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Letter from Linus Pauling, Jr. to Ava Helen Pauling. June 30, 1941.
Linus Jr. writes to update his mother on recent events while she is away. Linus Jr. notes that he has caught a cold and is running low on money. He also writes of an incident in which he shot a skunk near the Pauling home, suggesting that rifle sights coated with luminescent paint might prove useful for nighttime use.


June 30, 1941

Dear Mom,

I am very glad to know that your heat-wave has not bothered you and Dad, and that you arrived safely after various adventures. Out here everything has been lovely and cool.

Things have not been progressing any too well with me. The night you left I tried to sleep in your bed but for some reason I had acute insomnia till about 2:00. Then I finally hauled the covers off the bed and went to sleep on the floor. That was the beginning of a cold which was further accentuated by very completely wearing myself out physically in a strenuous water polo game swimming with the Robinsons. I can't ever remembered [sic] being so terribly completely worn out as I was that night. Crellie wouldn't go in swimming, but Pete and Linn had a lot of fun. By the middle of the week my temperature was over 100°F and I had a considerable cough. By Sunday the temperature was all gone and the cough greatly decreased, but Mrs. Robinson would not let me go swimming. She was very nice, furnishing me with paraphernalia for getting rid of congested chests and persuading me to go se Dr. McMillan, which I did.

I am rather amazed at the rate at which money goes. All my accounts are turning out fairly accurate, although for some reason there is a slight discrepancy of 4¢ or 9¢ at the end of every page of 3 or 4 days. I can't figure it out. However it is not mounting up.

The main reason for this epistle is to inform you that my tuition for summer school is $7.50 per subject, or $15.00 total for me.


This seemed like a terrific amount to me, but I paid it by suing your latest check and $5.00 borrowed from Dr. Shoemaker. Now I am contemplating living on the $2.70 or so that I have left from your original donation. If you think I ought ot back out I can get an 80% refund the first week, 50% the second, 20% the third, none after that. If I had a sufficiently good reason I could retrieve the whole amount. There is a chance I may get kicked out of a class anyway because there won't be the 15 or so pupils necessary to make it legitimate. In that case I get completely refunded.

Now follows some sad news. While I was sickest some darn beast came and on 3 different nights pulled a brick out from the chicken pen and ate 4 big babies and 1 bantam hen. The children and Verner slept out by them at turns, but that did not have any affect on this bold animal. We deduced that it was a weasel or 'coon or 'possum or something, but could not be sure. It was very smart, lifting away all the many bricks the children piled around. Well, last night I got fed up, so I set the alarm for 3:00, and got dressed at that hour and took the fully loaded .22 and went out. As I arrived I could hear bricks being thrown around and, sneaking up till I could just barely see a blur on this moon-less night, I fired once, and then grabbed Pete's light, only to see a big skunk. I emptied 10 or 11 more bullets in his direction, hitting him once or twice, and then fled back to the house for more shells. Verner this time held the flashlight along the muzzle and I spent 5 or 6 more shots killing it. Gee Whiz! Today the whole family is thinking of moving because of the stench. The gardiner thoughtfully removed the carcass early this morning. I never realized how hard it is to aim decently at night. I think we should coat the


sights with luminescent paint. All this was a fun and good experience. I wonder what anyone hearing that volley of shots thought. Anyway, no more of Linda's chickens will be killed, at least by this skunk. In my list of accounts I have been listing shopping under vegetablesmeat and staples. Do you think I should be more detailed than that, and list each individual item. If so, I shall do it from now on.

With much love,


P.S. Today is turning out to be fairly hectic with all the feverish packing and stuff.

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