VERA CRUZ--June 4, 1914. DEAR OLD MAN:
I am awfully sorry for your sake, you could not get away. Of course for myself I am glad that I am to see you and Dai. At least, I hope I am. God alone knows when we will get out of here. I am sick of it. Next time I go to war both armies must fight for two months before I will believe they mean it, and BEFORE I WILL BUDGE.
It is true I am getting good money, but also there is absolutely NOTHING to write about. Bryan doesn't know that unless he talks by code every radio on sixteen ships can read every message he sends to these waters. And the State Department saying it could not understand the Hyranga giving up her cargo is a damn silly lie. No one is so foolish as to think the Chester and Tacomah let her land those arms under their guns unless they had been told to submit to it. And yet today, we get papers of the 29th in which Bryan says he has twice cabled Badger for information, when for a week Badger has been reading Bryan's orders to consuls to let the arms be landed. Can you beat that? This is an awful place, and if I don't write it is because I hate to harrow your feelings. It is a town of flies, filth and heat. John McCutcheon is the only friend I have seen, and he sensibly lives on a warship. I can't do that, as cables come all the time suggesting specials, and I am not paid to loaf. John is here on a vacation, and can do as he pleases. But I ride around like any cub reporter. And there is no news. Since I left home I have not talked five minutes to a woman "or mean to!" The Mexican women are a cross between apes and squaws. Of all I have seen here nothing has impressed me so as the hideousness of the women, girls, children, widows, grandmothers. And the refugees, as Collier would say it, are "terrible!" I live a very lonely existence. I find it works out that way best. And at the same time all the correspondents are good friends, and I don't find that there is one of them who does not go out of his way to SHOW he is friendly. What I CAN'T understand is why no one at home never guesses I might like to read some of my own stories. . . .
Of these days in Vera Cruz John T. McCutcheon wrote the following shortly after Richard's death:
"Davis was a conspicuous figure in Vera Cruz, as he inevitably had been in all such situations. Wherever he went, he was pointed out. His distinction of appearance, together with a distinction in dress, which, whether from habit or policy, was a valuable asset in his work, made him a marked man. He dressed and looked the `war correspondent,' such a one as he would describe in one of his stories. He fulfilled the popular ideal of what a member of that fascinating profession should look like. His code of life and habits was as fixed as that of the Briton who takes his habits and customs and games and tea wherever he goes, no matter how benighted or remote the spot may be.
"He was just as loyal to his code as is the Briton. He carried his bath-tub, his immaculate linen, his evening clothes, his war equipment--in which he had the pride of a connoisseur--wherever he went, and, what is more, he had the courage to use the evening clothes at times when their use was conspicuous. He was the only man who wore a dinner coat in Vera Cruz, and each night, at his particular table in the crowded `Portales,' at the Hotel Diligencia, he was to be seen, as fresh and clean as though he were in a New York or London restaurant.
Each day he was up early to take the train out to the `gap,' across which came arrivals from Mexico City. Sometimes a good `story' would come down, as when the long-heralded and long-expected arrival of Consul Silliman gave a first-page `feature' to all the American papers.
"In the afternoon he would play water polo over at the navy aviation camp, and always at a certain time of the day his `striker' would bring him his horse and for an hour or more he would ride out along the beach roads within the American lines."