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in all men and in all women, remained as unruffled as if he had never left his father’s farm where he had spent his childhood. When my father died Richard lost his “kindest and severest critic” as he also lost one of his very closest friends and companions.

During the short illness that preceded my brother’s death, although quite unconscious that the end was so near, his thoughts constantly turned back to the days of his home in Philadelphia, and he got out the letters which as a boy and as a young man he had written to his family. After reading a number of them he said: “I know now why we were such a happy It was because we were always, all of us, of the same age.”



During my brother’s life there were four centres from which he set forth on his travels and to which he returned to finish the articles for which he had collected the material, or perhaps to write a novel, a few short stories, or occasionally a play, but unlike most of the followers of his craft, never to rest. Indeed during the last twenty-five years of his life I do not recall two consecutive days when Richard did not devote a number of hours to literary work. The centres of which I speak were first Philadelphia, then New York, then Marion, and lastly Mount Kisco. Happy as Richard had been at Marion, the quaint little village, especially in winter, was rather inaccessible, and he realized that to be in touch with the numerous affairs in which he was interested that his headquarters should be in or near New York. In addition to this he had for long wanted a home of his very own, and so located that he could have his family and his friends constantly about him. Some years, however, elapsed between this dream and its realization. In 1903 he took the first step by purchasing a farm situated in the Westchester Hills, five miles from Mount Kisco, New York. He began by building a lake at the foot of the hill on which the home was to stand, then a water-tower, and finally the house itself. The plans to the minutest detail had been laid out on the lawn at Marion and, as the architect himself said, there was nothing left for him to do but to design the cellar.

Richard and his wife moved into their new home in July, 1905, and called it Crossroads Farm, keeping the original name of the place. In later years Richard added various adjoining parcels of land to his first purchase, and the property eventually included nearly three hundred acres. The house itself was very large, very comfortable, and there were many guest-rooms which every week-end for long were filled by the jolliest of house-parties. In his novel “The Blind Spot,” Justus Miles Forman gives the following very charming picture of the place:

“It was a broad terrace paved with red brick that was stained and a little mossy, so that it looked much older than it had any right to, and along its outer border there were bay-trees set in big Italian terracotta jars; but the bay-trees were placed far apart so that they should not mask the view, and that was wise, for it was a fine view. It is rugged country in that part of Westchester County–like a choppy sea: all broken, twisted ridges, and abrupt little hills, and piled-up boulders, and hollow, cup-like depressions among them. The Grey house sat, as it were, upon the lip of a cup, and from the southward terrace you looked across a mile or two of hollow bottom, with a little lake at your feet, to sloping pastures where there were cattle browsing, and to the far, high hills beyond.

“There was no magnificence about the outlook–nothing to make you catch your breath; but it was a good view with plenty of elbow room and no sign of a neighbor–no huddling–only the water of the little lake, the brown November hillsides, and the clean blue sky above. The distant cattle looked like scenic cattle painted on their green-bronze pasture to give an aspect of husbandry to the scene.”

Although Richard was now comfortably settled, he had of late years acquired a great dread of cold weather. As soon as winter set in his mind turned to the tropics, and whenever it was possible he went to Cuba or some other land where he was sure of plenty of heat and sunshine. The early part of 1906 found him at Havana, this time on a visit to the Hon. E. V. Morgan, who was then our minister to Cuba. From Havana he went to the Isle of Pines.

ISLE OF PINES, March 26th, 1906.

We are just returning from the Isle of Pines. We reached there after a day on the water at about six on Wednesday, 22nd. They dropped us at a woodshed in a mangrove swamp, where a Mr. Mason met us with two mules. I must have said I was going to the island because every one was expecting me. Until the night before we had really no idea when we would go, so, to be welcomed wherever we went, was confusing. For four days we were cut off from the world, and in that time, five days in all, we covered the entire island pretty thoroughly– It was one of the most interesting trips I ever took and Cecil enjoyed it as much as I did. The island is a curious mixture of palm and pines, one minute it looks like Venezuela and the next like Florida and Lakewood. It is divided into two parties of Americans, the “moderates” and the “revolutionists.” The Cubans are very few and are all employed by the Americans, who own nine-tenths of the Island. Of course, they all want the U. S. to take it, they differ only as to how to persuade the senators
to do it. I had to change all my opinions about the situation. I thought it was owned by land speculators who did not live there, nor wish to live there, but instead I found every one I met had built a home and was cultivating the land. We gave each land company a turn at me, and we had to admire orange groves and pineapples, grapefruit and coffee until we cried for help. With all this was the most romantic history of the island before the “gringos” came. It was a famous place for pirates and buried treasures and slave pens. It was a sort of clearing house for slaves where they were fattened. I do not believe people take much interest in or know anything about it, but I am going to try and make an interesting story of it for Collier. It was queer to be so completely cut off from the world. There was a wireless but they would not let me use it. It is not yet opened to the public. I talked to every one I met and saw much that was pathetic and human. It was the first pioneer settlement Cecil had ever seen and the American making the ways straight is very curious. He certainly does not adorn whatever he touches. But never have I met so many enthusiastics and such pride in locality. To-night we reach the Hotel Louvre, thank heaven! where I can get Spanish food again, and not American ginger bread, and, “the pie like mother used to make.” We now are on a wretched Spanish tug boat with every one, myself included, very seasick and babies howling and roosters crowing. But soon that will be over, and, after a short ride of thirty miles through a beautiful part of the island, we will be in Havana in time for a fine dinner, with ice. What next we will do I am not sure. After living in that beautiful palace of Morgan’s, it just needed five days of the “Pinero’s” to make us enjoy life at a hotel– If we can make connections, I think I will go over to Santo Domingo, and study up that subject, too. But, even if we go no where else the trip to the I. of P. was alone well worth our long journey. I don’t know when I have seen anything as curious, and as complicated a political existence. Love to all of you dear ones.


HAVANA–April 9, 1906.

I have just read about myself, in the April Bookman, which I would be very ungrateful if I did not write and tell you how much it pleased me. That sounds as though what pleased me was, obviously, that what you said was so kind. But what I really mean, and that for which I thank you, was your picking out things that I myself liked, and that I would like to think others liked. I know that the men make “breaks,” and am sorry for it, but, I forget to be sorry when you please me by pointing out the good qualities in “Laquerre,” and the bull terrier. Nothing ever hurt me so much as the line used by many reviewers of “Macklin” that “Mr. Davis’ hero is a cad, and Mr. Davis cannot see it.” Macklin I always thought was the best thing I ever did, and it was the one over which I took the most time and care. Its failure was what as Maggie Cline used to say, “drove me into this business” of play writing. All that ever was said of it was that it was “A book to read on railroad trains and in a hammock.” That was the verdict as delivered to me by Romeike from 300 reviewers, and it drove me to farces. So, I was especially glad when you liked “Royal Macklin.” I tried to make a “hero” who was vain, theatrical, boasting and selfconscious, but, still likable. But, I did not succeed in making him of interest, and it always has hurt me. Also, your liking the “Derelict” and the “Fever Ship” gave me much pleasure. You see what I mean, it was your selecting the things upon which I had worked, and with which I had made every effort, that has both encouraged and delighted me. Being entirely unprejudiced, I think it is a fine article, and as soon as I stamp this, I will read it over again. So, thank you very much, indeed, for to say what you did seriously, over your own name, took a lot of courage, and for that daring, and for liking the same things I do, I thank you many times.

Sincerely yours,


In reading this over, I find all I seem to have done in it is to complain because no one, but yourself and myself liked “Macklin.” What I wanted to say is, that I am very grateful for the article, for the appreciation, although I don’t deserve it, and for your temerity in saying so many kind things. Nothing that has been written about what I have written has ever pleased me so much.

R. H. D.

In the spring of 1906 while Richard was on a visit to Providence, R. I., Henry W. Savage produced a play by Jesse Lynch Williams and my brother was asked to assist at rehearsals, a pastime in which he found an enormous amount of pleasure. The “McCloy” mentioned in the following letter was the city editor of The Evening Sun when my brother first joined the staff of that paper as a reporter.

NEW YORK, May 4,1906.

I left Providence Tuesday night and came on to New York yesterday. Savage and Williams and all were very nice about the help they said I had given them, and I had as much fun as though it had been a success I had made myself, and I didn’t have to make a speech, either.

