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Don’t Forget The Pass Words And Grips

Hill Country Living
By Coulter Fussell

It’s a Wagner Week for the Wagner Week fans out there. All 10 of us! I love when I get a letter from a Wagner sibling to another Wagner sibling. Here’s one from John Henry to little brother George, who’s off at Cornell in Ithica, N.Y. Here John pays his second wife Evelyn a compliment (I don’t hear much about her, typically) and he talks all about procedures of the Illuminati, I mean Masons.

Water Valley, MS

2/23/1904

My Dear George:

I have been intending writing you for sometime, but you know how it is with me, and I feel that you do not expect me to write much under the circumstances. While I do not write much, I do not want you to think that I do not think of you often and wish you were back home. Evelyn and I often talk of you and wish you could see little John Henry, especially whenever he does anything we think cunning or smart. He certainly is growing and flourishing like the proverbial “grown boy” and is the very nicest little chap in point of good looks and sunny disposition I know of. When the weather moderates I am going to have his picture taken and will send you one. Mabry and Dudley are both well and doing fine at school. They are counting big on you this summer, and if you do a tenth of the things they say you are going to do for them, you will have little time for the girls and visits.

By the way, I was in Greenville last week at the Grand Lodge and met a friend of yours – a mighty nice fellow – and I enclose his card. It is a good deal with you as you say it – is with you, I meet someone who knows you wherever I go. This fellow seemed to think a lot of you and was awfully pleasant to me while I was in his bank. You might go over to Greenville sometime. It is a great place and full of bustle and hustle.

Frank took the Shrine over there and so did Bob Cain. Do you ever visit any lodge in Ithaca? You might do it so you can tell us about it when you come back. You can work your way in – especially if party you know in the Elks will examine you. Try it – anyway. Explain what you did in the different degrees if you forget the pass words and grips.

Papa had another attack of vertigo on last Friday night similar to the one he had some several Christmases ago. Nearly got insensible for the time being and was in bed Saturday and Sunday. He is up now and at work, though not yet well.

Evelyn is going to have a luncheon for the Club. It is certainly the prettiest thing I ever saw. She sure knows how to get up those sorts of things.

I will enclose your masonic receipt. Show this when you try to visit a lodge. You will get in all okay.

All send much love to you. Write when you can.

Affectionately, your brother

John

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