August 18, 1918. To Mabel. “Congratulations to John on his commission…”

August 18, 1918 to Mabel

He has her July 24 letter. “Congratulations to John[1] on his commission.” Monty speculates, with this milestone reached, “he will be coming across sometime in the fall and hope he will be able to get as far as Paris as would like to see the youngster.”

Mabel has apparently let him know that “Miss Coker,” a friend of hers, is in Paris. Monty writes: “Will drop by the Hotel Petrograd tomorrow and see if Miss Coker has arrived.”

Mabel has also enclosed a note from “Miss Mary Gentry” whom he knows from his time at Bomar & Osborne. “Certainly would like to have her here as a stenographer for it’s hard for the general run over here to comprehend American thinking.” He again relates his experience with “stenos,” including his present Irish one, who “will do exactly what I tell her to do but doesn’t think two inches ahead of her nose.” He reiterates that she has lived nearly all her life in France, thinks in French, is older than him and is “a very queer bit of humanity.” This last assessment may have been provoked by a recent confrontation over space that he relates. He’s been given an extra office, expanding his empire from two to three offices which he hoped would allow him a “sanctum sanctorum” where “I could parley with people without two or three typewriters buzzing in my ear. But this steno was highly insulted that I put her in the outer office and was bound she was coming in the little room with me; whereupon I told her she could do as I said or ‘go to and stay put’ and she finally accepted my verdict.”

He refers to “my rich old French friend, M. Pellerin, having been to dinner with me on Tuesday night.” The next afternoon he finds three boxes that contain “three wax figures about fifteen inches high and prettily dressed, one representing the Statue of Liberty, one France and one America.” They arrived with a message that Monty translates as: “’That these flags of our two countries placed on your table may be symbols of the ancient friendship of America and France, a friendship that this war has transformed into an affection fraternal.’”

[“Glad to hear Kate continues to improve and trust she will soon be all right.”]

[1] Monty’s brother, John Kenly Montgomery, usually referred to as John but sometimes as Kenly.

August 14, 1918. “…everybody on staff work is too busy with A.E.F. growing as it is.”

August 14, 1918 to Mother.

He begins “guess your letters missed the boat.”

“Nothing special with me the last week.” The weather has been “so fine that one wants to be outside all the while instead of sticking over a desk.” He’s still looking forward to vacation on the coast and “would like to pry loose one of these seven day leaves but wouldn’t have the heart to ask for one these days as everybody on staff work is too busy with A.E.F. growing as it is.”

“Had this French friend…to dinner last night.” He was “pleased as a child over the white bread we had.” Monty claims to like the French brown bread just as well or better “but the idea of white bread after four years surely pleases them.”

He reports that all are “pleased with progress on the front” and assumes so much progress has been made that “This last push seems to have got somewhere close to where they had the Big Bertha for we haven’t had any dropping in the city since they put on this last show.”

“George Norris from Columbia was in town one day last week and he and Henry Bouchier[1] and I had dinner together and a great time reminiscing and swapping news. George and I were in the same company at Oglethorpe last summer and got to be quite good friends there. Both asked to be remembered to Kate and hoped she was well over her operation by this time.”

[1] Graduated in a “Special Course A.M.” from Wofford the same year as Monty. Picture is with the “Senior Class” in the yearbook

August 7, 1918. “’Big Bertha’ opened up on us again day before yesterday….”

August 7, 1918 to Mother.

[“Had two letters from you last week, both written from Baltimore…. That was the first I knew of Kate’s having gone to the hospital—hope she is over the operation and getting along fine now.”]

“Big Bertha” opened up on us again day before yesterday, the Bosche showing his spite I suppose at his defeat by our recent offensive.” He describes this as the “Parisian viewpoint,” complete with a depiction of a people who “shrug their shoulders with an ‘I should worry expression’ and go about their business as usual.” He points his mother to articles in the Saturday Evening Post by Irving Cobb[1] and George Patullo[2] that cover the gun and the Gothas “which describe the whole thing much better than I can.” The tenor is that the “big gun does very little damage and now one pays it very little attention.”

Nevertheless, he seems news starved, notes that the Saturday Evening Post is not as regular as it had been and asks his mother if she will “subscribe for it for me.” Apparently, even his lady at the news kiosk whom he has bribed “to save me one copy of each issue doesn’t always get them.” He feels the subscription will “come through where the cigars wouldn’t.” As for cigars, “there has been no difficulty about buying them at the commissary since about Feb. 1st.”

