Dear Godchild by Marguerite Bernard and Edith Serrell - HTML preview

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July 5, 1917.

Deer godchild,

How are you? I dont see that their is enny fun in life enny more. I erned $1.56 pickin cheries off the Burtons black chery tree and I thot that wood make 70 cents fer you and I would spend the rest on fire crakers, wel Toby that is the Burtons mastif that is always chened up, broke loose and I guess he remembered when Johnny Smith and me had swiped some cheries last yere when he was chened up, becaus he give one yip and come and set rite under that tree, and he set their and grinnd at me al afternoon, and bimeby their was a thunder shower and I had on my blew pants that was made from dads that had got too tite fer him, and I thot when it begin to rain Toby wood beat it, but he just set their and didnt move till bimeby mister Burton come along and yankt him away by the color. Wel I had pickt the cheries al-rite but I was soked clear through and the color had come off my pants and on my legs. It is feerce to have blew legs. Wel I thot I wood stop and boy a canon craker and a pistol and I wasnt going to fire them off before the 4th. but ole Max Dinkelheim was walking kind of slow in front of me and I thot I wood try the pistol just once to see if it workt, so I walkt a little faster and shot it off bingo and you shood have seen ole Max jump! He give one flop in the air and hol ered, A bom! A bom! I guess he thot I was a submareen, and when he saw it was me beat it after me and we run al the way home, and Max he run rite into dad and sed, Where is that boy I will teech him to molest a peaceful citizen. And dad sed, What has he done? And he told him and sed, I am going to give him the best lickin of his life, and dad rol d up his sleeves and sed, Not till you lick me first! And Max kind of lookd at dad just like in the dream and I guess he was scart, so he sed, If you will promise to see he is punisht I will leve it to you, and dad sed, I promise, and Max left and dad he come up and was mad as ole get out, and he took my pistol and canon away and I had ruther he had give me a lickin because after too days you can set down and are al-rite again. We have just herd the Yanks have landid somewhere in France. Say, if you want to see a bunch of rele fiters you just go take a look at them, and you mite tell your brother Jules to take a look at them two as he might get some idees from them. I cant tel you what all those words mean, gee whiz is just gee whiz and a feler is a guy who is about 12 or 18, and a bum is a feler or something that is no good, and a pollywog is a animal that is going to be a frog, and pooh-pooh is pooh-pooh, and bughouse means you have rats in the upper story, and you had better find out about the getysberg adress and the boy scouts and mebbe and the dickens yourself but I wood go easy on them if I was you. What you want to go askin me all those things fer ennyway? I aint askin you what the vacancies, or all of a hit, or pending, of enny of those things are, am I? I got your photo and I like the way your hare curls and your eyes two and everythin, and I am glad you are not laffin. Girls that giggle are the limit. I have only one photo of myself and I look as if I wood dye grinning becaus the man that took it was jumpin up and down and sayin, Look hear! Look hear! Say wood you rel y like to have it? I dont think you wood, I dont see what good I am ennyway. I am two young to inlist and I dont think you relly like me. I guess mebbe I had better go to sea or something.

Your affeckshunate godfather,

James P. Jackson Jr.

P.S. I went butterflying to-day and had good luck.

18 rue d'Autancourt, Paris.

August 2, 1917.

Dear godfather:

You know what it is the "cafard?" In the dictionary it say it is a

"roach" and that is the little beast black like your pol ywogs, I think. But in the Poilu talk it means not that. When there is no more fun in life, and I am not good for anything anyhow, like you say, that is what they call to have the "cafard." And it is very bad in the army. It is to have a bad morale and we must wind ourselves up.

