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Friday 13 Feb.1920

Dearest Sweetheart,

Cupid is whispering love songs into my ear and bidding me to be normal for once in my relations with any worthy members of the fairer sex. This is the very proper time to go heart-searching anyway and I wonder if I will be successful in finding my "island of Bimini". You and I have never been very close together, neither bounded nor attracted by any peculiarly characteristic feature of live. At least, it seems so to me now, after months of friendship; but you know how easy it is for a woman to control a man in his various moods and states of mind. It is easy to extinguish a spark of love into nothing deeply affectionate, and also easy under the usual circumstances to add enough inspiration or enthusiasm to kindle a powerful flame. To a certain extent men of the Occident are idealists in their relations to women, and Maeterlinck says of them, "Let us draw near respectfully to the least and most proud of them; to those who are absent minded and to those who dream; to those who laugh or weep. For they know things we do not know, and they have a lamp which we have lost." I love the romantic; it is not at all of life; but without it everything would be dark, chilled or even cold, and cruel. Why the necessity for a forced reserve and a kind of false idea of modesty, which keeps the spring forever sealed, of no use in brightening the life of an individual or others, and yet probably exerting in itself to a power to leap forth in radiance and loveliness? Sometimes beneath the most complete mask are wealths of wonders and beauty of nature. And usually behind all mysteries or peculiarities there is a reason; if but known would easily explain and illuminate.

It is likely that after my great delay in writing I will need to increase my vocabulary in order to make the necessary expiation. It is said that of all languages, the Manx, spoken in the Isle of Man, is best for courting. It seems to be the language of love: There are in it ninety-seven different ways of saying , "my dear". Consequently I may have to resort to that wonderful reserve of love phrases. This (is Leap year) a day of variation, tomorrow is Valentine day, and you don't object (?), so may I resort?

From yours,

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

[February 15, 1920]

I was about ready to think that I was not going to get any more letters rom you when yours came yesterday. That was the first special delivery letter I ever received. It got here about ten minutes before supper. Katheryn got one a the same time. Some one else must have written a Valentine letter too. She too has been looking for a letter from some one for some time. I wonder if that special is the one she has been wanting. And you, did you look for a letter or something from me? And did not get it? Or did you expect nothing? I had forgotten about it being Leap Year. But I don't suppose it would have made much difference. Do you think I ought to take advantage of it?

I don't want you to have to wait as long as I did for an answer but if I continue at the present rate you may have to wait longer. In one of your letters I remember of your saying that a certain amount of waiting was all right but that too much was not good.

The fact that I too have noticed that to all appearances there has been not [a] very close tie between us but I didn't know that I was the cause of it. Because of that characteristic common to all people to never blame themselves I didn't think I was the cause.

But whether it was because of my actions or lack of actions or because of yours or because of circumstances I had not decided. And after reading it all I can not help but feel like saying "Do you really mean all you have said or did you say these things just because they were appropriate to the day?"

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