May 27, 1917.
Dearest Aunt Jane.
Alice is now twenty-eight hours old and we are convinced that she is a dandy little Dickie. You should see her. She has the most wonderful blue eyes. She came into the world with plenty of black hair on her scalp, but since yesterday it appears to have turned dark brown. Her hands are beautiful. Marcet and Mrs. Fox agree that they are grandmother's hands -- long, artistic fingers and exquisite finger nails. She has the chest of a prize fighter and the voice of a circus barker. Ruth Jones, who was here when it happened, says that she has forty horse-power lungs, and I believe her.
She came into the world with one eye closed tight and the other as open as a plate. When her head popped out she greeted us with a short cranky call, and when Marcet made another effort and released the shoulders, Alice tumbled forth and cried her dissatisfaction with the rough treatment accorded her. She soon settled down to nursing her thumbs.
I have measured her and she is twenty inches long. Mrs. Fox says this is unusually long. She adds that the average boy is hardly more than nineteen. The Doctor says the infant is perfect in every respect. Last night at 10 o'clock, Marcet invited Alice to supper and she accepted quite promptly. It now appears that Marcet will have no difficulty in nursing the precious darling.
Doctor Owensby was better than we had even expected. He really did do a perfect job. In fact, everything about this birth was satisfactory. Mrs. Fox, however, is within her rights when she divides the honors with the Doctor, for she performed brilliantly. Marcet had every thing just as she had planned. Ruth played the Victrola right up to the last moment. In fact, Alice was born to Shubert's Unfinished Symphony. Chopin, Beethoven, Dvorak, Rubenstein and Wagner helped to supply the atmosphere Marcet wanted. And, between records it was Ruth's business to hurry to our little mother and powder her perspiring nose. Marcet wouldn't even dream of having her baby with her own nose all shiny. As she was going into the second stage, Marcet held a white flower in her left hand. Being a little more practical I held her right hand and pulled for shore. Every bone in my spine is aching because Marcet as you well know, is [page 2] as strong as a Japanese wrestler. As for my fingers, they are slowly regaining their old form. Marcet had on her silk frou-frous and boudoir cap. Her hair was curled just as hostilities opened, so that she might look nice. And she did.
A half hour after Alice was born, Marcet was thoroughly alert. It has simply amazed us all. I am not telling you [a] fairy tale when I say that Marcet did not cry or moan even once. This, to be sure, is the result of her strength, her Doctor, and her pride especially her pride.
The town was quite excited when the news went out. Everybody knew it before five o'clock. When I went out for a walk just before dinner I was received so smilingly that I thought, for a moment, that I was a winning candidate for Congress. I felt awfully proud. In fact, I remained around the square a little too long just to let the Giriardians get plenty of looks at the father. The women are now using their best diplomacy, their subtlest stratagems in order to get into Marcet's room. Mrs. Fox, as you know, is quite large enough and emphatic enough to hold them on the out side of the threshold. One woman got half way down the hall this afternoon, but Ruthie came to the rescue in this case, and steered the dear old lady into the wrong room.
Everybody is happy but the cat. She realizes now that she must take a back seat. She won't even look at the baby. She merely went over and sniffed Alice a few times and decided there was no reason for any sort of an offensive or defensive alliance. She looks on these important matters rather indifferently. She refuses to get excited over one baby when she herself has had a litter of six kittens.
I see that the War Department does not plan to conscript married men -- at least for the first call. This pleases me immensely as I would not relish being taken away from little Alice and her brave, sweet mother. Next week I begin my two months course at Pittsburg. I shall go into it meaning business for I intend to learn a lot about animals -- their upkeep and their wear and tear.
You have been a wonderful aunt to us. And now you are a great aunt! And grandmother is a great grandmother! We wonder how she accepted the fact that our beautiful baby is not going to be a gentleman.
Marcet and I would love to have you come for a visit. You must. We won't be able to get to Cedarville before August. The [page 3] earlier you come the more comfortable you will be as it is needless for me to tell you that we have early and hot summers.
This letter is terribly jumbled. But you will forgive me. I am still jumpy.
Marcet joins me in sending great gobs of love to the great aunt of little Alice who has just announced the fact that she wants to break the monotony of things by having a little dinner.