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December 1, 1918
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December 15, 1918
December 22, 1918
December 29, 1918
SBButler Letters, December 1918
I was quite disappointed today to find your unit was not among those scheduled to come home in December. Somehow I was just so sure you would be home by Christmas. You'll be home soon tho so I won't mind much. Of course, I do mind.
Last night I got your Christmas present at the post office and it is now tucked away in a suit box which is at present my hope chest. Of course, it is not to be opened until Christmas morning. I wish you might open it for me.
I love you.
Dearest Sunshine Lady,
I don't believe if you were here with your Sunshine with me, that I would be writing so dreadfully as I did last evening. What do you think? Well, I'll try not to be quite so doleful this evening. This afternoon I spent quite a little time down at the hospital - a big hotel on the sea, converted into a special hospital for the use of the Americans. An epidemic of influenza struck our men a week ago and took quite a number of them up there. I wanted to get up and see as many as I could and see what I could do for any of them. Four have developed pneumonia and are quite sick but the rest seem to be coming along pretty well. One sergeant is up and has his clothes and is quite disgusted because they are keeping him there a couple of days longer and setting him to work making up beds
Today is Mother's birthday and I have just finished writing her a letter. I haven't got a table in my room yet so am writing in Jim Greene's room. He has been talking about the little English cottage he is going to build for himself when he gets back to America in the spring. He hasn't done anything for a month, or much of anything since he's been in France, but talk about getting back to America.
Since the Major went, Deck Spalding has moved from another barracks into the room with me here. I have John Achorn as Adjutant, and of course Levisieur supply Officer as he has always been.
I hope you won't be frightened when these pictures drop out of this envelope.
I'm going to say good-night, and send you a kiss for love.
Always yours, Sylvester.
Dear Sweetheart Lady,
Today some of our mail caught up with us and I saw the dear familiar handwriting once more- letters of Oct. 28 and 29. Your school surely did keep closed for a long time. I expect by now though, you must be started up again.
This evening I have written a letter to Lucinthia, the first in a long time. Last night I made a mental resolve to write one letter every night this week beside my letter to you - last night mother, tonight Lucinthia, tomorrow Ralph, I guess, next day some of the aunts and cousins and friends I have never written to from over here - even old Binky. As far as the family was concerned I knew the letters I wrote Mother each week were being passed around to everybody and have let it go at that.
I have been around down town again today in the moto-cycle, bought me a nice box of grapes which I have been eating with considerable avidity all evening, also some oranges to take up to some of the sickest of my men up at the hospital. Two or three are in pretty serious condition and I surely hope they can pull thru some how. One thing, it is a pleasant place, with a view of the harbor and there isn't the sameness in such a view as in stationary places, for ships are going in and out all the time.
I do a lot more chasing around now than I used to, going from place to place where our men are working, particularly where they are fixing up quarters and kitchen for the train; and several times a day go and raise the roof because I'm not getting some things fast enough. I had to camp on a Major's trail about an hour and half to get authority to send men for four loads of scrap lumber to use in erecting our kitchen. A couple of intermediate officers could say how you ought to put in a requisition for a kitchen building from the Engineers. But I have learned by experience in soldiering with Pop June not to wait for the Engineers or anybody else but go ahead and do as much as you can for yourself. (That's why I'm going to make you such excellent jam closets.)
Well , sweetheart, your boy needs a little sleep so will you let him say goodnight. He loves you reams and reams.
Dec. 3, morning
Dearest, A good morning kiss and a reminder that I love you more everyday. Sylvester
The chief events today have been an unrelenting tooth-ache and a fight with a Major of the Engineer Corps, neither of those seem very promising for the subject of an evening's letter, do they? If I could be sitting down with you just now, I'm sure I wouldn't tell you about either. First I'd light a bully good fire in the fireplace (keep the dust on the sides) - and you'd must help me. Then I don't care what you'd say. There could be just one comfort rocker there, we both would be in front of the fire-place and neither on the floor (is that sufficiently roundabout). Then you'd just have to tell me how it seemed to be the most beautiful and wonderful girl there ever was, and how it was I ever got her for my own. Perhaps before that we could read to each other a bit some of the things we both love (and we are going to find lots of new things to love too). After a while we'd let the fire start to go down and watch it die and die-but that symbolizes nothing, for we shall have everything then, to live for, live on and in for, for we shall be together. And when we two are together - we have known long how everything about us is, haven't we, sweetheart - dear best sweetheart, when I must send now a great big kiss for all that I love her.
This evening Deck has been waxing eloquent on his school days at Exeter, and other spots in his interesting career. When he gets wound up there's no stopping him. I have also been reading with a great deal of pleasure the President's matchless address to Congress just before leaving for Europe. I suppose by now he's on his way.
We got a big convoy of trucks - thirty Liberties, all loaded - off this morning with Lou Taylor in charge of the envoy. He'll be gone for eight days at least. I expect it will be interesting but he's welcome to the trip. It's the second convoy I've sent out and we've been asked for another to-day, so I'll have most of my outfit on the road, it looks like, pretty soon.
In the late afternoon took another trip up to the hospital, although quite a few men have been sent back, there are still a number up there, and it takes quite a while to get them all in. Most of the men now there seem to be improving and coming along nicely, but two are real good and sick yet. there are no more getting sick now , and that's encouraging, at least.
Our mess at this place is rapidly improving, with our own Cookie at the helm- such delicious crullers as we did have tonight! Just before going to bed I'm going to stroll over and see if I can't find a couple more.
Goodnight, a kiss and my love, sweetheart
Dorcas was around tonight. She helped me hectograph some Santa's and some trees for the kiddies.
She is going to take the Civil Service examination next week.
Over half of my kiddies were out again today.
I'm sending you this little Christmas bell to be part of your Christmas decorations. I read in last night's paper we would be allowed to send Christmas packages overseas as the post office restrictions were off. Mr. Obert said he knew nothing about , however, I am going to ask in Atlantic as I would like to send you some of my lovely grapefruit marmalade and raspberry jam. Of course, I suppose you get jams in the army but then they are made be experts and are not at all surprisy, I think. There is something exciting about an amateur's jam. You never know whether it is going to be good and even then you can't really be sure what kind it is often. It is a real good guessing game.
Well it's late. I love you best in the world. Good night dearest,
We finally got the official order to-day that lifted the ban on many of the censorship rules, and for me ? can tell the names of places and what we are doing freely. With all the restrictions formerly on it was surely difficult to write about places and our activities. You see by the heading the base port where we are at just now. It is at the mouth of the Seine river, and is just across the Channel from England. It was the place we landed when we came over from England last August 3, in the middle of the night- that, by the way, was a fascinating ride, which I think you will be interested in sometime.
This afternoon I have been up in the Sainte Maire cemetery way up on a hill from which one can see all Le Havre, the harbor and the channel. It is a long winding road up to it and along the road the sides of the hill here have been terraced by have walls to prevent gravel slides, no doubt. The cemetery is much more thickly populated than our cemeteries, there being scarcely any room between graves anywhere in it, that I could notice. The monuments tend to be rather elaborate an usually cover the whole grave. Some even have a glass covering over them and most all have wire frames for flowers, a great many with manufactured flowers- perfect imitations, made with beads and other material. But I don't like imitation flowers, no matter now perfect.
