. in a parade. Of course, I nobly butted in alongside of Daido and paraded the soles off my best shoes.
Dearest, you're coming back soon. You can't imagine how happy it makes me. I'm just so happy some times I almost make up my mind to not make you help with dishes and other unpleasant things or scold when you stay out late at night or such. No, but I really am awful lonesome for you. Of course, I love Daido and would probably always have loved and stayed with her happily if I hadn't known you. I never could be happy now without you.
I love you. Here is a goodnight kiss - and a hug.
Can you guess what day today is? I received so many best wishes I am almost overwhelmed.
Forna gave me a lovely handkerchief and I also received a letter from Ralph. If only the post office had saved the letter I received from you yesterday over 'til today.
Ralph said he enjoyed his visit very much and wished me many happy returns but he spoiled it all by stating I was the baby of the family even if I was twenty-one. Now, I'm entirely grown up from today on and have already started in to assert my independence right and left so, of course, I don't like any suggestion that I am ungrownup to be made to exist. Isn't there some way I can forge my age or get out of this fix?
Well, my sweetheart, if I didn't get a letter from you today at least I know you are coming back soon and I'll let you take me in your arms just as your letter yesterday said you wanted to do. Oh I do love you so. I just wonder how soon you'll be back to me. I'm really awful lonely.
I love you.
I'm afraid my letter is going to be short tonight first because I haven't anything to say and second because I am rather tired and really for no very particular reason.
School was fine today and the United War Work has gone way over the top in my room, but what makes me cross is the kiddies who give the most really have the least to give. I know one boy is staying home because he has no shoes and his brother brot in fifty cents he had earned carrying leaves and I heard form outside his mother just gave $5. It doesn't seem right to me. I wish I were earning a lot more, so many of the kiddies have almost no shoes and things and others do have so much.
I didn't get any letters all day today but received a dandy book, Corners of Grey Old Gardens, from Lucinthia tonight. Daido and I read a chapter together and we certainly enjoyed it very much.
I'm cross at the Linwood board. They have not paid us for last month yet and it is two weeks overdue tomorrow. Lucky for me I worked at Hammell's and don't actually need it, but it makes me cross because I have been told from several sources that they make a practice of holding back your checks every month. I don't like the idea a bit.
Oh I'm dreadful sleepy and I suppose if I write much longer I'll reveal how cross and contrary I really am. The first thing Fred Layton asked was, was I as contrary as ever, so you see I have a reputation.
Well, dearest, I'll say goodnight and here're lots of kisses.
I love you.
I have heard one of the most interesting things to-day. It was even my privilege to hear, for it's the nearest story I ever had on a great world event. There are all sorts of stories, such as the Nathan Hale hanging, the Washington cherry tree, which have intimate details closely woven in with them, and which purport to be true, but the truth of which is in reality very much in doubt; for they grow out of almost nothing, as the old myths and folktales. This is a rather long preliminary to my story: the Marquise de la Roche was in Paris on the memorable day when the signing of the armistice was announced, and stopped outside our park to-day as she was going by, and has been telling us all about it. Of course there was the wildly exuberant celebration, absolutely unrestrained, and it was interesting to hear of it, hear of the people taking all the captured German guns and pulling them all over the city, and all the other expressions of joy unconfined. But what was so very interesting, was that an official who is an intimate friend of hers was present with Marshal Foch when the German delegates came over the first time to ask the armistice, and this official told her of their session with the great Marshal. They were escorted up to his headquarters in his private car; they came in. The Marshal looked around, said "Who are you? and what do you want?" Engberger, one of the delegates said, "We've come to talk about the armistice, Marshal." "Armistice? Armistice?" said Foch, "I don't know anything about any armistice," in a gruff, snappy tone. "Perhaps you don't understand, we've come to talk about stopping this fighting," said Engberger. "Stopping the fighting?" said Foch. "Fighting is going right on. We're not stopping the fighting." Engberger was baffled, then Count Winterveldt, another delegate stepped forward and said "Marshal, we have come to ASK you an armistice, and beg that you will give us terms." "Ah!", said Foch, "that's a different matter," and proceeded to talk with them, handing over the terms which you have seen in the newspapers. The official said the Germans almost gasped and fell to the floor as they read them. But you know the result, they had to take them. It must have been a satisfying sight to see the proud Germans so humbled. Of course you know they sent the terms back to the German government for approval; and they, I gather, did not expect them to be accepted. But the downfall of the Kaiser hastened and made certain the inevitable acceptance.
I bid you good-night, my own Sweetheart
This has not been a very hardworking day for me, just kept my job going. This evening have been talking over with Pop and Fred another long motor trip Fred and I are going to take to-morrow, which may have some little influence on the future life of our organization. I don't look forward to the ride much, as it is getting pretty cold for riding, and the road is not new, it being the same one over which we went three days ago, and also back in early September when we made that trip.