He now has a standing invitation for Saturday lunch with the “Frenchman I wrote you about last week.” “I’m simply to telephone if I can’t come.” He has learned meantime through “an American lawyer” that the Frenchman is known as “’Le roi de margarine’” and apparently among the richest men in France[3]. “Had rather supposed from one thing and another that he wasn’t at all short of Francs but didn’t know he went that high financially—regardless of his cash he is one of the most charming Frenchmen I’ve met over here and with a very keen sense of humor.”

The weather has a “touch of Autumn in it and the trees are beginning to lose their leaves.”

[1] Irvin S. Cobb was a Saturday Evening Post reporter who covered WWI. A humorist, short story author and a familiar figure on the lecture circuit, he was sometimes compared with Mark Twain. In 1915, he wrote a book Paths of Glory about his war experience. Monty reports attending a lecture in his final letter home, January 1920.

[2] George Pattullo was a fiction writer and War Correspondent with the Saturday Evening Post who later broke the Sergeant Alvin York story. Pattullo’s article “The Second Elder Gives Battle,” which reported York’s one-man victory against the Germans (October 8, 1918), appeared in the April 26, 1919 edition of the Post. York became a hero and an American sensation overnight as the result of Pattullo’s article.

[3] Auguste Pellerin (1853-1929) made his money in margarine. At the end of his business career Pellerin had established plants in France, Germany, Denmark, England, Sweden and Norway. He served as French Consul to Norway from 1906-1929. Pelerin was a friend of Cézanne and Rodin and an active and avid collector of art. Pellerin, who commissioned a portrait by Cézanne (1899) and two by Matisse (1916, 1917), maintained a significant art collection that contained paintings by Corot, Manet and as many as 150 works by Cezanne at one time.

July 29, 1918. “Everyone here continues in good humor over the results of our Counter offensive. It surely seems to have caught the Bosche napping.”

July 29 to Mother.

He’s waiting for “a big States mail” that is rumored; otherwise, he “was horribly busy all week.” He reports on the Saturday lunch “at the house of the Frenchman I mentioned in my last letter.”

This was quite an affair with souvenirs for each guest, a crowd of twelve people at table and many courses of most excellently cooked food. The conversation was practically all in French but am not so bashful now about trying to talk French in such a crowd. I still make plenty of mistakes but they seem to understand me quite well which is the main thing.

Meanwhile, the invitations seem to pile up. There is the “American lady” across the street who “had seen us going in and out and finally called us up one night and asked us to come over.” Seems she has lived in France for eighteen years and is a “woman of considerable wealth, and has been doing nursing work.” She also has a country estate “and we are all invited out for Sunday some time soon.”

He turns to news of the day. “Everyone here continues in good humor over the results of our Counter offensive. It surely seems to have caught the Bosche napping.” He then promises to write more once “I have some home letters to answer.”

July 23, 1918. “Everybody here has been wearing a smile this past week….”

July 23 to Mother.

No news other than that he is busy. “…only had ‘pep’ enough to stroll over after dinner to the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, which is near our apartment, and sit there smoking and enjoying the cool of the evening. This Avenue is parked on both sides and there are plenty of chairs and benches along the parkway so everybody in this quarter of Paris wanders over there in the evenings and either strolls or sits and watches everybody else strolling. That’s where our crowd goes these fine evenings, none of us hardly ever going back down on the Boulevards.”

Everybody here has been wearing a smile this past week over the success of the Counter-offensive and the French can’t say too many good things about the part our troops have been taking in it. This afternoon I had the occasion to call on the president of a big warehouse company and he was so pleased at finding an American who spoke some French at a time when he wanted to talk about the Americans that I had a hard time getting away from his office. These [???] Frenchmen are wonderfully good fellows and this is a most favorable time to get to know them. Last Sunday I had lunch with a big Manufacturer at the Country Club and found him most charming. Am to go to dinner in his home one night this week and meet his family—an invitation a Frenchman doesn’t give you unless he likes you.

“Suppose it’s pretty hot at home now—it’s been warm enough here lately but not uncomfortably so.” He’s wondering if summer dress would be better though “the great majority of the time winter uniforms have been quite comfortable….”

He harks back to his trip over. “Saw where the Bosche got the old “Carpathia” last week[1] and felt as if I’d lost a friend as I spent 22 days on her and knew her from top to bottom. We seem to be keeping the “subs” [down] pretty well however and I think the German people must be waking up to the fact that the submarine campaign isn’t what they thought it would be.”

[1] July 17, 1918. (Claimed by U-55, off the east coast of Ireland.) Five crewmembers were killed in the initial explosion. The remaining 218 aboard were able to get off the ship before sinking.

