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August 2, 1917, Eva
August 6, 1917
August 8, 1917, Eva
August 11, 1917
August 11,1917, Eva
August 13, 1917
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August 19, 1917
August 26, 1917
August 27, 1917, Eva
August 28, 1917
August 30, 1917, Eva
SBButler Letters, August 1917
It certainly is lovely and warm here. Saturday was supposed to be hot but then we had not had yesterday or today yet.
Thursday night I went over to the observatory, and the moon is made of green cheese. I saw it. It was full of holes too which the professor tried to tell us were craters.
Saturday Irene's mother father and brothers went camping so we had some glorious time running things. We made fudge that was almost good and pretty good ice cold lemon ade.
Sunday I took my first long boat ride. Twenty miles is long isn't it? At least it seemed a long ride to me.
Isn't it curious that when you are out in a boat a little larger than most of the others you some how or other seem to think that you should have the right of way, just as the road hog whose squeaky one cylinder Ford (That's what Irene's is but I like them even if I do make fun) seems to think that only for him were built the wide open roads, so you too in a large boat even if it is only a fifty cent excursion boat, demand that any trail you choose to blaze on the trackless sea be reserved for you.
Such a mottled crowd as was on the boat, all nations, all ages, all types were represented.
There is much pleasure in having a three hundred pound Jew see if he can decorate your white shoes, it is great fun too to have a tiny babe smooth your just clean face with the darlingest tiny oh so sticky hands.
When spent several hours in a country place called frosty Hollow but there was no frost there. [note - I think the first word should be either We or Then we.]
The ride back at night was better. Cousin Harvey and I sat in a life boat, high, high above the noise of the crowd and almost up to the moon. And from way below came the strains of a violin. What matter that it was out of tune, the song of the waves made up for that.
I truly had a glorious time.
Since then nothing has happened except the heat.
I wonder why Fred joined the Navy. I always thot that the navy was about the last place.
I'm getting reckless I have learned how to play "500", "Solitaire" and "Casino." Irene has been teaching me when we were supposed to be asleep, but the moon has been so bright we could see lovely.
P.S. I wrote this letter on the campus and then accidentally got it covered with grass.
Saturday night and Sunday I went away from here for the first trip out of town I have taken, and I think you'd like to hear about it. I have cousins, a Dr.Baldwin and family down in Saranac Lake, about seventy miles south and west of this place. [note - Dr.Baldwin's mother, Fanny was Great-Grandpa George's mother Lucinthia's sister. He is mentioned as best man in George and Carrie's Wedding annoucement.] Dr.Baldwin is in charge of a large tuberculosis sanatorium there. I have been intending to run down and see them sometime, and finally got at it this weekend. I went down by train Saturday evening; expected to get a chance to write some letters on the train but didn't get very far, for some middle aged lady came & occupied the other half of my seat and waxed quite talkative. She opened by asking if I were one of those men in uniform; I felt like asking her what made her ever think it, but naturally confined myself to a milder answer, a rather pointed remark that it was rather evident. I had a very pleasant visit with my cousins; they had been wondering about me & in fact had spent some time looking for me while on a trip to Plattsburg a few weeks ago. And how luxurious it seemed to have a nice white room to myself and a spring bed - after 3 months on wooden slats I didn't know whether I'd know how to sleep on it or not. Though it was a beautiful morning the next day I shamelessly lay low until almost eight - the first time in 3 months I've been up later than six, and those days have been Sundays only. In the morning Dr.Baldwin, or Cousin Ed, as it's more natural for me to call him, took me up to the sanatorium, along with some lieutenant-colonel, who'd come up from Madison Barracks for a lung examination. The sanatorium is beautifully located on the side of a high hill, commanding a view of mountains and hills galore beyond the valley beneath. The sanatorium has a main building, with living room, reading room, offices, and so on; then there is a laboratory building, a library, a workshop, a chapel, and about thirty cottages scattered about the hill, where the patients live; it's a little colony all in itself. Later Cousin Ed took me to a laboratory where he has carried on his work for a good many years, down in the village right across from his home; there he has numberless jars of tubercular lungs pickled in alcohol, also jars with millions of billions of tubercular bacilli, the germs which cause