I have a beautiful fire going to-night, and the tent is fine and warm. I really think I am getting somewhat more proficient as a fire-maker, and by the time I come to you for a position as handy-man-about-the-house I'm sure I can qualify as an expert in that line. Won't that be fine? I hope you are fully appreciative of the model husband-ly qualities I am acquiring.
This has been a lovely day and it's a lovely moonshiny night. This is the greatest football weather ever. I hope football will be resumed at the colleges next fall and that we will be near enough to see the Yale-Harvard game. I expect to combine with Fred on the next Yale-Harvard game, at least, some future one, and see which can drown the other out, he being a Harvard man - of the same year I graduated from Yale. Fred's a great boy, the most competent business man we have in the Train, all energy and life, fully awake, keen, and assertive. I like him tremendously - admire him for his energy and enjoy especially his wonderful smile. His mouth sort of dents down when he smiles, and makes him look as though he thoroughly enjoys things. It's what they call, I guess, a catching smile, for one always wants to laugh with him. He's our Supply Officer, you know, and he, with the Doc and myself constitute the Major's staff.
Here's a good-night kiss, Eva dear, and I love you.
11/16 Here's a good-morning kiss for you and then I'm off. S.
I've been on the long trip to-day I wrote you last night I was going on, and while it has been cold it hasn't been such a bad trip. We had the car all closed in, and had a couple of blankets, and then, touring France in a Cadillac even in cold weather and on business isn't one the worst hardships of war. Travelling in France has a sufficient number of distinguishing aspects so that you know you are not in America. There are the railroad crossing gates, heavy iron fence on rollers, which the gate keeper has to come out and open one at a time; in addition to that he's usually asleep in his gatehouse, and you have to toot your horn for five minutes before you get him out. There are the leisurely French peasants, always walking beside their carts and not riding in them; and the cart is inevitably in the middle or on the wrong side of the road; I never saw it to fail, and it gets one tremendously out of patience sometimes; you must blow and blow and blow your horn, they gradually move over, and then when they see you right up on them, they get excited as can be, and jerk and hammer the poor old horse and run around like a chicken with it's head off. There are the cows which about every two miles, are being driven along the road; one must inevitably stand right in front of you road, while the herder with his stick gets all excited and runs all over creation. There are the pedestrians who walk all over the road and don't even see you when they are walking toward you; they might just as well be blind. I think they must like to hear you toot your horn. When they do get out of the way they run like bloody murder, and they never think of looking when they cross the road.
There are long lanes of trees along most every road - poplars are a favorite, also sycamores I think the government must look after their planting and preservation, it is done so universally thruout the part of the country thru which I have travelled.
Our errand has been for the most part successful; we have secured the information we wanted, though we had to interrupt a colonel or two at his work to do it.
We are back at midnight, and find a Lieutenant-Colonel and a Major are down here to see our Major, and have ranked Fred and me out of our beds. So we have gathered up what blankets we could scour to make pillows, blankets and mattress with on some rope spring bunks in a stoveless tent next to us. Isn't that a cheerful prospect for a restful night? Seriously, though, I'm thinking it's about time I had a little discomfort.
I must try to go to sleep. Good-night, dear.
I feel almost like a man again because I've shivered all night, and nobody can build a fire for me to get up by. Good-morning, and love and kisses from your sweetheart.
I'm writing at the end of another long travelling day. I didn't expect to be on the go again to-day but circumstances have made it necessary. I've been almost as far as we went yesterday, only went up by a different road. It was a pleasanter ride than by the road we have formerly used; the country seemed my thoroughly cultivated, more prosperous, and the farms better kept up. We had tire trouble right by a little lumber camp where the labor is done by Boche prisoners, who are kept within a stockade a short way from the saw-mill. They were not working to-day (Sunday), just walking around within their stockade, and some of them washing clothes, others cooking a meal. I couldn't see them real closely and I didn't want to go over and gape at them, but they all looked happy enough, and one or two were whistling cheerful tunes. I asked a French soldier nearby if they knew the armistice had been signed, and he told me, yes, that they had newspapers every day, also that now they were getting uneasy, and wished they might be returning to Germany. The Germans have a little job around here first, though, putting things back where they found them.
Up at my destination I accidentally ran into Tom Beers, who had just gotten a three day leave and wanted to get to Paris. So after all our business was done Fred and I took him back here in the trusty Cadillac so he could get the midnight express up. We got back about ten and have been sitting around my tent, eating a nice feed the Cookie brought in for me - imagine any cook taking the trouble to make you cocoa at 10pm, and serving a lunch to five hungry men, after he had already done a day's work. I have seen Tom once before here, but this has given me a chance to see him quite a little while and I am surely glad we ran into each other.
