I have been sitting here for the last five minutes trying to remember which of the many letters I have written to you in my mind was actually [illegible] ↑transcribed↓ and sent. [illegible] When I finally progressed as the crab does to the one from Cedarville on my trip there to divide up with Homer I find myself simply appalled and incredulous. But I know that of all people you are the most understanding and forgiving [illegible].
I came home from Cedarville the day [after] I wrote you. [And] some trip it was, believe me, with Haryot sick, these dogs and children. But at last we arrived. I left the [house] in simply apple pie order thinking that Mary would probably open [illegible] it before I [illegible] did. But I soon saw after I got home that I would have to go back with the boys. Can you imagine what a job it was to arrange for and load [illegible] four freight cars? I [illegible] became apple to speak trippingly on the tongue of Red ball freight and so forth. Incidentally I comprehended for the first time the magic hold [railroading] has for its [illegible]. After the stage and the mine [illegible] no occupation has such an everlasting grip on its followers. Once a miner always a miner. Never in all my life have I [known] an actor or [page(s) missing]. [page 2]
Though ↑I honestly don't know↓ how I can possibly have let time fly by like this without telling you of how thrilled and [hold?] I was by [your] book. I began reading it one evening after I had the children to sleep and read straight on through until I finished it in the early morning. It is a tremendous [piece] of work. Much more gripping than any novel. I am not a fair judge because I [illegible] was so profoundly [illegible] in sympathy with your [point] of view that I saw with your eyes and easily felt your reactions as my own. But everyone with whom I have talked who has read it thinks too that it is a magnificent statement of a point of view that people were at last beginning to understand and [illegible] that many would never understand until they did read Peace and Bread. The mixture ↑in it↓ of frankness and restraint is certainly an accomplishment. [Pierre] (who was here again on his way east was enthusiastic about it and said if it had not already been [reviewed] for the Nation he was going to do one. (You probably [will?] see his things there from time to time.) [illegible] Willis [Hale], now assistant Professor in Yale in that Military department they have there (He is a Captain) visited us here (his mother died and he [brought?] her body to Pittsburg and I sent him off with a copy, and I did Major [page 3] Messick who visits us often. It is a book that will stand out with time [illegible] as time. How [illegible] well and how easily you do write! You make it all so vivid that one swings along with you scarcely conscious of reading.
I don't know whether or not I ever told you -- but the night you left Joplin, Dorothy North ↑and Manuel↓ and I discussed you [illegible] for at [least] an hour -- most lovingly, but most [thoroughly] and we were of one mind that if your inclination had happened to turn into the line of fiction you [could] have been one of the world's novelists. All that insight into character -- [illegible] and sense of the dramatic [illegible], that ability of [yours] to make people live -- heavens what could not you have done with it! And yet [illegible] certainly Peace and Bread is of more value and interest than anything Roland has done since the war. What a disappointment that novel [of] his was. And why on Earth did he create a hero he couldn't have any respect for? However, that is neither here nor there? Next to the Long Road of Woman's Memory -- which I think is a beautiful piece of work, I like it better than anything you have written. [page 4]
I had hoped so much to be able to get off to have a [glimpse] of you and to see Louise married, but it has just seemed impossible. I wrote her [Tuesday and sent her a wedding gift]. [illegible] I can just imagine how her marriage must have brought back to you Aunt Mary's and [Esther's] own. [illegible] A woman has a hard time of it if she ties up with a man lacking in stamina, however lovable and good ↑he may be.↓ [illegible] She seems a bit young to make such a momentous decision, [but] I saw last summer [illegible] when she and I discussed that matter, that it was written in the sand that it was to be. And after all, there is this to be said -- [page(s) missing?]