Dear godfather, you must be content because I love you much. And you take so much pain and you labor so hard to entertain[17] me, I want make you happy in your heart so you have no more the "cafard." Dear godfather, I will tel you the American Poilus have come. On Monday last we hear the music on the road and the mistress tell us this afternoon al the children must put on aprons clean, and we go to see pass the Americans. And Maman give me five sous for purchase a bouquet for give them in souvenir of my dear godfather, and the fleuriste give me two roses red and I envelope them in a paper wet for hold them fresh. And all the little girls march in rank like soldiers, two by two, on to the road where the Americans come. And the gendarmes march before us to make spread open the crowd so we come. And we stand in rank and it make a very long line and shake the flag American and wait. The sun was brilliant and very hot and after a very long moment, we hear the big music come around the corner, and al bodies were screaming: "Vive l'Amerique! Vive les Etats Unis! Hurrah Sammies!" and the gentlemen throw up their hats in air. And all of a hit we see the banner of stars coming down the street, and I look and all the little girls at a time kneel themselves on the sidewalk. And I make the sign of the cross, and the little girls at back of me laugh and mock at me, but the mistress say it is right; the sign of the cross is good for the flag too. And when the flag is pass we arise and say hurrah also, and one soldier American regard me with a smile. Then I take my courage with two hands and cast away the roses on him, and he catch and kiss me with his hand, and put the roses in his coat. His name is Teddy and I love him much. I know because he come see me, because I write my name (with two es) and adresse tied to the roses. My Maman was very much surprise when she see Monsieur Teddy come and ring to the door. He is very well elevated and very beautiful. He has buckled hairs[18] and a line on one side and his figure is razed.[19] His uniform is the color of the ground; it is not so much pretty as the French Poilus who are the color of the sky. And his hat is tied, like a bonnet of old woman, with a shoe-lace in the back. But I love him all of same. He take me on his knees and say: "Parlez vous francais"

and he begin to recite the verb "avoir," because he know nothing more of French. And so I say I know very wel the American and I talk at him and he laugh very strong. And he give me a piece of bonbon very droll. It is mint but it is like elastic; I eat a great number of pieces because I want not to offence him, and Teddy all of a hit become very much frightened: "What," he say, "You did swal ow the chewing gum!" And I say: "Natural y I swal ow the bonbon!" And Teddy say a bad English word and run away without his hat and he come back with a bottle of ipecac and I will not take because I know what it make do. And poor Teddy was very much desolated; he come every day to get of my news, and to-day he bring the bonbons French that we swal ow. To-day he ask me will I be his little adopted girl the year next when you have finish with me and I say, "Mebbe I will." And he say, "Bully for you, you're a peach!" I make him write because it is the American and not in the dictionary.

Goodbye, dear godfather,

Your affeckshunate godchild,

Andree Leblanc.

P.S. I am surprise you ask who is M. le Cure. Only the pagans have not knowledge of him. Are you one pagan? I think you say that to make laugh. It is very bad to mock yourself of M. le Cure.

[17] entertain (_entretenir_) to support.

[18] Buckled hairs (_cheveux boucles_) curly hair.

[19] His figure is razed (_sa figure est rasee_) his face is shaved.

To Mr. James P. Jackson Jr.

Dear Sir:

Due to the great confusion and delay existing in the mails at the present time, we have not until now been able to repair our error concerning your godchild. We take pleasure in announcing that we are now in a position to supply you with a boy as formerly requested.

As to the little girl, we can no doubt provide for her until other arrangements can be made. Elderly gentlemen, we find, are particularly fond of adopting little girls.

Hoping you will pardon our delay, and inform us as soon as possible concerning your wishes in this matter, we beg to remain, Sincerely yours,

The Junior Committee for The

Fatherless Children of France.

Greenville Falls, N.Y.

Deer Miss Secretary,

It is more than kind of you to bother about changing my girl into a boy, but it cant be done because I have changed my mind about it, but I thank you all the same. You see it is this way, at fust I wanted a boy and I was kinder sore after setting my heart on one to get a girl, but the girl you give me is diferent from most girls, she seams to have a lot of rele sense, and I have got kinder used to her, and, wel I woodnt like to have her unprovided and waitin fer a old gentleman to adop her. Some old gentlemen are auful cranks. Old Sam Burton who is our naybor is the limit. He has had 5 wives and Mother sez Lord only nos what he has done with them, enneway we dont. And she has sort of been takin it ezy while I was suportin her and the change wood come hard to her, I mene my godchild not Sam Burton's wife. Ennyway the yere is most over and you no how folks talk. Fust thing I new they wood say, young Jackson's a fikle feller. Thot he'd adop a orfan and now hes swaped his girl fer a boy. You no how people will talk, so I guess I can stand my godchild fer this yere ennyway, and after that we shal see. Of corse I was simply sterilized when I lernt she was a girl, but even a girl is preferable to a boy that wore shawls and sed everything was prety and kist you with the botom of his heart. She has cut that out now, and I am gettin her in prety good shape. Explaning whats what to her and every thing. So I guess we can manige but I am obliged to you fer the asking.

