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This must be a love letter, short and sweet. I have been down to the French Hospital4 for a week getting over some of the shocks and difficulties of the trip home5, and the unpleasant surprise that very extensive and noisy repairs were going on in our apartment6 house.
When I was packing my bags to come down here I threw in one of my six copies
Sonnets8. I always carry a copy of
the Sonnets about with me. I memorized most of them many years ago and when
I occasionally forget a line, I like to have the text at hand so that I can
look it up quickly. The copy which I happened to bring down here I had not
opened or even seen for many years. It turned up by chance. When I was
looking up something in it yesterday, I noticed this blank end-page. The
writing on it set me thinking. I must have carried this same book when you
and I went to Dale Creek Canyon9 on
a "pass" so many
years ago10! I remember we rode home on the rear platform of some
little passenger train. It was a very starry night and fairly chilly, but we
sat out there and wondered about the future and how we could ever manage to
hang together, and
a living in a world which seemed to good deal like a greased pole, or a huge slippery glass sphere – so slippery that one might
slip into space at any moment- - - we seemed to have no way of hanging on to
This little end-page brought that time and its
present perplexities back to me very vividly. You
and Douglass11 and I felt awfully
responsible for the younger
brothers12 and sisters13, didn't we? We surely wanted to help.
Well, we have managed to hang on to the slippery globe a good while, and we have had our compensations as well as our disappointments.
Roscoe, my dear boy, I won't nag at you and I won't fuss over you, but I do think you ought to consider me a little bit and be careful14. In so far as I am concerned, you are absolutely the only bit of family I have left. You are the only one who goes back and understands. I love all the nieces15, to be sure, but that is quite different matter. You are the only prop I've got.Lovingly Willie
Dale Creek Canon, Wyo
Summit of the Rockies
August 30, 1898 XXIX16