Is it to express their natural sense of need, their desire for security and support? Is that to be the main impulse? I try to answer these questions by asking them another question: 'Why do they write home? What keeps them at it in the damp dug-outs with the indelible pencil running smudgily over the paper? Why do some men write every day? Is it for what they can get the cakes, the fags?
Inconsequentially, his vagrant mind recalled that, below Miami, the Southern Cross is smudgily visible on the horizon, somewhere around two in the morning. And he wondered if he could descry it, if that luminous cloud were not in the way. Then, he knew it was not a cloud which shimmered between his eyes and the stars. It was a woman's filmy hair.
There is something very rough and ready about it all, and the new portions print darker and more smudgily than the old, except toward the left, where they have missed ink and indented.
Since his meeting with her he had tried to read some of the journals devoted to her faith, and had found them incredibly inane smudgily printed, slovenly of phrase, and filled with messages from Aristotle, Columbus, and Confucius, which would have been discouraging in a boy of twelve years old. The phraseology, the cant terms, nauseated him.
Ford awoke to the acrid smell of scorched bacon, thought at first that Sandy was once more demonstrating his inefficiency as a cook, and when he remembered that Sandy's name was printed smudgily upon that page of his life which he had lately turned down as a blotted, unlearned lesson is pushed behind an unwilling schoolboy, he began to consider seriously his next step.
In the approaching twilight Dick ran through the packet, selected one letter addressed to his partner, and gave it to him, then tore open the first one at hand. It was addressed in an unfamiliar and painful chirography, with the postmark of Portland, Ore., stamped smudgily in its corner.