Yesterday I spent in the newspaper offices gathering material from their envelopes on Winston Churchill, M. P. who is to be one of my real Soldiers of Fortune. He will make a splendid one, in four wars, twice made a question; before he was 21 years old, in Parliament, and a leader in BOTH parties before he was 36. In the newspaper offices they had a lot of fun with me. When I came into the city room of The Eve. Sun, McCloy was at his desk in his shirt spiking copy. He just raised his eyes and went on with his blue pencil. I said “There’s nothing in that story, sir, the man will get well, and the woman is his wife.”

“Make two sticks of it,” said McCloy, “and then go back to the Jefferson police court.”

When I sat down at my old desk, and began to write the copy boy came and stood beside me and when I had finished the first page, snatched it. I had to explain I was only taking notes.

At The Journal, Sam Chamberlain who used to pay me $500 a story, touched me on the shoulder as I was scribbling down notes, and said “Hearst says to take you back at $17 a week.” I said “I’m worth $18 and I can’t come for less.” So he brought up the business manager and had a long wrangle with him as to whether I should get $18. The business manager, a Jew gentleman, didn’t know me from Adam, and seriously tried to save the paper a dollar a week. When the reporters and typewriter girls began to laugh, he got very mad. It was very funny how soothing was the noise of the presses, and the bells and typewriters and men yelling “Copy!” and “Damn the boy!” I could write better than if I had been in the silence of the farm. It was like being able to sleep as soon as the screw starts.



During the winter of 1907 the world rang with the reports of the atrocities in the Congo, and Robert J. Collier, of Collier’s Weekly, asked Richard to go to the Congo and make an investigation. I do not believe that my brother was ever in much sympathy with the commission, as he did not feel that he could afford the time that a thorough investigation demanded. However, with his wife he sailed for Liverpool on January 5, 1907, and three weeks later started for Africa. Regarding this trip, in addition to the letters he wrote to his family, I also quote from a diary which he had just started and which he conscientiously continued until his death.

From diary of January 24th, 1907. Last day in London. Margaret Frazer offered me gun from a Captain Jenkins of Nigeria. Instead bought Winchester repeating, hoping, if need it, get one coast. Lunched Savoy-Lynch, Mrs. Lynch, her sister–very beautiful girl. In afternoon Sam Sothern and Margaret came in to say “Good bye.” Dined at Anthony Hope’s–Barrie and Mrs. Barrie and Jim Whigham. Mrs. Barrie looking very well, Barrie not so well. As silent as ever, only talked once during dinner when he told us about the first of his series of cricket matches between authors and artists. Did not have eleven authors, so going along road picked up utter strangers one a soldier in front of embracing two girls. Said he would come if girls came too–all put in brake. Mrs. Barrie said the Llewellen Davis’ were the originals for the Darlings and their children in Peter Pan. They played a strange game of billiards suggested by Barrie who won as no one else knew the rules and they claimed he invented them to suit his case. Sat up until three writing and packing. The dinner was best have had this trip in London.

Compagnie Belge Maritime Du Congo.

S. S. February 11th, 1907.

To-morrow, we will be in Banana, which is the first port in the Congo. When I remember how far away the Congo seemed from New York and London, it is impossible to believe we are less than a day from it. I am so very glad I came. The people who have lived here for years agree about it in no one fact, so, it is a go-as-you-please for any one so far as accurate information is concerned, and I am as likely to be right as any one else. It has been a pleasant trip and for us will not be over until some days, for at Matadi, which is up the river, we will probably live on the steamer as the shore does not sound attractive. Then I shall probably go on up the river and after a month or six weeks come back again. At Boma I am to see the Governor, one of the inspectors on board is to introduce me, and I have an idea they will make me as comfortable as possible, so that I may not see anything. Not that I would be likely to see anything hidden under a year. Yesterday was the crossing of the Equator. The night before Neptune, one of the crew, and his wife, the ship’s butcher, and a kroo boy, as black as coal for the heir apparent came over the side and proclaimed that those who never before had crossed the Equator must be baptized. We had crossed but I was perfectly willing to go through it for the fun. The Belgians went at it as seriously as children, and worked up a grand succession of events. First we had gymkana races among the kroo boys. The most remarkable was their placing franc pieces in tubs of white and red flour, for which the boys dived, they then dug for more money into a big basket fitted with feathers and when they came out they were the most awful sights imaginable. You can picture their naked black bodies and faces spotted with white and pink and stuck like chickens with feathers. Then the next day we were all hauled before a court and judged, and having all been found guilty were condemned to be shaved and bathed publicly at four. Meantime the Italians, is it not the picture of them, had organized a revolution against the Tribunal, with the object of ducking them. They went into this as though it were a real conspiracy and had signs and passwords. At four o’clock, in turn they sat us on the edge of the great tank on the well deck and splashed us over with paste and then tilted us in. I tried to carry the Frenchman who was acting as barber, with me but only got him half in. But Milani, one of the Italians, swung him over his head plumb into the water. The Frenchman is a rich elephant hunter who is not very popular. When the revolution broke loose we all yelled “A bas le Tribunal” “Vivela Revolution”! and there was awful rough house. I made for the Frenchman and went in with him and nearly drowned him, and everybody was being thrown into the tank or held in front of a fire cross. After dinner there was a grand ceremony, the fourth, in which certificates were presented by an Inspecteur d’Etat who is on board, and is a Deputy Governor of a district. Then there was much champagne and a concert and Cecil and I sat with the Captain, the Bishop, in his robes and berretta and the two inspectors and they were very charming to both of us.


Compagnie Belge Maritime Du Congo.
S. S. February 13th, 1907.

We reached Banana yesterday morning, and the mouth of the Congo, and as the soldier said when he reached the top of San Juan Hill, “Hell! well here we are!” Banana looks like one of the dozen little islands in the West Indies, where we would stop to take on some “brands of bananas,” instead of the port to a country as big as Europe. We went ashore and wandered around under the palm trees, and took photos, and watched some men fishing in the lagoons, and we saw a strange fish that leaps on the top of the water just as a frog jumps on land. It is certainly hot. Milani and I went in swimming in the ocean, and got finely cool. Then we paddled the canoe back to the ship to show the blacks how good we were, and got very hot, and the blacks charged us a franc for the voyage. To-morrow we will be in Boma, the capital, which is much of a place with shops and a lawn tennis court.

BOMA, February 15th.

Boma is more or less laid out and contains the official residences of the Government. I walked all over it in an hour, and here you walk very slow. There are three or four big trading stores AND a tennis court. It is, however, a dreary place. We called on the missionary and his wife, but she does not speak English and their point of view of everything was not cheerful or instructive. Cecil plans to remain on board while at Matadi and return with this same boat to Boma. I want her to go home in this boat or in some other, as I believe Boma most unhealthy and I know it to be most uncomfortable. She would have to go to a hotel which is very hot and rough, although it is clean and well run. I am undecided whether to go up the river for ten days, to where it crosses the equator, or to leave the upper Congo and go up the Kasai river. This is off the beaten track, and one may see something of interest. I will know better what I will do in an hour, when I get to Matadi.

MATADI–Feby. 21.

We are now at Matadi. The Captain invited us to stop on board and it is well he did. We dine on deck where the wind blows but the rest of the ship is being cleaned and painted for the trip North. Four hatches are discharging cargo all at once, from four in the morning until midnight. Officers and kroo boys get four hours sleep out of the twenty-four, but I sleep right through it, so does Cecil. Sometimes they take out iron rails and then zinc roofs and steel boats, 6000 cases of gin and 1000 tons of coal. Still, it is much better than in the Hotel Africa on shore. Matadi is a hill of red iron and the heat is grand. Everything in this country is grand. The river is, in places, seven miles wide, the sunsets are like nothing earthly, and the black people are like brooding shadows of lost souls, that is, if souls have shadows. Most of the blacks in this town are “prisoners” with a steel ring around the neck, and chained in long lines. I leave on the 23d to go up the Kasai River, because that is where the atrocities come from and up there there are many missionaries. I don’t want you to think I say this to “calm your fears,” but I say it because it is as true of this place as of every other one in the world, and that is, that it is as easy to get about here as it is in Rhode Island. It is not half as dangerous as automobiling. I have not even felt feverish, neither has Cecil. I never felt better. Cecil stays on board and goes back to Boma. There she stops a week and then takes another ship back to London. She will not wait at Boma for me, at least, I hope not and cannot imagine her doing so. In any event, after I start, there will be no way for us to communicate, and I will act on the understanding that she has started North.