The tent is fine and warm and cheerful tonight, and I suppose I can't honestly say I am wishing for a repetition of last night's shiver. I am content to be comfortable this evening. Tom has just gotten a little nap on my bunk, and now has gone to take his train. And seeing there is no lieutenant-colonel around to-night to rank me out of a good bed, I am going to bid you good-night.
Lots of love for my Sweetheart,
Dear Sweetheart, Good-morning and a kiss for memories of Dec.17, which is about the time you should be getting this letter. I love you.
We have been preparing all day to move from the station we've been at ever since we arrived, last August, and to-night we started on the move, with a big convoy of touring cars, moto-cycles, and side cars, and motor trucks. We are bringing the motor transportation to another American center in France, and then leave it for duty in a new place altogether separate from the Division to which we have always belonged.
It's been a cold night to ride and especially as for the men in motocycles. I am here at the new center now at 4:00 AM and the trucks and motocycles are yet to come. I am going to get a little snooze before morning or until the trucks and motocycles come. We have found a store waiting for us up here where several of our officers have been for five days. It's in a long one story barracks made out of airplane boxes. In fact this place where we are stopping to leave our motor vehicles is a big aero squadron camp.
Before we left this evening Pop and Fred and I dropped in to see the Sous-Prefet and say good-bye to him. I know I surely felt sorry to do it; we had become quite fast friends. He has given us each a little souvenir which I shall treasure highly - a bronze replica of a medal struck in honor of the defense of Verdun in 1916, which can be used as a watch fob, or other kind of chain.
You can imagine I am a bit sleepy. Lots of love.
I was up early this morning after a couple of hours sleep and have had a busy day in connection with getting our vehicles in and straightened out, getting shelter for our men and getting them fixed up, and making plans for getting away again tomorrow morning at about 5:00. Reveille to be at 3 AM, by the way. Tomorrow we'll be spending at least all day and all night in one of those wonderful(?) French railway trains, and I'll be glad when the trip is over and we get settled once more for a time.
This is quite an interesting camp but I haven't gotten a chance to look around at all. It is chock-a-block full of old broken down motor trucks of foreign makes - banged up at the front or worn out thru hard usage. There are even a few captured German trucks here.
I suppose this change of ours means some little delay before I'll get mail from you again. but as soon as we arrive at our new station I am going to get in touch with the central postal authorities with a view to expediting all mail for the organization and making sure they know and have record of our new whereabouts. I had three letters from you just before I left, and am thankful for that.
To-night we are trying get as much comfort as possible on a railway train, and I am writing by lantern light in the same. Our orders got changed about 10:30 last night and we didn't have to get up at 3:00 after all. Our train schedule was changed from 9:00 to 1:45 and after we got to the train, which was with an allowance of over two hours, the train didn't finally move until 4:30. We are getting delayed enroute a great deal also, and now, at 9:30 are where we should be 3:45 or thereabouts. Our schedule says coffee will be ready for us at a certain place at 7:15. At the rate we are going it will be the least bit cold, no doubt, when we arrive there, at the rate we're going.
We waited long enough for the engine to come to pull out our train, so that a great many of the men got stoves in their compartments and there are smoke stacks sticking out all along the train. There were a lot of wine casks standing around the station, too, and when we went up train to dinner our men tapped a number which got about a dozen Frenchmen on our necks, excited as could be because their wine was stolen, but we finally got them squared up. I don't recommend railway trains, French ones anyway, as permanent abodes.
Good-night, dear, Sylvester.
Writing again by lantern light to-night and the train is making all sorts of jerks. We are now 15 hours behind schedule, which means another whole night on the train. However that's somewhat better than landing at our destination at midnight and having to detrain, since we do not know where our quarters are to be. I hope to find directions for same at the station, but you can't ever tell.
Our wait was prolonged until about 11 o'clock last evening, and then we got on the road till about 1 o'clock. There we got absolutely stuck until morning. I tried hard to persuade the chef de gare to get another engine for us and start right away but there was nothing stirring. I find that Europeans say "I can't " about as easily as anything there is. That stop was supposed to be a coffee station with cans of hot coffee waiting for the troops on arrival. But the Railway Transportation Officer at the station where we waited in the early evening failed to telephone ahead that we were coming. So had to get the old Frenchman in the Cantine Militaire up to start his coffee urn going, which he did cheerfully enough. It took some time to get it going but when it was ready the men seemed to be glad to get something hot to drink, though it proved to taste more like extract of hayseed than coffee. After making arrangements to get one of our own field ranges set up on the platform to make coffee in the morning, went back to the car for about two hours' sleep. The scheme for setting up the field range proved to be a success and there was good American coffee for everybody at about six. This done and a start made, I got a whole seat in one car to stretch out in and rest, though hardly to sleep, for I had so much coffee inside of me.