Yours truly,

James P. Jackson Jr.

Greenville Falls, N.Y.

Sept. 5, 1917.

Deer godchild,

Your letter reeched me safely, and I was releeved to here the boys had got safely "over there." Of corse we have had some few notes, pertikerly from Hanky Jones you no the feller that drove the hearse I tole you about. Wel he is drivin somewhere over the top in France, not a hearse but a truck, and oh boy, he sez the swel est funeral he ever drove fer cant hold a candel to drivin a truck with Fritz bulets bingin al round you and he sez, I received the kit you sent me and It is a great comfort (the kit is not a cat but a assortment of handkerchiefs and tooth brushes and everything a soldier gets and Mother sent him his and so he rote to thank her) an he sez if I go over the top with the best of luck and get enuf leave to come home I will give Myself the pleasure of cal ing on you, and showin you what a Greenville soldier looks like. My reciprocity shal never end. And he goes on tellin how french cookin agrees with him and the censer didnt cut that out, but he cut out the best part I guess. Ennyway the censer must have a soft spot fer you because he never cuts enny part of yours out. I guess ennyway you must be a pretty poplar girl you have so many frens, that think a lot of you, theres your brother Jules and that Mr.

le Cure and that guy Teddy and me. I was sort of thinkin about you and me the other day and I rote a verse of poitry about us and here it is, REALIZATION

By James Prendergast Jackson, Jr.

_Im over here, and your "over there"

And I no not the shade of your eyes or your hare.

But this much I relize, from the land of the Free!

You are imbibed with mystery_!

I think that sums up the situation. I have supported you one yere and you dont no me, and I dont no you, and mebbe you will never mete me and mebbe I will never mete you, and while I am tryin to think how I can get over there along comes that feler Teddy and gets his eye on you and sez, Guess Il have her for my godchild, and Bul y fer you your a peach! and you fall fer it of corse, and I have to take a back seat. I guess that is life, but I tell you it is pretty tuf sometimes and a feler who is twelve yeres old has more trubbles than you think.

But I guess if you want to be his godchild I wont stand between you.

Mebbe you wood like a list of how I have suported you? Here is some of it, mindin chickins, sel ing Mirrors, choppin wood, frezin ice-cream fer Crankit & sons, pickin cheries, money from Carl Odell fer keepin quiet, polishin door handels, a mud turtle to Sid Perkins, a jar of pol ywogs to Sid Perkins, he wants to build an aquarium, and I washt the winders of missis Perkins big, white house one weak when I was hard up, but I dont think I shal ever be hard up again as mister Parker has ofered to take me on the Mirror staff whenever I like, as he sez I talk like a book agent. I wish I cood leve school and go into bizness or to war or something. I dont seem to get much out of school somehow. Miss Davis sez to mother, Mebbe your son has deefective eyes but she sez to me, You are a blockhed. I guess miss Davis is off the trolly or something, Dad sez she has Fritz blood because she is distently related to the Dinkelheims. I was sory to hear you had swal erd all that gum, but was glad to see you got away with it, that feler was the limit to give it to you, it is not a thing to give to a godchild. Fust thing you no when he is your godfather he will feed you a shoestring or something, and you will be two polite to say no and you will dye. I hate to think of you ending that way it dont seem rite somehow. Say what does he want to buckle his hare and line it up one side fer? He must think his hed is a race track. Gee whiz I hate to think of the Yanks comin runnin over there with felers like that among them. I have been in swimmin with Dinky Odell in old Frost Lake to-day and he stumpt me to swaller a skipper and sed I bet a quarter you will not, so I swal erd one and it didn't test ennything at al , only it kind of crawled up and down my throte fer awhile and o Boy! didnt he tickel though! The next time I swaller a skipper I shal chew him fust, if you dont they walk inside of you as if they was saying "where do we go from hear?" Say you were pretty smart about catching on about my jokin about Mr. le Cure. Corse I dont no him as well as you do, caus you no and I no he has lived on the other side more than hear, but I guess if we was to pass on the street, we wood no each other wel enuf to say, Hello, old top, how are you to-day? Say, I have got your Christmas present all pickt out, do you no what I wish you wood give me fer mine? See if you can guess.