I have two very good boys and both speak English, and are from Sierra Leone. I take a two-day trip of 200 miles by rail, then four days by boat up the Kasai and then I may come back by boat or walk. It depends on how I like it, how long I stay, for I can hope to see very little, as under a year it would be impossible to write with authority of this country. But I’ll see more of it than some at home, and I’ll hear what those who have lived here for years have to say. It is awfully interesting, absolutely different and more uncivilized than anything I ever saw. But all the time you are depressed with how little you know and can know of it. I will be here six weeks or two months and then should get up the coast to London about the middle of May or sooner.


From diary of February 22nd, 1907.

Spent about the worst night of my life. No mattress, no pillow. Not space enough for my own cot. Every insect in the world ate me. After a bath and coffee felt better. It rained heavily until three P. M. Read Pendennis, and loved it. The picture of life at Clavering and Fairoaks, and Dr. Portman and Foker are wonderful. I do not know when I have enjoyed and admired a work so much. For some reason it is all entirely new again. I will read them all now in turn. After rain cleared took my slaves and went after “supplies.” Met a King. I thought he was a witch doctor, and the boys said he was a dancing man. All his suite, wives and subjects followed, singing a song that made your flesh creep. At Hatton and Cookson’s bought “plenty chop” for “boys” who were much pleased. Also a sparklet bottle, some whiskey and two pints of champagne at 7 francs the pint. Blush to own it was demi Sec. Also bacon, jam, milk, envelopes, a pillow. Saw some ivory State had seized and returned. 15 Kilo’s. Some taken from Gomez across street not returned until he gave up half. No reason given Taylor agent H. & C. why returned Apparently when called will come down on the ivory question. Cuthbert Malet, coffee planter, came call on me. Only Englishman still in Service State. Had much to say which did not want printed until he out of country which will be in month or two. Anstrossi has given me side of cabin where there is room for my cot, so expect to sleep.

STANLEY POOL, Feb. 22nd, 1907.

When you get this, I will be on my way to London. The rest of my stay here will be on board two boats, touching at the banks of the Kasai river. One I now am on takes me up and another takes me down. I will see a great deal that is strange and it is very interesting. Yesterday, for example, only an hour before our train reached Gongolo Station, there were three elephants that wandered across the track. We were very disappointed not to have seen them. At the mission house on the way up, I brought the first ice the mission boys had seen and when I put a piece in the hand of one, he yelled and danced about as though it were a coal. The higher up you go the tougher it gets. Back in the jungle, one can only imagine what it is like. Here all the white men have black wives, and the way the whip is used on the men is very different from the lower congo. The boat is about as large as a touring car, with all the machinery exposed. I am very comfortable though, with my bed and camp chair, and, books to read, when one gets tired of this great, dirty river. I, expect to see hippopotamuses and many crocodiles and to learn something of the “atrocities” by hearsay. To see for oneself, would take months. I return from the Kasai district by a boat like this one, burning wood and with a stern wheel, reaching Leopoldville, this place, about the 12th of March, and sailing on the Albertville for Southampton on the 19th of March. So I should be in London and so very near you by the 8th of April. Of course, if I take a later boat from here, I will be just that much later. I am perfectly well, never better. No fever, no “tired feeling” good appetite, in spite of awful tough food. From this place money cannot be used and I carry a bag of salt and rolls of cloth. For a bottle of salt you get a fowl or a turkey, for a tablespoonful an egg, or a bunch of fruit. When you write be sure and tell me ALL your plans for the summer; that is, after you have been to see us. My dearest love to you all.


From diary of February 27th, 1907.

Saw two hippos. Thought Anstrossi said they were buffalo. So was glad when I found out what they were. I did not want to go home without having seen only two dead ones. In a few minutes I saw two more. Anstrossi fired at them but I did not, as thought it not the game when one could not recover them. Before noon saw six in a bunch–and then what I thought was a spit of rock with a hippo lying on the end of it, turned out to be fifteen hippos in a line! Burnham has told he had seen eleven in the Volta in one day. Before one o’clock, I had seen twenty-six, and, later in the day Anstrossi fired at another, and shot a hole in the awning. That made twenty-seven in one day. Also some monkeys. The hippos were delightful. They seemed so aristocratic, like gouty old gentlemen, puffing and blowing and yawning, as though everything bored them.

From diary of February 28th, 1907.

When just going up for coffee, saw what was so big, looking at it against horizon, thought it must be an elephant. Was a young hippo. Captain Jensen brought boat within eighty yards of him, and both Anstrossi and I fired, apparently knocking him off his legs, for he rolled on his side as though his back was broken. I missed him the second shot, which struck the water just in front of him. The other three shots caught him in the head, in the mouth and ear. He
lay quite still, and the boys rushed out a gang plank and surrounded him singing and shouting and cutting his tail to make him bleed and weaken him. They don’t die for an hour but he seemed dead enough, so I went to my cabin to re-load my gun and my camera. In three minutes I came out, and found the hippo still quiet. Then he began to toss his head and I shot him again, to put him out of pain. In return for which he rolled over into the water and got away. I was mad. Later saw four more. Just at sunset while taking bath another was seen on shore. We got within sixty yards of him and all of us missed him or at least did not hurt him. He then trotted for the river with his head up and again I must have missed, although at one place he was but fifty yards away, when he entered the water, a hundred. I stepped it off later in the sand. I followed him up and hit him or some one of us hit him and he stood up on his hind legs. But he put back to land for the third time. Captain said wait until moon came out. But though we hunted up to our waists saw none. One came quite close at dinner. Seven on the day.

CONGO RIVER–March 1, 1907.

I have been up the Congo as far as the Kasai river, and up that to a place called Dima. There I found myself in a sort of cul de sac. I found that the rubber plantations I had come to see, were nine days journey distant. In this land where time and distance are so differently regarded than with us, a man tells you to go to Dima to see rubber. He means after getting to Dima, you must catch a steamer that leaves every two weeks and travel for five days. But he forgets that that fact is important to visitors. As he is under contract to stay here three years, it does not much matter to him how he spends a month, or so. Dima was two hundred yards square, and then the jungle. In half an hour, I saw it all, and met every one in it. They gave me a grand reception, but I could not spend ten days in Dima. The only other thing I could do was to take a canoe to the Jesuit Mission where the Fathers promised me shooting, or, try to catch the boat back to England that stops at interesting ports. Sooner than stop in Boma, I urged Cecil to take that boat. So, if I catch it, we will return together. It is a five weeks journey, and rather long to spend alone. In any event my letters will go by a faster boat. I have had a most wonderfully interesting visit, at least, to me. I hope I can make it readable. But, much of its pleasure was personal.

I have just had to stop writing this, for what when I get back to New York will seem a perfectly good reason for interrupting a letter to even you. A large hippopotamus has just pushed past us with five baby hippos in front of her. She is shoving them up stream, and the papa hippo is in the wake puffing and blowing. They are very plenty here and on the way up stream, I saw a great many, and every morning and evening went hunting for them on shore. I wanted the head of a hippopotamus awfully keenly for the farm. But of the only two I saw on land, both got away from me. I did not shoot at any I saw in the water, although the other idiot on board did, because if you kill them, you cannot recover them, and it seems most unsportsmanlike. Besides, I was so grateful to them for being so proud and pompous, and real aristocrats dating back from the flood. But I was terribly disappointed at losing both of those I saw on land. One I dropped at the first shot, and the other I missed, as he was running, to get back into the water. The one I shot, and that everyone thought was dead, AFTER THE “BOYS” BEGAN TO CUT HIM UP, decided he was not going to stand for that, and to our helpless dismay suddenly rolled himself into the water. If that is not hard luck, I don’t know it. All I got was a bad photograph of him, and I had already decided where I would hang his head, and how much I would tip the crew for cutting him up. It was a really wonderful journey. I loved every minute of it and never was I in better health.

If I only could have known that you knew that I was all right, but instead you were worrying. The nights were bright moonlight, and the days were beautiful; full of strange people and animals, birds and views. We three sat in the little bridge of the tinpot boat, and smoked pipes and watched the great muddy river rushing between wonderful banks. There was the Danish Captain, an Italian officer and the engineer was from Finland. The Italian spoke French and the two others English, and I acted as interpreter!! Can you imagine it? I am now really a daring French linguist. People who understand me, get quick promotion. If I only could have been able to tell you all was well and not to be worried. At Kwarmouth I have just received a wire from Cecil saying she expects to leave by the slow boat but will stay if I wish it. So, now we can both go by the slow boat if I can catch it. I hope so. must have found Boma as bad as it looked. God bless you all.