We have been going through great stretches of level country to-day, such as I never realized France had. We have had a lot more delays, a couple of men have gotten crazy drunk on some sneaked in cognac and eau-de-vie to keep us busy. One got wild, insulted Greene and myself quite vociferously, and was so crazy he had to be bound. He broke loose, got out of his car and put his hand thru a window, cutting an artery, which necessitated 5 stitches. Travelling France thus still has its adventurous aspect, even if the war is over.
Good-night, my girlie, and lots of love.
School is over again for the week. We have over subscribed in our United War Work Campaign now that the mothers really understand about it.
Miss Shcaible was down for awhile today and she brot me home with her in the machine. It was much pleasanter than riding in the cars. I like Miss Schaible very much and she is very popular with the children, especially the boys in the intermediate grades. It made me happy to see them wave and call to her as we drove up thru the different towns.
I received a birthday letter from Lucinthia today and many good wishes added to those in the book. She said a new course in engineering has been added to her work and she likes it very much.
I really haven't done much today so will say good night. I love you.
I am up to Dorcas tonight. We were over in Atlantic tonight on the pier for awhile and missed the 10:30 car home by about one-half a minute. We spent an hour about half asleep in the waiting car and I must say we enjoyed it very much.
We saw many and lot of Pleasantville people on the pier but we stuck together and listened to the concert until I felt as sleepy as I usually do when I go to church so we left.
I took all the rest of the November exams today and want to tell you a wonderful surprise. I was made county Superintendent of Schools today. However, I only lasted two hours while Mr. Cressman was out to lunch but my head hasn't recovered yet. I was Misimportance herself as I punched the examination slips and received the morning exams and gave out the afternoon ones.
Well I'll say goodnight now, I love you.
PS I didn't get the increased salary with the job but guess I'll send bill tomorrow.
Today has been a rainy day - a warm spring rain not like a November one at all.
Daido and I dug up our ferns from the garden and repotted them. We also did out final garden harvesting in the shape of about six scrawny onions.
Daido was away all day yesterday visiting the MacDougals'. She had a most wonderful time as the house was so picturesque and characterful and reminded her somewhat of Hemlock Manor. She said the cellars stocked with everything good to eat seemed so particularly delightful and Thanksgivingish. I'm going in now and ask her to write a description of it.
That Daido says she feels in anything but a mood for writing descriptions tonight and besides she wouldn't want to make you skip a whole paragraph in my letter. The real trouble is she is as usually rushing at 11:59 to get work done that must be in at 12:00. She gave four exams Friday, took Saturday off and consequently has had to work like a steam engine today when she could slide in a few minutes between housekeeping and making our cellar look as abundant as the MacDougals. She brot back some delicious Japanese and black walnuts with her and we arranged them on papers around a pumpkin over by the Jam Table so we really do look wealthy farmerish when you start from our onion crop and end with our three pears and four tomatoes.
It's getting late so I'll say goodnight. I love you.
School went very happily today except that our principal is sick.
After we had all worked hard, we made wagons of cardboard, fastening on the wheels and tongue with paper pins or fasteners. I can't seem to think of the right name but they look something like the foregoing article. [drawing of brad]
Do you know I want a letter so much form you today that I came home this noon to see if one wasn't there but I didn't get any then nor tonight either, however, mail usually comes in on Tuesday.
I am wanting you very much. I do so hope you will come back soon. I want you to meet my family. Most of them are so nice and sweet I know you'll just want to adopt them. They are all helping hard with the war work too. We expected to make some property bags for the Red Cross today but didn't get started because Miss Bristol was away but I suppose we will get started soon.
I have a little work to do now. I love you.
Well the mail didn't come in tonight so, of course, I'll not blame you for my not getting any mail unless I don't get a letter in the morning.
I got a letter form your Aunt Sarah today and she said she would have written ages ago if she hadn't had so much house work. I suppose she worries a lot about it.
Went up to Chataqua tonight and can't say I had the best time in my life. The McKinnie quartette gave a selection from "Martha" and if they hadn't screeched so loud I'm sure I would have gone to sleep.
I had a visitor in school today. The mother of one of my boys. She seemed to think he was improving and said he talked about me so much she had been anxious to see me. She was very nice and enthusiastic about school work. She said I was much younger than she had expected to find me and when I said how old, she said eighteen and I manfully answered Why I'm 21. Thank Heavens for the birthday last week.
It is way late. Goodnight, dearest. I love you.
I love you.
School went rather well today except most of the absentees have reentered in force so I am rather busy again.
We made little express wagons for play work. They are really very cute. I might send you one for Christmas. If one of your trucks should break you might be able to use it, you know.
We went to Chautauqua tonight and stayed thru half the performance altho it wasn't really half bad.