tuberculosis. Also he had down in the cellar there several crates of guinea pigs which they use in experimental work. The folks took me to church (don't let this be too great a shock) in the morning, where the preacher waxed eloquent on how perfectly possible it was for the fish to swallow Jonah. I stayed with them thru the afternoon; they had a tea about five, and at half past six the whole family took me in their car over to another lake, Lake Placid, where they were to meet a friend who had an empty place in a car going back to Plattsburg. This fine long motor ride was a beautiful trip thru the Adirondack Mountains. Lake Placid is a perfectly beautiful place, a little winding lake set down among the mountains. We stopped at the Whiteface Inn, where I was to meet their friend, for a while; this is set right by the lake with a hill right back of it to the west, and other mountains on all sides - Whiteface mountain, the peak of which is a mile high the most notable. The sun was behind the hill at our backs, and as we looked across at the mountains the other side, all luxuriantly wooded, the sun, just at the setting, made them light up with a lovely soft purple haze. Wouldn't you have loved that? I thought of you. The ride all the way back to Plattsburg was pretty, too, but it was dark before we had gone far. However it was a lovely clear night with lovely clear air, and the air was very refreshing. Before I got to Lake Placid I hadn't the slightest idea who would be in the party; I supposed it would be the family of this friend of the Baldwin's, but I found it was just three other members of the camp to whom to whom she had loaned her car and chauffeur. The men were strangers but of course it didn't take long to get acquainted.
Camp closes next week Tuesday, the 14th. If I get a commission and am assigned to service with our regiment in the draft armies, I shall have to report at Ayer, Mass. on the 27th, and the time in between will be free; if all I succeed in getting is a recommendation to come to the second camp for another three months of training before they'll make me a lieutenant, I'll have to report back here about the same time. At least a vacation of about ten days seems to be assured me. During that time, I'm going to take a little trip in your direction, as far as Pleasantville, where I am going to pack up what stuff I have left there to send home; Eph Mitchell asked me to come up to his house for a day's fishing trip, but I'm not sure that I can do it, my time is so short. Naturally I hope I may see you in the course of my travels, and assuming that I may, I'm not going to plan my trip definitely 'till I hear from you as to what you'll be doing in that time. Does your school keep all thru August or does it close pretty soon? When is it that you go on that camping trip? Would you just as soon write me right away what your plans are for the period Aug.16-25, if you can? Then I'll do everything possible to be in Phila. a couple of days while you are there, and run out to see you from wherever I stay there. Perhaps I should prefix all this by "May I?" I hope I may have a chance to see Miss Tolbert, too.
Be sure and not mail any letters to me here that will go out of Philadelphia later than Saturday, for I fear I wouldn't get it. I hope you'll have time to send me a note soon after you get this, and do hope it's going to be possible for me to see you again, even if it's only for a little while.
Ever your friend
P.S. Where I shall see you is not important, so long as there are means of locomotion available to the place. Don't hesitate to say what is or is not convenient for you.
Yesterday Gertrude and I went out to the Park again and sat under the trees and read and wrote.
We had a lovely seat on a high rock way up among the trees. We were just as comfy as could be when an Italian family fifty strong came up and took possession.
Our teacher cut class this morning so I have some little time to write. I got a ___ for my work so far - that is the highest mark but I think I only got it because I was the baby. [note - I'm not sure what the grade in the "___" should be. It looks like and open cursive D, much the same as the D in Dear, but it doesn't sound like the type of thing to be the "highest mark"]
My Uncle Harvey gets his vacation from the tenth to the eighteenth and as the family are going away I have to spend the whole week of the last term with Gertrude.
We want to go camping too some time but I am not sure "whether or not" we will get to go. I would just love to - the mosquitoes aren't so bad now and the weather is great - neither too hot nor too cold.
The Roses of Sharon are out beautiful down here. I wonder how they are at the Manor? You remember there was a whole row of them along the front fence. I bet they were all pink and white with not a lavender one among them.
I suppose the place is a veritable wilderness by now. I wrote and asked Frank about it but as he has not answered my letter I suppose he has not been up there.
