Anna Marcet Haldeman to Jane Addams, January 30, 1916




Jan. 30, 1916.

Dearest Aunty:

I had a wonderful visit with Miss Landsberg in Chicago, and an even nicer one with the Culbertsons in Emporia. The day after I arrived there I had a good talk with Mr. Wayman, and saved both of us a lot of tedious correspondence. And, then, in the afternoon had a delightful talk with Wm. Allen White. I found everything at home going on very smoothly, although my Clubs certainly did need pulling together, especially the youngest ones.

I had an awfully funny experience about two weeks ago. Mr. Haney telephoned down in the morning to ask if I would come over to the District Court and interpret for a French witness in [illegible] case he was trying. I said "certainly", but do you [know it?] was the first time I had ever happened to be on the witness stand, and though I knew the Judge and all the lawyers and was only interpreting at that, it gave me an awfully queer feeling. The next Monday when I got down to the Bank I found that Mr. Schaeffer had had to go home, he felt so ill, and Will ventured the information that he thought he was coming down with pneumonia, but that Mr. Schaeffer refused to have a doctor. I was thoroughly provoked at such stubbornness, and at the same time really worried, for you know Mr. Schaeffer has to be terribly sick before he will give up, so I sent Max out for an electric stove, some Musterole, absorbent cotton, milk, etc. etc. "What are you going to do" asked Will, his eyes getting as big as saucers. "I am going over at noon to look after him," I explained. "I will take Max along so the town can't gossip, and anyway if it does gossip I don't care", but just the same such is the force of public opinion, that I suppose I have never done any one single thing that took more courage of a certain sort than to actually go up to his room. I found him all hunched up in his big chair before a fire, looking sick as could be and as lonely and uncared for as the way I used to feel last summer. I told Max he must go right away and get Dr. Adamson. Mr. Schaeffer objected firmly, -- insisted he was not going to have a doctor. I said "How you do talk, don't you realize you are much too important to too many people to behave like this, it's childish", and I told Max again to go and he did. Dr. Adamson said it was a bad case of grippe and that we would have to be careful or it might turn into pneumonia and told [me to?] make packs for his chest and left various medicines. When [illegible] [I] said "Now, Mr. Schaeffer Max will get you into bed, I will wait out in the hall, and then when you are ready I will come in and take care of you." You know, Aunty, I really am a ripping good nurse, and when we left he was [page 2] in fine shape, but I found Will nearly snowed under. To make a long story short, that was an awfully poor week. I did most of his work at the Bank, and cooked all his lunches and suppers and did all the other things that a trained nurse would have done, for he steadily refused to have one. It was awfully funny to watch the town adjust itself. I guess they hatched it over pretty thoroughly. Then, they capitulated, and I had numerous telephone calls. "Would he like this, would he like that, might they send jelly, etc. and so on,["] and finally, when Mr. Goodkind had a quail shot for him and Mrs. Goodkind prepared it, she asked if I thought it would be quite alright for her to take it up. I said, "Well, why not, I go in and out all the time". And one thing has come of it. I take Mrs. Shoemaker now on Tuesday mornings and give that room a thorough cleaning that lasted a week, for old Uncle Benny the darky who looks after it is just as lazy as a nigger can be, and everybody accepts it now as quite alright. [written between paragraphs] ↑after Mrs Shoe --↓

I think Miss Emilee sized up most people's feelings when she said, "Oh, well Marcet you can do things that the rest of us can't". I said "Do you know why I can" because I do them. A week ago Saturday ↑I [illegible]↓ I [let] the "Jolly Club" give its first public dance, with much fear and trembling too, for it was a three weeks pay day. We hired the big hall. You know those pay-day dances are generally disgraceful affairs. Everyone -- even the women -- get gloriously drunk, and there are all sorts of fracases. I went out very early in the morning, and the boys and girls helped me decorate the hall with orange and cream tissue paper. It really did look beautiful, but one of the boys said "Say, Miss [Haldeman] you don't the boys will ever let these stay do you, they will have them torn down in no time". "No", I said "I don't think they will tear them down at all". If a thing is really lovely enough people enjoy it too much to want to spoil it. [written in left margin] ↑[illegible] my dear↓ is just the way her name sounds I was on my way↓

