During the summer of 1903 my mother and father occupied a cottage at Marion, and every morning Richard started the day by a visit to them. My brother had already bought his Crossroads Farm at Mount Kisco, and the new house was one of the favorite topics of their talk. The following letter was written by my mother to Richard, after her return to Philadelphia.
Here we are in the old library and breakfast over. There seemed an awful blank in the world as I sat down just now, and I said to Dad "Its Dick--he must come THIS morning."
You don't know how my heart used to give a thump when you and Bob came in that old door. It has been such a good month--everybody was so friendly--and Dad was so well and happy--but your visits were the core of it all. And our good drives! Well we'll have lots of drives at the Crossroads. You'll call at our cottage every morning and I'm going to train the peacocks to run before the trap and I'll be just like Juno.
There isn't a scrap of news. It is delightfully cool here.
During the fall and early winter of 1903 Richard and his wife lingered on in Marion, but came to New York after the Christmas holidays. The success of his farce "The Dictator" had been a source of the greatest pleasure to Richard, and he settled down to playwriting with the same intense zeal he put into all of his work. However, for several years Robert J. Collier and my brother had been very close friends, and Richard had written many articles and stories for Collier's Weekly, so that when Collier urged my brother to go to the Japanese-Russian War as correspondent with the Japanese forces, Richard promptly gave up his playwriting and returned to his old love--the role of reporter. Accompanied by his wife, Richard left New York for San Francisco in February.
We are really off on the "long trail" bound for the boundless East. We have a charming drawing-room, a sympathetic porter and a courtly conductor descended from one of the first Spanish conquerors of California. We arranged the being late for lunch problem by having dinner at five and cutting the lunch out. Bruce and Nan came over for dinner and we had a very jolly time. They all asked after you all, and drank to our re-union at Marion in July. Later they all tried to come with us on the train. It looked so attractive with electric lights in each seat, and observation car and library. A reporter interviewed us and Mr. Clark gave us a box of segars and a bottle of whiskey. But they will not last, as will Dad's razors and your housewife. I've used Dad's razors twice a day, and they still are perfect. It's snowing again, but we don't care. They all came to the station to see us off but no one cried this time as they did when we went to South Africa. Somehow we cannot take this trip seriously. It is such a holiday trip all through not grim and human like the Boer war. Just quaint and queer. A trip of cherry blossoms and Geisha girls. I send all my love to you.
SAN FRANCISCO, February 26th. DEAR MOTHER:
We got in here last night at midnight just as easily as though we were coming into Jersey City. Before we knew it we had seen the Golden Gate, and were snug in this hotel. Today as soon as we learned we could not sail we started in to see sights and we made a record and hung it up high. We went to the Cliff House and saw the seals on the rocks below, to the Park, the military reservation, Chinatown, and the Poodle Dog Restaurant. We also saw the Lotta monument, the Stevenson monument, the Spreckles band stand, the place where the Vigilance Committee hung the unruly, and tonight I went to a dinner the Bohemian Club gave to the War correspondents. I made a darned good speech. Think of ME making a speech of any sort, but I did, and I had sense enough not to talk about the war but the "glorious climate of California" instead and of all the wonders of Frisco. So, I made a great hit. It certainly is one of the few cities that lives up to it's reputation in every way. I should call it the most interesting city, with more character back of it than any city on this continent. There are only four deck rooms and we each have one. The boat is small, but in spite of the crowd that is going on her, will I think be comfortable. I know it will be that, and it may be luxurious.