 

Transcribed letter:

Hq. U.S. Troops,

A.P.O. 702, A.E.F.,

July 23, 1918.

Dear Mother –

The last week has been one very quiet as to events but most awfully busy for me. Was out only one evening and then to see some American friends the other evenings only had ‘pep’ enough to stroll over after dinner to the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, which is near our apartment, and sit there smoking and enjoying the cool of the evening. This Avenue is parked on both sides and there are plenty of chairs and benches along the parkway so everybody in this quarter of Paris wanders over there in the evenings and either strolls or sits and watches everybody else strolling. That’s where our crowd goes these fine evenings, none of us hardly ever going back down on the Boulevards.

Everybody here has been wearing a smile this past week over the success of the Counter-offensive and the French can’t say too many good things about the part our troops have been taking in it. This afternoon I had the occasion to call on the president of a big warehouse company and he was so pleased at finding an American who spoke some French at a time when he wanted to talk about the Americans that I had a hard time getting away from his office. These [last type?] Frenchmen are wonderfully good fellows and this is a most favorable time to get to know them. Last Sunday I had lunch with a big Manufacturer at the Country Club and found him most charming. Am to go to dinner in his home one night this week and meet his family—an invitation a Frenchman doesn’t give you unless he likes you.

I am also to lunch tomorrow with several French officers of a department with which I often come in contact. I am still awfully lazy about any real study of the French language but continue to “soak it in through the skin” as it were because of speaking and hearing it spoken and also having to read French letters every day. If I am still here when the cool weather comes again expect to spend some of my evenings in the serious study of the language and of French law but this warm weather it’s too fine to sit by electric light when you can be outside. Suppose it’s pretty hot at home now—it’s been warm enough here lately but not uncomfortably so. A few days have been warm enough to wish my khaki might have reached me but the great majority of the time winter uniforms have been quite comfortable though of course with B.V.D’s. underneath.

Saw where the Bosche got the old “Carpathia” last week and felt as if I’d lost a friend as I spent 22 days on her and knew her from top to bottom. We seem to be keeping the “subs” [down?] pretty well however and I think the German people must be waking up to the fact that the submarine campaign isn’t what they thought it would be.

Hope you are all continuing well at home.

With love, Carl

Thomas C. Montgomery

2nd Lt. Inf. R.C.

July 15, 1918. “The big news here today is that the Bosche have started another push which [could be] their last.”

July 15 to Mother.

Monty is hoping to hear from home soon. “Had a letter today from my friend Harry Hartwell from New York of June 26th so shouldn’t wonder I’d have something more from you tomorrow.”

Monty’s watching South Carolina politics develop. “Am wondering what will happen in the Senatorial race since Tillman’s death.” He has his own opinion: “Surely hope they keep ‘Cole[1]’ a private citizen again this time.”

The big news here today is that the Bosche have started another push which the consensus of opinion would indicate as their last. Last night, the wind being from that direction, the noise of the guns was perceptible. Then today “Big Bertha” opened up again after almost a month of quietude. They always loose it off at the same time as an attack. Tonight it is quite clear and the moon is about a third full so I’m expecting to hear the sirens announcing the “Gothas” almost any time. Guess they’ll be with us these clear nights with a moon and during the push, following the Huns’ usual attempt at frightfulness.

“Yesterday was quite a big day here—July 14th—and there was a big parade which I regret didn’t see.” Seems Monty was in recovery after “a very trying week” and while the French were celebrating their liberty, he was at “the Club and golf,” hopeful of leaving behind his “struggles with French leases and claims for a day.”

He again reports the disjointed business of promotions though he seems more interested in getting enough of a break in his work “to get away for a seven day leave some time before the summer is over and visit the French family I know on the coast of Brittany.” He claims not to have had “any real leave since I landed nearly ten months ago.”

[1] Coleman “Cole” Blease (1868-1942), two-term governor of South Carolina (1911-1915) was defeated in his 1914 bid for U.S. Senate by Ellison D. Smith, the incumbent. Elected to the senate 1925-1931; unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1922, 1934, 1936. Blease was not apparently a candidate for any office in 1918, the year Monty expresses his concern.

July 8, 1918. “I’ve never seen so many American flags hung out on the 4th even at home.”

