Dayton, May 11, 1903
Since my last letter to you, your letters of April 4th, Paris, April 11th and 18th, London, have been received. Also several periodicals and the work of von Lossl on air pressures and Lecornu, Aerial Navigation, for all of which you have our sincere thanks. The German work is rather beyond our linguistic attainments, but Orville is getting so he can make a stab at the French. The latter is of course not to be compared with your Progress in Flying Machines in technical value but it is certainly a very entertaining and interesting book, and seems to possess the usual French characteristics, vivacity, wit, and provincialism. The last is perhaps the most humorous feature of the book.
Your promise of our portraits for the L'Aerophile is causing us a great deal of mental distress. We do not know just how to refuse when you have put the matter so nicely, and on the other hand we have not had courage to face the machine. While we were waiting to get our courage screwed up to the sticking point Orville managed one day to get a grain of emery in his eye, which has been giving him a great deal of trouble for more than a week past. It caused quite a severe inflammation, and compelled him to remain in a darkened room one day, but it is getting better now.
Our darkroom froze up last winter soon after our plates were developed, and we have not had any real prints from them except the few poor ones we sent you, and a few little proofs of the central parts of the plates. I mended some of the leaks in the plumbing a few days ago and have started on some prints which I will send you shortly.
We note what you say in regard to Capt. Ferber and will discuss the matter when you visit us after your return home. I had almost fallen into a way of looking elsewhere than in the army for men of real courage, but Capt. Ferber has taught me better. The Captain's nerve certainly cannot be discounted.
Orville and I are, of course, awaiting your promised visit with many pleasant anticipations.
Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright,
May 15, 1903