There is the loveliest - that is my pet word it seems - little place for lunch across the street from here. It is called the "Dutch Kitchen" and they have the nicest things to eat. It certainly is very quaint.
I went to the telephone this morning, I mean the school play telephone, and they told me to order something from the butchers so I ordered four pounds of roast and when they asked me what kind I said "Didn't you hear me say what I wanted was roast," so of course there is a good bit of quipping coming my way.
Well I guess I will close now.
P.S. I found three four leaf clovers but they are home now so I will send them next time.
I haven't given you any idea nor could I, of the tense atmosphere about the camp here for the last few weeks; it's been very vivid to one here in the atmosphere, and one needs to be here to realize its full extent. The time has been gradually approaching when the camp would close and it would be announced who would receive commissions. Everyone knew that there would be some who would not get them, but would be sent to the second camp for additional training, and some who would not even get that, but would be relegated to civil life, with no hope of getting into the army as commissioned officers - on the contrary, being liable to service under the draft, would go in as called, or before if they volunteered, as privates or at most as non-commissioned officers. The chances of success or failure here, therefore, has meant more to us, or most of us, I think, than anything else in our lives; no one with any manhood in him wants to fail at anything, but this involved many things, hard to enumerate, which makes it mean so much more than the hope of material success in anything else - it involves the fact that we have been training with the idea of becoming leaders, and is it not natural that it should be a tremendous disappointment to have no prospects except of being a follower in this game? - it involves the fact that to be chosen here means that one is deemed worthy to be a leader of men in an activity which must bring out every ounce of energy & manhood that men have, and who wouldn't aspire to this? - it involves the fact that to be chosen means, if one doesn't make a failure in the months between now & the firing line, a chance to be among the earliest in service for the cause we want to help all we can - it involves the fact that family and friends expect, or at least I think they do, expect one to make good, at least they know what we came here for, and as a matter of personal pride, one doesn't want to go back to them without it; no matter what the odds vs. one, there would be a feeling in their part, I fear, that there had been something lacking. Perhaps this doesn't analyze the situation entirely, but it is as nearly as I can describe it from my own feelings in the matter. I have tried to keep my own mind free from the tense anxiety about the outcome as far as possible, and think I succeeded fairly well, but that doesn't alter the fact that within me the desire to succeed here had been growing ever more profound. I had worked as hard as I knew how, for a commission, but hardly dared believe it would be forthcoming; I feared there were too many men whom the captain would pick ahead of me because of greater experience or because he would deem them more proficient. So much for the prelude, to try to give you an idea of how much the outcome would mean to me. Yesterday the tenseness broke, the day of reckoning came - in other words, the captain read off the names of those who were to get commissions; with the result that at about half past ten yesterday morning I was sworn in as a 2nd lieutenant, U.S.Infantry, Officers' Reserve Corps. I never was so gratified in all my life at anything that happened for me in a material way, and now it's up to me to show that I'm worthy of the title. My time of testing is only begun, and now I must not be found wanting ; my whole energy must be directed to this end. Way back in the early summer I wrote out a list in a letter of what it was possible for the men of any one company here to get, but it would not be strange if you had forgotten it. Out of about 175 men in the company, including those already officers, the following assignments were made: 2 Majors, 15 Captains, 14 first lieutenants, 5 special 2nd lieutenants sent to the regular army, 61 second lieutenants in the Reserve Corps (all officers except those 5 special 2nds above are Reserve Corps and the ones above are all infantry officers); 2 second lieutenants in Ordnance Dep't.; 1 Intelligence Officer; 16 second lieutenants in the Quartermaster Corps (supply dep't); 10 sent to second training camp; about 35 discharged - honorably, of course, but without anything to show for their work except perhaps a brown tan and a few paltry dollars; I believe some can get non -commissioned officers' places in the draft armies if they desire (sergeants or corporals). Many of the men who were discharged I was sorry not to see get anything, and they feel pretty glum about it. I was the 30th in the list of second lieutenants.
I expect to leave here at 8:00 in the evening on Tuesday, arriving in Cromwell early the next morning. On the 27th I shall probably have to report at Ayer, Mass., where the first draft contingent from New England is to train. We have already turned in most of our equipment, and as far as I can see the next 3 days are mostly loafs; perhaps it may turn out differently.