I'm sitting in our arm chair now writing. I do wish you were here. I wouldn't be writing then I suppose.
Goodness I've written so many letters the last two years! Most a million, I'm sure. After I get you back I think I'll employ you as my secretary - specially for the spelling part.
Oh dear, if you were only here now I'm sure I'd let you stay as late as once when I fell asleep. I'm just going to sleep now in our chair.
I love you.
Today has come and gone and I don't really feel as if I have accomplished very much. I did finish some crocheting I have been working on for three days. It is for us, too, but it's just a hit-or-miss piece, nothing definite.
Oh, goodness! I do so want a letter from you. It seems a mail really should be coming in. I'm almost tempted to bunk up in the post-office. I believe I'll have to get a job there until you come back anyway.
We went up to Chautauqua again tonight. We stayed for the vaudeville part and cut the lecture. Of course, Daido's reputation is ruined now as she has done that two nights in succession.
I received two lovely calendars from your Dad today. One is a picture "The Girl I Left Behind Me", and the other is a plain one with big numbers. I like them very much.
Sometimes I just think of nothing but you for a long time and just hope and hope I can think you to me.
Our principal is better now and back in school. She really didn't have Influenza - only a bad cold.
I missed my car again this morning and had walked over half way down before the next one arrived. Lucky for me this one gets me there ten minutes early. I've caught my car twice and missed it twice this week. I wonder what will happen tomorrow
My but I have a big armful of children now. Some more came back today and I suppose the rest will be in Monday. The worst of it was everyone seemed to feel like crying today - even the boys. However, we all lived thru the day even if my most boylike boy did cry because another boy had torn his United WarWork Banner. I fixed him up with a new one and fixed him up so that he didn't want me to even scold the other fellow.
Goodness I wish I always knew what was best to do with and for children, so awful much comes up and I feel so inexperienced and I know it means so much to the little ones to have the right sort of help. I sure do love them and want to do the best for them.
They are so frank sometimes. Often when I asked why they have stayed away from school the answers that they had no good shoes, or there was nothing in the house for lunch comes. I really don't know what to say or do. One of my boys who was out for a long time was out, as his brother told me, because he had no shoes. The other day he came in with a brand new pair of girls shoes - can you imagine any one foolish enough to buy a boy new cloth top girls shoes? He will have them worn out in less than a week and when he came in all the children looked at them suggestively. I could just have shaken them all but I'm sure they really did not mean to hurt him. He is my little ruddy cheeked brownie and I just want to take him up in my arms every time I come near him. He is so bright and lovable.
I love you and I'm waiting. Here is a good-night kiss.
I love you
[enclosed, names signed by children]
we're helping soldiers
We finally came to the end of our journey this morning. the Major and I left the troops at the station to go up and report and find out where they were to be quartered, and what our duties were to be. We find we are to be with the Motor Transport Officer of this section, do some work around the motor park, and send men with convoys of trucks up to the front, if you can call it that now. For the time being we are quartered in an English rest camp a couple of miles out, but there are barracks being put up for us at the Motor Park which will be ready for our occupancy soon. We have been spending the afternoon getting our men and baggage in order at this Rest Camp, and this evening Pop and Fred and I have been downtown to see some of the sights, returning early, and are now ready for a good night's sleep.
Lots of love and a good-night kiss.
Pencil again, for when I changed my uniform this afternoon I neglected to change over my fountain pen, and since then I have done some more unexpected travelling which finds me with the Major to-night in Paris.
When we went down to the motor park this morning we found a telegram waiting for the Major directing him to go to the city where Fred and I were scaring up colonels last week. Paris is on the way to it, the Major wanted me to come with him, so here I am. We came down in good time, nothing like the travelling we get on troop trains. We happened to get in the same compartment with two English naval officers, who have been interesting travelling companions. One of them is a medical sub-lieutenant by the name of DeVilliers; he is a South African, one of the Boers, and is a nephew of Gen. Botha, Premier of the Union of South Africa. I don't know as I have ever had anyone to talk to about South Africa before and it is been a great treat, especially his tales of the gold and diamond fields, how they were operated, the character of life there, and what-not.
We got into Paris at 11 or thereabouts, too late to see anything of the city to-night. A YMCA man at the station has directed us to a hotel, we have taken a little walk, returned and gotten a couple of omelettes and are ready to turn in. There were two Australian officers and 3 or 4 Australian soldiers down in the dining room where we just got our omelettes. They are splendid looking men, every one of them. They are large and healthy, and they all have a look of manliness and vigor and determination about them.
Most time to say good-night. always, with all my love and a kiss.
