I got SUCH a bully letter yesterday from you, written long ago from the Webster. It said you missed me, and it said you loved me, and there were funny pictures of you reading the war and peace news each with a different expression, and you told me about Padrigh and how he runs down the road. It made me very sad and homesick, but very glad to feel I was so missed. Also you told me cheerful falsehoods about my Tribune stories. I know they are no good, and as they are no good, the shorter the better, but I like to be told they are good. Anyway, I sat down at once and wrote a long screed on Vera Cruz and the sleepy people that five here.
We all live on the sidewalk under the stone porch. Every night a table is reserved and by my orders ALL chairs, except mine, are removed. So no one can sit down and bore me while I am dining. Another trick I have to be left alone is to carry a big roll of cable blanks, and I pretend to write out cables if anyone tries to talk. Then I beckon the messenger (he always sits in the plaza) and say "File that!" and he goes once around the block and reports back that it is "filed." If the bore renews the attack I write another cable, and the unhappy messenger makes another tour. The band plays from seven to eight every night. There are five bands, and I saw no reason why there should not be music every evening. After a day in this dirty hotel or dirty city a lively band helps. Funston agreed, but forgot, until after three nights with no band, I wrote him a letter. It was signed by fake names, asking if he couldn't get nineteen German musicians into a bandstand how could he hope to get ten thousand soldiers into Mexico City. So now we have a band each night. That is all my day. After dinner I sit at table and the men bring up chairs, or else I go to some other table. There are some damn fool women here who are a nuisance, and they now have dancing in the hotel adjoining, but I don't know them, except to bow, and I approve of the tango parties because it keeps them away from the sidewalk. They ire "refugees," the sort of folks you meet at Ocean Grove, or rather DON'T meet! All love to you, and give Patrigh a pat from his Uncle Richard for looking after you and looking for me, and remember me to Louise and Shu and everything at home. I love you so.
I want to be home to see the daisy field with you. That knee you nearly busted tobogganing when the daisy field was an iceberg is now recovered.
The one and all came this morning and as I expected it was all full of love from you. I DID get happiness out of the thought you put in it. And all done in an hour. The underclothes made me weep. I could get none here. Not because Mexicans are not as large as I am, but because no Mexican of any size would wear 'em. So I've had to wash the few that the washer-woman didn't destroy myself. And when I saw the lot you sent! It was like a white sale! Also the quinine which I tasted just for luck, and the soap in the little violet wrapper made me quite homesick. Especially was I glad to get socks and pongee suits, and shirts. I really was getting desperate. God knows what I would have done without them.
I want to see you so much, and I want to see you in the same setting of other days, I want to walk with you in the daisy field, and in the laurel blossoms, and clip roses. But to be with you I'd be willing to walk on broken glass. Not you, too. Just me.
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. . . .