I am furious that there should be published in the papers the news that the 76th Division is on its way home, and surely hope you or my folks don't happen to see it, and begin to expect me. the 76th Division that is going home is only a skeleton of what left last July; there is a part of most every regiment and organization with it, only a small part, the rest being transferred out a long time ago as replacements for divisions at the front; but there is no part of the Supply Train with it, for we were transferred out of it bodily. I see by today's papers that the first corps here have landed back. I expect they will get quite a reception. I don't expect they'll come home very rapidly in the winter. I think it better that it not be hurried too much, to avoid sickness. But in the spring I imagine there will be a tremendous effort to get us back. I hope my luck will be good, and I've always a feeling that it would be.
I must say goodnight. I love you always.
I've made another visit to the hospital this afternoon, and find most of the men much better and more cheerful. They are coming out of the hospital at the rate of five or six a day, and I hope by another week I'll have most of them back.
I don't believe I told you last night about an unexpected experience of yesterday- a salute from a German officer. He was at the head of a detail of German prisoners being marched back from work by their British guards. I was standing by the side of the road, and the first I knew there was a quick command about 6 paces away from me, the prisoners came to attention, and as the head of the column came abreast the prisoner officer shouted "eyes left" in German, turned his head, gave me the most military salute I've seen in Europe.
I've lost the nice pearl handled knife I had with the scissors and nail file in it. Don't you feel sorry for me? I am surely lost without it, for it has been a very handy article.
Greene and Spalding have both bought corduroy trousers, for civilian life, they say. Of course they can be worn with the uniform and are made like the breeches of the uniform - hunting and fishing breeches. Greene's slogan used to be: "Home for the trout season", but now it's "On the water by Xmas". I'd be crazy if I had going home so much on the brain as he has. "Toute suite en Amerique" (right away in America) is a motto he repeats about a thousand times a day, and he is the founder, president, treasurer, and everything else of the Toute Suite Club, composed of Spalding and Fox besides himself.
I never saw a place where women work in all occupations so much as this. Every street car conductor, motor-man, and switch operator that I have seen is a woman. And I have seen even women street cleaners hoeing up this filthy mud with which Le Havre abounds.
Dear heart, I'm going to say good-night, and get an early turn-in.. Lots of love,
A letter came thru from Ralph to-day which is over two weeks later than my last letter from you, so I have learned already of his visit with you in Pleasantville. I am very much pleased that he had the chance to do so, and want to thank you for giving him such a pleasant time as he writes me he had. He writes me of some pictures you had taken and I am therefore looking forward eagerly to some of your next letters, so I can see what my girlie looks like after six months and more since I've seen her.
This is Saturday, and about the middle of the afternoon I decided to declare a day of rest for the balance of the afternoon. I found my moto-cycle driver, jumped in the side-car, and told him to go anywhere. So we went downtown and took a street which led up around the Sainte Maire cemetery, way up on a long hill from which one can see miles and miles. We kept going thru street after street as we followed on where houses were thicker, and after considerable meandering found ourselves out in the country. We passed very old farms with old moss covered thatched roof sheds, tumble-down walls, and every evidence of age. I had no idea just where we were, when all of a sudden we found ourselves at a turn, and there was the English Channel at the foot of a very steep bank. The bank is very steep and high all the way along, even though it does not seem to be composed of rock at all. The chief thing which holds it up, I think, is the grass which has become well sodded on it. Along near the bank for quite [sic] we saw a number of tumble down mounds made of brick and covered with sod, and we couldn't imagine what they were at first - ancient dwellings or what but finally concluded they were old, old brick kilns for we found fireplaces for baking the brick in them. They must have been in disuse for decades, for they are absolutely tumbled to pieces. One could get a fine view to the West, too, off the bank, and it was just at sunset. I wonder what I thought of, or whom I thought of, when I looked off in that direction. the corporal must have been thinking of something similar, for he spoke and said, "Well, I s'pose it won't be many months before we'll be taking the old boat over that way again."
This evening five of us went down town to get supper, and after supper Deck Spalding and I went to a movie house. The first time I have been in a French movie house. Half the plays seem to be American. I guess the United States has somewhat the lead in the moving picture world. They had a good orchestra there to-night and I enjoyed listening to some good music for the first time in a long while.
A good night kiss. I love you, Sweetheart.
Today has certainly been yours.
School was dismissed at one today and I went down to the florist's to get some flowers for Marian's mother's funeral and there were bushels of your red and white carnations. Mrs. Walker, the florist, gave me one.
Tonight I went up to the Sophomores, Freshman reception with Daido and met Miss Harriet Mitchell. She asked about you. She is a very pleasant girl. We had lots of "eats": ice cream, crackers, and peanuts.
I bot a few things at Mrs. Wrinche's and she asked after you so you can see you were quite popular today.
It is late so I'll say goodnight. I love you.
School has closed again. The "flu", however, is not really bad but they are just taking preventive measures.
I wish I would get some mail. I am so anxious to know when to expect you home.
Today I did quite a lot of mending and in the late afternoon paid my final visit, I hope, to any dentists.
I saw Dorcas tonight and we planned to go to Atlantic tomorrow afternoon and shop.
It is very provoking that schools are closing as now we won't be able to make Christmas plans. I have talked with the principal and have arranged for her to teach drawing and sewing once a week to my grade. Mrs. Keyport teaches music and I teach Nature work to theirs. I think it a good idea - for my kiddies, at least. I love you.
A letter from someone I know, came tonight and I really wasn't expecting one either. You tell me about your trips thru France and about being outranked out of bed by a Lt. Col. He wouldn't have dared make you sleep in a cold room if I had been around.
Dorcas and I have been shopping this afternoon and have had an enjoyable time altho we didn't get time to go to the 5 and 10 cent store.
This morning I went down to Somers Point School and did some observation work [missing pages?]
Today is Sunday and has passed without event, except that we haven't had a single good meal. Our cook changes off with another one from another outfit, and the other one was on to-day. He took my appetite away serving a corned-beef and cabbage lay out this noon, so that I had to subsist on a bowl of potato soup and a dish of bread pudding. To add insult to injury, the corned beef appeared again tonight cold, with potato salad. So I suppered on toast and rice pudding. Having thus fed extremely poorly all day I have an excellent grouch this evening, and most of the time I've talked to anyone, I've discussed my grievances against various people. Isn't that a real pleasant mood? Seems to be I've written once or twice before about being in grouch, so pretty soon you'll be thinking what kind of an old grouch is this you've got attached to you for a prospective husband. Do you think you'll be afraid of what you're getting, sweetheart?
This afternoon Fred and I went down to Base Headquarters, and from there up to the hospital. There are only about 15 men in all from the train there now, and all these except 2 are coming along first rate. I am worried about those 2. One has been very sick all along and has now developed pleurisy which makes it worse. I surely hope he will come along OK. The two men who were a bit out of their heads are more rational now so I trust the dementia is not at all permanent.
Ralph wrote me that you were looking very well, and that you expected to go back to school the day after he was there. I am surely glad you escaped the influenza epidemic and hope you are keeping well right along. Dear girl, I want you always to be well and always to be happy. The rain is pattering on the roof tonight in the old contented way I love. It makes me think of you and long for you the more. Goodnight, and lots of love,
There has been little to do to-day. Most everything has been done as far as getting one organization settled is concerned is done, and that's all I've got to look out for, or any of our officers. Except those who are out with convoys, none are superintending any of the work being done by our men on the machines around here. Officers already here have charge of those various operations and our men are just sent on details to them. I don't want to start any agitation to put my officers on any jobs outside the organization, because it would probably be a disagreeable one. So we're just treading water and seeing how things will come along. It's not the most satisfying part of an assignment. In fact, we all wish we were well out of here.