Pop and I were going to see Paris this morning and leave this afternoon but instead we didn't wake up until 11:30, the room was so dark and I suppose because it was an unusual chance for a good night's sleep. So we stayed thru the afternoon and didn't leave until evening, and now are in a hotel known as the Bull D'Or (Golden Bull, I think) in the city of our destination.
Of course one afternoon is hardly enough to see Paris. We just wandered around without consulting a guidebook at all, only stopping an American here and there to get a key to what was what. We wandered around the Garden of the Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde, where the chief attraction now is the huge collection of guns, aeroplanes, and all sorts of war material captured form the Germans. We went into the Hotel des Invalides, where there is the magnificent tomb of the great Napoleon, the tomb itself however being covered with sand-bags as a protection against air-raids. They are just beginning to remove them. We walked down the Champs Elysees for a distance and back, and across one of the bridges over the seine. It is a beautiful city and everything we saw was very grand, and decidedly hard to describe in words. I have bought a few cards but instead of sending them will keep them and sometime if you're interested when we're together I can tell you about these places a bit more graphically with something by way of illustration. We took our dinner at the American University Union. There is a special Yale Bureau there, which used to be in charge of Prof Mendel, my Latin professor in Freshman year. I hoped to find him there, but, although he is in Paris, was not at the Bureau to-day. It is now in charge of Prof. Hemingway, an English literature prof., whom I knew slightly, and I spent a few minutes with him.
We had a great time getting a room here to-night. The city is quite dark and we have groped around three or four places and are finally located.
Back in the big city again to-night on our way back. We got all our business done by the end of the morning and got started back in the middle of the afternoon. We were obliged to stand for the whole of the 4 1/2 hour journey and so were glad to get to the end of it. We are staying at the hotel, the name of which is up in the corner.
Major June is to be transferred from the Train and has an assignment up with the Third Army. That means I'll soon be separated from him, but if things work out right, he is going to get me up there with him. It will be much more interesting work up there than where our Train is now, and I've soldiered so long with the Major that I'd like to stick right thru with him now till we go home. Of course there's all sorts of speculation as to when that will be. As soon as the peace treaty is signed, I imagine they'll get us going back pretty fast. I understand they've already started mustering them out at the cantonments in the States, and I'm wondering if Ralph isn't perhaps already a civilian.
Good-night, dear, with my love, all of it.
There is some little contrast in my surroundings this evening and those of last. I am now back where the Supply Train is, having come in this evening from Paris. This morning we had breakfast served in our room - no, we weren't sick, it's only quite the custom. Also I left our shoes and puttees outside the door last night, but they were so long getting back this morning the Major accused me of having peddled them off, and we had visions of going around Paris in our stocking feet. Most of the day I have been engaged in an unsuccessful hunt around Paris for a supply of the new Motor Transport Corps insignia - a silver tired bronze wheel, superimposed by a Roman helmet. We are entitled to wear these now and I am anxious to cast off the Quartermaster Corps insignia and get them on.
On returning we find that most of the Train has been moved down to its barracks in the Motor Park, and officers are in a nearby barracks, two in a room. It is somewhat better than the English rest camp, but still some little contrast from our room at the Hotel Meurice last evening. The Major has just called over to me to make sure he has hot water in the morning, and his breakfast served here. I guess we'd have a nice long wait for it.
To-morrow I hope I'll finally get mailing connections again and send this long series of letters to you. We've been on the move so much that I haven't been in touch with an Army PO and the letters have accumulated.
Lot to do to-morrow, sweetheart, and I'll say good-night with a kiss for love - mine for you, and yours for me.
This is the muddiest place I ever did see. I've been tramping about in it all day and my best shoes and putts have been a sight, particularly because when I was stepping on what looked to be just a hump in the ground it proved to be a pile of mud scraped up from the street, and it was deeper somewhat than my shoe. The sidewalks are worse than the street, and the worst place of all is the motor park. It's all built up land right near the sea, which is what makes it so muddy when it rains, and apparently it always rains here.
The Major is still with us to-night. He expected to get off to-day but as headquarters here hadn't gotten word on his transfer they wouldn't let him go. As he might get his order to-morrow we've all had a party down-town at one of the restaurants, also have made arrangements for a Thanksgiving dinner to-morrow night, and hope he'll be with us long enough for it. It seems hard to realize that he's going to leave the organization, but he's promised to get as many of us as he can up with him. I'm afraid he won't be able to get many, but as Leviseur and I are the first he's going to ask for, I think my chances are fair. It would be much more interesting than the work here.
Good-bye til to-morrow, sweetheart. I love you.
Our celebration came off and Pop was still here to be with it. The party was a complete success, and a done-up-brown send-off to Pop, for he goes to-morrow. We had a table to ourselves in a little room off the main dining room, a table tastefully decorated with a line of flowers - violets & little white flowers - along the middle of the table; we had a royal feast, and a head waiter who surely knew his job to perfection. We presented Pop with a gold wrist-watch - seems rather common perhaps, so many have been giving them lately, but it happened to be what he needed more than anything else. After the dinner we went to a theatre and saw a French play - of which I didn't understand a word and I haven't the slightest idea what it was all about, but we had a good time anyway.
