To both parents from Bertha – February 19, 1913
[Note: Bertha is 23. She is now studying at the Art Students League of New York. She is preparing to visit her parents in the Philippines, where C.C. Ballou is stationed during the American occupation following the Philippine-American war.]
Dear Papa and Mamma,
Your letters arrived yesterday and I was very glad to get them. I have a few minutes tonight before dinner so I will write a few lines to go off _____ as there is a Philippine mail going there, I believe. The war scare seems to have relaxed a little today as Mexico has a new president but evidently it is not considered to be all over yet. Thank you for the check. Last month I was pretty extravagant, _____ a _____ box, some under ______ summer dress materials _____ at the midwinter sales – also took myself to $1.50 seat at the opera twice. I spent all my $65.00 but this month I’ve tried to be more economical and have saved – I will have saved a little over twenty dollars and of this month’s $65.00 altogether. I am about twenty-seven dollars ahead of what I will need for February in addition to the $65.00 you just sent for March. I’m trying to save a little so I’ll be able to get the steamer trunk and other things. I am also picking up along some of the other little things I am going to want to take over. As I said, I bought two light dresses at less than half price. Had to have a new traveling _____ as my old one was too disreputable to carry when visiting as I got one for _____ which I found at a sale which will last me through our Philippine tour.
Mrs. _____ was _____ for a moment this afternoon and I gave her your best regards and talked with her a little while. She asked me up to dinner for next Monday night. I am going. I am glad your furniture arrived in such good condition. _____ _____ least is satisfactory and the ______ sounded pretty good. I’m sorry Papa has to go out on _____ right away but hope they are well over with now.
I have been very glad to think of your so far away just lately for the papers have been so full of war scare that I would have been pretty uneasy if you had been near enough to be in any danger of going to Mexico. The 3rd Calvary was ready to _____ and the 3rd, 19th, and one other Infantry were under orders to leave at any moment, while a whole lot of Marines had already been ordered onboard a transport. It was too scary to be comfortable. I haven’t heard what _____ is doing in a long while.
Work is going a little better this week both the life class and in the portrait and I believe I have a fair start on a competition also. I wish the climate in the islands weren’t so hard to make myself work in but I believe I can work a bit anyway. I won’t be able to do anything that will show for much yet a while but I believe I can work at some of my own ideas and that will probably help me a great deal. I’m going to get me a little tiny “_____-_____” soon. One about as big as a Kodak that you can carry anywhere and make quick sketches with.
A friend of Mrs. Guthrie’s has been corresponding with me lately – trying to fix a date to call. She is living in Brooklyn so it is pretty hard for her to get here. I think it’s pretty nice of her to try. I am going down to call on Mrs. Farland just as soon as I get a minute free. Life seems awfully strenuous these days. We have had a little excitement lately and it may interest Papa to know that the thief they were hunting for – in the club – last fall – has confessed – a kleptomaniac. I hate that sort of thing but there seem to be a certain number among us that are just irresponsible so it isn’t particularly disillusioning. It’s a satisfaction that while I knew the person she had never made any other appeal than one of pity and distaste.
I’m having a pretty good time. Am very well – weigh 118 pounds – have had no cold since Papa was here and am still very well satisfied with my roommates. Have not had the slightest unpleasantness since we’ve been together. I had a letter from Edna _____ _____ a few days ago. They are well enjoying their very mild winter in Maryland. Well, I must close now as I have very little time. I will mail this on the 20th and will try to get another off on the 24th.
Love to both.
February 19th, 1913