I must get this letter in tonight's mail.
Ever your friend
Today certainly has been one exciting day. The excitement started last night at three oclock when I suddenly woke up and thot I saw the whole of Ardmore on fire. I awakened Irene and we climbed up on the garage roof to see if we could see plainer. After we had been up there about ten minutes the alarm rang and then everyone woke up and such noises. Cousin John was chief at the fire because he got there first and got on the chief's hat. Mr.Maginnis stopped to put on his collar and tie so Kathleen asked if he were going to see his best girl and Mrs.Maginnis brought out his dress suit. By the time he arrived the fire was out and it was pouring rain so of course he ought to have had two grouches, but he didn't.
Did I tell you about the lovely water lilies over in Penn. botanical garden? I wanted one so bad and was determined to get one if I had to steal it myself. I didn't have to steal it tho. This morning Irene, Margaret, and I went over to the botanical garden and we saw the head gardener send a man out wading for some roots. Of course we were interested and went over to examine. I said of course they were very beautiful but had he ever seen the Arctoria Regia(?) of the Amazon? No he hadn't but these were large some of them being ten inches across. I said No? in such a questioning voice he had the man pick one to prove it. Then he gave it to me. So I said Oh I feel so selfish and the rest each got one. Wasn't I awful? But I did want one so bad. I'm going to press it. It certainly is a beauty.
I played tennis all yesterday afternoon the first time so long for several weeks and my arm feels grand this morning.
As you probably know by my last letter I am going to spend next week at Miss Tolbert's.
I will probably be home much of the time but if you call up
Diamond 5946J or drop a card I will be.
I don't know when I am going back to Pleasantville.
Dad wrote me a letter from Atlantic City the other day and said they had started to rebuild. Things.......
About the hardest work we're doing to-day is waiting for tomorrow evening to come and go home. We had to clean up the barracks this morning, which didn't take long, everyone just taking care of his own little corner, and there has been nothing else on the formal schedule, but at three o'clock we have some kind of lecture and then another in the evening. We turned in most all our equipment Friday and Saturday; this is quite a long job, for the company forms in line, and each man has to have each piece of equipment checked off, to see that he's returning everything. We've had three lines worth thus far, and now there is nothing left except a mattress, a pillow, and two blankets, which go in tomorrow morning.
Last weeks' work was taken up largely with lectures and working out problems under the head of Company Administration. There is lots of what we call "paper work" in the army, the keeping of records, lots of seeming red tape in getting supplies in the quartermaster's department, and all that sort of thing. Then we had an interesting series of two or three lectures by an army officer who has been across the water and had a chance to see all the training work in England and France, and life in the trenches.
We had the usual entertainments Saturday and Sunday evenings. Among the vaudeville acts Saturday evening was an old man of 65, I should say, who was quite a wonder on roller skates; did all his tricks on top of a table the size of a billiard table, had nine-pins set up in a row, skated in and out of them, did everything to prove the introduction that ,he was given - "a very young man." Last evening a quartet of two men and two ladies rendered a great many operatic selections, including the entire opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" in costume. We also had a cellist who played very beautifully; included in one of his encores my favorite, Minuet in G by Beethoven - which you perhaps know; at least I know I have attempted it for you on the piano.
Practically all the people I knew before I came here have figured out pretty well in getting commissions; Ralph Gabriel is a 2nd Lieutenant, Beers from Cromwell is a 2nd Lieutenant, Joe Church is a 1st Lieutenant, and Frank Burke a 2nd Lieutenant; Church was my bunkmate the first part of the course you will remember, and Burke has been for the last two months.