Your affeckshunate godfather as ever,

James P. Jackson Jr.

18 rue d'Autancourt, Paris.

September 21, 1917.

My dear godfather:

I thank you for your long letter, and I give it to Monsieur Teddy so he read and see how much you are genteel. He regard the letter and regard me and his figure become very drol , like he want laugh or cry very much and he dare not and must retain himself, and he demand if he can keep the letter in his pocket for tomorrow, because he desire to envoy you a response with mine. He is very amiable and charming, think you not? He come to my house al the days now and always he bring something. Sunday he bring a pate like we eat on days of fete before the war; and he remain for aid us eat it. And yesterday he bring a great ribbon all white for tie on my hairs. He say in Amerique all the little girls carry on the summit of the head a ribbon big like a hat.

He want not I keep for the Sundays but he tie me up and then he say I am pretty--jol y he say, and he demand I show him to speak the French.

So he commence to read my book of when I was little, the "Lectures Enfantines" and I make him say the little poetry that is on the page 3

and it say: "Cher petit oreiller," and then my great sister enter and she have on her bodice of Sundays and very much the powder of rice on the nose. And she say: "Go in the bed-chamber and amuse yourself, and I talk with this Monsieur Americain." And I want not to go, and I cry, but she say if I obey not she will tel Monsieur Teddy come back never again. She is a villain, my great sister. I will defend that she aid me to write my letters to you; I have not business of her. I have as much as her knowledge of the English, and the American also. And Monsieur Teddy love me, nothing but me. When he get up to go away he call: "Where is that child of the gods?" (He make that game of words because I have perhaps two godfathers) And I come, and he console me.

Thursday last it was my birthday. Monsieur Teddy devined it because he ask me how much age I have and I say I will have twelve years the 18, and he say in Amerique it is always a great feast and I must to eat a cake very big with snow and ice on it and candles, and so he bring it. I was washing the vessels,[20] and he come in the kitchen and make many foolishness. He whip me (to make laugh) twelve times with a little stick so I grow very big all the year. And then he make me hide my eyes in my apron, and when I open them, I see the cake, big and white like--oh like I know not what--and the twelve candles pink were illuminated and there was my name with the two es writ in chocolate on the snow. And Monsieur Teddy bring also the cold cream; it is rose like the candles and perfumed with vanilla and strawberries. Oh dear godfather, I wanted you be here and have some! Only one time before when I was little I did eat the cold cream and never when it is the war did we eat cake. And it is good like to be in Paradise!

But alas! Monsieur Teddy soon will go beat himself[21] with the boches! It is terrible to think because he is so good and beautiful!

I told you he have little wings white on him, because he go up in the air?

Goodbye, dear godfather,

Your affeckshunate godchild,

Andree Leblanc.

[20] Washing the vessels (_laver la vaissel e_) washing the dishes.

[21] Beat himself (_se battre_) to fight.

Greenville Falls, N.Y.

October 6, 1917.

Deer godchild,

I am sending you this letter in anser to yours quick, becaus I think if you are not careful that Teddy will poison you with his eats.