There is quite a crowd in the room to-night, and we have been talking for a long time. but somebody suggested poker, and they have gone at it, after Freddy Leviseur went in to get his campaign hat, leather jacket, and pistol, to be in real condition. I am so sleepy I begged off and I expect to go to bed in a very short time.
I wish we would get some more mail. I am getting lonesome as can be, sweetheart.
Good-night, dear. I love you.
This afternoon I have been down at the hospital again, and elsewhere downtown to do a little shopping. The sickest boy of Sunday seems to be pulling together just a bit. He's surely making a plucky fight. It's interesting to see how differently different men take the sickness - some without a murmur and keep cheerful all thru, others discouraged from the beginning and grumbling at everything.
Every time I have gone to town I have noticed a great crowd standing out front of some gates guarded by French soldiers and I have been wondering and wondering what they were there for. The first time I thought some notable from England, perhaps, was landing in the city. But then I kept seeing the crowds day after day, and this afternoon finally discovered that returning prisoners of war from Germany land there, and the waiting crowd are relatives and friends looking for long lost loved ones. It must have been a long wait for those who were captured in the early days of the war.
This morning the Brigadier-General who commands the Base inspected the Motor Park, including the quarters of the 301st Supply Train. He wasn't quite as appreciative as I had hoped of what we have put up, but they don't come around to throw bouquets at you.
I'm going to make a real early turn-in to-night, and will say good-night now, sending you all my love and a kiss first.
The lights in the barracks went out tonight and I have been reading am writing by the aid of a candle. I think someone must have monkeyed with one of the lights in the building and blown out the fuse.
Today has been one of those little days, so numerous in my short career, and so delightful- with its home in the dentist chair. I am getting some work done here while I have the time and opportunity by the army dentist at the motor park. He has filled eight gaping spots in my upper front teeth today - with yellow cement, as of course he doesn't carry porcelain, so I am quite a speckled beauty.
Except for the book I started to read at the hospital last spring, I have been reading my first novel in two years during part of today and this evening. I bought a couple of books the other day at a bookstore here - the most promising looking of the only eight books in English they had. This one is "Where Your Treasure Is" by Holman Day - a sort of adventurous book, with little substance and no literary value. It's furnished a bit of relaxation however and passed the time away. I'm looking forward to getting lots of enjoyment out of books when you and I are together again. Don't you think we will? There is so much that I am looking forward to.
A lot of mail came in today but luck isn't with me yet on that score. This change of station of ours put our mail situation in some little confusion. I expect on the whole I have been more fortunate than the average man in the AEF. There surely couldn't be a more fortunate man in having the person from whom most of the letters come, than I, could there?
Good night, Sweetheart, and a kiss for love.
I've spent most of to-day in word battles, it seems like, though I have taken sometime off on my 25 cent novel, which is getting to be quite thrilling. Our hero can do more than any man I ever heard or read of. As for the word battles, I surely do not like these personal disagreements, but some folks around here are trying to rub things in a bit too much, and I have had one good sized chip on my shoulder to-day. I surely hope we're not here for very long.
Today is the day the negro cook is on, and as his meals become quite unbearable, Deck and Fred and the Doctor and myself went downtown to get our supper. We found a very nice quiet place we had not been at before the Hotel Normandie and had an excellent dinner at a modest price; then wandered back home.
Some days, like to-day, seem utterly devoid of anything interesting about which to write you. So long for now, and bushels of love for my sweetheart.
To-day is Friday the 13th and everyone has said surely something would happen. Something may be on its way to happen, for I got word right after supper that there was a telephone call for me from our office downtown. I have tried to get hold of the number but have been unsuccessful, so shall have to wait till morning. Perhaps it's an order to move us out of here, perhaps it's an order to move me out here; it's hard to tell. Perhaps neither. Well, as far as I'm concerned, some things have happened. I have finally gotten a little mail in the shape of two letters from you, one covers Nov. 1 and 2, the other Nov. 11, the day of the signing of the armistice. Nothing in between and I am still short also Oct. 24-30. I am glad school finally started up again and hope that you passed those examinations with flying colors.
I have finished "Where Your Treasure Is" to-day, and everything comes out lovely, though he didn't marry the girl I expected he was going to at first. He continued to do more and more impossible stunts and undergo impossible tortures, but ended up with a half million dollars and a wife so I expect he had no kick coming.
There is a big boxing bout over at the Park Garage to-night. Some soldier pugilist who calls himself Farmer Brown or something has offered to lick anything that walks on two feet, and one Corp. Galligan, a big husky in the Train has taken up his challenge. I have just heard though that he got the worst of it. We have a number of very good boxers in the Train who usually make a name for themselves wherever they go. Boxing is about the most popular sport of the AEF, but for myself I can't work up any interest over it
Here's a good night kiss, sweetheart, and my love as always.
That telephone call about which I was so excited last evening didn't amount to anything, only wanted me to get some Officer's Rating Cards down to Base Headquarters. Each 3 months there has to go in a report on each officer in the Army from his commanding officer. This contains a numerical rating of the officer on the basis of 100%, a statement of service officer is best qualified for, how long rating officer has known him, and what officer has done since last report. So this morning I have been making those things out to cover the officers of this organization. There is a regular system in which you are supposed to arrive at the numerical ratings, giving so much consideration to physical appearance, so much to intelligence, so much to leadership, so much to personal qualities, so much to general value to the service. My own rating goes in from Base Headquarters and as no one there knows me, except as I've had to go in and do a little business with them, I guess my rating won't stand up well side of what I've given the other officers. Or perhaps they'll give me the benefit of the doubt and make it the same as the Major put on last June.
The colored cook was on again today, so once more some of us took supper downtown in the Hotel Normandie. I would give a good deal, though, for a real American dinner. A French menu differs a great deal from an American one, and I don't think I shall ever prefer the French. After supper Deck and the Doctor and I took in the movies once more which were quite excellent, but these French theatres are terribly stuffy, and what a time they could have in case of fire! The little theatre where we've been to-night and last Saturday has an excellent orchestra, which play good music. It's the most enjoyable thing about it for me. It's the one point on which it excels American movies.
All for now, Be a good girl. I love you.
I am oh so lonely today and I'm getting to be a regular old "fraidie". I do wish you were right home here with me now. I am 'most even afraid to think of you since Dorcas' brother died.
And I'm just tired of everything and most thoroly disgusted with school. Poor kiddies, no Thanksgiving School festivities or Christmas either. I'm just really disgusted with the whole thing.
I bought a little doll and chair for my little Edna and a card for each one. It isn't proper for a teacher to have a pet I know but when I love them all I think it's all right to give one a little more than the rest especially when I feel she can't afford it herself.
Dearest, I made an orange pudding today for the first time and then cried just like the dickens because it made me so lonesome. Just imagine "eats" making any one lonesome.
Well, tomorrow I start off on my Red Cross work - this is my "beat:"
[ Here Gram draws a rectangle with several lines inside. On the top side is Shore Road, on the left side is Washington Ave, Railroad is on the right, and on the bottom is New Road. I imagine these are all roads in Pleasantville -- David ]
I'm going to try and cover it in record breaking time and then get some more. Goodness with so much spare time I have almost everything done I possible can even to mending and darning.
