Monty arrived in the US on December 21, 1919. With Christmas only a few days away, it seems unlikely that he stopped anywhere between New York and Marion, SC, a direct trip from New York city by rail. He was saving a lot to tell his family and his later letters contain less reportage of his environment and the job and more detail on the drama of his return, about getting away from Paris, and his constant disappointment—despite conversations and gymnastics—a mental exercise of the sort that Sisyphus would have recognized.

His continual sliding deadline only seems to pique his anxiety to get moving so as not to be the last man to leave town. Each day brings a loss of options—fewer ports to leave from, a diminished schedule of departures and class of travel (luxury liners are off the menu), and reservations of the sort he made for friends earlier are now out of the question. As he approaches his departure the letters are fewer as if we are following a man who feels certain he will arrive at his mother’s doorstep long before any letter he could write, one which would then arrive after him full of cold news. He is all action, breathless in his objective to get home and wound tightly to spring purposefully at a moment’s notice before another bureaucratic portcullis descends.

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