About Me

Born August 4, 1894 in Auburn, New York to William and Alice Beardsley Woodruff Hills. Younger brother Carroll Beardsley Hills and younger sister Mary Day Hills. Educated at St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire and Princeton University, class of 1917

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Letter dated May 17, 1917


Dear Mother -

My letter from the steamer told you little or nothing but as a matter of fact that was typical of the voyage for little or nothing went on at all until the last two days. The trip was very smooth all the way for which I was duly thankful and the weather quite good tho not very bright. On next to the last day out, that is on Sunday we saw a convoy of food ships guarded by destroyers that rather gave everybody a little confidence considering the fact that we were then in the war zone and apt to be torpedoed. On Monday morning we got to the mouth of the river, however, without even having seen a submarine. We missed the tide in the river, however, and did not get to Bordeaux until early the next morning. My impressions of that city I don’t believe will go for a great deal since in the three hours we spent there before the train left, about all I saw was a vast amount of dogs of an unknown variety, a multitude of fat women riding behind tiny donkeys, and more cafes than I ever knew existed. There were also some German prisoners going thru which we got a very good look at and who I am frank to admit look big, healthy and happy.

The ride up (to Paris) was perfectly beautiful, the weather here being about like Auburn at the first of June. The country was wonderfully fresh looking and everything greener than I ever remember seeing before. The ride was thru the chateau country and although there weren’t very many of those architectural triumphs directly on the track we did get a fair enough view of a few.

The people who are running the ambulance affair didn’t seem to favor our staying with Hunt’s relatives as there is quite a little to do before we go out and that date is very indefinite. They have, however, put us up very comfortably. We live in the hotel about which you can read all over this paper and envelope, etc. and really as a matter of fact the location is wonderful. We eat at another hotel about a mile away up the “Cours de la reine” which is very fair indeed and where we get very good food, some things of course limited because of war but a great deal more than I expected. We got here about nine o’clock in the evening and the next day saw about our uniforms and signed millions of papers of every variety imaginable. I remember writing your maiden name on several of them and how many times I had been married, etc., etc.

Today we have seen about our baggage and done some more papers.

Just how long we will be in Paris is a question but it will probably be two weeks or so as it takes that long to organize the new section, get uniforms, etc. The uniforms, by the way, are the sportiest things you can imagine. They are English officers rigs all tailor made and wonderfully good looking. I am rather glad we are going to be here as long as we are for there is so much I want to see and do. Tomorrow I am going to buy a guide book and map and systematically start improving my mind in my leisure time. Today, I discovered too late, is a holiday.

With love,


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