Letters to His Children Part 20

LONGING FOR HOME

Campalla, Dec. 23, 1909.

BLESSEDEST ETHELY-BYE:

Here we are, the most wise Bavian--particularly nice--and the Elderly Parent, on the last stage of their journey. I am enjoying it all, but I think Kermit regards me as a little soft, because I am so eagerly looking forward to the end, when I shall see darling, pretty Mother, my own sweetheart, and the very nicest of all nice daughters--you blessed girlie. Do you remember when you explained, with some asperity, that of course you wished Ted were at home, because you didn't have anybody as a really intimate companion, whereas Mother had "old Father"? It is a great comfort to have a daughter to whom I can write about all kinds of intimate things!

This is a most interesting place. We crossed the great Nyanza Lake, in a comfortable steamer, in 24 hours, seeing a lovely sunset across the vast expanse of waters; and the moonlight later was as lovely. Here it is as hot as one would expect directly on the Equator, and the brilliant green landscape is fairly painted with even more brilliant flowers, on trees, bush, and vines; while the strange, semi-civilized people are most interesting. The queer little king's Prime Minister, an exceedingly competent, gorgeously dressed, black man, reminds Kermit of a rather civilized Umslopagaar--if that is the way you spell Rider Haggard's Zulu hero.

In this little native town we are driven round in rickshaws, each with four men pushing and pulling, who utter a queer, clanging note of exclamation in chorus, every few seconds, hour after hour.

THE LAST HUNT

Gondokoro, Feb. 27, 1910.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Here, much to my pleasure, I find your letter written after the snow-storm at Sagamore. No snow here! On two or three days the thermometer at noon has stood at 115 degrees in the shade. All three naturalists and Mr. Cunninghame, the guide, have been sick, and so Kermit and I made our last hunt alone, going for eight days into the Lado. We were very successful, getting among other things three giant eland, which are great prizes. We worked hard; Kermit of course worked hardest, for he is really a first-cla.s.s walker and runner; I had to go slowly, but I kept at it all day and every day. Kermit has really become not only an excellent hunter but also a responsible and trustworthy man, fit to lead; he managed the whole caravan and after hunting all day he would sit up half the night taking care of the skins. He is also the nicest possible companion. We are both very much attached to our gun-bearers and tent boys, and will be sorry to part with them.

QUENTIN GROWN-UP

New York, Dec. 23, 1911.

DEAR ARCHIE:

Quentin turned up last night. He is half an inch taller than I am, and is in great shape. He is much less fat than he was, and seems to be turning out right in every way. I was amused to have him sit down and play the piano pretty well. We miss you dreadfully now that Christmas has come. The family went into revolt about my slouch hat, which Quentin christened "Old Mizzoura," and so I have had to buy another with a less p.r.o.nounced crown and brim. We all drank your good health at dinner.

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