[page(s) missing] has she asked us up. And, in point of fact, we are both content to smile at each other and make little mutual effort.
Speaking of Manuel reminds me of one especially wonderful day we had the last time he came. I had Aunt Flora and Bertha Bidwell and Jean Knowlton whom we know quite well and who was visiting in Freeport, out, and Manuel had young Loeb with him. [Mindret] is a charming boy of eighteen who composes really good things for the piano. I asked Mary down and she came too, and was a darling. (I think she felt the honor of our culinary reputation was at stake -- no, she was just a good scout and knew that with Manuel and company a helping hand meant a lot. She was just down for the day.) We all had a perfectly delicious time because everyone was in a merry mood and in the afternoon Miss Bidwell wanted us all to go back to town with them to her Jean sing with Edith Burrell playing her accompaniments and, of course, I said we'd all love to go. Mary was horrified at the notion of leaving all the dishes, but I bundled her along just the same. Manuel had driven through in his Cadillac roadster (for which his old Cadillac had just been traded in), so we all piled into that and into my little old Ford (which I drive everywhere) and went in. Several other people dropped in for tea -- there were about six little folk under five and dear grandmother Bidwell looking very stately in her black silk dress and snow white hair. Miss Bertha poured and Alice and Josephine passed the tea and little cakes, Manuel's young friend played, Jean sang, conversation flowed easily -- exceedingly good conversation, and the wind blew softly through the window on young and old -- it was a quaint little scene among congenial spirits, never to be forgotten.
My dear, I could run on and on. It is such fun to really get away for the length of time it has taken to scribble this, from my ubiquitous brood, not to mention cooking. Quite suddenly the other day I decided [that I must], would, and should have help for a [page 2] few days. With all this sewing and some thoughts that simply had to be got safely, even if only roughly, out of my head on to paper, someone had to be found. I heard the usual tale of no one to be found in these parts, whereupon I said rather callously that I would go down to the dark side of Freeport and pick up the first decent [colored] lady I found. Anyone being endurable for a [brief] period. This awful threat almost instantly summoned the simultaneously expressed suggestion from both Bird and Mary of a really awfully nice young thing who is even willing to milk my two cows that I have over here, it being more convenient than running back and forth to the farm for milk -- and [the] moreover being of the Guernsey persuasion and therefore more generous in the matter of clotted cream. She needs a good deal of direction and one must perforce have her with us pretty constantly -- though she goes home at night -- but for the moment, so congested, so exciting and so highly important (to the children because of the celebration, to me because I am again under that blessed compulsion which makes one sweep ruthlessly aside duties and amenities), she is a godsend. It's been getting more [insistent] all during August as I saw the lovely summer flying, but I have felt that the children were getting some awfully important things out of this summer and I do simply adore to keep [house]. But at that we have only to give a last polish to a story we have done this summer -- Manuel and I -- and I really am settling down to business. I wish Manuel hadn't accepted these speaking engagements for me. I got this enclosed letter some time ago and wrote the lady that October was so full I simply wouldn't think of it. Whereupon she writes that since I cannot come to them in October will I not come November 13. To keep refusing seems positively churlish and I guess one more talk doesn't make much difference, so I guess I will.
I expect my beloved spouse almost [any day] now. He says he will stay three weeks ([when?] likely he will stay three days.) One of his [page 3] precious beloved cars is here, shrouded by my cautious self in my best sheets, hastily sewed together. Not for one million dollars would I use it. I am a sworn enthusiast over Fords. For my country. They please my sense of fitness. And bless 'em I can pile all the children and animals I want into them. We have acquired, by now quite a menagerie. But heartbreaking as it may be, I shall divest myself of them and leave them in kind hands when I [leave]. All but the birds. We have accumulated four and I guess we'll take them.
We go to the movies about twice a week, [regularly] as clocks. Josephine weeps and has a lovely time. Alice sits placidly [through] flames and affecting death scenes, through railroad wrecks and hair raising escapes. And Henry after a board and horribly wriggly half hour or so -- to the relief of us all -- goes to sleep. I believe Josephine would go [every] night and she and Alice discuss their favorite heroines endlessly. I nearly expire sometimes when I eavesdrop. [Dorothy] Dalton is at present far in the lead, with Elsie [Ferguson] a close second. What interest me is that while Henry will look at picture book endlessly and most intelligently, the films do not hold him five minutes -- and he is nearly three. At that age, Alice used to sit enraptured. He is certainly the oddest little fellow. All he asks of life is that his sisters leave him alone to amuse himself.
It would be lovely to have the children visit you some time in Bar Harbor -- that wonderful, beautiful spot. And perhaps you can bring little Ellen out here to Fairyland. I know she would love it. The Three all send their dearest love to you, Auntie, as do I, and I add my warmest greetings to Miss Smith.