I wrote you just a note from the last place that we were, saying that we were starting again for the front. We are now in a little town about ten miles back for a few days before the division goes into the trenches. I was sorry not to stay longer where we were for it was a perfectly great place, not far from Paris and right on the Marne. It was a large enough town to have a good hotel and restaurant, and we could go swimming, canoeing, eat, drink and be merry and sleep in beds the first time for over eight weeks. It was too good to be true tho and we were only there four days.
Our division went into Paris for the fete (Bastille Day, July 15) and it was by that that a few of us managed to get the 24-hour “permission” (leave). I sent you a photograph from there and hope you get it tho people tell me it is doubtful. I have a number more very interesting ones, one of which I am enclosing. This is the way they bring the poor beggars who are wounded down to us. It was taken in a little place we were at about a month or so ago and is one of the best of its kind I have ever seen.
It is wonderful being with the new crowd. They are the best troops in France by far and their attitude is certainly a welcome change. They are chasseurs and most of them so neat and snappy that it makes you feel sloppy even to see them. Moreover instead of being gloomy and disheartened they are always cheerful and fooling around singing and raising the devil. They have, too, a perfectly great band which plays on occasion and is a great success especially considering that France just now is a music-less country. You should hear a Chasseur trumpet corps! Ask somebody who has and they may be able to tell you about it. I can’t as it is one of the most inspiring things I have ever heard.
I have cut off my mustache but miss it so much in spite of its weedy condition I think I shall try again. We are still in this town and may not leave for several days and then go back to a sector we have worked in before.
I will be glad to get into action again as the “repos”, changing divisions, etc., good fun as it is, isn’t quite up to chasing around at the front.
Last night a few of us went as the uninvited and likewise unseen guests of an entertainment of the officers of the division. It was great fun and a wonderful concert. They are doing everything they can to keep the men cheered up and in the best of form for the work to come and certainly succeeding.
There isn’t a great deal more to tell you just now. Will write tomorrow.
P.S. The pencil part of this letter was written two days after the ink part.