2nd Aôut, 1917
My Dear May -
This may be as much of a surprise to you as to me but I don not think such is the case. I am really very much surprised to be here. On Jul 29 my mate – a corp too – and I started from Bruay (Pas-de-Calais) about 11 A.M. Met Fred Legallois of the 73rd Sigs and had a good time until we reached Paree (changing at St. Pol & Amiens.) - at 11 P.M.
Paris was dead because of the forced darkness so we got a hotel (Atlantic) and slept till 8 AM. Then we beat it for “Gare de Lyons” and found we had some hours to wait. So, intent on seeing as much as possible, we taxi’d to Place de la Republique, La Bastille, Musée de Louvres La Madeleine, Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel), Place Concord, and just had a hurried glance at these places.
We changed again outside Paris at “Corbeil” and again at Lyons. Then down the Rhone to Marseilles where we hung around a short time (3 hrs) and then we were off for Nice (Pronounced Niece) a 7 hours run through “les Ramifications des Alps” and arrived at 1:30 AM.
We began on a “12 franc la nuit” room and after a bit of looking about came down to this – a room just as good for 3 fr. Yesterday I ran against Harken (a 42nd Sig who preceeded me by a day and we are knocking around together. Today we had a mostly glorious swim and sunbath in the “Mediteranee” and chanced to meet a very pretty well-to-do, Italian girl who spoke perfect English. We are all good friends with her.
There are a few English speaking people here and most of the hotels have at least one linguist. For myself, I can get along splendidly without English. My French is broken but it gets far enough.
Tomorrow the bunch is motoring to Monte Carlo, then to Mentone (really neutral state) and we are going to put one or both feet into Italy if possible. I’ll tell you when I come back.
Ten days “de ciel” and then – curse’d thought “L’Enfin encore”.
Love to all
Your loving brother