I want to go get some holly and bittersweet one day and send some to your mother - just as you did once. I think I'll go the 17th. Wouldn't you like me to go and do that? I just hate to think of the 17th without you. I love you.
Three letters from you today but they were all old ones. I mean the one I got last week was November 18th and these were from the 12th on. I was glad to get them anyway but goodness dearest you haven't said one word about coming home. I'm so anxious to know about that.
Dorcas got a letter from George today. He said he probably wouldn't get home for Christmas but they were to have a tree and he would be thinking about them and would sure be home for his birthday. Poor kid and he has been dead almost a month now.
Dearest, tomorrow is the anniversary of one of our most important days isn't it? We have had rain for five days but now tonight we had a wonderful sunset and it is getting so cold and windy I am sure we will have skating tomorrow.
Miss Schaible and Miss Davis have just been in and Miss Schaible wants me to go down to Northfield School tomorrow and observe. Now, won't that be a nice way to spend our day when I was planning to gather holly and bittersweet!
I do get so lonesome for you. Real you. I'm afraid I will grow to hate letters after you come back. Tonight would be just right for a walk - it is so cold and windy after the oppressive rain and heat we have been having.
I have been cutting good poetry out of papers and magazines so we can have it to read to one another.
I bot some limes and peppermints tonight as a celebration you know. They aren't our regular limes but they're good. I suppose. I'm waiting for you to try yours first so I find out. RSVP
I do love you, my own sweetheart and goodness I'll certainly make you keep a fire in our fireplace bright all the time, since you have grown so proficient in the art of fire building.
Goodnight, my grownup boy - that's for your patronizing "grownup Sunshine Lady".
Just a little note to say I love you and not another interesting thing has happened today. Here's a monstrous kiss.
There was a program up at the High School today and a Miss Croyle was there. She played the piano and one of the pieces was "To A Wild Rose" which made me lonesome, of course,
I was over in Atlantic this afternoon to get some lining for my coat and a few more cards for Christmas.
Received my examinations today. I was only supposed to take five. I took eleven and passed ten. I won't mention any marks tho except to say I received the highest (80) in American History. I really didn't expect to pass over five but am sure glad as now I won't have to take any in April and only two a summer school next summer. Well dearest, I'll say goodnight.
I love you.
We had a visitor today. Miss Worrel the secretary of the President of Swarthmore College and a chum of Miss Foreman. We like her very much.
We have been to Atlantic today shopping. Daido and I got Harold a little radiolite watch, of course, I contributed only one-fifth but we bought it.
We lunched at Kilber's and caught the 7:09 home but as I had received a letter in the afternoon from you, a card from you Cousin Eleanore, one from Grace and a letter from Mr. Cressman so I wasn't lucky tonight.
Well, I'll say goodnight and I love best in the world.
This is a most delightful moonlight night. What a night it would be to skate, that is if there were skating. But here it is so warm one would think it early September, no more, much warmer than it was in St. Amand in September - must be the Gulf Stream. But perhaps even it has gotten cold for you, even to making skating. The nearly anniversary of the first Together Day has made me think of it.
I rested very hard this morning and wished I might have a Sunday newspaper. We do miss them here. This afternoon I have been down town with Freddy, Deck, and the Doc to visit Le Havre's Natural History Museum and Art Museum. The Natural History Museum has quite a wonderful collection but is crowded into a very small space. It has a specially fine collection of stuffed birds and mounted butterflies, of all colors and descriptions including many purples and lavenders. Two old mummies which they have here, dead about 1500 years, are very interesting. When one looks at them and realizes that at one time they walked the earth and thought and felt and breathed just as we. I enjoy going thru museums if you don't try to see everything, just look around, and as you see something interesting look at it more closely and get its story. I would enjoy ever so much sometime going thru the American Museum of Natural History in New York with you, and I think you would enjoy it, too. One thing I always specially enjoy are the skeletons of the huge mastodons, dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals which have been extinct for tens of thousands of years.
Well, far from the peaceful pastimes of meandering thru museums, I'll send you "A Soldiers Love Story" which I cut out of the Stars and Stripes, the AEF paper. It also has many funny things which I have been cutting out to make up into my war scrapbook.
You don't want to hear anything more from me to-day, do you? Allright, then, good-night, Oh, but I love you just the same.
I had a new batch of mail from you to-day, and all the letters had some of this paper and envelopes in them, so now some will come back to you. You are very good to send it me. The mail still comes scattered, this time there are miscellaneous letters between 18th and 25th. Isn't it strange? I see by one of them to-day, just as I feared, that you find in some paper that the 76th Division was coming home. I surely wish it could have mentioned also the fact that it was only a small part of the Division which now belonged with it. Still, I think I'm going to have good luck, and have hopes of being home by March 1st. I have reason to say that, but of course you know how things change, and one can never be sure. Dear Eva, I know you'll be patient, won't you? It won't be long, and then we'll never be apart again. Old Cookie says he'll make a fine wedding cake. Won't that be good? You mustn't tell though, for that's a secret.
This morning I got tired of seeing things lying every which way around the men's barracks and got busy making up a model arrangement for hanging everything up that all must conform to. I expect to find them all that way tomorrow, and then can tell just how much of an artist I am. One has to be everything in the army.
I have been down at the hospital this afternoon, where there are still a few men left. Arbaugh, who was so sick with pleurisy and pneumonia, had another setback about three days ago, and Doc and I were sure he would not live, but his rallying again, and there seems to be hope for him. My! but he's put up a plucky fight, but he looks just like a skeleton.
You suggest my getting home to skate on the 17th. My, but I wish I were there to do so. I have been homesick as could be today for you, particularly because I knew you had seen that newspaper article which would make you expect me sooner. I'll surely think especially of you all day to-morrow, sweetheart, and sometime when no one is around do something to celebrate it in the right way. I'll tell you to-morrow evening what I shall have done.
Good-night and lots of love
Everyone has been coming in this evening, so that I haven't had the time I wanted to go over some of our things, so as to feel as though I were spending an evening with you. Between times, though, I have been over lots of the nice things you have written for me, and have found three poems about today two years ago - the first the one we set the music to; the second was no. XIV in the collection you sent me at Plattsburg; the third was a little poem in the little book you made for me last Christmas. So you see I have been celebrating the day in an appropriate way, as much so as I could. It has been a cooler day than any we have had, so that I could be reminded perhaps that there is such a thing as winter, and skating. My, but I wish I could be home in time to skate with you this winter! There isn't a time when I went skating with you, that I can't remember almost every minute of it. Then how could I help it, when there hasn't been a day since that first Together Day, on which I haven't thought of you, sweetheart. Those Together Days are near at hand again, dear girl, and I do look forward to so much from them.
Nothing else would be appropriate now, and I'm going to say good-night, with all my love.
Dec. 18 AM
It is morning again and I think I shall write a little more then take this letter over to the office.
Yesterday I bought more books downtown, for I found a store which though smaller than the other had two whole section of shelves of English books, mostly in that inexpensive Everyman's edition and the equally inexpensive English Nelson's edition, also they have books of a bit more worth than "Where Your Treasure Is", and I have bought me Kingsley's Westward Ho! (isn't that rather appropriate just now from my point of view?), Dumas' The Three Musketeers, Trollope's - oh, I've forgotten the title, and a collection of old horse tales. I almost took along some Dickens and Scott, but concluded I'd bitten off almost enough for once. Greene has bought two whole sets of novels in French, and has almost completed one (six vols.) I don't see how he can read so fast.
