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Nulato, Alaska.
Nov. 30, 1926.

My Dear Miss Gelvin:

Do you still look for Santa Claus or have you become so "growed up" that you no longer look for him?  Well, he went past here yesterday with a large sled and many reindeer.  He is coming to Plainfield without fail.  I told him I had nothing to send for Christmas except my heartfelt wishes.  Look for him.  My own sled and team of malamutes must soon be on its way to carry joy to my husky friends along the Yukon.  Candidly I do not understand how the Indian children learn so easily the Christmas story.  That is something I demand of all of them.  Sometimes I sit down and review.  I do not let such things discourage me.  The prize at start is too great to be given up without a great struggle yet, and total sacrifice.

A few days ago I returned from a rather thrilling visit to a sick man in the Koyuk Mountains.  Word came to me by the "Mukluk Wireless" so called because the Indians wear boots or "mukluks" when the Indian trappers meet one another.  All the latest news is re_____ with whatever _____ may be deemed prudent.  It is astonishing how fast news can travel.

A narrow sled mark was all I had to guide me for miles and miles through the maze of lakes and sloughs and woods between the Yukon and the Koyuk Mtns.  Time and again I merely hung onto the sled handles trusting my leader, Buster, to take me on the right path.  As I went along I noticed many fox and lynx tracks, my work since I came to Alaska.  One thing stands out above all else - the affection I have developed for the children.  They seem to understand me so well.  Even my powerful malamute dogs share in the welcome given me when I visit the cabins in the woods.  Grass is brought to make a nice warm bed for each one.  And then what petting they get from the little boys.  No wonder some of my half wolves are loth [sic] to leave the camps.

The grown-ups are a sad lot.  I am almost willing to say that they are as bad as the white men on the Yukon.  Certainly they strive to imitate them!  Last summer I visited a certain group of Indians near Louden.  All came to services and listened with close attention to the sermon.  Three days later on my return, an unexpected return, all the men and women were beastly drunk.  Now and then a rabbit would be startled from his seat and go leaping up about at a great speed with my team in close pursuit.  However, the leader always keeps to the trail so the rabbit escaped.  After a ride of thirty file miles in thirty to forty below zero weather I reached the dying man and gave him what consolation Religion affords.  This cabin, a long, low, crudely built affair had B____ Flour sacks as windows.  You may imagine the rustic comfort of that house.  As I lay on the floor of the cabin I paid some of the penalty for my ____.  I shivered all night and at the rate of one shiver to a ____ - I think I paid a large part of my ____.  The next morning I started for home.  The cold became so intense that I had to change my moccassins [sic] enroute.  It was fortunate that I came along that day.  Two days later an Indian broke through the ice in one of the lakes.  An Indian woman out tending to her rabbit snares heard him screaming.  He was rescued but will most likely lose both feet. 

The long Alaskan nights I reserve for my reading.  Just at present I am quite interested in following the trend of Educator in the ________.  Years ago I was quite impatient with the systems of credits, credits.  I used to _____ on intelligence or what I called comprehensive tests.  When I suggested to a certain Dean of Faculty that most of my class should be sent to learn iron molding or get a job on the "Force" I was told that I must see to it that all the boys passed.

If that subject of comprehensive tests interests you get hold of some of the recent articles by _____ letter of Swarthmore, _____, et. al  I must not bore you with my pet hobby.  Please tell me what lovely things you are doing, what splendid things you are selling and what great work you intend to do.  I am away _____ in a far corner of the world ______, too, have my own little castle with _____ and _____ that can effectually ____ out the world when _____ to dream.

With all best wishes for Christmas to you (rest of letter is illegible)....

Jas. _____

Envelope: from J F Williams, Nulato; postmarked Nulato, Alaska Dec 1, 1926 2PM; to - Miss Elizabeth Gelvin, 214 West Seventh Street, Plainfield, New Jersey

 



 


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