[one page missing] neighbors that intoxicates them and blurs their true vision. And, the way many of them dare, actually have the presumption to brag about their characters being developed! May God forgive them the thought the that the mellowing of millions of characters could offset the ghastly cataclysm of this war.
I have lived through a lot in my time and I suppose I shall live through this somehow and I know enough to keep my mouth shut. Absolutely shut -- for the time being. I express no opinion. But I send Manuel away with horror, if I must, with abysmal horror and bitter, bitter rebellion in my heart and with no more anger in my soul against the Germans than against ourselves. As soon as two or more people get into a fight then they are all wrong. The fight itself makes them so. The mere fact that they are fighting. One gets war blind and cannot see straight. The proof of the pudding is that we do not appeal to the best instincts of the soldiers and the people at home. Can we appeal to their love of the Germans? Not by a long shot. It is to the hate instinct and all that is lowest and least civilized. I can scarcely sit still at a public meeting and hear the outrageous things that are said and applauded in the name of patriotism and civilization. If there is a God he must be in agony.
And most of all I blame the women. They are mostly set of [page 2] shallow, Poll Parrot little fools. Doing on a far larger scale what they used to do on the fourth of July. Even as a little girl it used to make me marvel how the calmest mothers used to go stark raving mad on the fourth of July and give their children fire and gun powder to play with -- toys they would have snatched from them any other day but that one. But it was the fashion to make their dare-[devilry] a point of pride. To prove the coolness of their own nerves and cater to the mob conception of patriotism at the risk of their children's lives, looks and sight. But they did it -- most of them with an air, because it was the fashion. I remember when Margaret Kelley's dress caught afire on the 4th and I thought quietly to myself that both my mother and Mrs Kelley ought to have been punished instead of we children. Just so women who are ordinarily sane and civilized now go stark raving mad and encourage their husbands on to a point of view that is barbaric and outrageous to every decent feeling. Because it is the fashion. I can tell you it is a fashion I shan't follow.
Manuel feels keenly the injustice of sending fathers while unmarried men are still uncalled. But he is pro war. Sincerely and fully. His heart ache is because he is going to be wasted, absolutely wasted when he was doing so much. The Social Democratic League has recently moved its headquarters from New York here, we have taken over the mailing list of the Social Builder, the circulation otherwise is increasing every day, at each step the paper [taks] ↑takes↓ the big rank and file of the Socialists follow and it seems to him wicked to shut up the plant. In fact he wants me to run it. He says he knows I can. I believe that I could, but, Aunt Jane, Aunt Jane, how can I? He says "You know the policy as well as I do, you know our style, you understand the mechanical make-up of the paper, you can write, you can edit and if you keep your wits about you you can pull off the [circulate] circulation stunts. There isn't any question but what you can run it." But Aunt Jane ↑while↓ I have done a lot of things in my life that other people [page 3] thought were wrong, I have always lived abreast of what I thought. I have tried far more sincerely than the average person to make my life express my convictions. It has not always been easy. The results have sometimes been disastrous, for while we can change our opinions gracefully, actions which are the result of those opinions can never be recalled, neither can their consequences. Yet this way of living has brought its own reward, the advantages have outweighed the disadvantages and when the world may have least respected me was when I most respected myself.
Yet there is just so much of the actress in me, Aunt Jane, that I can simply quit being myself and be Manuel while he is gone. Accept without question his whole point of view and the rest is easy. But should I? You don't know how deeply I love him. And you don't know how disappointed he will be if I fail him. I can't discuss it with him because he would just look at me with his clear true eyes and say "Don't worry. If you feel you ought n't to run it we will close the plant." And that would be the end. We would close it.
Besides there is my duty to our partners. [Louis] before he went away said [mostly lightly] ↑"It's good to know that↓ if Manuel has to go, you can run the place." And there are those two babes in the woods, Walter and Edna Wayland, who couldn't tell if they tried the first principal of socialism. I don't know what to do. I never had people depend upon me and count on me before and fail them. I would rather die -- I mean literally -- than fail Manuel. To keep the plant going and growing so that when the boys get back, if they do get back, seems the right thing to do. But how in the name of God can I boost this war when I think it is the crime of the ages. Of course, since we are in it, I want the great old U.S.A to win. We must win. But I want the whole war stopped. And I can believe it could be stopped, it can be, if the women of all the countries would only get together. But they never will. They are too weak. Too little used to organized effort and too cowardly anyway. Well, then the fact is that the only way we can end it is by fighting [page 4] with such force and fervor that we ↑shall↓ bring it all to an end by sheer force, and thus prove that the slogan that "might makes right" which we are fighting to prove is wrong is really right.