To-day I shall have another little session with the dentist. Wish me well.
About time I went over to see how things are going on this morning.
Ever your Sweetheart,
The letters are beginning to fill in now, and to-day I had two more. One told me about Ralph's visit with you, and wasn't it appropriate that I should get that bit of holly and bittersweet just at this time? The bittersweet was not dry the least bit, and one would think it had just been picked yesterday. Oh, but that was a happy day, that first one on which we gathered it together, because I had gotten an opportunity to know you other than as a student.
I just had to change fountain pens. the first was Fox's and now I'm using Spalding's, my own having been completely out of kilter for sometime, which explains the habit I have dropped into of writing you in pencil. But this evening I can't even find any of my pencils.
My, but you have taken lot of examinations. I surely do hope to hear good news from them and know I will. I used to correct those of a certain young lady, too. I'll tell you a little secret. Once I was correcting mid year exams in Senior History, and I wanted yours to be good, but I was just afraid, just a little bit, that you hadn't studied quite enough on it. I corrected each question separately thru all the papers and then read all a second time, and took every precaution that no one would get more or less than they should proportionately, that is, to be sure it was absolutely fair. Then I finished and counted up - and Miss Tolbert, who was also correcting papers wanted to know why the audible expression of satisfaction. It just came out of me spontaneously. I was so pleased - yes, and happy - that yours was the best of all of them.
This evening Deck, Jim Greene and I have eaten down town again, but I think, poor cook or not - it's about time I stopped spending so much money unnecessarily. This colored cook is just about the limit though.
Well, time to say good-night. I love you, dear.
[Enclosure, note on calling card, poem from Stars and Stripes]
Eva Lutz, from her friend, Sylvester B. Butler
To the Lady of Hemlock Manor, who has endeared to me the Jersey woods and paths which once seemed bleak and barren, because she has filled them with the sunshine of her pure and happy spirit.
Soldier's Love Song
A borrowed pen again tonight, also borrowed writing paper. do you recognize it? It's very dear of you to send it to me.
Sweetheart, I've never had such lovely letters from you as I've had to-day. Some are just beautiful, really, and they make me very homesick for you. I'm happy that you're happy because I'm coming to you soon, and say it in so many beautiful ways. I'm happy that you are getting along in your school so well, and getting so much cooperation from Miss Schaible. It's easy to see that it's instinctive with you to know how to take care of those children. I got the little letter they signed to-day, and it is surely cute. Don't children write a delightful frank stumbling hand?
I got my first letters from Mother today that I have had in over a month. And that seemed good too.
I haven't done very much to-day except get in a couple of controversies. No, I haven't had a chip on my shoulder, but when you have 450 men to look after, once in a while something comes up that you have to fight for them. I have accomplished one thing that it has pleased me to accomplish. The officer who runs the Park allowed as how he couldn't get me any electric lighting apparatus for my kitchen and mess hall, and how he had tried to, with tears in his eyes, with the Engineer Colonel who is Section Engineer. I bearded the Colonel myself this afternoon, and now I've got the electric lighting apparatus, without having to turn on the tears. I don't believe the Park Commander tried. At least tomorrow it could be nice to goad him a bit and say, "You know that wire you said I couldn't get?" "Yes," he'll say. "Well, I've got it." Very dramatic, yes? Childish, I guess.
I haven't heard from Major June for about ten days now. I really don't care very much about being transferred up with him now, because apparently now our Train will be kept together, and so long as it is it needs its full quota of officers to look after it.
Eva dear, I could just love you to death for those letters to-day. It's beautiful to have a sweetheart like you. Good-night, dear
Have been getting plans well under way to-day for Christmas dinner at the men's mess. It looked at first as though roast pork would be a far as we could go for everyone out in the country wanted 60 francs apiece for their turkeys, which is all out of reason. But to-day the mess sergeant found an honest woman at a market downtown who is going to get them for us at 40 and 44 francs each which is somewhat better. We're going to get up just as much of a splurge as is possible for the company funds have plenty of money, and it's got to be spent sometime. I wish I had as much myself as I've got in the Headquarters Fund.
We're having the strangest weather at this place, with alternating bright sunshinyness and pouring rain several times each day. Now I can look out and see bright moonlight and inside of 15 minutes hear pouring rain on the roof; it's always that way. And yesterday we had a little snow in the morning with a great deal of hail during the day, in one of which latter storms I was caught beautifully.
In one of your letters yesterday was an envelope marked "Christmas", and perhaps I'm not a little bit curious. I have put it away faithfully though, to open at the proper time. I also had a letter yesterday from my cousin Mrs. Warner in New Britain with a not-to-be-opened-til-Xmas label on it. So I have a start on a regular old fashioned Xmas morning all by myself.
They must be having great times in Paris these days, and I should think the French government officials, Premier Clemenceau, President Poincaré and the rest would be just a bit tired of receptions, dinners, parades, and what-not in honor of all the various distinguished visitors who have come to France. I surely wish I might have been there when President Wilson came.
There is an officer just newly come here from the 29th Division. but he didn't know anyone in the 104th Engineers. He was in one of the infantry regiments of that Division, the 116th.
Once again, good-night my sweetheart. A little while more, and then we'll say our good-nights without writing them. I love you always.
I started the evening by reading Kingsley's Westward Ho! but it's not in me to spend a whole evening reading. So I have come to page 58 and found my night's limit reached. I like it thus far. Kingsley's style is realistic and vivid, descriptions clear, and narrative interesting.
I wonder if I have ever told you about the new second lieutenant we got a while ago - back in St. Amand, two or three weeks before we left. His name is Doyle, a very youthful chap, who bores one to death with his talk. When we first knew him, his chief topic of conversation was himself but he has toned down somewhat. "Dinty", we call him, for what reason, I don't know. Spalding started it, as he has started every nickname in the Train, and as it just seemed to fit, it stuck. But the boy has his redeeming features, and is becoming much more endurable. He has one quality which is very desirable in the Army - he's what we call a good rustler. He's acting as assistant Supply Officer to Leviseur, and he's usually sure to come back with the goods when you send him after something. Often times with more for what he can't beg, he'll borrow and what he can't borrow, he'll steal. And I have been getting great reports lately from him on the stuff he's seen lying around storehouses, and the docks and knows he can get somehow or other. Wanted to know tonight if I wanted some leather coats and chairs, as he figured he could back up the truck at a certain warehouse and nab them when the proper parties weren't looking. He's really a scream, and amuses me very much. That stealing game is a very prevalent one in the Army, and everyone salves his conscience, if it must be salved, by saying it's all for the army anyway. Did I ever tell you what or outfit was known as in St. Amand - "June's Auto Bandits", of whom it was concurrently said, "they steal anything that isn't nailed down". You can't realize what an enviable reputation that is.
It's raining worse than ever tonight. It's a wonder we don't have a regular Noah's flood.
I keep dreaming nights, strangely enough, and it's only recently, of different people and places and things back home in America. Deck allows that he's having the same experience. I wonder if that isn't significant? What would you do if all of a sudden some fine day you got a telegram from New York or Boston or somewhere announcing the arrival of your humble servant back in God's country? The Europeans laugh at us for calling America that, but I think if they knew America they would feel we were fully justified.