On April 13, Richard was back in London and in his diary of that date he writes, “Never so glad to get anywhere. Went to sleep to the music of motorcars. Nothing ever made me feel so content and comfortable and secure as their `honk, honk.'”

From diary of April 22nd, 1907.

A blackmailer named H—- called, with photos of atrocities and letters and films. He wanted 30 Pounds for the lot. I gave him 3 Pounds for three photos. One letter he showed me signed Bullinger, an Englishman, said he had put the fear of God in their hearts by sticking up the chief’s head on a pole, and saying, “Now, make rubber, or you will look like that.” Went to lunch with Pearson but it was the wrong day, and so missed getting a free feed. Thinking he would turn up, I ordered a most expensive lunch. I paid for it. Evening went Patience, which liked immensely and then Duchess of Sutherland’s party to Premiers. Saw Churchill and each explained his share of the Real Soldiers row.

From diary of April 28th, 1907.

We went down by train to Cliveden going by Taplow to Maidenhead where Astor had sent his car to meet us. It is a wonderful place and the view of the Thames is a beautiful one. They had been making alterations, bathrooms, and putting white enamel tiles throughout the dungeons. If Dukes lived no more comfortably than those who owned Cliveden, I am glad I was not a Duke. What was most amusing was the servant’s room which was quite as smart as any library or study, with fine paintings, arm chairs and writing material. Nannie and Astor were exceedingly friendly and we walked all over the place. It was good to get one’s feet on turf again. They sent us back by motor, so we arrived most comfortably. I gave a dinner to the Hopes, Wyndham, Miss Mary Moore, Ashmead-Bartlett and Margaret. Websters could not come. Later, came on here, and had a chat, the Websters coming too. I read Thaw trial.

Early in May Richard and his wife returned to Mount Kisco and my brother at once started in to change his farce “The Galloper” into a musical comedy. It was produced on August 12, at the Astor Theatre, under the title of the “Yankee Tourist,” with Raymond Hitchcock as the star. The following I quote from Richard’s diary of that date:

Monday, August 12th, 1907.

Was to have lunched with Ned Stone but he was in court. Met Whigham in street. Impulsively asked him to lunch. Ethel and Jack turned up at Martin’s; asked them to lunch. Ethel and I drove around town doing errands, mine being the purchase of tickets for numerous friends. Called on Miss Trusdale to inquire about Harden-Hickey. She wants her to go to the country. Cecil arrived at six. We had a suite of eighty-nine rooms. We dined at Sherry’s with Ethel and Jack, Ethel being host. Taft was there. Hottest night ever. I sat with Jack. In spite of weather, play went well. Bonsals, Ethel, Arthur Brisbane were in Cecil’s box. Booth Tarkington in Irwin’s. Surprise of performance was “Hello, Bill” which Raymond had learned only that morning. Helen Hale helped him greatly with dance. People came to supper at Waldorf, and things went all wrong. Next time I have a first Night I want no friends during or after. Missed the executive ability of Charles Belmont greatly.


From the fall of 1907 to that of 1908 Richard divided his time between Mount Kisco, Marion, and Cuba. In December of 1908 he sailed for London where he took Turner the artist’s old house in Chelsea for the winter.

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.
December 25. Christmas Day.

We are settled here in Darkest Chelsea as though we had been born here. I am thinking of putting in my time of exile by running for Mayor. Meanwhile, it is a wonderful place in which to write the last chapters of “Once Upon a Time.” The house is quite wonderful. In Spring and Summer it must be rarely beautiful. It has trees in front and a yard and a garden and a squash court: a sort of tennis you play against the angles of walls covered smooth with cement. Also a studio as large as a theatre. Outside the trees beat on the windows and birds chirp there. The river flows only forty feet away, with great brown barges on it, and gulls whimper and cry, and aeroplane all day. I have a fine room, and about the only one you can keep as warm as toast SHOULD be, and in England never is.

Cecil has engaged a teacher, and a model and he is coming here to work. He is twenty years old, and called the “boy Sargent.” So, as soon as the British public gets sober, we will begin life in earnest, and both work hard. I need not tell you how glad I am to be at it. I was with you all in heart last night and recited as much as I could remember of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which always means Dad to me, as he used to read it to us. How much he made the day mean to us. I wish I could just slip in for a kiss, and a hug. But tonight we will all drink to you, and a few hours later you will drink to us. God bless you all.


December 29th.

A blizzard has swept over London. The last one cost the City Corporation $25,000!! The last man who contracted to clean New York of snow was cleaned out by two days of it, to the tune of $200,000. Still, in spite of our alleged superiority in all things, one inch of snow in Chelsea can do more to drive one to drink and suicide than a foot of it “on the farm.” At the farm we threw a ton of coal against it, and lit log fires and oil lamps, and were warm. Here, they try to fight it with two buckets of soft chocolate cake called Welch coal, and the result is you freeze. Cecil’s studio is like one vast summer hotel at Portland Maine in January. You cannot go near it except in rubber boots, fur coats and woolen gloves. My room still is the only one that is livable. It is four feet square, heavily panelled in oak and the coal fire makes it as warm as a stoke hole. So, I am all right and can work nicely. Janet Sothern came to lunch today and Cecil and she in furs went picture gazing. Tomorrow we have Capt. Chule to dinner. He came up the West coast with us and is accustomed to a temperature of 120 degrees.

New Year’s eve we spend with Lady Lewis where we dine and keep it up until four in the morning. We will easily be able to get back here but how we can get a hansom from here to the great city, I can’t imagine. I have seen none in five days. It is fine to be surrounded by busts of Carlyle, Whistler, Rosetti and Turner’s own, but occasionally you wish for a taxicab. Tomorrow I am going on a spree to the great city of London. The novel goes on smoothly, and all is well. I am still running for Mayor of Chelsea.

Love to you all.


LONDON–January 1, 1909.

I drank your health and Noll’s and Charley’s last night and so we all came into the New Year together. I hope it will be as good for me as the last. Certainly Chas. is coming on well with another book. It is splendid. I am so very, very glad. Some of the very best stories anybody has written will be in his next book.

We dined at the Lewis’s. There were 150 at dinner and as we live in Chelsea now–one might as well be in Brooklyn–we were a half hour late. Fancy feeling you were keeping 150 people hungry. I sat at Lady Lewis’s table with some interesting men and one beautiful woman all dressed in glass over pink silk, and pearls, and pearls and then, pearls. She said “Who am I” and I said “You look like a girl in America, who used to stand under a green paper lamp shade up in a farm house in New Hampshire and play a violin.” Whereat there was much applause, because it seemed she was that girl, the daughter of a Mrs. Van S—-, who wrote short stories. Her daughter was L—- Van S—- now the wife of a baronet and worth five million dollars. The board we paid then was eight dollars a week. Now, we are dining with her next Monday and as I insisted on gold plate she said “Very well, I’ll get out the gold plate.” But wasn’t it dramatic of me to remember her after twenty two years?


LONDON-February 23, 1909.

George Washington’s health was celebrated by drinking it at dinner. I had been asked to speak at a banquet but for some strange reason could not see myself in the part. The great Frohman arrived last night and we are all agitated until he speaks. If he would only like my plays as some of the actors do, I would be passing rich. Barrie asked himself to lunch yesterday and was very entertaining. He told us of a letter he received from Guy DuMaurier who wrote “An Englishman’s Home” which has made a sensation second to nothing in ten years. He is an officer stationed at a small post in South Africa. He wrote Barrie he was at home, very blue and homesick, and outside it was raining. Then came Barrie’s long cable, at 75 cents a word, saying his play was the success of the year. He did not know even it had been ACCEPTED. He shouted to his wife, and they tried to dance but the hut was too small, so they ran out into the compound and danced in the rain. Then he sent the Kaffir boys to the mess to bring all the officers and all the champagne and they did not go to bed at all. The next day cables, still at three shillings a word came from papers and magazines and publishers, managers, syndicates. And, in his letter he says, still not appreciating what a fuss it has made, “I suppose all it needs now is to be made a question in the House,” when already it has been the text of half a dozen speeches by Cabinet Ministers, and three companies are playing it in the provinces. What fun to have a success come in such a way, not even to know it was being rehearsed. Today Sargent is here to see what is wrong with Cecil’s picture of Janet. He came early and said he couldn’t tell until he saw Janet, so now he is back again, and both Janet and Cecil are shaking with excitement. He is the most simple, kindly genius I ever met. He says the head is very fine and I guess Cecil suspected that, before she called him in. He says she must send it to the Royal Academy. I am now going out to hear more words fall from the great man, and so farewell. Seymour and I began work yesterday on the Dictator. It went very smooth. All my love to Noll and to you.


