This is a rather longer section of the letter from Grandpa to his boys, scattered around the world, but I wanted to keep all pertinent remarks to and from Dan together.
And speaking of that limb of the Armed Forces, I received a letter yesterday which saved the week from being a dud, which contained news substantiating the old saying about the course of true love not running smoothly — a development which I had been anticipating for some weeks, although not for the reason assigned — but we will let the Sgt. tell it in his own words: Incidentally, the letter which came by regular mail made remarkably good time, being dated April 15th and arriving here on the 21st (possibly because being mailed in Paris?). “I am in a state of flux at the moment, not knowing what to write about despite the fact that many things have happened lately. To me, the most important and distressing occurrence has not been Roosevelt’s death (blasphemy tho’ it be to say) but rather it is my abrupt removal from Calais where I have spent the last six months. The official reason for my return to Paris is that the work is nearly finished in Calais and some of the men are no longer
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needed there. The real reason, shameful as it may seem, is that the sergeant in charge of the job didn’t think I was capable of courting Paulette and working for the Army at the same time. I have a strong impression that the complications run deeper to personal animosity, but I don’t suppose I have the right to say so — prejudiced as I am. I have argued with him from time to time about errors he has made in his work and although later, he admits in so many words that he was wrong, he finds it impossible to forget. Others have suffered much more than I by incurring his disfavor. So I am separated from Paulette for the first time and even the novelty of “Paris in the Spring” cannot overshadow my chagrin.
Last night, at long last, I had a photograph taken of my motely map. The photographer, being a very capable portraitist, should be able to touch it up into something quite presentable. The package arrived with my slides yesterday. About two weeks ago the package with the lipstick arrived. I’m still “sweating out” the others. Apropos of nothing, I have met “Chiche’s” two sisters — at Easter — They seem to be quite nice, neither too stilted nor too vulgar — (after discounting the natural vulgarity of the French as a race). I continue in good health and spirits, and anticipate an early conclusion of the war and declaration of peace. Love to all. Dan”.
Which brings us to the inevitable “comment” by Pater. I can sympathize quite keenly with the disappointment which you must feel but knowing what a good sport you are, perhaps it is unnecessary for me to say that looking at the thing from a more detached viewpoint, it has its compensations. If such a thing be possible, you will both appreciate the other more for a period of enforced absence. Moreover, isn’t it somewhere near Paris that Paulette’s relatives live and isn’t it possible, even under existing conditions, for her to visit her relatives occasionally, even though you cannot frequently make the journey to Calais? If you’re anything like your father, having to work day after day under the direction of someone you do not like is exceedingly irksome and peace destroying and unless you jump from the frying pan into the fire, perhaps new work under some other superior officer will be much pleasanter. In Paris, too, you will have more of an opportunity to see old friends, Lad, etc., than was possible in Calais. Then in after years, as you look back on it, Paris in the spring, as you mention, will not be something to be disregarded.
I am delighted at the photograph news. Only last night Aunt Betty dug up a snapshot of your dad standing between Ced and Dan and remarked that this was the only good photo she had of Dan. And on the bureau in my room I have photos of all my boys in the service save Dan. Incidentally, Ced, there’s a thought there when you are racking your brain to think of something to send me as a remembrance).
I am glad two of the packages reached you, but it would help if, in reporting receipt of packages from home, you would go a bit into detail as to contents received, as I have sent quite a few all told, and I cannot recall after so long a lapse of time, just what was in each package, and more important for future guidance, what is useful and what not and to what degree. And please don’t overlook to lightly
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the specific question I have asked from time to time regarding Paulette. We are also interested in her here that every letter that comes from you is eagerly anticipated because of further information it might give regarding my new daughter. Find out too, if there might not be a good market over there which is not particularly good here, for gold and diamond rings I have in my safe deposit vault, so that it might be advantageous for me to send them to you for disposal. And be sure to let me know at once just as soon as the engagement and wedding rings reach you. While they are insured to be sure, there is nevertheless a bit of anxiety as to their safe delivery to you and of course your honest opinion of our efforts to act as your purchasing agent.
The posts tomorrow and Thursday will be much shorter, and on Friday, I’ll post a letter from Lad, stationed in southern France.