I must say good-night, sweetheart. I love you a whole big lot.
Today has been rainy but Daido and I went down to Somers Point and in the wilds of the woods we gathered holly, bittersweet and some bayberry to make imitation mistletoe. We made the berries of paraffine. It was just delightful to hear the soft patter of the rain on the leaves and smell the clean woodsy odor of them. We certainly did enjoy it.
It has rained, rained, rained all day but it is a pleasant rain.
I packed a little box for your family with holly, bittersweet, and bayberry, a box of writing paper for your mother, a handkerchief and case for Lucinthia, a chocolate gun and bullets for Ralph and a toy car for your Dad to use in case the machine should break down.
I'm so sleepy dearest, I love you.
I'm just a little bit disgusted and really over nothing at all because I've been wanting to work ever since school closed but now really to think just waiting until two days before Christmas and asking me to spend the whole day in the post office getting Red Cross subscriptions. I refused at first as Daido and I had planned to go to Atlantic but changed my mind and went back. I really didn't have such and unpleasant day.
I met Ephraim there and his older sister. They invited the two of us up when you come back and Miss Mitchell said if ever I could come up to call on the phone and she would come down in the machine and get me. She was very nice and cordial to me. Ephriam looks fine and actually healthy and husky. I gave him your address and he certainly is anxious to get a letter from you.
Here comes the sadder part than the day to Red Cross. Mr. Le Compte has had influenza twice so the bank is not getting along very well. He has just gotten out and asked me if I wouldn't come and straighten out matters for them. (He didn't put it just exactly that way) I swore I couldn't figure interest, discounted or type a two word letter without making a mistake but, as no one else is available I suppose I'll have to go and the day before Christmas, too. Once before they wanted me Saturdays and I slipped out of it but now I haven't a single solitary excuse as my whole teaching experience this year has been limited to somewhat less than six weeks.
Of course, I need the money but now when Daido is home, why couldn't he have wanted me last week?
Please, you don't mind my being just a little cross do you as I'm 'fraid to be cross aloud.
Dorothy Klair told me to wish you a Merry Christmas and someone else. I'm sorry I've forgotten who but really I've been terribly busy today.
I'm going to send you some goldenrod I've been wearing all day. It was blossoming in our garden today, isn't that nice?
Won't you tell me where you are? Can't you tell now? I really hate to think of your being just "Somewhere". That is so indefinite. I'll sure be so glad to see you and so happy I just won't know what to do when I hear you are coming.
I got another letter from you this morning and I'm happy but I want you. I just can't seem to write. I really want to. You said you were tired, dearest. I feel terrible when I think of the little I am doing.
I do love you so.
It is way late now. I have been to see the Opera "Rigoletto". Daido came in with the tickets just as I had finished your letter. She has also absolutely refused to let me work during her vacation so I got someone else. I'm glad cause now I can have a Christmas. I love you. Here is a goodnight kiss.
P.S. The opera was fine and my first experience.
"Twas, I mean Tis" the night before Christmas" and we have a tree, such a wonder of beauty you never did see. It's covered with bittersweet, holly and pine, and some oak and cherry leaves left from autumn time. Our presents are under it all in a row and as for what's in them we neither know, but we've shook and we've guessed but they'll still be surprises.
I thot of trimming the tree so it would be just like us and it is just full of the spirit of the out o'doors.
I'm dressed in "my pink dress much beruffled" and I'm just pretending a bit you're here.
Next Christmas dearest. I love you
And such a host of things that Santa brought! We said "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe," about opening our gifts, and would you believe it the first gift I opened was a lace collar and a letter from someone I know. I've already made up my mind how I am going to use it.
Dear Captain Butler,
Please accept my thanks for you lovely Christmas gift.
Eva R. Lutz
(that's 'most a proper "thank you" note isn't it?)
Daido gave me a silk skirt, which I made up myself, a little picture for my room, and something for my hope chest.
Dorcas gave me a wonderful waterlily towel which she embroidered herself. I just love it. Lucinthia gave me an initial towel and Katie a set. Mae Messerole gave me four hand embroidered handkerchiefs, Aunt Liza gave me two and mother gave me a box. Dad gave me two plum puddings, which he bought. Daido's sister, Forna, and Dorcas' mother gave me things for my chest. My principal sent me a picture of "Baby Stuart", and Manny sent me a book of "Selected Poems". We have sure enjoyed it. Frank gave me a cuff and collar set.
Am I not loaded down with gifts? I wish you were here to share them.
I love you, Dearest,
I never meant to keep your letter out so long.
I received a package from your mother today - two wonderful handkerchiefs and two wash cloths. I am going to put them all in my chest. I received a handkerchief from you Aunt Lucy too, a card from your Aunt Sarah, one from Miss Davis' sister, one from Aunt Mary and something also for my chest. Said chest is sure increasing.
Daido's Aunt Cuzzy arrived today and we have been enjoying Atlantic City.
The saddest thing imaginable happened today. It snowed. O, it's irony of ironies - a clear Christmas and snow the day after but tho it snowed hard for a while the sun soon melted it.
Dearest, you'll be back soon, won't you? I love you.
The McDougals have just left. They have been talking so much about their farm and they seem so happy. I'm awfully terribly envious. Mr. McDougal is trying to get the farm in good condition so he can afford to retire from public work. They have just put out about a thousand peach trees.
I really do just love the country bushels.
I received a letter from Ralph tonight. He has been enjoying a fourteen day furlough home. Isn't he sure lucky? He says he just received a letter from you, that he was expecting Curly Barrows and his girl up for dinner and they expected to have a grand noisy time.
It is late so I'll say goodnight and I love you.
Daido's Aunt Cuzzie went home this afternoon. She is good company and we will miss her a lot.
I received a letter from Forna saying she was having a most wonderful time.
I found my apple blossom pin tonight - stuck in the lining of my coat so I think I am lucky. I took it straight up to the jewelers to have a safety catch put on it. I wonder if I will lose it any way.
I saw in today's paper that some more of the 76th were scheduled to come home, in fact have sailed. I sure do wish you could be among them! Most time for a trip to the Manor.
I love you dearest,
This envelope and paper came in another in-between letter which reached me today. I forgot on two sheets of your paper and wrote on one to Aunt Sarah, on the other to Uncle Bill, so seeing I've confessed, will you forgive me?
I have been indoors a great deal to-day - it's Sunday, so guess I've a right to. I made my old standard solitaire game come out three different times completely, which is unusual for one day. I have also read a great deal more in Kingsley's Westward Ho!, and written Mother, Aunt Sarah, and Uncle Bill letters. This afternoon I made a visit to the various men of the Train who are still at the hospital. That chap Arbaugh, who has been so dreadfully sick all along - influenza, pneumonia, and pleurisy - had another relapse last night but came to to-day, as cheerful as ever, and feeling he's getting better. He has put up such a brave fight for four long weeks, I wish he could get on the permanent road to recovery.
I looked over some of my things to-day and found that two years ago I went home from Pleasantville for my Xmas vacation. I remember that you were on the car going over to Atlantic, and I remember that you gave me a very lovely smile, the smile of sunshine which I always have - have it next my heart, with a little curl, and a particularly nice Don't Open letter, if you must know. And I remember I carried home an image of one who is dearer to me than all the world, a memory, and a great deal to think about.