The gum was bad enuf and I was jokin when I sed what I did about the shoestring, but cross my heart and hope to dye, that feedin you cold cream is the wust I ever herd, and what makes me feel so bad is there is no one to warn you and he is stringin you on. Gee whiz, it makes me sick to think of it! I have not been able to eat fer two days, yesterday we had pancakes fer brekfast and I cood not eat enny and mother sed, I wonder what ales James? And dad sed, In the spring a yung mans fancy, and mother sed quick, It is not spring, Prendy, it is fal , and I think it is his stummick that is turned and dad sed, No it is his heart I have found his poitry, and mother sed, Well you may be rite but I shal give him a dose of caster oil, You no the oil of the caster, just like you had the oil of the codfish only this tests like sam scratch see? Wel I had to swal er some and it was feerce and fer too cents I wood twist that tel er Teddy's nose and stick my finger in his eye. Gee whiz, and he wares white wings dose he, and jumps up in the air. Some angel beleeve me, say mebbe he is a angel that has fal en from the sky? or a acrobat from Barnums? only I guess if he comes from Barnums he must be a freak al-rite. Ennyway until this yere ends you are my godchild and I am your godfather, and I forbid you to tuch enny more of that Teddys eats, understand? If you are hungry you just tel me, and I will send you the proper food; and it will not be gum, or cold-cream or candels ether, I can tell you. Why even Mr. le Cure wood no enuf not to give you enny of those things. That Teddy is not fit to have a godchild, and that is the hole story in a nutshell.

I dunno just what I shall do if he rites to me. Mebbe I will anser and mebbe I wont. I guess I shal tel miss Betty about it. Have I ever tole you about her? She lives in the big house on the hill next to Sid Perkins and she has hare like, well like what you sed about Jean's, like gold and sunshine, and big blue eyes and the cutest little chin with a dimple rite in the middle, and when she smiles she makes me think of the ferry queens you read about in books. I guess miss Betty is the prettiest girl on earth al-rite. She was one of the folks what let me give there dorenobs a extra polish, and she nos all about you and now I have tole her about that Teddy, and she sez, I no just how you feel about him Jimmy. It is a grate comfort to have someone understand you if your family do not. And I askt her if she new enny poitry in french I cood send you by way of conversashun, and she sez, I remember just one, and here it is,

_"Je vous aime, je vous adore,

Que voulez vous done encore?"_

I thot that was kind of short but she sed if I sent this to you you mite send that feler Teddy packin, but I guess you wont. I dont no when I have had so much bad luck as I have had lately. Fust their was the hoopincoff, then my blew legs, then I lost my firecrakers, and now I guess I am going to lose you al-rite. I fergot to tell you their is a new preecher hear called Herbit Hoover and he is a minister of the gospel of the Clean Plate, and al us school boys have been distributin little papers about it, the idee is, if you do not beleeve in it you eat meat and wheat and everythin, and if you beleeve a little you have meatless days and eat rye and no wheat, and if you get the religion rele hard you lick your plate clean and eat pretty near nothing at all. Ennyway nobody must eat sugar. Dad sez it is becaus sugar has turned to dimonds, so we have sirup insted and it is pretty good, the pancakes I was tellin you about was made with that. Mother sez the sugar situashun is going to be rele bad. I hope their is some left fer my birthday which is near Thanksgiving day. Say, you and I come near bein twins do you no that? Just too weaks more and we wood have been born together, only I wood have been your twin over here and you wood have been my twin over there. Say woodnt that have been funny though! Stranger things have happined though. It does seem sort of strange to think those too weaks have made me your godfather and you my godchild insted of us bein twins. I tole mother about it and she sed she thot it was better the way it is. I have saved up 47 cents fer your Christmas present I am not going to tell you what I wish you wood do fer mine. I am going to see if you can guess it.

Your ever affeckshunate godfather,

James P. Jackson Jr.

18 rue d'Autancourt, Paris.

September 24, 1917.

My dear godfather:

I am afraid this letter can't be in my own style and handwriting this time, for Mr. Teddy is here and I have asked him to help me with my English, in exchange of my helping him with his French. My mind is troubled and I think he can express my thought, so he has taken the pen in hand, and I, sitting on a little stool at his feet, and gazing up at him, try to make him understand what is in my mind.

But first of all Mr. Teddy wants to ask you to forgive him, if he seems to be "butting in" and spoiling the game between you and your godchild. Honor bright, he didn't mean to do it. It was fate. Just blind, mysterious, and merciless fate that decreed that things should happen as they did. Mr. Teddy may be a blessing in disguise, anyway he couldn't be helped, and he has no excuse to offer, except, perhaps, that he is alone in the world and homesick in a foreign land. He is sorry you and he can't fight a duel over the situation, but I am very glad. And Mr. Teddy wants to tell you, very seriously that he takes off his hat to any little fellow of your size who can do the plucky thing you have done, and keep it up so wel . If grown up men all had more of your spirit, he says, the war would be over long ago.