It will surely seem good to be home next week. Except for the brief three hours on my way up here in May, I of course haven't seen them since Christmas, and my sister I haven't seen at all since Christmas. My brother hasn't gone South yet, but is in camp at Niantic, Conn., where the Connecticut National Guard troops are waiting for the camp in Charlotte to be made ready for them; so I hope to have a chance to see him. I'll have to wait until I get home before I can write you just when I am going down your way. It will surely be good to see you. I am glad you have done so well in your work at the Summer School. Since you are staying with Miss Tolbert this week, I am going to send this letter to her house. If you find you are going away anywhere, camping or wherever, between now and the 25th, where I couldn't see you, please don't forget to write me at once, so that I can adjust my plans accordingly; and don't forget to address it Cromwell, Conn., instead of here. The most likely periods for me to go down your way are from about 19th to 21st, or 23rd to 25th; the 22nd I want if possible to attend a wedding in Connecticut. - the young lady over whom I fought the fistic encounter I think I told you about, some ten years ago.
It's getting almost time for that 3 o'clock lecture. I hope to find a letter waiting for me in Cromwell.
Ever your friend
The other night we went out to Fairmount Park thru the wonderful Entrance to Rome as I call it. It certainly is beautiful there and especially now since there are oceans and oceans of hydrangeas. The columns are so high, the lights are so round and orangey and the seats are stone so you would think that you were in another world. The flowers are all just beautiful but I am afraid they will not last much longer.
I am getting ready now to go out to Highland Park to make a raid on the garden.
Remembering how fond you were of beets and beans I am going to get an extra amount of them.
School is over tomorrow at nine o'clock. I don't know whether I am glad or not for I have had lots of fun along with work. I have made lots of friends too and if I wrote to all who have asked me I would have to keep a private secretary or else I would have to learn to like to write myself.
Well, I suppose I better stop as it will soon be time for Miss Tolbert's class to come down.
It appears that it wouldn't take me long to regain my old
bad habits again, for here it is now the unearthly hour of 11:15.
Sister and I have been down at the Binks's, and time went by
lots faster than we realized. Ernest and I had a long chat about
Plattsburg, for he of course wants to get the benefit of my experience
as far as possible; while we did that the girls made some lemonade,
then we had a little singing, and I gave what I always give on
the piano; and then we chatted until a chance glance at my watch
told me we belonged home. Ernest's wife, the erstwhile Miss Stieberitz,
music teacher in Bridgeton, knew Cruse the year he was there,
and as we have done once or twice before in months further back,
we swapped stories of some of that gentleman's vagaries.
Ralph has been up home today and so for a day the whole family has been together. He got a 36 hours leave to come home and try to get a recruit to take back with him; did a lot of scouting to accomplish his mission but wasn't able to get anybody. He's not going to be cavalry any more for they are changing all the cavalry troops of the Connecticut National Guard over into machine gun companies; in doing this they wanted to enlarge the size of each company almost double, and so every one has been given this 36 hours leave to try to get one recruit and help fill the ranks.
To get back to tonight, he had to get a train over in Meriden about 15 miles away, so we all drove over there and back; it's a very pretty ride - it takes us thru a range of high hills we call the Meriden Mountains, past a little pond local myth will have bottomless, an old oak tree part of the original American forest, and tonight past two not very common wild things, a little deer and a wood cock. Deer haven't been common around these parts for a great many years, but for the last fifteen or twenty years there have been very strict laws in force as to killing them, which are bringing them back to some extent. Cute little things - did you ever see them running wild?
I stopped here last night; made up for my late hours then by correspondingly late one this morning. It's nine o'clock and I've just finished breakfast. Am I not the lazy thing? There is a mail going out at half past nine and then none until afternoon, so I must get this off. It seems hard to realize that I am going to see you again so soon.
Ever your friend
[Note - the route to Meriden that Sylvester spoke of would have been what is now CT-State-Route 66 and the legend persists that Black Pond is "bottomless", and thanks to the earlier laws, deer and wood fowl are not so uncommon.
The next letter was on Aug.26th on his return from Pleasantville so he must have spent a week down there. -- Susan Czaja]
To Miss Eva Lutz
c/o Miss G.M.Tolbert
Sea Crest Inn
Cape May, New Jersey
What might you be doing now, I wonder? Listening to the wild waves, I am imagining. It surely is too late to be bickering over who should do the supper dishes, and then, I don't suppose there are any to bicker over, there. I do hope your week will rest you up, and make you feel quite well again.
