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The Lightning Conductor Discovers America

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Dearest Mercédes:

It will be days, also nights (worse luck, for my cabin chirps like a cricket, sings like a canary, and does a separate realistic imitation of each animal in the Zoo!), before we get to New York. But I have crochet cramp and worsted wrist from finishing a million scarfs since we sailed, so I feel it will ease the strain to begin a letter to you. I dare say, anyhow, I shan't close it till the last minute, with a P. S. to say we're arriving safely—if we do! One never knows nowadays. And we have on board a man who's been torpedoed twice. I hope he isn't the kind to whom everything happens in threes. By the way, he's the Ship's Mystery, and this letter can't be a complete record of the voyage unless I tell you about him. Place aux dames, however. There's a girl I want to tell you about first. Or had I better polish off our own family history and make a clean sweep of ourselves before beginning on anybody else? On second thoughts, I will!

Jack's getting better splendidly. I can't say he's getting well, for that will take a long time yet, I'm sorry to—but no, to be an Honest Injun, I'm not sorry. I'm glad—glad! He's done his "bit"—quite a large bit—for his country, and if his bones and muscles were knitting as rapidly as I knit socks for soldiers, he would insist on rushing back to do another bit. Of course he wouldn't have consented to come over here, even for the three months I've made him (figuratively speaking) "sign on for," if the doctors hadn't all said he'd be a crock for months. Even he has to admit that he may as well crock in America as anywhere else; and I've persuaded him that I can't possibly decide what to do with the place Cousin John Randolph Payton left me on Long Island without his expert advice. It may be the first time I was ever unable to decide a thing by myself, but there must be a first time, you know. And I'm simply purring with joy to have Jack at my mercy like this, after all I went through with him at the front. We shall celebrate a wedding day presently. Ten years married, and I adore Jack just ten times more than I did the day I exchanged a Lightning Conductor for a husband.

He does look too interesting since he was wounded! All the girls gaze at him as if he were a matinee idol or a moving-picture star, and naturally they don't think I'm worthy of him in the least—an opinion in which I agree. Luckily, he doesn't. I believe he admires me as much as I do him. And really, I'm not so bad to look at, I notice, now I've begun to live again and don't need to worry over Jack every instant. I had feared it might be necessary to own up to twenty-nine, only two years short of my real age, which would be so wasteful. But thank goodness, I see now I can safely retreat in good order back to twenty-five, and stay there for some time to come. I always did feel that if girl or woman found a nice, suitable age, she ought to stick to it!

That's all about us, I think. So, speaking of girls, I'll tell you about the one I mentioned....