I remember just now that I would like to take you in a great bear hug, and kiss you, 'cause you're my sweetheart. Good-night, dear.
Four more inbetween letters today! they came so thick and fast last week that I didn't suppose I had any more coming. These went, two of them back to Nov. 6 and 7, and two more back to Oct . 26-28, long before you knew the war was over and things would move toward our getting back to each other.
It doesn't seem possible that Christmas is so near. There is nothing here to remind one of it, and I expect that I shall pass it much like any other day, perhaps. I should say, as any Sunday or holiday - mostly now interspersions of solitaire and fiction. Which leads me to say that I have gotten along famously today with Westward Ho and have made the solitaire game come out four times complete - an unparalleled record.
Do you ever remember that story I copied out for you sometime last spring, I think - wasn't it one of the "that's me all over, Mabel" stories? Where the chap says he doesn't suppose she's feeling extra pert with him away and everything. Well, this morning early, I took it into my head to censor three or four of Deck's company's mail and found one from a fat, pudgy fellow with a simple-looking face just like the story - something on this order: "I'm glad to hear you are well, and hope you enjoy a happy Xmas. You ought to with the war over and me comin' home soon." As no names are mentioned I trust I may be pardoned this exposure of personal matters.
Having exhausted narrative of myself, here's another, out of a book: Mike and Pat belonged to the same regiment and were inseparable friends until Mike got a commission. Mike was quite puffed up over the promotion and totally ignored his old pal. Pat's Irish finally got the best of him and approaching the newly made lieutenant with his most military salute, he said, "Lootinant, what would happen if a private should call the lootinant a lobster to the lootinant's face?" Mike replied that the offender would be arrested and thrown in to the guardhouse. "And what would happen if the private only thought that of the lootinant?" Mike didn't see that anything could be done in that case. "Well," said Pat, "I'll let it go at that"
Sweetheart, I think I'll say good-night to you, with all the love you could possibly hold. Yours always and forever,
Xmas eve, but there are more creatures "stirring than even a mouse" around these barracks. In fact it is very, very noisy. I suppose now, it being afternoon with you, you are just about trimming up Bricktop with perhaps holly and bittersweet. If we're up north next winter we'll try to add running pine to it, for I am very fond of the latter too.
Christmas in our Supply Train tomorrow will I think be as good as we can make it. We've gotten together the best there is to make a Christmas dinner at the men's mess - turkey, celery, vegetables, pie, candy; and there are going to be made up from it a package for each man at the hospital, so that the company commanders can take them up in the morning. So I think no one will be forgotten.
They are having a big Xmas eve party down at the hospital to-night. I have seen the monster big Christmas Tree they have, and there is going to be music and moving pictures, and what-all not.
I am thinking of you now and always. I love you.
I opened the day right by opening the little Xmas letter you sent me with the pair? of knitted socks. Being perforce in the Xmas spirit today I let you have your lavender one, even though I didn't have a fair chance at a choice; and thank you for the red one. Am I supposed to have Chinese feet? the Xmas package hasn't arrived from Mother yet.
I have thought of you, and the folks at home very often today, wondering just how you were spending, and wishing we might all be spending it together. The day has been just as uneventful as it was last year. I have read a great deal and eaten a great deal, and that's all. I have been reading my Westward Ho! quite assiduously for it holds ones interest constantly and more with each chapter. The time is in the late 1500's, the time of Sir Francis Drake and the English who raided the Spanish Main.
For the eating part of the day, Cookie spread himself out royally with turkey and all the fixings, his delicious hot rolls, cake, mince pie, grapes and nuts; he never made a better feed.
What I'm thinking most about this Xmas is next Xmas. Why? I love you, and lots of reasons springing therefrom.
Yours always, Sylvester
For my sweetheart. A Merry Xmas and a world of love.
The day after Christmas. It used to be so full of the awful feeling that there wouldn't be another Christmas for a whole long year. But I can hardly say as today I have experienced much of that feeling. It has been the first all-sunshiny day in weeks and weeks, and has surely been beautiful. The sunset, too, was beautiful, - off over the sea to you - beautiful perhaps because it reflected some sunshine from you.
A little more mail came thru to-day with a letter both from you and Mother of Dec. 4, also a letter from a chap who owed me 40 francs that I never expected to see again.
I see by the paper to-day that part of the forces which President reviewed on Christmas Day was a battalion of infantry from Sergeant Davidson's Division, the 29th. I am wondering if he is stationed up near there at General Headquarters and if he saw those famous Xmas Day articles. If so, he surely had a lot more interesting Xmas to write about than I did. I imagine he's had a lot more interesting activity to write about than I, all thru our stay over here.
I have finished Westward Ho! to-day, and surely feel that it has been time well spent to read it. Next I'm going to read Dumas' The Three Musketeers.
I think I will say good-night now, and get the last three day's notes in the mail finally tomorrow. There hasn't been any earlier opportunity to do so.
Lots of love,
Today has been decidedly stormy in contrast to yesterday's sunlight, which was an unusual exception to the prevailing appearance of Mother Nature in this corner of the world.
Don Fitts came back today from a convoy of trucks which he took out last week and has brought at last some Motor Transport Corps insignia, which I searched so vainly for a month ago in Paris. The insignia is a silver rimmed wheel with bronze spokes, on which is superimposed a bronze helmet with wings.
I have just read a lot of Saturday Evening Post stories - mostly three I could tell before starting were in a humorous vein. such are sure to be any of Harry Leon Wilson's Ma Petingill stories; the one I have been reading is "Change of Venuses" in which a man who hates children almost gets roped into marriage with a widow who has three and doesn't tell him about it. The same man turns around and marries another lady and their first children are twins! But he sees that in a different light, and thinks he's especially distinguished thereby. I have also read an amusing submarine story, where a humble machinist's mate on board a destroyer, after jumping off to rescue a little dog floating on some wreckage, gets into a lifeboat, which gets perilously near a U-boat just barely emerging, whereat the youthful genius lassoes some part of the U-boat with a 300 ft. rope, on the end of which is an oar or something, which acts just like a cork when the submarine submerges and the destroyer can see just where to aim its depth charges, which, of course, to make the story right finishes Mr. Submarine in proper style.
Another letter today which was a collection from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2, so I think my mail is coming on a regular basis again now.
Good-night, dear. I love you.
Really dear, you'll forgive me, won't you, if I ask whether you were trying for a record in your note (Nov. 29) - couldn't quite say letter - of the astounding length of 28 words, 1/3 of a page, almost a half. All how you'd rushed around and most everyone was in bed so you must go to sleep. Whish! That must have been a terribly mad rush! Was it a marathon? or a series of 100 yard dashes? Just the same, I love you. Only don't rush so much your curls fall down, 'cause I don't want everybody to have the privilege of seeing them yet awhile.
The wind blows a great huge wintry gale to-night. Rushing and whistling, it is, so that one might expect to look out of the window and see great heaps of snow. How I love all kinds of wind! They brace one, even just to listen to it, and you're not out facing it. Each kind of a wind seems to have some sort of a meaning, to bring some large conception to me, and this one now is the whole of winter, - skating above all, sleighing, pine woods green above the snow, tingling cheeks, and warm fireplaces and green decorations inside - the great being out-of-doors, and the cozy retreat within. The two must go together or I think the sound of the winter wind wouldn't have such a pleasant sensation.