I feel as if ↑I↓ should presently go out into the woods and sit me down and have an old-fashioned spell of hysterics. One thing is sure. If I do run the paper I shan't add to Manuel's worries by letting him know how I feel. After all, his happiness, his peace of mind, means far more to me than my own self respect.
Another thing is sure. I shall move heaven and with ↑and earth↓ before I sit with folded hands and let him go. I could never look my children in the eyes if I were to have to say to them, "I let your father go to war, away from you, without an effort."
In the early part of July Jake Sheppard went east to see Secretary Baker, ↑who↓ [He] was out of town so ↑Mr. Sheppard↓ left the letter I enclose. The Secretary wrote a very nice answer indeed, signed by himself and direct from him saying not to worry that under the circumstances the local board could not put him in class one. That letter came yesterday. Meanwhile, the Board had done what the Secretary had said they could not do. Like the lawyer who says to the [man] sitting in his cell, "Why they can't put you in jail for this" Old time-work joke, but precisely the case here. By now, Secretary Baker has Manuel's reclassification card in his own hand and another letter from Jake ↑Sheppard↓ which he dictated in our presence.
Meanwhile, today we appeal formally here. The appeal will be turned down because Gaitskill the Government Appeal agent here was overheard to say "It was all very well for Jake Sheppard to get Louis Kopelin furloughed after he was sent to war. It was a slick trick but he ↑(Gaitskill)↓ would have Kopelin in the trenches inside of sixty days. (It was the intention anyway that after his work in the mission was over he should go to the trenches, but not until then.) Gaitskill further said he would see to it that Emanuel Haldeman Julius went too, that those [page 5] Appeal people were pretty slick but that he would see to it that they didn't get out of their duty. He hates the Appeal and he is desperately jealous of Sheppard a socialist lawyer ↑and labor↓ and one of the best, ↑in his way,↓ in the United States. Gaitskill ↑(who isn't in his class at all)↓ was one of the two candidates for the candidacy for Governor on the Democratic ticket at the last election time. He is a big bully. Well, he will see to it that the Appeal is turned down here. It will then be taken to Topeka where it will also be turned down as he has a lot of pull there.
We shall then take it to the President. At the same time we will keep in touch with Baker. [Nicholas] Klein of Cincinnati has been here a house guest for a couple of days helping get the Social Democratic League started. He hopes to go abroad, in fact is to be sent abroad in September, and hopes to get into Austria. He is a very good ↑close↓ personal friend of Baker's and will do all he can -- will go on to Washington -- and [illegible] feels sure he can get a furlough for Manuel once he is in. Were Gaitskill not so bitter that would be the proper course. Manuel would be ↑(1)↓ inducted, ↑(2)↓ go to Funston, ↑(3)↓ be furloughed, ↑(4)↓ come home in his soldier's uniform and ↑(5)↓ run the Appeal. If we cannot get exemption on the Industrial ground or ↑get↓ deferred [classification] then that is what we will do. Of course Baker has no authority until he is inducted. But it seems as if the fight would only be begun for [Gaitskill] would leave no stone unturned to bring the furlough to a speedy termination. Of course we could start a fight to have him removed as a person too prejudiced to hold such a position as he does, but I am anxious as so is Manuel to have as little fuss and to do everything in as quiet and dignified a way as possible. We have to appeal here before it can be appealed to the district board and we have to take it to the district board before we can take it to the President. Unless I am very much mistaken President Wilson is too far seeing a person want to have the Appeal closed and no one knows but Manuel and Louis and me that I could run it and I haven't made up my mind yet that I will. [page 6]
Meanwhile, there is the bank. Max is sick with typhoid fever. His [illegible] marriage having taken place after the war began and his child born last month there is very little chance but that he will have to go. That class of marriage is of course different but I feel that he, too, should not have to go while there are still unmarried and childless men. Oscar got in terribly [dutch?] here. Oscar of all people. Gaitskill wrote to the Bank Department and went to the City Commissioners and told them they could not put the city money in our bank (which they had just voted to do) as long as Oscar [Schaffer] was president of it. Even Manuel thought Oscar ought to resign. I certainly had my hands full for a while, but at last by threats and persuasion [with Os] and going to the right people and having a talk with Mr. Gaitskill that that worthy won't forget and a successful correspondence with the bank commissioner the last letter of which I enclose and a heart to heart talk with each of the city commissioners everything was adjusted and peace reigns once more. It is a long story, but of course I need not tell you that Oscar did not resign. I won't be dictated to about my bank by a lot of bullies. However, I think it may be best for Manuel to resign as a director as this Appeal matter ought to be kept entirely separate from the bank. We have never since the beginning of that institution been in such fine condition. When this other trouble was on the men in the new bank went to some of our best customers and misrepresented facts about Oscar and things he had said, and said that if they our customers continued to do business with our bank they would have them boycotted. So I got those men of the new bank together and told them that if they didn't let our customers alone I would have to take action. That the Government had declared itself in its attitude to men and corporations who tried to use the war for their personal purposes. I also repeated to them every thing that ↑had been reported to us↓ they had said. Our customers were absolutely loyal and were even willing to be quoted. [page 7]
All that has cooled down now. I cannot discover that we have lost a dollars deposit by it and everyone around town is talking in a disparaging way of the new banks methods. But I don't care to have a second bout. Just whom I shall invite to take Manuel's place I don't know.