Read the other letter first and then, let me tell you that when I went out to see Sargent, I found Cecil complaining that she could not understand just how it was he wanted Janet to pose. Whereat she handed him a piece of chalk and he made a sketch of Janet as exquisite as the morning and rubbed his hands of the charcoal and left it there! It’s only worth a hundred pounds! Can you imagine the nerve of Cecil. I was so shocked I could only gasp. But, he was quite charming and begged her to call him next time she got in a scrape, and gave her his private telephone number.

Fancy having Sargent waiting to be called up to make sketches for you. I left Janet and Cecil giggling with happiness. Janet because she had been sketched by him and Cecil because she has the sketch. It’s a three fourths length three feet high, and he did it in ten minutes. I am now going to ask her to invite the chef of the Ritz in, to give us a sketch of cooking a dinner.



In August, 1909, Richard and his wife left Mount Kisco for a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Clark at Marion. While there my brother attended and later on wrote an article on the war manoeuvres held at Middleboro, Massachusetts.

August 16th, 1909.

We had a splendid day to day. I arranged to have Cecil meet me at eleven at Headquarters in the woods below Middleboro, and I spent the morning locating different regiments. Then, after I “met up” with her, I took her in my car. Both she and Hiller were awfully keen over it, so, we got on splendidly. And, of course, Hiller’s knowledge of the country was wonderfully convenient. We had great luck in seeing the only fight of the day, the first one of the war. Indeed, I think we caused it. There was a troop of cavalry with a Captain who was afraid to advance. I chided him into doing something, the umpire having confided to me, he would mark him, if he did not. But, he did it wrong. Anyway, he charged a barn with 36 troopers and lost every fourth man. In real warfare he would have lost all his men and all his horses. Cecil and Hiller pursued in the car at the very heels of the cavalry, and I ran ahead with the bicycle scouts. It was most exciting. I am going out again to-morrow. Lots of Love to you all.


August 19th, 1909.

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.

“It was one of Aiken’s very best winters, and the earliest spring I ever lived anywhere. R. H. D. came shortly after Christmas. The spiraeas were in bloom, and the monthly roses; you could always find a sweet violet or two somewhere in the yard; here and there splotches of deep pink against gray cabin walls proved that precocious peach-trees were in bloom. It never rained. At night it was cold enough for fires. In the middle of the day it was hot. The wind never blew, and every morning we had a four for tennis and every afternoon we rode in the woods. And every night we sat in front of the fire (that didn’t smoke because of pretending) and talked until the next morning.

“He was one of those rarely gifted men who find their chiefest pleasure not in looking backward or forward, but in what is going on at the moment. Weeks did not have to pass before it was forced upon his knowledge that Tuesday, the fourteenth (let us say), had been a good Tuesday. He knew it the moment he waked at 7 A. M., and perceived the Tuesday sunshine making patterns of bright light upon the floor. The sunshine rejoiced him and the knowledge that even before breakfast there was vouchsafed to him a whole hour of life. That day began with attentions to his physical well-being. There were exercises conducted with great vigor and rejoicing, followed by a tub, artesian cold, and a loud and joyous singing of ballads.

“The singing over, silence reigned. But if you had listened at his door you must have heard a pen going, swiftly and boldly. He was hard at work, doing unto others what others had done unto him. You were a stranger to him; some magazine had accepted a story that you had written and published it. R. H. D. had found something to like and admire in that story (very little perhaps), and it was his duty and pleasure to tell you so. If he had liked the story very much he would send you instead of a note a telegram. Or it might be that you had drawn a picture, or, as a cub reporter, had shown golden promise in a half column of unsigned print, R. H. D. would find you out, and find time to praise you and help you. So it was that when he emerged from his room at sharp eight o’clock, he was wide-awake and happy and hungry, and whistled and double-shuffled with his feet, out of excessive energy, and carried in his hands a whole sheaf of notes and letters and telegrams.

“Breakfast with him was not the usual American breakfast, a sullen, dyspeptic gathering of persons who only the night before had rejoiced in each other’s society. With him it was the time when the mind is, or ought to be, at its best, the body at its freshest and hungriest. Discussions of the latest plays and novels, the doings and undoings of statesmen, laughter and sentiment–to him, at breakfast, these things were as important as sausages and thick cream.

“Breakfast over, there was no dawdling and putting off of the day’s work (else how, at eleven sharp, could tennis be played with a free conscience?). Loving, as he did, everything connected with a newspaper, he would now pass by those on the hall-table with never so much as a wistful glance, and hurry to his workroom.

“He wrote sitting down. He wrote standing up. And, almost you may say, he wrote walking up and down. Some people, accustomed to the delicious ease and clarity of his style, imagine that he wrote very easily. He did and he didn’t. Letters, easy, clear, to the point, and gorgeously human, flowed from him without let or hindrance. That masterpiece of corresponding, the German March through Brussels, was probably written almost as fast as he could talk (next to Phillips Brooks, he was the fastest talker I ever heard), but when it came to fiction he had no facility at all. Perhaps I should say that he held in contempt any facility that he may have had. It was owing to his incomparable energy and Joblike patience that he ever gave us any fiction at all. Every phrase in his fiction was, of all the myriad phrases he could think of, the fittest in his relentless judgment to survive. Phrases, paragraphs, pages, whole stories even, were written over and over again. He worked upon a principle of elimination. If he wished to describe an automobile turning in at a gate, he made first a long and elaborate description from which there was omitted no detail, which the most observant pair of eyes in Christendom had ever noted with reference to just such a turning. Thereupon he would begin a process of omitting one by one those details which he had been at such pains to recall; and after each omission he would ask himself, `Does the picture remain?’ If it did not, he restored the detail which he had just omitted, and experimented with the sacrifice of some other, and so on, and so on, until after Herculean labor there remained for the reader one of those swiftly flashed ice-clear pictures (complete in every detail) with which his tales and romances are so delightfully and continuously adorned.

“But it is quarter to eleven, and this being a time of holiday, R. H. D. emerges from his workroom happy to think that he has placed one hundred and seven words between himself and the wolf who hangs about every writer’s door. He isn’t satisfied with those hundred and seven words. He never was in the least satisfied with anything that he wrote, but he has searched his mind and his conscience and he believes that under the circumstances they are the very best that he can do. Anyway, they can stand in their present order until–after lunch.

“A sign of his youth was the fact that to the day of his death he had denied himself the luxury and slothfulness of habits. I have never seen him smoke automatically as most men do. He had too much respect for his own powers of enjoyment and for the sensibilities, perhaps, of the best Havana tobacco. At a time of his own deliberate choosing, often after many hours of hankering and renunciation, he smoked his cigar. He smoked it with delight, with a sense of being rewarded, and he used all the smoke there was in it.

“He dearly loved the best food, the best champagne, and the best Scotch whiskey. But these things were friends to him, and not enemies. He had toward food and drink the continental attitude; namely, that quality is far more important than quantity; and he got his exhilaration from the fact that he was drinking champagne and not from the champagne. Perhaps I shall do well to say that on questions of right and wrong he had a will of iron. All his life he moved resolutely in whichever direction his conscience pointed; and although that ever present and never obtrusive conscience of his made mistakes of judgment now and then, as must all consciences, I think it can never once have tricked him into any action that was impure or unclean. Some critics maintain that the heroes and heroines of his books are impossibly pure and innocent young people. R. H. D. never called upon his characters for any trait of virtue, or renunciation, or self-mastery of which his own life could not furnish examples.”

In June of 1912 Richard reported the Republican convention at Chicago. Shortly after this, on July 8, he married at Greenwich, Connecticut, Miss Elizabeth Genevieve McEvoy, known on the stage as Bessie McCoy, with whom he had first become acquainted in 1908 after the estrangement from his wife.

