In between times I ’ve been cheering up the home sickest young Swede that ever got loose from his native heath. So firmly did he believe that Japan was a land where necessity for work doth not corrupt nor the thief of pleasure break through and steal, he gave up a good position at home and signed a three-years’ contract with an oil firm. Now he is so sorry, all the pink has gone out of his cheeks. Until he grows used to the thought that living where the Sun flag floats is not a continuous holiday, the teachers here at school take turns in making life livable for him.
His entertainment means tramps of miles into the country, sails on the lovely Ujina Bay and climbs over the mountains. In the afternoon the boy is so in evidence, we almost fall over him if we step. Yesterday in desperation I tied an apron on him and let him help me make a cake. Even at that, with a dab of chocolate on his cheek and flour on his nose, his summer sky eyes were weepy whenever he spoke of his “Mutter.” I have done everything for him except lend him my shoulder to weep on. It may come to that. There is hope, however. One of our teachers is young and pretty.
Jack, in a much delayed epistle, tells me thrilling and awful things about the plague; says he walks through what was once a prosperous village, and now there is not a live dog to wag a friendly tail. Every house and hovel tenantless. Often unfinished meals on the table and beds just as the occupants left them. A great pit near by full of ashes and bones tells the story of the plague come to town, leaving silent, empty houses, and the dust-laden winds as the only mourners.
The native doctors gave a splendid banquet the other night. With the visiting doctors in full array of evening dress and decorations. Jack says it looked like a big international flag draped around the table. Everybody made a speech and Jack has not stopped yet shooting off fireworks in honor of that Englishwoman.
Well, maybe I should have studied science. It is too late now. Besides, I have Uncle on my hands, and I have to commit to memory pages on color printing that run like this: “Fine as a single hair or swelling imperceptibly till it becomes a broken play of light and shade or a mass of solid black, it still flows, unworried and without hesitation on its appointed course.”
Sada San is coining down nest week. I am looking forward to it with great delight and hunting for a plan whereby I can help her.
Suppose Uncle should give me a glad surprise and come too!
My dear Best Girl:
If ever a sailor needed a compass, I need the level head that tops your loving heart. I am worried hollow-eyed and as useless as a brass turtle.
It has been days since I heard from Jack. When he last wrote, he was going to some remote district out from Mukden. I dare not think what might happen to him. Says he must travel to the very source of the trouble.