I dined with Lady Clarke last night and met Lord Castleton there and he invited me up to Dublin for the Punchtown Races-- I have a great mind to go and write a story on them-- Castleton is a great sport and very popular at home and in England and it would be a pleasant experience. Kuhne Beveridge is doing a bust of me in khaki outfit for the Academy and also for a private exhibition of her own works, which includes the Prince of Wales, and the Little Queen of Holland.
Hays Hammond has invited me down to South Africa again, with a promise of making my fortune, but I am not going as it takes too long. DICK.
On May 4, 1899, at Marion, Massachusetts, Richard was married to Cecil Clark, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Clark of Chicago. After the marriage Richard and his wife spent a few weeks in Marion and the remainder of the summer in London and Aix-les-Bains.
MARION, May 28th, 1899. DEAR MOTHER:
You sent me such a good letter about the visit of the three selected chorus girls. But what was best, was about your wishing to see me. Of course, you know that I feel that too. I would have it so that we all lived here, so that Dad could fish, and Nora and Cecil could discuss life, and you and I could just take walks and chat. But because that cannot be, we are no further away than we ever were and when the pain to see you comes, I don't let it hurt and I don't kill it either for it is the sweetest pain I can feel. If sons will go off and marry, or be war-correspondents, or managers, it does not mean that Home is any the less Home. You can't wipe out history by changing the name of a boulevard, as somebody said of the French, and if I were able to be in two places at once, I know in which two places I would be here with Cecil at Marion, and at Home in the Library with you and Dad and The Evening Telegraph, and Nora and Van Bibber. You will never know how much I love you all and you must never give up trying to comprehend it. God bless you and keep you, and my love to you every minute and always.
Late in January, 1900, Richard and his wife started on their first great adventure together to the Boer War. Arriving at Cape Town, Richard left his wife there and, acting as correspondent with the British forces for the New York Herald and London Mail, saw the relief of Ladysmith. After this he returned to Cape Town, with the intention of joining Lord Roberts in his advance on Pretoria. But on arriving at Cape Town he learned that Lord Roberts did not intend to move for three weeks, and so decided to say farewell to the British army and to return to London in a leisurely and sightseeing fashion along the east coast. It was after they were well started on this return voyage that Richard conceived the idea of leaving the ship at Durban, going to Pretoria, and, as he expressed it, "watch the Boers fighting the same men I had just seen fighting them."
R. M. S. Scot February 4th, 1900. DEAR MOTHER:
A great change has come since I wrote you from Madeira. We are now on Summer seas and have regulated the days so that they pass very pleasantly--not that we do not want to be on land-- I never so much wanted it-- Somers is with us and is such a comfort. He is even younger than he used to be and so quick and courteous and good tempered. He is like a boy off on a holiday-- I think he is very much in love with his wife, but in spite of himself he is glad to get a holiday, and like all of us he will be so much more glad when he is homeward bound. They threatened to shut us out of our only chance of putting foot on land at Madeira-- In the first place, we were so delayed by the storm that we arrived at eight o'clock at night, so that we missed seeing it in its beauty of flowers and palms. And then it was so rough that they said it was most unsafe for us to attempt to go ashore. It was a great disappointment but I urged that every one loved his own life, and if the natives were willing to risk theirs to sell us photographs and wicker baskets it was probably safer than it looked-- So we agreed to die together, and with Somers got our rain coats, and the three of us leaped into a row boat pulled by two Portugese pirates and started off toward a row of lamps on a quay that seemed much lower than the waves. The remainder on the ship watched us disappear with ominus warnings-- We really had a most adventurous passage--towards shore the waves tossed us about like a lobster pot and we just missed being run down by a coal barge and escaped an upset over the bow anchor chain of a ship. It was so close that both Somers and I had our coats off and I told Cecil to grab the chain-- But we weathered it and landed at a high gangway cut in the solid rock the first three steps of which were swamped by the waves. A rope and chain hung from the top of the wharf and a man swung his weight on this and yanked us out to the steps as the boat was on the wave. The rain beat and the wind roared and beautiful palms lashed the air with their fronds-- It was grand to get on shore once again-- At the end of the wharf we were hustled into a sled on steel runners, like a hearse with curtains around it and drawn by bullocks-- The streets were all of mosaic, thousands of little stones being packed together like corn on a cob. Over this the heavy sledge was drawn by the bullocks while a small boy ran ahead through the narrow streets to clear the way-- He had a feather duster made of horse's tail as a badge of authority and he yelled some strange cry at the empty streets and closed houses. Another little boy in a striped jersey ran beside and assured us he was a guide. It was like a page out of a fairy story. The strange cart sliding and slipping over the stones which were as smooth as ice, and the colored house fronts and the palms and strange plants. The darkness made it all the more unreal-- There was a governor's palace buttressed and guarded by sentinels in a strange uniform and queer little cafe's under vines--and terraces of cannon, and at last a funny, pathetic little casino. It was such a queer imitation of Aix and Monte Carlo-- There were chasseurs and footmen in magnificent livery and stucco white walls ornamented with silk SHAWLS. Also a very good band and a new roulette table-- Coming in out of the night and the rain it was like a theatre after the "dark scene" has just passed-- There were some most dignified croupiers and three English women and a few sad English men and some very wicked looking natives in diamonds and white waistcoats. We had only fifteen minutes to spare so we began playing briskly with two shilling pieces Cecil with indifferent fortune and Somers losing-- But I won every time and the croupiers gave me strange notes of the Bonco de Portugal which I put back on the board only to get more of a larger number-- I felt greatly embarrassed as I was not a real member of the club and I hated to blow in out of a hurricane and take their money and sail away again-- So I appealed to one of the sad eyed Englishmen and he assured me it was all right, that they welcomed the people from the passing steamers who generally left a few pounds each with the bank. But the more I spread the money the more I won until finally the whole room gathered around. Then I sent out and ordered champagne for everybody and spare gold to all the waiters and still cashed in seventy-five dollars in English money. It was pretty good for fifteen minutes and we went out leaving the people open-eyed, and hitting the champagne bottles-- It was all a part of the fun especially as with all our gold we could get nothing for supper but "huevos frite" which was all the Spanish I could remember and which meant fried eggs-- But we were very wet and hungry and we got the eggs and some fruit and real Madeira wine and then rowed out again rejoicing. The pirates demanded their pay half way to the boat while we were on the high seas but they had struck the very wrong men, and I never saw a mutiny quelled so abruptly-- Somers and I told them we'd throw them overboard and row ourselves and they understood remarkably well-- The next day we were the admired and envied of those who had not had the nerve "to dare to attempt." It was one of the best experiences altogether we ever had and I shall certainly put Madeira on my silver cup.