I am [awfully] tired. That is why I can't be sure of our second baby [illegible] may be that the indications which ordinarily would be proof are merely owing to fatigue, but I do not think so. Alice still nurses. It won't hurt her to nurse for another month and she eats eggs and cereal too. I want to wean her so gradually she won't know it. She can handle her own glass of water beautifully and is very careful not to spill it. And we let her have one ice cream cone a day. It is quite wonderful how neatly she manages it.
She can go up and down stairs alone (she is just thirteen and a half months old) and can stand on two steps we have and wash her hands in the wash basin. She has begun to say a great many words and to put a few of them together. She has a little red wagon she pushes and pulls everywhere. The other day Alice Leonard Thorn brought her baby to see us. She is two month older [illegible] than Alice and cannot walk entirely alone yet. Our Alice brought her Kiddle Kar. Manuel got it for her when you last saw him. It is the kind two year olds use and even then Alice took to it like a duck to water. She can make it go lickety blim. She seemed a year older than Alice's Alice. The sweetest thing our Dickey bird does is to dance. When we start a one step on the victrola she starts off -- if there is no company ↑, and sometimes when there is↓ -- and whirls and goes forward and backward with her little arms swaying. She seems to have a natural gift for it. The other day the victrola in the restaurant began to play and Alice began to dance on the sidewalk. In a few minutes a crowd was around her and the people in the restaurant came out to see what was the matter and then stayed to [page 8]
[one page missing] course, startles her, but in a moment she loves it and laughs and spats her little hands like real water baby. I am very glad we did not buy any house. We use one of Louis' rooms for our bedroom and the other for a writing den. That makes our front room a real living room. Both Florence and Emma sleep here and live here all the time. Emma is taking music lessons and when she practices Alice sits beside her at the piano and listens with her eyes like stars.
Auntie darling, this is a terribly jumbled letter but my mind is in a terribly jumbled state. I know these are hard times for everyone. We just have to all do our best.
Now Aunt Jane I want to ask a question and I want you to answer it absolutely frankly. If the District Board turns down the appeal on the Industrial ground and we do take it to the President -- on the points set forth in Sheppards letter to Baker, a copy of which I enclose, do you think (1) a letter from you recapitulating some of the facts in your own words might carry weight with the President? (2) That granting it would carry weight you would care to write such a letter? I know how many subtle reasons for doing or not doing a thing there are, how many reasons why the very thing one would most wish to do is the last thing one can do gracefully. In fact, I am not at all sure that it would be the best thing. Sheppard, as he says, has a son in law in the Service and can make a point of the fact that he is unbiased in this case, that it is only because of Emanuel's unusual and really immense usefulness as editor of the Appeal, that makes him so anxious to have him kept at this post instead of being sent to carry a gun or at best pound a type writer in some clerical position in the army. Klein is not even a personal friend. His [illegible] whole point will be that it is simply vital to the Social Democratic League that the Appeal should not be closed. He promised me that if Manuel had to go for a few weeks before a furlough could be arranged he would come out and help me on the policy articles. He doesn't understand a [illegible] ↑newspaper↓ at all and I could tell by the things [page 9] he wrote while he was out here that his things would have to be edited. He is the sort of man who doesn't understand writing his own heads, ↑(headlines)↓. But he is a very brilliant fellow and he knows everybody in the socialist movement personally and well. Everybody in this country and abroad and knows personally a good many people in Washington. He suggested that perhaps you could meet him and Sheppard in Washington. It was then that I said very firmly that I didn't know at all whether such a thing would be possible or that being possible would be best. It seems to me much of the force of the argument would be lost if a personal not came into it, ↑though of course, you would need not put it on a personal basis. It would be the weight of your opinion as opinion not as a relative.↓ But there again I may be in error. And it may be that a letter would be quite sufficient. Or that I may not want to ask even that. Jake, that is Mr. [Sheppard], wrote a second and even stronger letter to Secretary Baker when he sent [illegible] on Manuel's reclassification card.