Richard and his wife made their home at Crossroads, where he devoted most of his working hours to the writing of short stories. In August of that year my brother, accompanied by his wife, returned to Chicago to report the Progressive convention. During the year 1913 he wrote and produced the farce “Who’s Who,” of which William Collier was the star, and in the fall of the same year spent a month in Cuba, with Augustus Thomas, where they produced a film version of “Soldiers of Fortune.” In referring to this trip, Thomas wrote at the time of Richard’s death:

“In 1914 a motion-picture company arranged to make a feature film of the play, and Dick and I went with their outfit to Santiago de Cuba, where, twenty years earlier, he had found the inspiration for his story and out of which city and its environs he had fashioned his supposititious republic of Olancho. On that trip he was the idol of the company. With the men in the smoking-room of the steamer there were the numberless playful stories, in the rough, of the experiences on all five continents and seven seas that were the backgrounds of his published tales.

“At Santiago, if an official was to be persuaded to consent to some unprecedented seizure of the streets, or a diplomat invoked for the assistance of the Army or the Navy, it was the experience and good judgment of Dick Davis that controlled the task. In the field there were his helpful suggestions of work and make up to the actors, and on the boat and train and in hotel and camp the lady members met in him an easy courtesy and understanding at once fraternal and impersonal.

“The element that he could not put into the account and which is particularly pertinent to this page, is the author of `Soldiers of Fortune’ as he revealed himself to me both with intention and unconsciously in the presence of the familiar scenes.

“For three weeks, with the exception of one or two occasions when some local dignitary captured the revisiting lion, he and I spent our evenings together at a cafe table overlooking `The Great Square,’ which he sketches so deftly in its atmosphere when Clay and the Langhams and Stuart dine there. At one end of the plaza the President’s band was playing native waltzes that came throbbing through the trees and beating softly above the rustling skirts and clinking spurs of the senoritas and officers sweeping by in two opposite circles around the edges of the tessellated pavements. Above the palms around the square arose the dim, white facade of the Cathedral, with the bronze statue of Anduella the liberator of Olancho, who answered with his upraised arm and cocked hat the cheers of an imaginary populace.

“Twenty years had gone by since Dick had received the impression that wrote those lines, and now sometimes after dinner half a long cigar would burn out as he mused over the picture and the dreams that had gone between. From one long silence he said: `I think I’ll come back here this winter and bring Mrs. Davis with me–stay a couple of months.’ What a fine compliment to a wife to have the thought of her and that plan emerge from that deep and romantic background.

“The picture people began their film with a showing of the `mountains which jutted out into the ocean and suggested roughly the five knuckles of a giant’s hand clenched and lying flat upon the surface of the water.’ That formation of the sea wall is just outside of Santiago. `The waves tunnelled their way easily enough until they ran up against those five mountains and then they had to fall back.’ How natural for one of us to be unimpressed by such a feature of the landscape and yet how characteristic of Dick Davis to see the elemental fight that it recorded and get the hint for the whole of the engineering struggle that is so much of his book.

“We went over those mountains together, where two decades before he had planted his banner of romance. We visited the mines and the railroads and everywhere found some superintendent or foreman or engineer who remembered Davis. He had guessed at nothing. Everywhere he had overlaid the facts with adventure and with beauty, but he had been on sure footing all the time. His prototype of MacWilliams was dead. Together we visited the wooden cross with which the miners had marked his grave.


Late in April, 1914, when war between the United States and Mexico seemed inevitable Richard once more left the peace and content of Crossroads and started for Vera Cruz, arriving there on April 29. He had arranged to act as correspondent for a syndicate of newspapers, and as he had for long been opposed to the administration’s policy of “watchful waiting” was greatly disappointed on his arrival at the border to learn of the President’s plan of mediation. He wrote to his wife:

CRUZ, April 24, 1914.

We left today at 5.30. It was a splendid scene, except for the children crying, and the wives of the officers and enlisted men trying not to cry. I got a stateroom to myself. With the electric fan on and the airport open, it is about as cool as a blast furnace. But I was given a seat on the left of General Funston, who is commanding this brigade, and the other officers at the table are all good fellows. As long as I was going, I certainly had luck in getting away as sharply as I did. One day’s delay would have made me miss this transport, which will be the first to land troops.

April 25th.

A dreadnaught joined us today, the Louisiana. I wirelessed the Admiral asking permission to send a press despatch via his battleship, and he was polite in reply, but firm. He said “No.” There are four transports and three torpedo boats and the battleship. We go very slowly, because we must keep up with one of the troop ships with broken engines. At night it is very pretty seeing the ships in line, and the torpedo boats winking their signals at each other. I am writing all the time or reading up things about the army I forget and getting the new dope. Also I am brushing up my Spanish. Jack London is on board, and three other correspondents, two of whom I have met on other trips, and one “cub” correspondent. He was sitting beside London and me busily turning out copy, and I asked him what he found to write about. He said, “Well, maybe I see things you fellows don’t see.” What he meant was that what was old to us was new to him, but he got guyed unmercifully.

April 27, 1914.

The censor reads all I write, and so do some half-dozen Mexican cable clerks and 60 (sixty) correspondents. So when I cable “love,” it MEANS devotion, adoration, and worship; loyalty, fidelity and truth, wanting you, needing you, unhappy for you. It means ALL that.


VERA CRUZ, April 30, 1914.

This heat–humid and moist–would sweat water out of a chilled steel safe; so imagine what it does to me with all the awful winter’s accumulation of fat. I hate to say it, but I LIKE these Mexicans–much better than Cubans, or Central Americans. They are human, kindly; it is only the politicians and bandits like Villa who give them a bad name. But, though they ought to hate us, whenever I stop to ask my way they invite me to come in and have “coffee” and say, “My house is yours, senor,” which certainly is kind after people have taken your town away from you and given you another flag and knocked your head off if you did not salute it. I now have a fine room. The Navy moved out today and I got the room of the paymaster. It faces the plaza and the cathedral. I burned a candle there today for our soon meeting. The priests all had run away, so I had to hunt up the candle, and pay the money into the box marked for that purpose, but the Lord does not run away, and He will see we soon meet.

May 2nd.

Yesterday I went out on the train that brings in refugees and saw the Mexicans. They had on three thousand cartridges, much hair, hats as high as church steeples, and lots of dirt. The Selig Moving Picture folks took many pictures of us and several “stills,” in which the war correspondent was shown giving cigarettes to the brigands. Also, I had a wonderful bath in the ocean off the aviation camp. I borrowed a suit from one of the aviators, and splashed and swam around for an hour. My! it was good. It reminded me of my dear Bessie, because the last time I was in the ocean was with her.

Maybe you know what is going on, but we do not. So I just hustle around all day trying to find news as I did when I was a reporter. It is hot enough here even for me, and I have lost about eight pounds of that fat I laid in during our North Pole winter!

VFRA CRUZ-May 8, 1914.


Today, when Wilson ordered Huerta not to blockade Tampico which was an insult to Mediators and the act of a bully and a coward, AND a declaration of war, we all got on our ponies to “advance.” Then came word Huerta would not blockade. It is like living in a mad house. We all are hoping mediators refuse to continue negotiations. If they have self respect that is what they will do. Tonight if Wilson and Huerta ran for President, Huerta would get all our votes. He may be an uneducated Indian, but at least he is a man. However, that makes no never mind so far as to my getting back. The reason I cannot return is because I have “credentials.” It is not that they want ME here, but they want my credentials here. The administration is using, as I see it, the privilege of having a correspondent at the front as a club. It says until war is declared it won’t issue any more. So those syndicates who have no correspondent and the papers forming them, are afraid to attack or to criticise the administration for fear they will be blacklisted. And those who have a correspondent with his three thousand dollar signed and sealed pass in his pocket aren’t taking any chance on losing him. So, I see before me an endless existence in Vera Cruz.


On May 7 Richard started for Mexico City where, if possible, he intended to interview Huerta. At Pasco de Macho he was arrested, but afterward was allowed to proceed to Mexico City. Here he was again arrested, and without being allowed to interview Huerta was sent back the day after his arrival to Vera Cruz.

Of this Vera Cruz experience John N. Wheeler, a friend of Richard’s and the manager of the syndicate which sent him to Mexico, wrote the following after my brother’s death:

“Richard Harding Davis went to Vera Cruz for a newspaper syndicate, and after the first sharp engagement in the Mexican seaport there was nothing for the correspondent to do but kill time on that barren, low lying strip of Gulf coast, hemmed in on all sides by Mexicans and the sea, and time is hard to kill there. Yet there was a story to be got, but it required nerve to go after it.