We were talking about traveling alone, I remember. You said you did so when you were quite small; I wonder if you ever traveled with a tag on, like a little girl I saw come into my train yesterday, "Drop girl off at Newark," or something like that. She didn't seem to mind, anyway, travelling like an express package.
I shook another hand or two in New York, and got home about half past nine. I surely don't like these companionless journeys, when they're return journeys from a pleasant time that's ended.
Today we, that is, Mother, Father, Lucinthia (that's my sister) and I have been down to Niantic to see Ralph. It is a very pretty trip down; in general it's along the Connecticut river almost to it's mouth, and then we cross over it and go east some fifteen miles, perhaps, to Niantic where Ralph's camp is. We passed a large number of ponds with myriads of pond lilies in them, and I thought of you, and how you would have liked to have seen them, for I know you are very fond of them. We found Ralph and his lady - (she had come down the night before and stay'd with some friend) - at a beach near the camp on Long Island Sound, and sister and I went in swimming with them a while. Then we went up to the camp and ate a big lunch the folks brought along, in Ralph's tent, and stayed around the camp all afternoon. Ralph has quite a jolly bunch of men for tent-mates, and I think enjoys himself first-rate. They were telling to-day about some stunts they had been playing on some new recruits who had join'd them the past week; telling a recruit to go up to the supply sergeant or the quartermaster's department and ask for things which the government never furnishes - pink pajamas, for instance , and several recruits went up to get pajamas, only to find they'd been hoaxed. Three men, I understand, "bit" and went to the supply sergeant to ask for a skirmish line! That's as bad as a young chap Father was telling about tonight, whom somebody got running all over a factory looking for a round square.
We came back when dusk was falling, and got home about nine. The return journey gave us a beautiful picture - crossing the river over a fairly high bridge - below the bridge the water lit up by a brilliant moon (which probably is lighting up the ocean for you tonight) and above the bridge the reflection on the water of the last light of the dying day. The bridge was a toll bridge, but they didn't count me in charging us; nobody in uniform has to pay toll going across the bridge, I understand; so you can imagine I must have felt somewhat like a chee-ild , which reminds me that I forgot to order half-fare tickets when we went into Venice.
I wonder if Miss Tolbert really thought I spoke of hitching my title on to my address, just for the conceit of seeing it there. I hope not. I try to be careful to avoid foolish conceits and naturally don't like to have people think I foster them.
I shall forward my address from Ayer, Mass,. just as soon as I know what it is to be. I'm quite sure, though, that if you wrote me before I sent you my address that
Camp Devens (304th Regiment)
would reach me.
I certainly did have a lovely time on my little visit with you, Eva.
Ever your friend
At last we are in Cape May and I certainly do like the place. There are miles and miles of open sky and open beach. Everything is so free and grand. It is an ideal summer resort.
Years and years ago - most a thousand I think - this was a favorite resort of the southernites, (is that legitimate?) The old hotels and the older houses are all columned and squared and lovely. They all are mostly Southern colonial style.
Harold met us at the car and if it is possible he is more freckled and redder haired than usual. I was introduced by him to the most important person around the place, the cook. Harold is also in right with Mrs. Graf the deserter. I mean the woman who prepares the deserts. So he makes out fine.
We have wonderful moons here.
Everything is so calm and nice here.
There is a pavilion called Convention Hall where they have dances every night and wonderful(?) music that is loud enough even for me. In fact I had to leave after the second number.
Yesterday we went out to the meadows and gathered oceans and oceans of beautiful little sea pinks and meadow pinks and mallows. The meadow was just carpeted with the sea pinks which are so so lovely. They were so starlike.
We go down along the beach in the mornings and this morning I saw my first jelly fish and now I know what you mean by "jelly fish people" - soft and transparent(?)
Won't you please excuse the accident. I borrowed some of Miss Tolbert's paper and not being used to such fancy-ness I did not realize how to use it. [note- this is folded note paper with a large "T" monogram on what should have been the front, but Gram started the note with the paper upside down on the plain back]
The rest of the family have gone beech-berrying in the one horse shay or a wagon from the ark. It took the horse at least an hour to go five blocks and at that the horse had to be coaxed along. The rest of us are laying wagers on whether they will be back to supper or to breakfast.