July 8, 1918 to Mother. [verbatim]

Dear Mother –

No mail from home this week but have certainly had lots of luck in seeing fellows I know. As I wrote you last week, Bert France[1] and “Tommy” Thompson from Union were both here several days on their way back to the states as instructors. Last Monday night we had had dinner together and were sitting in front of a café when we saw one of our classmates at Wofford, a fellow Brogden[2] now over as a 1st Lt. Medical Corps. Then he hadn’t much more than sat down with us when who else should come along but Charlie Wofford who I didn’t even know was in France. Consequently, we had quite a reunion and much fun swapping experiences and news. In addition that afternoon just before dinner Bert & I had seen at his hotel Dr. Cook, our old French and German professor, who has been a Consul in Greece for some years and then was on his way back to the States on several months leave. Saw Bert and Tommy off to a “Port of Embarkation” Tuesday night but had two other pleasant surprises Friday morning when Jim Gregg from Marion dropped into my office and not an hour after him George Norris from Columbia, with whom I was in the same company at Oglethorpe. Both were looking as if the A.E.F. agreed with them and wish I could have had more time to talk to them but they hit me on a morning when I was too busy to even stop and talk to good friends for more than a minute or two. Jim asked particularly after Kenly.

The “4th” was quite a big day here as you probably saw in the papers. In the morning I went over to the Place d’Iena to see the ceremonies in celebration of the 4th, including the naming of the “Avenue du President Wilson” and the parade. All of it was most interesting, particularly as I saw Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Poincaré, Joffre and lots of other dignitaries. Our boys surely looked good when they came past, particularly the crowd who had just come out of the trenches with their “tin hats” and fighting equipment. You know leave to Paris has been “defendu” as a general thing and these boys certainly were enjoying it while here for which can’t say I blame ‘em at all. They were all over the Boulevards that night and the French were enjoying them as much as they were Paris. The French certainly did do themselves proud in honor of the occasion—I’ve never seen so many American flags hung out on the 4th even at home. We are the only Americans in our apartment house and that morning the concierge came up with a big U.S. flag which he carefully fastened to our balcony.

On Tuesday night, I had dinner with three French officers with whom I have a lot to do, and my architect M. Veber. The dinner was given in my honor at the big French officers club and I surely enjoyed the occasion. The Frenchmen are wonderful fellows, particularly when you know them well, and I always like to go out with them. This evening I spoke & heard nothing but French for about three hours all of which is most excellent for my French.

Had a nice trip today out about forty miles and back by automobile. Swapped off my “Flivver” for the day for a big National limousine[3] and my interpreter and I went out in state. I don’t really need him much any more to interpret but take him along to help me find my way and “parley” occasionally when the vocabulary necessary is beyond me.

Have been transferred this past week from an “acting” Quartermaster, which I’d been for seven months, to the Renting, Requisitions and Claims Service, a new service which takes over all renting & requisitions of real estate, all billeting of troops and all claims arising from these things as well as claims for “damage to property or person” by the A.E.F. I’ve been doing this kind of work for some time but the Service didn’t officially take over all this until July 1st. The work is quite interesting and the Service promises to become quite extensive in size and scope.

I have no further kick about cold weather for the last two or three days have been quite sufficiently warm. It has been very dry since the middle of May and is very dusty in the country.

But it’s getting to be bed time so good bye until next time. Some of the fellows had home mail today so hope I’ll have something tomorrow. Incidentally, got three “Lifes” from Mabel Saturday for which many thanks but send me clippings instead as they are less bulky & I can buy the “Lifes” here.

Love to all,

[1] Bertram Horatio France. Spartanburg, SC. Wofford classmate from Monty’s 1909 graduating class of fifty-seven men.

[2] James Chester Brogden. Batesburg, SC, Wofford, Class of 1909.

[3] Pierce-Arrow?

July 1, 1918. “He was most pleasant and I enjoyed the experience of meeting and riding with such a big bug”

July 1, 1918 to Mother. Monty reports a number of “home letters” and clippings received recently.  He hopes brother Kenly will “write more about what the Liberty motor[1]is doing as I haven’t been able to get much definite dope on that over here, and we are all naturally very much interested in the progress made on it.”

Promotions seem to be on his mind as friends and acquaintances are getting theirs: “Horton has got his Captaincy and also Hertz Brown.” He comments that “Promotions seem to be much more easy at home than with the A.E.F.” Nevertheless, “if things continue to break well for the next month or two, I am told by my chief there may be something doing.”

The weather has improved. “Along with the warm weather and moonlight nights we’ve also had the Gothas with us again.  They came down three nights last week and the alert was sounded again last night but they didn’t get to town that time.”

Had an interesting and pleasant experience yesterday afternoon.  Was having tea at this Country Club to which I go when possible with some French friends when we were joined by the British Ambassador, Lord Derby, whom they know well and I came back with him and them in his car.  He was most pleasant and I enjoyed the experience of riding with such a big bug—have found all the English I’ve met on this side an awfully good sort anyhow and want to see more of England some time if possible.