Had an awfully poor day that day at the bank, and was awfully tired when evening came, but as the crowd began to gather, I pulled myself together and began to enjoy it too. I had taken out lunch clothes for the two tables on which we served the pop ↑which by courtesy we call punch & paper drinking cups but the sparkle punch bowl full of bright [illegible] pop,↓ and I had a place on one side of the hall for the men to put their wraps and another for the women. My own boys set the cue ↑quite an innovation -- as both generally [illegible] them on --↓ for the others, and although there were about two hundred people there, and at least eighty on the floor all the time, you have never seen a more orderly, well behaved, crowd. There were whole families came, and I had five babies ↑[there?]↓ in baby buggies [written in margin ↑1 Father with baby↓ tucked [page 3] away at my end of the hall [written in margin at top of paragraph] ↑[two each?] of [illegible] around me, between the punch & the orchestra -- one father.↓ You know I always dance myself, because I can feel the pulse better so, and everything went merry as a wedding bell until 11 o'clock. By that time a few of the men were beginning to show the effects of their frequent visit to the "blind tiger" next door. I am not supposed to know it is there, but I know those camps like a book, and, of course, the best I could do was not to have anything served at the dance itself. I was standing quietly, resting just a moment, when one of my girls caught me by the arm and said in a throaty excited voice, "oh, Miss [Haldeman], Tony [Ryder] is killing a man outside". I know Tony from away back. When he is sober, there isn't a finer miner in the County, but he had already been "up" for assault, when drunk, and is just about as dangerous as a human being can be when he is full of liquor. I thought I should never get to the end of the hall, [written in left margin] ↑against all this "youth"↓ but I walked slowly and calmly down it to the door. ↑[illegible]↓ Outside, at least thirty of my boys and girls were grouped in the moonlight around something. I sent one after the other in as quickly as I could until I came to the center of the knot myself. Sure enough, there was Tony [Ryder] grappled with another man I didn't know, and it certainly looked as if in another moment he would have the life strangled out of him. It made me perfectly furious to see those other miners stand by and do nothing. I said, "My God, you get busy here quick", "you think I am going to have a tragedy". I guess there was something sharp and commanding in my voice, for they made a sort of concerted rush and the next moment, two groups were sprawling in the mud, one holding Tony [Ryder], who was struggling madly to get free of them, and the other group holding the other man. [written in left margin] ↑moonlight cold Jan.↓ Just at that inopportune moment the [illegible] music stopped, and word having been spread by the ones that had gone in what was going on outside, the whole mob avalanched toward the door. I knew they simply must not come out then [written in right margin] ↑[the miners [two illegible words] dramatic↓-- so I stood just in the doorway and said, "I am sorry, but you can't come out". "What is going on", they demanded. "There has been a fight", I said, "but it is over", and you can't come out until after the next dance." "We want to see", they exclaimed. "You can't", I told them, and stood my ground, -- my arms out on each side to block the way. I have had a good many thrilling moments in my life, but I have never been more [conscious] of the sense of absolute power than at that moment, as that crowd could have swept me aside in an instant, -- sullenly turned back. I went in quickly myself, and told the boys they must start another dance right away, which they did. It was only a few minutes more, until we closed. Tony had come back in, subdued but not conquered, and when I was ready to close up refused to go out. [written at bottom of page] ↑at home -- against all [this]↓ [page 4]

"Come, Mr. [Ryder]", I said, "I want to close up". He refused to budge, and one of the girls whispered [frighteningly] in my ear, "oh, don't talk to him, he is liable to hurt you", but I said "Come, Mr. [Ryder], aren't we friends," "Sure" he muttered. "Well, then," I said, "Come on," -- and he got up and shambled out. But, the last thing I saw, as we left on the car was that he had clinched again with his enemy. On the car was Mrs. [Ryder] -- just coming home from Pittsburg, -- her arms full of bundles looking serene and happy. I felt almost as if I wanted to tell what condition Tony would be in when he got home. Then, I thought, no, -- it is none of my affair. All the people in the camps say it was the nicest dance they ever had, and want to know if we can't have one every pay-day. We cleared about $25.00, which I am sending you in a draft, and want you to put $10.00 into Italian books, $10.00 into French books and $5.00 into Australian books, and send as soon as you can.

I am here just now in Kansas City. I came up Thursday night for the Executive Board Meeting to be held at the Exchange Bank, Kansas City, Kans. Friday. It was an awfully interesting meeting, and we got a lot accomplished. Mr. Proudy had arranged a lunch for us all, and there were just sixteen of us sat down to the table, -- fifteen men and myself. I stayed over yesterday, because I wanted to talk to Mr. Jobes about some cattle paper, and decided I would just take a Sunday off, and loaf and rest. It seemed awfully nice to get your letter, and I read in the paper of the honor the Scientist Congress had given you.

I hear from Mary very regularly now, and always her letters are full of good news of grandmother. My lovely pussy is still a joy.

With a heart full of love -- write me soon.


↑all this time -- Julius & I church night. [illegible]-bird↓