Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Chicago, October 7, 1908

When I left Orville, Sep. 30th (to meet my people in New York on return from Europe), he was pronounced quite out of danger and his broken leg had so knitted that the surgeon told me that it would not be more than 1/8 inch shorter than the other. His temperature, which had been 101 4/5 part of the time, had become normal, and although he was still weak (having been fed with liquid "A" old genial food) he had recovered his pluck and mental poise; the smile had come back.

He had so endeared himself to all the Army officers and men with whom he had come into contact, as well as to the hospital attendants, that they were eager to do all they could for him, but, of course, a military hospital is not as comfortable as one's own home. At the Cosmos Club, where he had been staying, he had become very much liked and the members kept continually asking about him, only regretting that the surgeon's order prevented calling upon him.

Your sister has been devotion itself. Fearing that he might lack something she stayed up at the hospital every night and deprived herself so much of sleep that I ventured to remonstrate with her about it. She then said that, as the danger of complications seemed to be over, she would take better care of herself, go down to Washington to sleep, and return to Dayton as soon as she felt that she could do so.

She has, of course, advised you that Orville will have to remain at the hospital about a month more and then can go home on crutches.

I congratulate you heartily upon the magnificent success which you have achieved in France, upon the recognition which is now accorded you, and upon the prospect that you will reap a fortune from your labors. The newspapers have said that Mr. Weiller deems the first $100,000 practically won and has given an order for another $100,000 worth of machines. I hope that you will occasionally find time to give me news of yourself.

P.S. Just as I was writing the last paragraph I received your postal card of Sep. 28th, containing your little joke. Dear me! how thin you have grown! Your sister said that you were emaciated and nervous but I had no idea it was to this extent.1

1 The postal card has not been found but the tone of Chanute's postscript would the indicate that it showed one of the cadaverous caricatures of Wilbur that were he rage in France at the time. An example is reproduced as Plate 174.

Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute, November 10, 1908