That was my second Thanksgiving dinner to-day, for we had another at the motorpark this noon - where I had, by the way, the first ice cream I've had in France, a raspberry ice cream on apple pie.
I wonder how you've been spending Thanksgiving, and how you and I will spend it next year, sweetheart, together.
Good night and all my love,
We said good-bye to Pop this morning and now I'm the boss of the 301st Supply Train. Of course I would have to admit to being glad of the opportunity to say that and have the Train a while; and of course it's a job and a responsibility larger than I've yet had as far as looking after the welfare of the men of the Train; but as far as work is concerned it isn't the job it has been before we came here, for we just furnish men to different jobs with the people who run the motor park. I'm afraid they'll be busting our organization, too but I'll try hard to prevent it. At any rate I'll be glad to get a telegram ordering me to join Major June, it will be more interesting and I am sure I would get home just as soon.
I notice that the Stars and Stripes says today that certain divisions. including the 76th are going home first and the the 76th is at a port already to go. I hope that doesn't get in papers which you will see, for you'll be thinking that means me, and if you really will be glad to see me you would be disappointed to learn later that I wouldn't be with it. There is very little of what was the 76th division coming over, that is going back as the 76th. We don't belong to any division now, only to this motor park. I do hope I can get home by early spring. Don't you? O, sweetheart, it's been a long time apart, hasn't it?
I am sending you a couple of pictures with this letter with my august countenance in each and Lieut. Fred Levisieur in one of them. We had them taken just before we left our old station. I think I wrote you at the time. We also had a number taken about our tents down there, but those are larger pictures, I only have one copy, and I think I had better save and take them home when I go.
I don't like this new place a single bit. The crowd here is an unsatisfactory one to work with - half asleep, don't know where they keep anything, trying to put disagreeable work over on our outfit, and I surely do wish we had never gotten this assignment. I feel particularly disgusted to-night after a day of trying to do business with them in different ways. Their chief motto seems to be not to do today what can be put off till to-morrow.
All this is very cheerful to write you, isn't it?
Be good. I love you always,
Today has been a lazy day. Forna was away all day and Daido and I just worked and fooled.
I wrote to you Aunt Sarah and also to Katie but have really not done much else. I'm really just about tired. I guess I've been a little strenuous this last week. Really I'm afraid the whole trouble will finally be found in the fact that Daido and I have been trying to see who could get the most out of a pound of walnuts and a pound of salted almonds. We have been really eating actively.
Forna has just come back and is talking, talking, talking.
Well, I 'm just lonesome. I wish you'd be here now. Back soon. I'm sure glad
Well dearest I love you much.
Dorcas, Fannie, Steele and I went to the show and thank heavens we had sleeping privileges and I made use of them. I am really tired to death. Chautauqua three nights and then a show is sure too much for me. I'll say goodnight.
I love you.
We have been doing things today. We cleaned house a bit, shopped and Daido and I caught the 11:55 car for Atlantic. We did more shopping over there, lunched and caught the 3:09 home as she had promised to go to the football game. We went altho it was freezing and were really glad to discover there was to be no game as the other team hadn't showed up.
I stopped in at the dentists on my way back. He said my teeth were OK. However, I had a silver filling in a near-front tooth and I am going to have that taken out and porcelain put in as my tooth looks a little decayed. I couldn't find trouble but I'm making it. See! However it will be an improvement.
Forna has had a friend of hers here tonight - a Mintola girl. She was here to dinner and we shone and pretended we were good, etc.
Dorcas came around tonight with the information that 76th division is to be sent home soon. Goodness wouldn't I be glad if we could go skating on the 17th. Of course, it won't be that soon but I'll sure be glad when it is.
Goodnight, my dearest, I love you.
Nine letters from you today. Well, now that is a bumper crop, I would say, if I were a farmer. Nine letters and in one of them my birthday present and in all of them lots of love.
I do so love your gift. The lace is so delicate and beautiful. They are really far far too pretty to use. Perhaps I will use one tho at our wedding. Would you like that.
Your letters are so full of news and good things I just don't know where to begin to talk about them.
I'm very sorry your fire doesn't behave properly and do wish I could be there to try and make it burn properly. As for sitting in front of a dusty fire place with you I'm sure I'd be industrious enough to keep it dusted. I dusted ours yesterday. A whole day before I received a letter mentioning dusty fireplaces but, of course, I know you were speaking of the Manor fireplace as the dusty one.