I have been wondering whether or not that man who told you about the cars entertained you all the way up. It wouldn't have been so lonesome traveling then.
Miss Dare gave me the lovliest little tea cup from China, to remember her by. It is all storks and moons and willowy trees.
Please explain the meaning of this word I am curious about it: atairists It isn't Webster's. Is it in Butler's.
I want to get this letter off this morning so I guess I better stop.
Yours Eva Lutz.
I'm in rather an unexpected place tonight, in a little kind of camp bungalow outside of Worcester, Mass. Worcester is on my way up to Ayer, and I found when I got home from Philadelphia that Mother planned to come up to Worcester Tuesday to visit a cousin of mine, Raymond Coe by name, and his wife. So naturally I decided to come up at the same time and stay over night with the Coes. They are staying for the summer in this little bungalow quite a long way out into the country from Worcester, and it's the most attractive little place imaginable - a great big main room, three or four little sleeping rooms, a kitchen, cellar, and nice big porch. I am very enthusiastic about the place. we didn't come out until after dark, so I haven't an idea yet of the surrounding country, but they say it is very lovely, particularly at sunrise so that I am looking forward now to the morning. I am going to get a pretty early start off in the morning for Ayer. Raymond is going to take me up in his car, so I haven't got to catch any pesky train; also it will be a fine ride.
Yesterday and today at home I spent most of my time putting my things in order and getting ready to leave. Only one of my three packages arrived from Pleasantville, so I wasn't able to get all my belongings beautifully arranged as I wanted to do. I've been watching every train that's come in, but to no avail (if you knew how many trains came in to Cromwell every day you'd know how much chasing I've done). Last evening I thought I ought to shake a few more hands around town, so got sister to drive me around in the car - my lady chauffeur; it's the first time she's ever had it out all by her lonesome, with no one in the car who could run it.
Mother and I started off early this afternoon; Father met us in Hartford and took us to the train there; then after a train ride of about two hours and a half we arrived at Worcester, where my cousins met us; we ate dinner down town and then drove out here. Oh! this is such a nice place, way away from everybody; it's a beautiful moon light night here, too, and there is a delightful cool breeze; breezes are my specialty.
Inasmuch as you explained your coined words -"deserters" and "southernites"- I suppose it's up to me to bring "atavists" out of the realm of obscurity, at your request. Only let me point out the moral first - buy Butler's dictionary and discard Webster's. 'Atavism", according to Webster, is the "recurrence of an original type in the progeny of its varieties"; for example, a man is born with six fingers, then perhaps he has children with the regular number, then perhaps his grandchildren are born with six fingers; they got this peculiarity by heredity but it's heredity that's skipped a generation or two. I think of atavism as the appearance in a individual of any peculiarity or trait which has passed to him by heredity, but has last appeared at least two generations back, that is, further back than his father or mother. Carrying out the idea to its extreme, a man who was born with monkey traits would be atavistic to the highest degree. So, though the desire to roller-coast may not be an inheritance from our primeval ancestors, it is held by some, I believe, to be a relic of a childhood instinct, and, as the child is said to have more or less the instincts of the savage, and to represent in his development the successive stages in the progress of mankind from savagery to civilization, I ventured the much- discussed word. So for the purposes of the poem, Butler's definition of "atavists": those who, judged by the standards of conventional usage, indulge in practices which denote the existence of instincts of a more youthful age." If I'd ever stopped to think of all the explaining that poor last line was going to make, we'd not be atavists! We'd have been content with being imps, I guess or chee-ilds. Just one thing more - it wasn't all this that was running thru my mind in the pauses while I knit my brow and dented my forehead with my pencil.
I must say good-night; everybody's been asleep now for half an hour. Be sure and write me, won't you, just what Mr. Cressman says in his reply. I hope you will always tell me the particulars of your plans as they develop, because I feel so anxious to have everything go well for you.
Ever your friend,
It is indeed a lovely spot here. The bungalow is on top of a wooded hill, amidst very hilly country, which is of course characteristic of New England. As soon as possible after I get to Ayer, I'll let you know my sure enough address. I'm starting off now.
