June 15, 1918
Received your card informing me that you could not come to Fall River. That settled that. Yes, I was surprised to receive your letter, not because of receiving the letter right after the card, but, surprised when I read and noted the contents. Surprised, is putting it mild, – I was astonished, and furthermore, I had the least expected it. You shall have your way and the opportunity to do as your conscience dictates to you.
I promise you I shall have no hard feeling against you. No, there is nothing gained by that, and only makes matters worse. They are bad enough now.
Certainly it is your duty to tell me. I remember very well that you sometime ago had something to tell me, and I urged you to do so, but you did not tell me. Why not, then? Sooner the better. Yes, why did we correspond at all? Delay only makes such matters worse. I have had my summer’s vacation in mind for a long time, – now I shall have to make new plans. I thank you very much for informing me even at this eleventh hour. It is possible, however, that I could not have gotten a furlough any way, as they are not so easily gotten as at Camp Grant. Now I don’t care if I get it or not. Why, should I care, now.
Your conduct towards me and the contents of your letters since we met were such as to lead me to believe that I had a real friend in you, and, further, I gave you first place among my friends, and even forebore certain social activities while at Rockford for that reason. No, I did not know anything about your corresponding with another. If you think more of him than you do of me, you are doing right in dropping me, and it is your duty to do so, and only doing justice to yourself. You also are doing justice towards me in telling me, but the injustice towards me is that you held yourself out as a friend of mine, and I so believed.
You still ask me to treat you as a friend, for all this. I cannot treat you as an enemy, as I do not want enemies, and I assure you that my conduct towards you will not be that of an enemy, henceforth. I shall treat you as a gentleman should and further than that, the matter will be within my own discretion. All I can say as to that, all this, puts us both in a very embarrassing position in the eyes of those that know of our correspondence. Why do you want it not to be repeated? Don’t you think it is only proper for those that know of it, that they should also know of our severance? I’d rather have it that way, and thus not to deceive the public, especially those that have personal knowledge of the affair. I don’t want to be considered as going with you when I am not. And thus it will be made known.
I cannot do otherwise, as it is my way of doing, to be open and above board. I, too, have correspondence with friends that I have met from time to time, tho, for all that, I considered you as first. There is nothing wrong that I can see in corresponding with others, – life is too short to live in seculusion, as in a cave. As long as one is not engaged or has made advances, or otherwise so attached that it would cause heartaches in breaking up, I do not see anything wrong in corresponding with others.
So in conclusion I can only say your letter was a shock to me, and how I feel about it I will leave for your imagination. As I said before, I shall have no hard feeling against you, nor hold you out as an enemy. To overcome these two features, I must sacrifice which I always gladly do so as to please everyone. For me sacrifice is an easy matter, for I have made many, and I am doing so every day for my Flag, for my father, mother, sister, brother, for you, that you all may have and enjoy a world fit to live in. I may not enjoy it, however, when the war is over, I may not live thru it all. Now, why should I not sacrifice that much, and still think of you as you wish me to?
We must obey our parents, tho they may not realize our sentiments in matters of this kind. I believe, and am not afraid to say, that were it not for your obedience to your parents, you would not have written the letter you did. You think more of me than you do of anyone else, otherwise, what you said in a certain letter was stated incorrectly.
You should have your way, and I am secondary, only.
P. S. I had first intended not to answer this letter as it needs no answer, – it is complete in itself. But as you request the favor and ask me if I think you are doing right, I have expressed myself, and trust I have not written anything that may offend you in any way. However, I have only answered by way of comment, as you must be judge in the case and be directed by your own conscience. I can only judge the matter according to circumstances, – I cannot judge your conscience. You must settle that matter in your own mind. I shall not commit myself if you are doing right or wrong, tho I have pointed out facts as to the justice and injustice on both sides in view of present circumstances, – so you can be the judge, and as I have said before, – decide, and have your own way.
Please remember this: Even tho I am a big strong, robust and healthy man, of mature age, my heart is like that of the average human being; – kind, and tender and easily wounded. There remains in it a small piece of shell from the wound received recently. I shall over look it, and bear it, and try to forget all. All this at your request.
Postmarked Sparta, Wis., June 17, 1918