It would not be so hard if the whole town had not been so worked up over Louis' case. That is Louis Kopelin's case. They are sore that after they turned his appeal down he was furloughed to go on the mission. They think it was "slick" work. It wasn't. He was the one man best suited for that purpose -- secretary of it. Of course, too, he was single and they all felt was just the type that ought to go. Personally, Manuel is very well liked in town. And his manner has been perfect. The three men on the board here like him and like me. But they are dominated by Gaitskill who has war hysteria, anti-socialism hysteria, and a personal bone to pick with Jake Sheppard. Several of the best men in town have said to Manuel "Why don't you appeal". And he has said in his quiet way. "Well, I may. I feel that I ought [you?] ↑to↓, but I don't know. I haven't made up my mind."
I wrote the above this morning and at noon Manuel saw Charlie Everett one of the Board. They had a pleasant conversation, Manuel asked him in an easy way what they were going to do to him and Everett [page 10] said he guessed they were going to have to send him to the army. I can't give a stenographic report, but the idea was that the board had had complaints because they were not sending enough men of Manuel's and Roscoe Lashley's (assistant cashier of the Crawford County ↑State↓ Bank) and Louis ↑[sort]↓. Manuel said, "But you can't compare me to the boys without children." (He is the only one with a child who has been put in class 1). [Whereas] Everett said "No, of course not. But Marcet is different. She is a business woman and able to take care of herself and the baby." Whereupon Manuel said he would like to ask him a very personal question and he hoped he would consider that it was confidential, would it make a difference according to the rulings if a woman were pregnant? Everett said it would make a great deal of difference and Manuel told him I was. Everett, himself, then told him he ought to appeal and have an affidavit concerning the same. So Manuel came home and wanted me to get the affidavit this afternoon. I could get the affidavit in a minute. Dr. Owensby would give it to me on my word. But land alive suppose, now I ask you just suppose I should be mistaken! That would be a pretty kettle of fish. We are having this baby because Alice need a little sister or brother with no thought of this in mind and before this trouble came up I was sure. I am sure, but I can't be positive until a week from this Saturday when I shall have missed my second period. I have missed one which I never did in my life except when I became pregnant with Alice. But to swear to it and to have Dr. Owensby swear to it -- at this stage he could only go by my statements. -- If I felt muddled before lunch I now feel simply desperate. To have simple means, as it appears, to have this in my hands and not feel safe about using it. I don't know whether I am a foot or a horse-back.
Now, Auntie, don't worry about me. I am no novice in this old game of life. And don't let my questions on the page before this cause you a moments perturbation. I understand and [illegible] so does Manuel exactly how those things are but I like to know exactly how things ↑stand↓ in case [page 11] of any turn of events.
About Grandmother's birthday. I shan't be able to get away from this state for a day this summer. At least as it looks now. I [illegible] wrote Mary we should make it very simple and that I would come if I could. She wrote very enthusiastically about your little visit there. I was so glad you could go out. It is best, I think to string our visits along. They mean more by breaking the monotony than a big celebration would. If I can get away, for a few days I will have Sarah Hostetter out. I should never think you were a poor sport. Circumstances alter cases, of course, and it would be foolish for you to be bobbing back and forth between Illinois and Colorado.
This whole thing of Manuel's ought to be decided one way or another next week or at least within ten days. If he appeals he has to do it today or tomorrow morning. His time is up then. We have been waiting for Bakers second letter but we shan't wait any longer. I am sure.
I love you. My love to Miss Smith.