Goodness me. I'm worried. Whatever could have been the message I gave you to deliver to Major June? I've racked my brains back and forth most a hundred times. You may deliver the answer to this question in person and real soon too, if you would be so kind.
I'm a million times lonesome for you tonight, I guess it must be all the letters and you love.
Miss Schaible was down to school today and she gave me lots more suggestions. They will be a big help. School went rather well today. Only the kiddies got the Pilgrims mixed with the Mormons.
While Miss Schaible was there one of the boys took his soft lead pencil and blacked his face. When I discovered I was blessed with a member of the darker species I sent him out to wash his face, however, the shades of a moustache remained thruout the rest of the day. It was a terrible thing to happen in front of her. I didn't scold him tho, as it was my fault for not seeing he was kept too busy to get into mischief.
Miss Morton the drawing teacher, who is very nice, Miss Bates, and I had a race tonight and altho Miss Morton won her letter at college, I had to wireless back to them I was only three miles ahead. I could have run on and on and on. 'Most ran over to call on you, but really was afraid you might be on your way to me and I would miss you.
Marian Campbell has just come in and Daido is talking to her so I suppose I'll have to stop.
I love you.
Miss Schaible was down visiting the upper grades today and I managed to inveigle her into my room for a few minutes to show her a farm we had made on the sand table. I do so like her to tell me what she thinks about my work. She is such an inspiration and then helps me to reach my inspiration. I have been up to her house tonight and both she and Miss Small have been giving me lots of new ideas and showing me how to work them out.
I feel in my bones that Mr. Cressman is going to descend on me tomorrow but really I must write to you whether or no!
Two more letters from you today and one from you mother.
Just let me warn you that you are taking a big chance calling onion eaters, and salad eaters, unchristian and other uncomplimentary names. A terrible long long chance but, of course, you are at annawful grate distance from any reel dangerous people.
Your mother wrote the funniest letter to me. I just laughed and laughed over it. She said she received a letter from you too Saturday. I won't dare mention I got eleven.
I have an embryo poet in school. Francis said, "Miss Lutz, may I tell you a story I thot while I was in bed this morning?" I said "Yes." Here is the story.
Five, ten, fifteen
I caught a fish for Mrs.. Keene,
Twenty, twenty-five, thirty,
Mrs. Keene said the fish was too dirty.
Now isn't that pretty good for a second grader? I asked him where he got the idea and he said nowhere except from the rhyme "12345, I caught a fish alive." I really am proud of him. Miss Schaible laughed lots over it when I told her and she told it to the folks at the house tonight as they mentioned it to me when I went in. I'm sure proud of all my children.
When we get tired in the afternoon we all put down our heads and rest, then one goes up front and sings for us. Miss Schaible came in when we were doing that and liked that idea, too, very much. The kiddies aren't bashful either. Oh I love them. I love you, and I love everybody and I'm so happy because you are coming back soon. It's a good world after all.
Well, my bestest boy, I just pulled your hair before I kissed you goodnight.
I love you.
Well the day before Thanksgiving is over without much difficulty. What tho half the kiddies forgot their pieces and the other half stayed home, I had one visitor and the ten proud fat turkeys who sang might have been mistaken for the real barnyard fowls, they strutted so proudly.
There were no letters from you today but I shall not worry about letters you, real you will be back soon and I can touch you and kiss you and keep you forever. Maybe you'll be back for Christmas. Wouldn't that be the bestest ever? We'd sure have one grand Christmas.
Your mother has invited me up for Christmas. I am afraid tho I won't be able to go as this is Daido's first Christmas without her mother and poor child she'll be so lonesome. Of course, if she should be going away which I am trying to find out, or you should come back why things would be different. I'd go wherever you wanted me to. I love you so.
Well here I am in Palmyra at Daido's sister's. Now isn't that a surprise for you and me too for that matter. Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Harold came down in the machine and brot us up this afternoon. We had a fine ride up in spite of the fact that it rained part of the way and we got lost and went about 25 miles out of our way, incidentally running out of gasoline about a mile from a garage.
I received a letter from Ralph this morning. He was home over last weekend and also has Thanksgiving off and is going home again. That is fine isn't it? He say he expects to be married in February or as soon as he gets out of the army and told me to get prepared to come to the wedding. If he only knew how scared of weddings I am.
Five letters from you were my reward for getting out of the machine at the post office. Well I have been showered this week.
I will say goodnight.
I love you.
I am still at Palmyra and today has been one day of rushing around.
I must go to sleep as everyone is in bed.
I love you.
Home again and tired to death. Yesterday we did quite a lot of Christmas shopping and then some more today. I also visited Katie. She has a very nice home and is getting along fine in school having been promoted the day before I arrived. I was down to the school and saw her classrooms and liked them very much. She is so interested she works all day and at night too. I am so glad.
I love you,
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