The object of this letter is as follows: I (your godchild) wish to make amends. I wrote you yesterday, and didn't answer your letter.

Not a word did I say about it, except that I had received it, then I prattled away all about another would-be godfather for whom you, naturally, have no earthly use. And to-day my heart is filled with remorse and my head is filled with fears lest you should think your dear godchild is ungrateful, fickle, and flighty. I want to tel you how every detail of your life--from knob-polishing and bug-swallowing to poetry-writing is dear and precious to me. How I wish I could do the same! How I live in eager expectation of your letters; how I gloat and ponder over them when they come; and how deep is the gloom into which I am plunged when they do not come! Mr. Teddy knows al that, because I have somehow expressed it, and if I had striven to hide my thought he would have guessed it, for he knows ful wel what goes on in the hearts of little maids and gal ant lads.

Therefore have I asked him to voice my deepest feelings in a poem that will answer yours:

"IDEALIZATION"

By Andree Leblanc and

Yankee Teddy.

"_Though our eyes may never meet,

To me you're more than bread or meat,

You are the proud and noble knight

That I pray for every night.

You could stand up on burning decks,

While others ran to save their necks,

You would not fear the dreadful Hun,

In Freedom's cause you'd fire a gun.

A lad who never gets cold feet

Was not destined to know defeat,

But oh! thou child of many pray'rs

Beware of Jealousy's deep snares!"_

From your affectionate godchild,

Andree Leblanc.

Greenville Falls

Oct. 10, 1917.

My dear Mr. Teddy,

Jimmy has just brought me your letter, in great excitement, and I am taking the liberty of answering it myself, as I don't think he could do himself justice under the present circumstances. Mr. Teddy, did you ever have a soft spot for a little girl, when you were about eleven or twelve? I had one for a little boy; he was older than I, about fourteen; his name was Robert, and he had freckles; I think he squinted, too, and he teased al the girls a great deal. I am sure he was a very horrid little boy, as I look back, but at that time I thought he was wonderful, and it almost broke my heart when he said he had no use for little yel ow-haired girls and took a girl with two brown pigtails to a big children's party, instead of me.

Jimmy has a very soft spot for his godchild, and it is more than a passing fancy with him. You see, his family, while not actually poverty-stricken, are not as well off as they used to be, and Jimmy has practical y supported Andree himself all the year, through countless little odd jobs. I have seen him on the coldest winter days, chopping wood or going from door to door asking to shovel snow, and his fingers were so red and frozen he could scarcely hold the shovel; yet he was always ready, with a smile, to do more work for his "kid in France." Andree is his godchild, his sister, his whole family to him; and he shoulders the responsibility of looking after her with all the seriousness of a little old man. Now, right in the middle of this flourishing state of affairs you come, with your big American pockets filled with elastic candy and bon-bons, and at a moment's notice you produce cold-cream, perfumed with strawberry and vanilla, and snow-covered cakes such as Jimmy can never hope to equal. What little girl would not turn fickle to her first love in the presence of such a display? At first Jimmy was filled with natural jealousy at your intrusion. He was al for going over there and giving you a piece of his mind; but since receiving your letter he has, almost incredibly, come to feel sorry for you because, as he says, "it must be pretty tuf to be al alone over there, and I guess he thinks my godchild is a peach, all right." And Jimmy is right; you must be so very very lonesome! And yet couldn't we manage to cheer you up a little without taking Jimmy's godchild away from him? I don't know of any little godchild I could give you in exchange, but I do know of a girl who lives with an invalid mother in a big white house on a hill, and who would only be too glad to have a soldier for a godson and send him little packages of cigarettes, and pictures of movie stars (of which she has a great col ection) and--oh tel him about home and friends and people and everything.

I am sending you this letter care of Andree Leblanc; if you would care for the arrangement I suggest, would you let me know?

Sincerely yours,

Elizabeth Winslow

18 rue d'Autancourt, Paris.

