Oct 9, 1917
My Dear Mother,
Although my pen is misbehaving it may be decent enough to oblige me for at least our letter. I’m rather ashamed of myself for neglecting my correspondence during the past three weeks but so long as you know that I’m jake the main part is done.
During the last month I have had two trips away from the battalion of three days each. The first one was along with another srgt to a place about 20 miles behind the line for a prisoner. The trip down took us two full days – such is the train service in France, and the return trip occupied our whole day.
After that I filled in time at the transport lines for a week acting as orderly sgt. Then came the time.
On Oct 1st I was detailed to go to Paris with one other sig. to get another prisoner. We packed off getting into Paris about 4PM Oct 2nd with 230 Francs between us. We reported to the clink immediately and asked for a little time to spend our money. We got until 11:30 PM the next day. So we hunted up a hotel and restaurant.
The inner man satisfied, we took the Metro (tube) to Place de la Republique to see the show at the Alhambra which was half English. It was very good – at least so we thought.
The next morning we reported to the Cazerne Pepiniene again for instructions and got passes for all over Paris until 5PM.
We immediately took a taxi and, as Porky (Le Bas) hadn’t been in Paris before, we took the same ride which I had when returning from Nice. First Place Concorde to see the Art there and the Egyptian Obelisk; Les Invalides (where Napoleon’s tomb is; Le Grand Palais; Notre Dame Cathedral (a mass of the finest art) where we heard a service; back through Place Concorde and along the Boulevarde des Champs Elysees (the reputed finest boulevard in the world). L’Arc de Triomphe de l’etoile, Rue du Bois de Boulogne (a continuation of Boul. C.E.); a long tour through the Bois de B; Eiffel Tower (most interesting) which was far more gigantic than I had ewver imagined; Le Grand Roue (the only way I can describe it is as “the vertical Merri-go-round) and back to Gare St. Lazaire.
The trip was well worth the $5 we paid for it. After dinner we separated because I wanted to go to see Mac’s friend – Mlle Boundier. But I was out of luck for she was away and I had to think up some occupation. I had a look at “L’Opera” The Trocadiera” and the “Madeleine” and saw a picture show. That passed the time away for a while and so by the time I got back to Gare St. Lazaire and had tea it was time to go for our prisoners. We got them out (there were two by this time) and had to go with them to get their belongings. Each of us took one and my lad had to go to “a Corner in Blighty in Paris” on Place Vendome.
I was sorry I hadn’t gone there before because the joint is altogether civilized and not like the usual “soldiers club” affair.
We managed to miss the 7 PM train North and had to wait until 11:30 PM so we disappeared to a restaurant where our prisoners made up in part for past deficiencies in the eats line.
There wasn’t much to do for the next two hours so we just “stuck around” and looked happy.
And at 11:30 the end of the dream came when we put foot on the train!!
I intended at one time to send home a write-up on my leave trip – maybe I’ll do it yet but I guess I’ve told you too much already to start a full description all over again. We’ll see what next leave brings.
I received your letter of Sept 4th along with one from Bob MacA yesterday.
I read Bob’s letter through thinking it was from Web and then woke up to the fact that it was Bob – in Blighty with Pleurisy! Lucky dog! I wonder where Art is. And Web. It seems to me that I’m the last of the gang that went to Montreal that bright Saturday morning a little over two years ago. It may seem a rather heartless thing to say but I think we lasted out pretty well as a gang – until Feb 4th when Squair got it.
Bob looks good now for the winter in England. Here’s luck to him.
I’d better quit or I’ll be duplicating my London Epistle.
Fondest love to all
Your loving son
Cpl M.J. MacDonell
Oct 9, 1917