“In Mexico City was Gen. Huerta, the dictator of Mexico. If a newspaper could get an interview with him it would be a `scoop,’ but the work was inclined to be dangerous for the interviewer, since Americans were being murdered rather profusely in Mexico at the time in spite of the astute assurances of Mr. Bryan, and no matter how substantial his references the correspondent was likely to meet some temperamental and touchy soldier with a loaded rifle who would shoot first and afterward carry his papers to some one who could read them.

“One of the newspapers taking the stories by Mr. Davis from the syndicate had a staff man at Vera Cruz as well, and thought to `scoop’ the country by sending this representative to see Huerta, in this way `beating’ even the other subscribers to the Davis service. An interview in Mexico City was consequently arranged and the staff man was cabled and asked to make the trip. He promptly cabled his refusal, this young man preferring to take no such chances. It was then suggested that Mr. Davis should attempt it. By pulling some wires at Washington it was arranged, through the Brazilian and English Ambassadors at the Mexican capital, for Mr. Davis to interview President Huerta, with safe conduct (this being about as safe as nonskid tires) to Mexico City. Mr. Davis was asked if he would make the trip. In less than two hours back came this laconic cable:

“`Leaving Mexico City to-morrow afternoon at 3 o’clock.’

“That was Richard Harding Davis–no hesitancy, no vacillation. He was always willing to go, to take any chance, to endure discomfort and all if he had a fighting opportunity to get the news. The public now knows that Davis was arrested on this trip, that Huerta refused to make good on the interview, and that it was only through the good efforts of the British Ambassador at the Mexican capital he was released. But Davis went.

“There was an echo of this journey to the Mexican capital several months later after the conflict in Europe had been raging for a few weeks. Lord Kitchener announced at one stage of the proceedings he would permit a single correspondent, selected and indorsed by the United States Government, to accompany the British army to the front. Of course, all the swarm of American correspondents in London at the time were eager for the desirable indorsement. Mr. Davis cabled back the conditions of his acceptance. Immediately Secretary of State Bryan was called in Washington on the long-distance telephone.

“`Lord Kitchener has announced,’ the Secretary of State was told, `that he will accept one correspondent with the British troops in the field, if he is indorsed by the United States Government. Richard Harding Davis, who is in London, represents a string of the strongest newspapers in the United States for this syndicate, and we desire the indorsement of the State Department so he can obtain this appointment.’

“`Mr. Davis made us some trouble when he was in Mexico,’ answered Mr. Bryan. `He proceeded to the Mexican capital without our consent and I will have to consider the matter very carefully before indorsing him. His Mexican escapade caused us some diplomatic efforts and embarrassment.’ (What the Secretary of State did to bring about Mr. Davis’s release on the occasion of his Mexican arrest is still a secret of the Department.)

“Mr. Bryan did not indorse Mr. Davis finally, which was well, since Lord Kitchener of Khartum kept the selected list of correspondents loafing around London on one pretext or another so long they all became disgusted and went without an official pass from `K. of K.’ As soon as Mr. Davis was told he would not be appointed he proceeded to Belgium and returned some of the most thrilling stories written on this conflict at great personal risk.”

May 13, 1914.

DO NOT BLAME me for this long delay in writing. God knows I wanted every day to “talk” to you. But we were on the “suspect” list, and to make even a note was risky. The way I did it was to exclaim over the beauty of some flower or tree, and then ask the Mexican nearest me to write the name of it HIMSELF in MY notebook. Then I would say, “In English that would be—-” and I would pretend to write beside it the English equivalent, but really would write the word that was the key to what I wished to remember. So, you see, a letter at that rate of progress was impossible. It was a case of “Can’t get away to cable you today; police won’t let me!” However, we are all safe at home again. As a matter of fact, I had a most exciting time, and am dying to tell you the “insie” story. But the one I sent the papers must serve. I promised myself I would give the FIRST soldier, marine and sailor I met on returning a cigar, and the first sailor was the CHAPLAIN OF THE FLEET, Father Reany. But he took the cigar and gave me his blessing. I am now burning candles to St. Rita. What worried me the MOST was how worried YOU would be; and I begged Palmer not to send the story of our first arrest. But other people told of it, and he had to forward it. You certainly made the wires BURN! and had the army guessing. One officer said to me, “I’m awfully sorry to see you back. If you’d only have stayed in jail another day your wife would have had us all on our way to Mexico.” And the censor said, “My God! I’m glad you’re safe! Your wife has MADE OUR LIVES HELL!” And quite right, too, bless you! None of us knows anything, but it looks to me that NOTHING will induce Wilson to go to war. But the Mexicans think we ARE at war, and act accordingly. They may bring on a conflict. That is why I am making ready in case we advance and that is why I cabled today for the rest of my kit. I have a fine little pony, and a little messenger boy who speaks Spanish, to look after the horse, and me.

And now, as to your LETTERS, they came to-day, five of them, COUNT ‘EM, and the pictures did make me laugh. I showed those of the soldier commandeering the vegetables to Funston and he laughed. And, I did love the flowers you sent no matter HOW homesick they made me! (Oh). I do not want a camera.

I have one, and those fancy cameras I don’t understand.

The letters you forwarded were wonderfully well selected. I mean, those from other people. One of them was from Senator Root telling me Bryan is going to reward our three heroic officers who jumped into the ocean. I know you will be glad. There are NO mosquitoes! Haven’t met up with but three and THEY are not COMING BACK.

I send you a picture of my room from the outside. From the inside the view is so “pretty.” Across the square is the cathedral and the trees are filled with birds that sing all night, and statues, and pretty globes. The band plays every night and when it plays “Hello, Winter Time,” I CRY for you. I paid the band-master $20 to play it, and it is WORTH IT. I sit on the balcony and think of you and know just what you are doing, for there is only an hour and a half difference. That is, when with you it is ten o’clock with me it is eight-thirty. So when you and Louise are at dinner you can know I am just coming in from my horseback ride to bathe and “nap.” And when at eight-thirty you are playing the Victor, I am drinking a cocktail to you, and shooing away the Colonels and Admirals who interfere with my ceremony of drinking to my dear wife.

VERA CRUZ, May 20th, 1914.

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.


VERA CRUZ, May 28, 1914.

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.

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.”

. . . . . . . . .

On June 15 Richard sailed on the Utah for New York, arriving there on the 22d. For a few weeks after his return he remained at Mount Kisco completing his articles on the Mexican situation but at the outbreak of the Great War he at once started for Europe, sailing with his wife on August 4, the day war was declared between England and Germany.

On Lusitania–August 8, 1914.

We got off in a great rush, as the Cunard people received orders to sail so soon after the Government had told them to cancel all passengers, that no one expected to leave by her, and had secured passage on the Lorraine and St. Paul.

They gave me a “regal” suite which at other times costs $1,000 and it is so darned regal that I hate to leave it. I get sleepy walking from one end of it to the other; and we have open fires in each of the three rooms. Generally when one goes to war it is in a transport or a troop train and the person of the least importance is the correspondent. So, this way of going to war I like. We now are a cruiser and are slowly being painted grey, and as soon as they got word England was at war all lights were put out and to find your way you light matches. You can imagine the effect of this Ritz Carlton idea of a ship wrapped in darkness. Gerald Morgan is on board, he is also accredited to The Tribune, and Frederick Palmer. I do not expect to be allowed to see anything but will try to join a French army. I will leave Bessie near London with Louise at some quiet place like Oxford or a village on the Thames. We can “take” wireless, but not send it, so as no one is sending and as we don’t care to expose our position, we get no news. We are running far North and it is bitterly cold. I think Peary will sue us for infringing his copyrights.

I will try to get in touch with Nora. I am worried lest she cannot get at her money. As British subjects no other thing should upset them. Address me American Embassy, London. I send such love to you both. God bless you. DICK.

Richard arrived in Liverpool August 13, and made arrangements for his wife to remain in London. Unable to obtain credentials from the English authorities, he started for Brussels and arrived there in time to see the entry of the German troops, which he afterward described so graphically. Indeed this article is considered by many to be one of the finest pieces of descriptive writing the Great War has produced.

