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Indiana University
March 30, 1919

Dear Esther:

Instead of being terribly shocked I was very well pleased to get your letter Saturday morning; but what will you do now today? Have you ever noticed that I rarely wrote on Sunday, however this is about 2:30 o'clock. This is a very fine day. "It--it begins to feel like spring". One should be "going over the hills" just now instead of remaining quietly and peacefully in "captivity".

Do you ever believe anything that I say? Seeing is believing, "ne'st-ce pas"? I cannot say though that I have ever lied to you; although I may have expressed ambiguity. Anyway something causes you to register doubt as to the veracity of many of my statements.--My work has not given me a fair trial yet, but I hope to be able to rise in power as it rises in its vindictive efforts to cast poor struggling students by the wayside. (I just happened to glance out the window onto Grant Street and saw a perambulator pass by. I almost wish I was the occupant; although I have some misgivings when I think of a sad, painful affair that was just staged in the backyard of the next-door neighbor's house. I am now safely beyond that stage of frightfulness, although it might do me some good, ha! The scene was enacted by a little "buddy" (about the size of Warren) and buddy's mother who used her hand as the weapon of torture to inflict bodily pain upon buddy's--young life.) Such episodes are a diversion but the pleasure is not universal, I fear.

Sorry to have interrupted you so, and I shall now return to my exposition. I have a three-hour course in qualitative chemistry, a two-hour course in advanced general inorganic chemistry, a five hour course in Romance Language, a three-hour course in English Literature, a two-hour course in English ‘Literature' and Composition, a two-hour course in Hygiene, a four-hour "chorus" in Military Science (and they have the uniforms now too, it is compulsory to wear them), and the hour (?) a day supposed to be spent on violin practice. I should like to use the rest of my time swimming, reading novels, making calls, going to the shows, taking trips, reading letters and writing them (?), and being idle.

So, as you no doubt meant, when will you ever get any letters from such a busy person? Do not worry, this might be the last one. Therefore I wish to assure you that I did not mean any statements in previous letters to be otherwise than nice, respectful and reserved compliments. But individuality has its eccentricities, as well as anything else.

Speaking of that ‘story', just what are those characteristic paragraphs? I think I can pick a few, but if they strike me or rather did strike me several years ago, I do not regret having enjoyed my younger days. Ha!. Mrs. Mayfield happened to have that paper so I got to read the story. I just love to read those that are so interesting, and it is a pleasant relaxation after studying about the action of Na3 C0 (NO2) 6 + a solution of 2NH4 Cl. I do not remember, did the story say what they did with the box of candy? I wonder if the sick uncle realized the tenseness of such a critical situation.

I hope your class party on April 1 proves interesting and is a success. Luella said that she could find some "Fool's" entertainment at home in a bunch of the Ladies Home Journal magazines. But you see we are not at home to help. If you really wanted something it would be possible to find it there, perhaps. I am sorry now that I helped to elect you to be teacher of a Sunday School class. (Why?) _____ _____

Did you take the teachers' examination yesterday? I am sure that I never expect to do such a thing. I guess I shall be a farmer some day when my college career ends. I believe that Tressie was going to take the ‘exam', or do something yesterday, also.

I am going to send you a "Kodak" of Mr. Stahl, and also one of the center of population of the U.S. which was taken here in town out at Showers furniture factory. The little boy was glad to be in our picture. the place is on the "west side" of Bloomington. Unless you wish to keep the center of population please return my friend safely. Begging your pardon for writing such a long letter I am,

Yours Truly,

P.S. The time was turned ahead this morning. Some were confused. However I got to breakfast with 1 min. and 20 sec. to spare.


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[A rough draft of Esther's reply was enclosed in the envelope.]

April 3, 1919

Dear Richard:

I received both your letters. The second caused quite a bit of speculation. All thought it an April Fool letter and were making guesses as to just what was in it. So to satisfy their curiosity (of course I didn't have any myself) I finally opened it. You see, having received a letter just the day before made me a little suspicious. First I peeked in the corners trying to see if there was any thing there at all. It tickled Lloyd & Warren especially Warren. If writing on Sunday is going to make you write such nice long letters I think I shall have to keep on writing so that you can answer then. But that isn't why I am so slow. It's just because I was too sleepy last night. I went to sleep sitting in my chair and so mamma made me go to bed. For I just can't go without sleep. But it seems you can. That reminds me, the sleeping sickness or at least sleepiness seems to be quite prevalent at school. Yesterday there were five asleep at once. I wasn't among the number though I wished at the time I was.

Quite a few interesting things happening at school every day. This morning Miss Byerly came to school with quite a bit of powder on. So this noon four boys, including Clark, went through the girls' coats and put on all the powder they could find. Tressie is in the room in the afternoon and said that if there was anything she hated to see it was too much powder. Of course the boys looked as innocent as angels. Lloyd Heller turned around and explained to me that it was a burlesque of Miss Byerly. He sits in front of me now for we had to rearrange when the stage was put in. He whispers so much I am afraid my deportment will go down. He used to whisper to Gladys but she is farther away now. You? I told you Gladys was "mad at me". Well she most surely was but she had her say (& I had mine) and is over it now.

I told you that the Seniors were going to give a play? But I didn't tell you any thing about it did I? The title is "A Poor Married Man" and is supposed to take place in a college town. Murray Holloway is the negro servant, the comic character, and does his part fine. Gladys is my mother and Lloyd H. is my husband, Prof. John B. Wise. I live with him only a part of one day. A case of two [sic] much mother-in-law. One of the senior boys is sick and Clark is taking his place. He is to be a college boy, in love with me. Those are the principal characters. But Murray "takes the cake". How I wish you could be here when we give it though I don't suppose it would be possible. We want to give it on the eighteenth of this month. We surely do have lots of fun practicing but it takes up so much of the time after school. We only get home a little while before supper.

When we came home from school this evening we saw two gypsy wagons between our place & the corner east of here. Warren is worrying for fear they will steal some of our chickens. Our car is in town being overhauled so papa had to drive a horse. Fanny (our white horse) always acts up when she goes by a gypsy camp though nothing else worries her. Papa was telling about it and Lloyd said , "I believe Fanny can tell them from human beings".

Yes, I took the teacher's exam. Saturday. I went with Tressie. She had seven in the car, both going and coming. The examination wasn't so hard if you only knew the answers. I hadn't opened a book to review so it wasn't so dreadfully easy for me. I don't think I passed in literature nor grammar, but I think I did in the others. It does not make much difference whether I pass or not since I don't expect to teach but just the same I am anxious to learn my grades. Three others in my class took the same examination.

It is somewhat of a jump from exams. to class meetings but I want to tell you about it before I close. I think it could be called a success. There were more there than expected. Mr. & Mrs. Hollinger and Laural were there. Velma is going to school at Upton, and couldn't come. She has just started. The lunch Alva had served was quite cute. The menu written was as follows.: California eggs in bloom. Sweet Bread a la camouflage. (part of that is French I think and I don't know what it means.) The egg proved to be half a peach surrounded by whipped cream and the sweet bread was cake cut in slices with a sweet filling and looked like sandwiches.

You wrote on a nice day. Well this day is about as far removed from nice as it could be. Rain and fog all day.

I thank you for the picture I have kept.

E-mail: shelly@cat-sidh.net