Postal card from that evening
My address will be
I had a fine ride up this morning, and was among the first to arrive. This camp is a tremendous place.
I wrote you a letter from where I stayed last night, and dropped it in at Fitchburg on my way up. Are you going to be in Pleasantville after Sunday?
[note - the end of the card has been eaten by silverfish or something, but seem to be inquiring where to send her mail.]
[Note on the end of the envelope "Opened by mistake 10-31-17 Lieut.W.B.Putter 301st Reg- engineers." Do you suppose it really took 2 months to get there or that this should be 8-31-17? Maybe we'll find out in later letters. Gram did cross both the t and l in the last name but it is definitely an S. and a B.]
I cannot make the same mistake with this paper but as it is all I have until Gertrude's trunk arrives with mine I am going to see how small I can write. If you need glasses or an interperator [Gram's word] just drop a card.
Today I went in bathing with some of the guests and I had a lovely time and at last I really am so browned and freckled that even you could not deny the fact. I was a little bit afraid but am trying to cure myself as Harold is afraid of snakes and I have been preaching to him about it. I wish I wasn't afraid of the water.
Miss Quimby our former ("drawing" is crossed out here) I mean German teacher at Pleasantville has dropped Gertrude a card saying she probably will be down from the first to the ninth and that she probably can give her some gossip concerning the Herr Professor. You know she is up in his part of the country.
Harold is a future beau. Tonight he was out with Gertrude and I and we said, "Look at the moon how beautiful it is on the water." he said, "Oh no, I'd rather look at you." He is so funny I know you'd love him. Today he spent all his spending money for a freckle lotion and spent the rest of the day trying to discover what effect it had had.
There are quite a few people here in Cape May now because there are army and navy barracks here.
There is the darlingest little girl here in the house and she usually occupies my mornings. She is recovering from a Mastoid(?) operation and she has short hair and dresses so trig [honest, that's what it looks like] and trim. She is here in the care of a trained nurse whom I heartily hate. The child is the same as a piece of furniture to her, a chair that must be kept clean and in its place.
She doesn't look after the child's table manners either and you know a child of four needs much in the way of training. Jean, that is the baby's name, and I are playing a game of nice things. That is we try to do things that one another likes. Its lots of fun, for instance this morning she came sat down on my bed and solemly said, "I have a habit." I looked up inquiringly and was told that she had a habit of sucking her thumb but she would try and break herself of it. I suppose the nurse has been plagueing her about that habit. Of course she has habits and faults but that nurse will never be of any help in correcting them.
I went to the movies with Harold last night. I was invited to a clam bake but I had put him off for three days and did not dare do it again. I really didn't want to go to either place so I wasn't disappointed and I had a good time because Harold killed me he laughed so much.
There is a funny little German here in the house - very Crusefied not curcified and we all strongly suspect that he is a German spy. That is natural is it not. All the ladies tho are crazy over him and of course I am too, he uses the loveliest perfume and powder. I was always fond of men of his type. Last night when we were up to the movies I saw him with a sailor and he spoke of course I didn't see him speak but Harold did his best to make my [Gram must have left something out here] and I couldn't make him understand that it was perfectly possible to be looking at a person and yet not seeing them.
Gertrude and I are going to stay up until twelve so as to lock up the house so isn't it a pity if I had more paper - and tho'ts you might get a real long letter.
The first night we came Harold wanted us to sleep out on the porch with him. We did. I mean I did. Gertrude froze about one and went in. Harold left about one thirty and then they came out for me. I was used to it but they weren't.
The wind was blowing a perfect gale and the moon was so bright and the water so sweet, I just loved it.
I am growing to be quite a traveler. Think how many places I've been to this summer, most five.
I am very glad you had another pleasant visit with your brother and family. I realize how you must have felt when they refused to take your toll. It sure is tough to be a chee-ild. I will write to the manager of Willow Grove at once and tell him about the Venice overcharge.
See, I have discovered another piece of paper. Providence be praised!
There are lots of saucy little waves waving little ghostly hands at me. They want me to come play. I wish I could. If I were a moon beam or a star I would. Wouldn't it be fun to dance all over the waves - and not get wet.
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