For several days after Brussels had come under the control of the Germans Richard remained there and then decided to go to Paris as the siege of the French capital at the time seemed imminent. He and his friend Gerald Morgan, who was acting as the correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, decided to drive to Hal and from there to continue on foot until they had reached the English or French armies where they knew they would be among friends. At Hal they were stopped by the German officials and Morgan wisely returned to Brussels. However, Richard having decided to continue on his way, was promptly seized by the Germans and held as an English spy. For a few days he had a most exciting series of adventures with the German military authorities and his life was frequently in danger. It was finally due to my brother’s own strategy and the prompt action of our Ambassador to Belgium, Brand Whitlock, that he was returned to Brussels and received his official release.

On August 27, Richard left Brussels for Paris on a train carrying English prisoners and German wounded, and en route saw much of the burning and destruction of Louvain.

BRUSSELS, August 17, 1914.

Write me soon and often! All is well here so long as I know you are all right, so do not fail to tell me all, and keep me in touch. If _I_ do not write much it is because letters do not get through always, and are read. But you know I love you, and you know twice each day I pray for you and wish for you all the time. I feel as though I had been gone a month. Gerald Morgan and I got in last night; this is a splendid new hotel; for $2.50 I get a room and bath like yours on the “royal suite,” only bigger. This morning the minister did everything he could for us. There are about twenty Americans who want credentials. They say they will take no Americans, but to our minister they said they would make exception in favor of three, so I guess the three will be John McCutcheon, Palmer and myself. John and I, if anyone gets a pass, are sure. With the passes we had, Gerald and I started out in a yellow motor, covered with flags of the Allies, and saw a great deal. How I wished you were with me, you would so have loved it. The country is absolutely beautiful. We were stopped every quarter mile to show our passes and we got a working idea of how it will be. Tonight I dined with Mr. Whitlock, the minister, and John McCutcheon came in and Irving Cobb. John and I will get together and go out. All you need is a motor car and you can go pretty much everywhere, EXCEPT near where there is fighting. So what I am to do to earn my wages I don’t know. I am now going to bed and I send my darlin’ all love. Today I sent you a wire. If it got to you let me know. Take such good care of yourself. Remember me to Louise, and, WRITE ME. All love, DEAR, DEAR one. My wife and my sweetheart.

Your husband,


The following is the last letter that got through.

BRUSSELS, August 21, 1914.

I cannot say much, as I doubt if this will be opened by you. The German army came in and there was no fighting and I am very well. I am only distressed at not being able to get letters from you, and not being able to send them. I will write a long one, and hold it until I am sure of some way by which it can reach you.


Mrs. Davis had waited in London to meet Richard on his return from the war, but a misunderstanding as to the date of his return, coupled with her strong sense of duty to his interests at home, gave occasion for the letter which follows:

LONDON, August 31, 1914.

Not since the Herald Square days have I had such a blow as when I drove up to 10 Clarges, and found you gone! IT WAS NOBODY’S FAULT! YOU WERE SO RIGHT to go; and I COULD NOT COME. I am so distressed lest it was my cable saying I could not get back that decided you to go before the fifth. But Ashford says it was not. He tells me the cable came at THREE in the morning and that you had arranged to be called at six-thirty in order to leave for Scotland. So, for sending that cable I need not blame myself too much. I sent you so many messages I do not know which got through. But I think it must have been one saying I could not return in time to see you before the fifth. THEN, no trains were running. The very NEXT DAY the Germans started a troop train, and I took it. The reason I could not come by automobile was because I had a falling out with the “mad dogs” and they would not give me a pass. So Evans, with whom I was to motor to Holland, got through Friday afternoon and sent the cable. As soon as I reached Holland, I cabled I was coming and kept on telegraphing every step of the journey, which lasted three days.

I telegraphed last from Folkestone; even telling you what to have for my supper. As you directed, Ashford opened the cables, and when I drove up, he was at the door in tears. He had made a light in your rooms and, of course, as I looked up I thought you still were in them. When they told me I was a day late, I cried, too. It was the bitterest disappointment I ever knew. I had taken the very first train out of Brussels, the one with the wounded, and for three days had been having one hell of a time. But I kept thinking of seeing you, and hearing your dear voice. So the trip did not matter. I was only thinking of SEEING YOU, and thanking God I was shut of the dirty Germans. We had nothing to eat, and we slept on the floor of the train, the Germans kept us locked in, and, all through even Holland, we were under arrest. But nothing mattered, because I was so happy at thought of meeting you. As I said neither of us was at fault. You just HAD to go, and I could NOT COME. But, you can feel how I felt to learn you were at sea.

I was so glad I could use your old rooms. I went to the table where you used to write and was so glad I could at least be as near to you as that. No other place in London could have held me that night. Not Buckingham Palace. I found little things you had left. I loved even the funny pictures on the wall because we had talked of them together. It was ROTTEN, ROTTEN luck. But only the Germans and their hellish war were to blame. I drove straight to the cable office, and tried to wireless you, knowing you would feel glad to know I was well, and safe and sound. But the cable people could not send my message. You were then out of reach of wireless, on the Irish coast. And for nine days there was no way to tell you I had come back as fast as trains and boats and the dirty Germans would let me. Oh, my dear, dear one, HOW I LOVE you. If only I could have seen you for just five minutes. As it was, I thought for five days more we would be together. What I shall do now, I don’t know. I must go back with either the French or the English until my contract expires, and then, I can join you. Tomorrow I am trying to see Asquith and Churchill to get with the army. And I will at once return across the channel. But, do not worry! I will never again let a German come within ONE MILE of me! After this, between me and the Germans, there will be some hundreds of thousands of English or French. So after this reaches you I will soon be on my way HOME. Don’t worry. Get James back and Amelia and everyone else who can make you comfortable, and trust in the good Lord. I have your cross and St. Rita around my neck, and in spite of what the Kaiser says, God is looking after other people than Germans. Certainly he has taken good care of me. And he will guard you, and our “blessed” one. And in a little time, dear, DEAR heart, I will be back, and I will become a grocer. God love you and keep you, as he does. And you will never know HOW I LOVE YOU! Good night, dearest, sweetheart and wife! I am writing this at your table, and, thanking God you are going to the farm, and to peace and happiness. I SEND YOU ALL THE LOVE IN ALL THE WORLD.


LONDON, September 3rd.

It was a full moon again tonight and I think you were on deck and saw it, because by now, you have passed the four days at sea and should be in the St. Lawrence. So I knew you saw the moon, too, and I sent you a kiss, via it. It was just over St. James Palace but also it was just over you.

Today has been a day of worries. Wheeler cabled that the papers wanted me to be “neutral” and not write against the Germans. As I am not interested in the German vote, or in advertising of German breweries (such a hard word to SAY) I thought, considering the EXCLUSIVE stories I had sent them, instead of kicking, they ought to be sending me a few bouquets. Especially, as I got cables from Gouvey, Whigham, Scribner’s and others congratulating me on the anti-German stories. So I cabled Wheeler to tell papers of his syndicate, dictation from them as to what I should write was “unexpected,” that they could go to name-of-place censored and that if he wished I would release him from his contract tonight. Considering that without credentials I was with French, Belgian and German armies and saw entry of Germans into Brussels and sacking of Louvain and got arrested as a spy, they were a bit ungrateful. I am now wondering WHAT I would have seen HAD I HAD credentials.

I saw Anthony Hope at the club last night. He had to go back to the country, so I dined alone on English oysters. Fancy anyone being NEUTRAL in this war! Germany dropping bombs in Paris and Antwerp on women and churches and scattering mines in the channel where they blow up fishermen and burning the cathedrals! A man who now would be neutral would be a coward. Good night, NEAR, DEAR, DEAR one. It has been several weeks since I had sleep, so if I rave and wander in my letters forgive me. You know how I am thinking of you. God bless you. God keep you for me.

Your husband who loves you SO!

LONDON, September 7th.

I just got your cable saying you were at the farm, and well! HOW HAPPY IT MADE ME! I cabled you to Quebec, and to Mt. Kisco, and when two days passed and I heard nothing, today I was scared, so I cabled Gouvey to look after you, and also to Wheeler. I went to the Brompton Oratory today, which is the second most important church here (the cardinal lives at Westminster) and burned the BIGGEST CANDLE they had for you and the “blessing.” A big woman all in black was kneeling in the little chapel and when I could not get the candle to stand up, she beckoned to one of the priests, and he ran and fixed it. Then she went on praying. And WHO do you think she was? Queen Amelie of Portugal, you see her pictures in the Tattler and Sphere opening bazaars. So she must be very good or she would not be saying her prayers all alone with the poor people and seeing that my Bessie’s candle was burning. I