November 2, 1917.

My dear godfather:

Jules has received a wound, and he is very joyful because it make him not to die; on the contrary it make him cited at the order of the day and decorated with the Medaille Militaire. He make two boches prisoners and catch them with one hand because the other had the very bad hurt. And then he fainted himself on the ground and the Cross Red pick him and conduct him at a great hospital in Paris. And Tuesday Maman and Marie go to see him and take him the lemonade. And yesterday Monsieur Teddy ask Maman the permission to take me to see him also and she say yes and we go. We ride in the tramway pending a long time and I give Monsieur Teddy a lesson of French, and he say nothing but, _oui, oui_ and _chic alors--zut alors_! And al the travelers regard us and laugh and Monsieur Teddy laugh also. But when we arrive at the hospital he laugh not at al . He take my hand and I keep it very tight because I am frighten. It is very beautiful, the hospital. There is the great garden with trees and flat bands[22] and the soldier sentinel at the door. Inside it is al white and dark, a little like the church, and it smel of pharmacy and nobody make a noise. A lady white conduct us up the stairs and open a door, and I see a great number of beds in lines with Poilus in them. When they see the uniform American some make the salute military and I feel myself very proud. Jules was so content he say it make his hurt to go away immediately. And Teddy sit on a chair and give cigarettes and try to make conversation with his hands. And I sit on the bed and make talk with two tongues and ten fingers also. And Teddy say he will come again see brother Jules al the Sundays and Thursdays and console him until he go to fly away. Very sure he is one angel, Mr. Teddy! And he go up in the heavens with the wings! Oh little foolish godfather!

Understand you not he is one aviator? And you must not be in anger when he give me the good things to eat. Perhaps in Amerique the cold cream is bad, but in Paris it make you not sick, on the contrary. I show not your letter to Mr. Teddy because you say for two cents you twist his nose and his eyes and it is not very genteel, dear godfather. When you think wickedness the bon Dieu punish you. It is because you think wickedness of Mr. Teddy that you become sick and cannot to eat the pancakes, and must drink the oil of the caster.

I am content that the Miss Betty understand you and you tel her al things, and she is like the ferry with the twisted hairs. Hairs like gold is very pretty for little boys like Jean, but on ladies it look like the sun have fade the color. Thank you for the poetry she make.

But my great sister see it and she say to Maman: "These infants write great foolishness al the time. If it continues we must give Andree no more stamps of five sous. We will make the economy and send only a card postal al the three months when the Comite Americain send the silver of the godfather."

And I am very unhappy because Maman will not permit me to polish door-knobs like you and gain silver for the stamps of five sous. But little Jean come squeeze my neck and console me, and say he will work and become rich to purchase the stamps of five sous. Poor little! He know not what it is the life, but he is one brave little man, and I think he will resemble to you, dear godfather. Oh, I forget, in my other letter I write when Mr. Teddy come, to say I desire very much your portrait where you are grinning, like you say. I love much the grinning godfather. I will place you above my bed, under the branch of blessed box. My Papa is there also, and I embrace him all the nights, before I lie down.

Dear little godfather, I am very recognizing[23] that you guard 47

sous for my Christmas. Alas, I can never enough say thank you for al you do, and I can never render it to you! It make me ful of sorry when I think that. With Maman I essay to guess what you want I do. I will make something with my proper hands, and Maman will aid. You will love a pair of slippers embroidered, or a shawl (I want say a scarf) or a bonnet of aviator? Tel me, I pray of you, I shake your hand affectuously.

Your godchild,

Andree Leblanc.

[22] Flat bands (_plate-bandes_) flower beds.

[23] Recognizing (_reconnaissante_) grateful.

Greenville Falls

Nov. 18, 1917.

Deer godchild,

How are you? I got that mister Teddy's letter, and I was goin to anser it but I dident no just what to say, so I gave it to miss Betty and she sed she wood anser it herself. And you needent worry about my twistin his nose and stikin my finger in his eye, because if you like him I will leave him alone fer your sake. I had quite a good birthday.

