He told me it was unkind to have given him the slip as we did, and that he had had “quite a worry” to “come up with” us—but if I imagined he was going to let me get out of range again I was mistaken! You can’t think, Mamma, how difficult it was to screw up my courage to tell him I was married—he has such nice brown eyes;—and although his language is more remarkable than anything you ever heard, he is not the least little bit common. At last I blurted it out straight and explained and asked him to forgive me. He looked away at the sea for quite five minutes and his jaw was square as a box. Then he turned round and held out his hand. “Say,” he said, “I expect you didn’t mean to play a low down trick on me but it has hit pretty straight anyway. We’ll shake hands and I reckon I’ll keep out of your track for a day or so till I size up things and put them on the new elevation.” And then he went away, saying, “Good evening, Lady Valmond.” I could have cried, Mamma, I felt so small and paltry. He is a great big splendid creature and I wish I had not been so silly as to pretend in the beginning. Octavia thinks him delightful. He never appeared for two days—then he came up as if nothing had happened; only he looks at my hat or my chin or my feet now and never into my eyes as before, and he calls me Lady Valmond every other minute—and that is irritating. We shall get in to-morrow and this will be posted at Sandy Hook, so good-night, dearest Mamma.
Your affectionate daughter,
PLAZA HOTEL, NEW YORK
Dearest Mamma,—We are here now, so this is where to address your letters. We went to another hotel first but we could not stand the impudence of the servants, and having to shout down the telephone for everything instead of ringing a bell—and here it is much nicer and one is humanly waited on.
America is too quaint. Crowds of reporters came on board to interview us! We never dreamed that they would bother just private people, but it was because of the titles, I suppose. Tom was furious but Octavia was delighted. She said she wanted to see all the American customs and if talking to reporters was one of them, she wanted that, too. So she was sweetly gracious and never told them a word of truth.
They were perfectly polite, but they asked direct questions, how we liked America (we had not landed!), how long we were going to stay, what was our object in coming there, what we thought of the American divorce, etc., etc. All but two were the same type: very prominent foreheads, deep set eyes, white faces, origin South of France or Corsican mixed with Jew to look at, with the astounding American acuteness added, and all had the expression of a good terrier after a rat—the most intense concentration.
When we actually landed female ones attacked us, but Octavia who, as you know, doesn’t really care for women, was not nearly so nice to them, and their articles in the papers about us are virulent!