This is Saturday. It is not our busy day. Nothing has happened to write about. I would now just like you and a fireplace and all the fixin's to listen with me to the winter night wind, even walk out into it and get the good tingle it bears. Eva, I do love you so very much, and am so impatient to see you again.
I could beat your 28 word record to-night, for I can think of something which expresses my activities in one less word than "rushed around". I've sat. Of course I could say sat around, but I'd like to beat your record. If I just talk long enough I'll establish a still lower record for saying anything Of course, though, even "rushed around" doesn't mean such a terrible big lot. I got a picture in my mind of a frantic dodging of corners, grabbing of muffs and furs and gloves, slamming of doors, barrettes falling out and hair flying. I am capable of such vivid and beautiful imagination. Pshaw! If I had imagination I could write you a decent letter, for didn't Shakespeare say that every turtle had a jewel in it's head if you looked beneath its ugliness. so might I depict a life of great vitality, if I looked beneath its dullness and sameness. I haven't even had a quarrel with anybody for a while. Guess the Xmas season must be getting the better of me.
Eva, I'm sorry I'm so stupid but I think this will have to be all this evening.
Goodnight, and lots of love,
Today we ate and drank. All morning we prepared the dinner a goodly meal me thinks but I fear it would not meet with your approval.
How many things on that menu do you like, one or two? Really tho it was good.
This afternoon Charles Penhollow was in and after talking awhile told us when he had run away the last time last summer he had joined the Canadian Army and was about to sail for England when his grandfather and the American Consul came and got him out. He "beat" his way to New York and as the bridges were guarded he borrowed, without the owner's permission, a row boat, crossed the Niagara River at night and enlisted at Hamilton. He certainly must have had an exciting time and especially when he went up to join as he thot the ruling was the same as in America and said he was 21 that day and they asked him where were his registration papers as he should have registered the previous October. He told them he had been on a farm and did not know about it. They had an awful confab but as they needed men finally accepted him.
I am sitting in our arm chair by the fireplace and I must say it is cozy but I'm sure it could be nicer.
I love you.
It's awful late to say "Mornin'" as I've been to the post office and got four letters from you and lots of love and I'm getting ready for lunch. Can't you smell apple dumplings?
More later. I love you.
Four letters from you today from Le Havre and they were really a surprise as I was not expecting any mail today.
I have been spending most of the day with Dorcas as she is not feeling very well.
I finished reading the "Comforts of Home" today and I really think most the essays are clever.
"Jean" Jarvis was around for a while this evening. She has had Influenza and it has left her so she will probably be unable to return to school. I am sure sorry. She said Mr. Carey had been hurt in an automobile accident but is getting along fairly now.
I was up home for a few minutes tonight to see Catherine off but she had left before I arrived.
Somehow I'm dreadfully cross tonight. It must be that baked apple dumpling I made, and, worst of all, ate.
Goodnight dearest. I love you
Good morning, Sweetheart, and it certainly is a good morning.
I thot I would write you a tiny note to let you know that I am going to Cape May this afternoon with Daido.
I love you.
Tonight we had a regular golden glow sunset. It had been cloudy all day, and it just lifted enough at the end to flood the low of the West with a rich soft yellow. It was quite beautiful and different from anything I have seen before. Now with the evening the winter wind whistles the same old sound and brings the same old pictures to the mind.
I do lots of wondering nowadays as to just how we shall get back, where we shall land, where we shall have to go from there, what we shall have to do to settle up, how it will seem to be out, and as for me just what is ahead of me in the months which are already in the near future. It's rather pleasurable to conjecture over them. My chief worry on getting back and into civilian is - will my civilian clothes I had before the war fit me? I have grave fears but hope they are not justified. Perhaps it would be well to diet and grow thin by other means, such as systematic rolling - I could get in a barrel with both ends out and roll down one of these high hills of Le Havre every day. Upon second thought I think it would be safer to take a Hemlock Manor hill. Since we've gotten here and haven't gotten quite such good things to eat, my tongue and palate have begun to long for certain things France or the Army ration doesn't have. Fresh milk and eggs, must, I think, and for over a month I have been thinking regularly about 3 times of how delicious would be a huge bowl of crisp cornflakes, real cream and pulverized sugar. Another thing I have missed especially which we haven't had at all this year is green corn, on the cob. There are a number of things in an American meal I could do justice to.
With this recital of woes, and gourmandish hopes, I am going to say good-night once more.
Love, and a kiss from Sylvester
After this one, it doesn't look as though I could write you any more letters this year. Will you be real angry?
I shall see in a New Year tonight which surely will be a wonderful year. It starts without You, but then a great big part of it, if I mistake not, will be with You. And oh! all the delicious anticipation that thought brings! Last evening when I wrote I chortled away about some ordinary desires such as good things to eat, when I get back to America. But the things I am really thinking of, my heart's great expectations, are the days ahead with You. I wonder, for instance, sometimes, what our first home will be like, how may rooms it will have, whether we'll have a good ice-pond near, and pleasant walks; and the honey-moon, our summer and all - it is such pleasant conjecture. I am doing a lot of half-planning lately, but of course so much depends on just what time I get back and discharged from the Army. I'm especially planning how to get the sort of location I'll like. I do want to get into a pleasant location next fall, which you will enjoy, which has all the requisites for our having the good times together we know each other to like so much. I do so want you to be happy, and never to know a cloud. I know we shall have the best Home on earth. I have so much to live for, having You.
Today I got a little more mail, 2 in-between letters (Nov. 6 and 14) and one of Dec. 4, the latest yet. The little licorice tablets in one of the letters went right to the spot. I'm surely fond of licorice. Your letter of Nov. 6, which you see is somewhat delayed, told of the premature report you had in America of the signing of the Armistice. The whole world was fooled by that for a few hours. That day I was at the Sous-Prefet's house in St. Amand, when he got the report, first of anyone in town, direct from Paris. We were skeptical, though, not seeing how it had had time to come about. I have heard several times of the celebrations in America on the what proved to be too early report.
Goodnight, a Happy New Year and a world of love.
We are home tonight.
Daido finished her business in Cape May so that it was possible for us to get the last car home altho we had to travel almost all over South Jersey to get here.
I received a lovely New Years letter from your Mother this morning, and she says my Christmas package reached her in good condition.
While we were waiting at the station for a car "Bob" saw us and came over. He has just gotten discharge from the Royal Flying Corp and sure looks fine.
Dearest, I do love you so and I get so afraid when I hear about the Influenza being where you are. Every time I think of your men having it and you going to see them it makes me afraid. It did so much damage when it was here where people had every opportunity for care.
I love you.
Happy New Year.
Maybe next year I won't have to write it. Maybe I can whisper it.
I have been doing a little school work this morning but most of all I've been thinking of you. Daido is napping and our Mignon is curled up asleep and I'm here.
I believe Mignon is cross at me. She has been sharpening her claws all morning, and to think only yesterday I said I didn't believe she knew she had claws.
Just here I was interrupted.
It's an awful rainy New Year's Day. Wonder if it's going to rain all the year. I hope not. No mail from anyone today except Forna. She is getting to be a regular correspondent of mine. Wonder if that means she'll be the only one I'll get mail from this year. I hope not.
I'm pretty cross. Wonder if
Dearest, bestest Boy I love you bushels and I can hardly wait for you to get back.
Goodnight sweetheart. I love you.
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