I got in last night too late to write and I am sorry. To-day, the war came to an end with our army, the Red one, with the road to Boston open before it. Indeed, when the end came, they were fighting with their backs to that City, and could have entered it to-night. I begged both Bliss and Wood to send in the cavalry just for the moral effect, but they were afraid of the feeling, that was quite strong. I had much fun, never more, and saw all that was worth seeing. I was glad to see I am in such good shape physically, but with the tramping I do over the farm, it is no wonder. I could take all the stone walls at a jump, while the others were tearing them down. I also met hundreds of men I knew and every one was most friendly, especially the correspondents. Just as I liked to be on a story with a "star" man when I was a reporter, they liked having a real "war" correspondent, take it seriously. They were always wanting to know if it were like the Real Thing, and as I assured them it was, they were satisfied. Some incidents were very funny. I met a troop of cavalry this morning, riding away from the battle, down a crossroad, and thinking it was a flanking manoeuvre, started to follow them with the car. "Where are you going?" I asked the Captain. "Nowhere," he said, "We are dead." An Umpire was charging in advance of two troops of the 10th down a state road, when one trooper of the enemy who were flying, turned back and alone charged the two troops. "You idiot"! yelled the Umpire, "don't you know you and your horse are shot to pieces?" "Sure, I know it," yelled the trooper "but, this ---- horse don't know it."
Early in the fall of 1909 Richard returned from Marion to New York and went to Crossroads, where for the next three years he remained a greater part of the time. They were years of great and serious changes for him. An estrangement of long standing between him and his wife had ended in their separation early in 1910, to be followed later by their divorce. In September of that year my mother died while on a visit to Crossroads.
After my father's death life to her became only a period of waiting until the moment came when she would rejoin him--because her faith was implicit and infinite. She could not well set about preparing herself because all of her life she had done that and, so, smiling and with a splendid bravery and patience she lived on, finding her happiness in bringing cheer and hope and happiness to all who came into the presence of her wonderful personality. The old home in Philadelphia was just the same as it had been through her long married life--that is with one great difference, but on account of this difference I knew that she was glad to spend her last days with Richard at Crossroads. And surely nothing that could be done for a mother by a son had been left undone by him. Through these last long summer days she sat on the terrace surrounded by the flowers and the sunshine that she so loved. Little children came to play at her knee, and old friends travelled from afar to pay her court.
In the winter of 1910-11 my brother visited Aiken, where he spent several months. The following June he went to London at the time of King George's coronation, but did not write about it. Again, in November, 1911, he visited my sister in London, but returned to New York in January, 1912, and spent a part of the winter in Aiken and Cuba. At Aiken he found at least peace and the devotion of loving friends that he so craved, but in London and Cuba, which once had meant so much to him, he seemed to have lost interest entirely. But not once during these years did he cease working, and working hard. On almost every page of his diary at this period I find such expressions as "wrote 500 words for discipline." And again "Satisfaction in work of last years when writing for existence, has been up to any I ever wrote."
And in spite of all of the trouble of these days, he not only wrote incessantly but did some of his very finest work. Personally I have never seen a man make a more courageous fight. To quote again from his diary of this time: "Early going to my room saw red sunrise and gold moon. I seemed to stop worrying about money. With such free pleasures I found I could not worry. Every day God gives me greater delight in good things, in beauty, and in every simple exercise and amusement."
Twice during these difficult days he went to visit Gouverneur Morris and his wife at Aiken, and after Richard's death his old friend wrote of the first of these visits:
"It was in our little house at Aiken, in South Carolina, that he was with us most and we learned to know him best, and that he and I became dependent upon each other in many ways. "Events, into which I shall not go, had made his life very difficult and complicated. And he who had given so much friendship to so many people needed a little friendship in return, and perhaps, too, he needed for a time to live in a house whose master and mistress loved each other, and where there were children. Before he came that first year our house had no name. Now it is called `Let's Pretend.'
"Now the chimney in the living-room draws, but in those first days of the built-over house it didn't. At least, it didn't draw all the time, but we pretended that it did, and with much pretense came faith. From the fireplace that smoked to the serious things of life we extended our pretendings, until real troubles went down before them--down and out.