Dearest Mary, Emily Balch is reading "Eminent Victorians" aloud to J. A. so I am going to make the rash experiment of writing a letter in the writing room though I am pretty sure it will not work. The steamer is acting quite well but no steamer is ever really well-behaved except when it is safely in dock. J. A. had a [rather] bad bilious time Friday and Saturday and took calomel and was quite wretched but today she is all right again. It is all perfectly comfortable and we have not had a single rough day, so that for the first time in my life I have not even had my meals on deck but have gone down to every one and Miss Addams has too. The steamer is full. The Red Cross girls number eighty -- [page 2] eight and there are about a dozen Y.M.C.A.s. Then there are a lot of Dutch people and nine Boers from South Africa. These last are heavy, serious men, on their way to the Peace Conference to demand self-government, complete independence for the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. One of them talked to me yesterday. He said they had no complaint to make of English rule, only thing wanted to run themselves. I am afraid they want to run the natives too and I have heard that their ideas on that subject are quite like those of our Southerners before the war. The Red Cross girls are nice, quiet pleasant young things but the Y.M.C.A.s, male and female, are awful. They are "entertainers", and apparently of the cheapest vaudeville class, hard and vulgar. I have not been to their shows [page 3] in the evening but the people who have are quite sick to think that Y.M.C.A. money is being spent to send stuff like that way across the ocean to our soldiers. And they have the expensive cabins while the Red Cross girls are three in a room as our floor ↑deck.↓
Our party is most amicable, with occasional sudden [alarms] and excursions on Mrs. Kelley's part which are very refreshing. She fills Mrs. Kel Post with apprehension. That poor lady is convinced that we are being watched and listened to by everyone and that if anything impurdent is said we shall all be taken off at Plymouth -- and never get to Berne. So she is always trying to surround Mrs. Kelley with so many of us that it will serve as a safe padding and nothing will escape to the listening world. Of course it does not work. There are four members of our industrial commission of the Y.W.C.A. on board, very nice women, exactly the sort one would like to have represent us in Europe. I find them more companionable than our crowd except Mrs. Kelley and Miss Balch. Mrs. White is, I grieve to report, quite as silly as ever and rather, pretentious as well, but that queer, blowsy, distraught-looking Miss [Nichols] is rather nice. Mrs. Mead has decided that Esperanto is the hope of the future and one has to listen to her a great deal. The colored lady, Mrs. Terrell, is affectionate and very autobiographical. She really looks so little like a Negro that I doubt if people mostly know she is one. It is eleven o'clock and Miss Balch has come up to say J. A. has gone to bed. [page 4]
There were two roughish days but not bad and both of us have got on wonderfully, indeed it is much the easiest voyage I have ever had. The passengers are very chummy and it is difficult to read much on deck for they drop down beside one and talk. Besides Mrs. Kelley has come on board with a most appalling lot of manuscript which she insists on my reading, so I have only managed so far to read the two Walpoles and Eminent Victorians. Every night there is some sort of an entertainment but we go only when there are speakers and we think we must. Caroline Dudley, Dr. Dudley's youngest, is one of the Red Cross girls and I enjoy her. She is a radical young thing and quite refreshing for Eliot Wadsworth and Mrs. Draper are very unquestioningly [page 5] fervent and pretty dull. The Y.M.C.A.s behave fairly so so by day, but there are many tales of goings on at night. J. A. sleeps a lot, sometimes twelve or fourteen hours. She will really be in first class condition when she lands. We are to go to Paris for about a week, then to Berne. I am going to cable Quint and Lewis Gannett to get us rooms when we reach Plymouth tomorrow.
This, and one letter to my family is all I have written on ship board, but that is doing pretty well for me. Of course I will write you from Paris and needless to say I shall long for a letter to tell me about Eleanor and yourself.
Love to you both