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Note: Throughout their correspondence, one encounters repeated casual allusions such as the following, written by Virginia in a letter to Martha, on September 6, 1939:

We sailed under Admiralty orders and could send no messages, and I am sorry to say that the only person who disobeyed orders was Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. who was discovered sending messages to the Press from a private radio. His radio was impounded by the Captain. He would have endangered our lives had war been declared a little earlier. . . .