Rusty Huerlin in Alaska
Sept. 6th 7th or 8th
Tomorrow is Sunday – nobody works or hunts – most all go to church but I. Everybody here in sad mood but don’t show it. Captains of freighters could have come here in past 3 days. Turned about at Wainwright for Seattle with wire “Cannot make Barrow this year – Sorry”. Whole village will feel the food shortage – Second time it has happened in history of Barrow. This is only food ship to Barrow with food for season – a years supply for everybody. Hospital has food to last for 2 weeks. Medical supplies also on board this freighter the WIPPIO. (https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/sh-civil/civsh-w/w-elcajn.htm )
All joined sending telegrams to Governor Gruening (Ernest Gruening, 7th Governor of the Alaskan Territory) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Gruening ) yesterday to bring what pressure he can for boats return to Barrow. It is now en route the Seattle having arrived at PT Hope. Last year it unloaded here on Sept. 15th. Because of the old fraidy-cats impatience to wait a week, 500 people will go very hungry for one year. Food may be flown in but not enough. A chance still that Captain may be forced to return – if not news of his incompetence and thoughtlessness will be flashed all over America. He had one month to unload here, all the while he loitered at Kotzebue. This will be felt from here to Damnation Point but what the hell does Steamship Company or Captain care. I am just too mad to think. Minister said Damn! yesterday which gave me opening to call Captain a selfish Son of a Bitch.
Played Battleship with Minister tonight. Have been beating him at game since he started. He laughed and giggled all over when I missed. When I got close, too close, he got deathly quiet and rigid as iceberg. Would start peppering around spot when he got in such a state and sink his boats and have 7 shots left. Then he wondered why to which I told him I had a system. I let 2 men watching our game in on it and they have been keeping it mum and have enjoyed watching him squirm when salvos got close. But then he developed a system – a real good system – stayed awake last night thinking it out. It was not bad and I watched him play one game against his wife tonight when he beat her with it. He laid out his first shots in this pattern.
But next game he had was with me and by the time he worked inside of his triangle of shots he was cut down in ships and I had still 7 shots left when he had one shot left. Knowing he would work same system on me I laid out my ships this way. He triangled each ship and only got one hit. After rushing over to see where in hell I had them laid out his ___ ____ ____ _____ and I then received the first complement a minister ever gave me. He said, “You are as slippery as an eel in slime”. But it was fair, said his wife, then to him, “Old smarty, you crowed to quick that time.”
People are really swell here Ced – happiest village I have ever lived in. Took natives out today for third time to sight in ATG rifles. They are getting along fine but need lots of practice with rifle unfamiliar to them.
Be sure to examine the container I am sending you. It has ivory inside it so do not throw it out the window. That may be your first impulse after receiving it – a unique little container, apparently of no intrinsic value. Allow me the few opportunities I have these days to play a prank now and then. So, as I delve in skulduggery at long range be on the lookout for said surprise package from out here. Be of good cheer my lad and go with God as it comes with or to you with the devil may care. — Rusty
Tomorrow I will post the third letter to Ced from Rusty. On Thursday and Friday, two short nots from Marian to the Trumbull Crew.