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403 East Sixth StreetBloomington, Indiana
January 10, 1919

Dear Esther:

It is hard to say just exactly how many more days it would have taken to turn my hair as white as snow. But since I am occasionally lucky, such a mournful catastrophe was presented, for I received your welcome letter this forenoon.

I fear, that that dynamic, scholastic, attractive young warrior with the red, white and blue chevron upon the sleeve of his army uniform, and having such as long nose, white pompadour, and wonderful power of bestowing good physics' grades, upon being deeply impressed by a pupil's first recitation is class, has caused wonder and inconsistent ideas to spread ever so far as Bloomington. No doubt your school will be on the map from now until Doom's day.

Are you thinking seriously of resigning your present office? Of course you are not for you would not do such an awful thing for my sake. Ha. I shall then try to overcome my fallacy and write decent letters within a few weeks at least.

And won't you, the mysterious, please tell me how I am to form a right conception of "what I don't know"? Am deeply interested, I assure you.

Do I like college? I do not answer. Education? I do not know. "There is about the same number of old men that believe in hair tonics and the same number of young men that believe in women's promises as ever." Mon Chemistry est dans le livre. I also study English 20 and English 7. The Military science and tatics [sic] is compulsory. Ha. I am down here only for the fun. Alas! Such a sad irony. That young man rooms right across the street from me and eats at the same club, where Kathryn and Luella eat also. I could write volumes yet, but you like back views, so I hate to spoil the back side of the paper and another sheet will not go into the envelope.

Sincerely yours

P.S. Present and prevailing conditions cause me to unceremoniously write here. I intend that this reach Geneva soon enough to present a delay here. Nothing important however. I shall write more next time.


[The envelope contains a rough draft of Esther's reply.]

I received your letter in record time. I would not have got it so soon if it had not been that papa was in town Sat. afternoon and called for the mail. Otherwise I would have had to wait until to-day.

You must have a special stand-in with the mail authorities between here and Bloomington for the last letter had no stamp when papa got it from the post office and the other only had a one cent stamp left on it. I wonder if I could send letters with out stamps? It is a good thing my letter arrived as soon as it did for it would be terrible for your hair to have turned grey this early in your life. It would seem if you are ever to write long letters to me you either will have to get thinner paper or larger envelopes or else write on the back side of the paper.

All my description of that sub teacher was wasted for, as you have probably heard, he is not going to teach after all. He couldn't teach Physics so couldn't take the job. One man who is to have the position took charge to-day. He is a young man probably a year or two older than you, & very tall. His dress is made in the very latest style. He too wears his hair pompadour. He has a much better complexion than any girl in H.S. I don't think he could have ever been in the army or he would have more tan on his face than he has. The whole school is mad at him because of the way he started in. O, you should have heard all the things said about him. That is the girls. I didn't get a chance to hear as much of what the boys had to say. I believe they vied with one another to see who could say the meanest things. Though they were so mad at him they did have to admit he was good looking. His name is Mason or Macey, I'm not sure which. Tressie ran right into his arms in the door of the assembly this afternoon. Did you ever think she would do so terrible a thing? He walks so fast it is a wonder she wasn't hurt, however I believe there were no serious results.

I had to make a great big mistake in a very simple problem in my first Physics recitation. I believe in giving lots of tests so I see some hard work ahead of me.

I have had none but boys in the S.S. class since you folks left. Eight last Sunday and seven a week ago.

I heard that Marie, Raymond and Mr. Felber had the "flu". And that Nomen S. had it too.

I notice that the greater part of this letter is about that new teacher but his coming is the only thing at all out of the ordinary that has happened for ever so long. He gives one the impression of being somewhat big-headed. I suppose that is because he is from college. For pity's sake don't you let college effect you so.

Don't you think you can "form a right conception of what you don't know" about me. Well as I can "appreciate the unknown because I am somewhat a mystery myself"? You see it appears I am not the only mysterious one. In what I said the antecedent of "what" is "mystery" and mystery refers to me. That's what you said I was.

E-mail: shelly@cat-sidh.net