Miss Betty found out when it was, and she gave me a bully party, but we had a feerce time gettin sugar. You no mister Hoover the new minister I was telling you about? Well he has got reel exited about sugar, and he has told the shopkeepers they must give only one pound to itch family, and miss Betty she wanted more than that to make my cake, because she sez it is hard enuf to cook with things but it is the limit to cook without them. And she dident no what to do until she had a brite idee. She sent Mol y to Butler's store and she got some mapel seerop and mixt it all up with the sugar and a lot of other good stuff. And I had a bul y cake. It was kinder soft to have candels on it, but miss Betty made it all herself and that is more than your Teddy did, and it was a bul y cake just the same. And she let me ask Dinky Odel over to have some and we had hot chocolate and a fust rate time. I am sorry your sister dident like the poitry. Some peeple dont no a good thing when they see it. Carl Odell has writ to Amanda, and he sez, "I am writing this in the midst of fal ing shel s and boms busting in air, but if ever I come out al-rite little girl I'll come back to you." Carl Odell must have been sent to the front pretty quick al-rite as he has only been gone too weaks, and he sez he has a lot of inside inflammation, but he is afraid the censer will cut it out.

And now I come to the bizness part of this leter. Fer one yere now I have been your godfather and you have been my godchild, and we have hit it off pretty wel I think, and now the yere is drawing to a close, and next month it may be all will be ended between us. Little girl, what I have been wishing you wood do fer Christmas is not a scarf, or slipper or ennything but this. Will you be my godchild fer a nuther yere? I guess mebbe you mite do better fer yourself and get a more classy godfather. I dont seem to be much good at school somehow, and I guess that missis Yanket was rite when she sed what she did about my spel in bein feerce. I guess mebbe you rite better than I do, and I no that mister Teddy dose becaus miss Betty saw his letter and she sed it was a fine letter. Somehow I guess Mr. le Cure and missis Yanket and al your frens rite and spel better than I do. But I bet I can polish dore handels and wash winders and sel Mirrors and suport you as wel as enny Body. Mebbe I am cut out fer plane bizness. And so I say, if you think you like me, and wood like to keep on having me fer your godfather, say yes and I will be much obliged. But if you think you wood be hapier with Mr. Teddy, dear godchild why just say so and never mind about me. I guess I can live it down.

Your affeckshunate godfather,

James P. Jackson Jr.

Paris, Dec. 4, 1917.

Dear godfather,

I say thousand times yes, and the bon Dieu give you benediction.

Oh dear godfather, you did make the foolish when you believe I want veritably monsieur Teddy to me adopt! He is ful of gracious goodness, Monsieur Teddy, but he is not like unto you. He did not the work, and he beat himself not with Red-Skins, to succour me and give comfort in the modest interior. Mr. Teddy very sure will be one hero in the war, but you are already one hero with heart more big. And my dear Papa, that did die for the Patrie, is wel content to behold that. We are loving al the Amerique; but Maman and me say yesterday there is not in the world entire a boy so much remplished of sentiments delicate like my grinning godfather. (I call you like that because your photography is come; you are more beautiful than Mr. Teddy and it rejoice the heart to look upon you.)

Dear godfather I will tel you Mr. Teddy is departed to the front. He come one day, late, and he say not he go away the tomorrow; he only sit by the stove, and take Jean upon his knees and caress the hairs of gold; and he smile very nice but speak not much. And when he go, he tel me, very quiet, he have in his pocket one beautiful letter of the miss Betty. And she is his ferry godmother, and you are my ferry godfather and al things are al-rite, al-rite! You say all the time that word, you other Americans, al-rite, al-rite. Maman say it is because you have confidence in the bon Dieu, and you know that He will make the bad world al over like that: Al-rite, al-rite!

Happy Year! dear little godfather. Permit, one time, that I embrace you very affectuously, and shake your hand.

Your godchild for the life,

Andree Leblanc.

Deer Miss Secretary:

After some consideration I have decided to keep my orfan fer one more yere. Of course she is still a girl and I wanted a boy, but she is used to me and I am used to her, and it mite go hard with her if I left her fer some one else to adop, so if you will just put me down fer one more yere I will be much obliged to you.

Yours truly,

James P. Jackson Jr.

***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DEER GODCHILD***

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