“Hope everything is going well with you at home….”

[1]Considered an important technological contribution to the war effort, it was a lightweight, mass produced engine that powered the DH4. More.

 

Letter verbatim:

A.P.O. 702, A.E.F.

July 1, 1918

Dear Mother: –

Had several home letters last week, yours of May 31stand one from Frank of June 4thtogether with two or three others of yours the dates of which I don’t know as I haven’t them with me at the moment. Enjoyed the enclosed letters of Judge Woods, John and Lee as well as the clippings. Suppose from Kenly‘s letter that he is probably at home by this time on the leave he was expecting to get. Wish he would write me more about what the Liberty motor is doing as I haven’t been able to get much definite dope on that over here, and we are all naturally very much interested in the progress made with it.

Was pleasantly surprised Saturday afternoon when Bert France called me up. He is in town for two or three days on his way back to the States as an instructor and perhaps he’ll see some of you if he gets any leave in South Carolina. If so he can give you a better idea I suppose of how things are going over here then any letters I might write. He is still in town and expect to see him again tonight. He told me something I didn’t know – that Horton has got his Captaincy and also Hertz Brown. He also said that he had had a letter from Spartanburg saying that I had the same thing but no such good luck as yet; his correspondent was quite mistaken about it though, if things continue to break well for the next month or two, I am told by my chief there may be something doing. However, I shan’t believe anything of that kind until I see it. Promotions seem to be much more easy at home then with the A.E.F.

Along that line noticed from one of your clippings that both Monroe and Dick Johnson had gone up a grade. Didn’t know it before though Dick told me at Xmas that that would probably occur in the next few months.

Am glad to say the weather has gone back to summertime within the past week and it is now reasonably warm again. Along with the warm weather and moonlight nights we’ve also had the Gothas with us again. They came down three nights last week and the alert was sounded again last night but they didn’t get to town that time.

Had an interesting and pleasant experience yesterday afternoon. Was having tea at this Country Club to which I go when possible with some French friends when we were joined by the British ambassador, Lord Derby, whom they know well and I came back with them and him in his car. He was most pleasant and I enjoyed the experience of meeting and riding with such a big bug – have found all the English I’ve met on this side an awfully good sort anyhow and want to see more of England sometime if possible.

Hope everything is going well with you at home,

Love to all, Carl

 

Thomas C. Montgomery

2ndLt. Inf. R.C.

June 19 1918. “The Gothas were with us Saturday night after leaving us alone for a week….”

June 19, 1918 to Mother.

Monty confesses to being a “little late with this week’s letter” as a result of being “too tired Sunday night after a days golf and have been too busy since….”

He reports on last week’s trip “down into the Touraine.” He was happy to have a “change of scene” and “this country is beautiful, particularly at this time of year.”

From the train along the river Loire every mile or two you can see a chateau sitting back on the hills above the river with its little village always grouped around it and on every side the fields of wheat and grain. They certainly know a lot more about intensive cultivation over here than in our own South—no ground at all goes to waste. Yesterday, I ran out about 25 miles in a machine and was impressed with the same thing, both the way they cultivate the soil and the beauty of the country not to speak of the good roads.

Back to the “front” in Paris. “The Gothas were with us Saturday night after leaving us alone for a week but as usual of late only one or two machines reached the city.” He refers his mother to an article in a recent issue of Colliers in which James Hopper writes about the first day “Big Bertha,” as he calls the Paris Gun, dropped projectiles on Paris. He notes that American magazines arrive in Paris up to a month late; he is the designated buyer for his apartment and will “drop by Brentano’s nearly every day and pick up something for the bunch.”

His enthusiasm for apartment life continues. “I am always praising the cook about her desserts and it surely pleases her. The other night was going out for dinner and stuck my head in to tell her I wouldn’t be there when she told me, ‘Ah, Monsieur Montgomery, I am desolated for I have a beautiful dessert this evening.’ She is a typical French woman, short and plump and about 45 years old and wonderfully capable.”

Transliterated letter:

A.P.O. 702, A.E.F.

June 19, 1918

Dear Mother: –

Am a little late with this week’s letter as was too tired Sunday night after a days golf and have been too busy since, but at that you are likely to receive this with my last or my next week’s letter.

Had a brief trip last week down into the Touraine, the château country better known by the French as “le jardin de France”, and enjoyed getting out of Paris for a couple of days, not that I don’t like Paris but that a change of scene is welcome. This country is beautiful particularly at this time of year. From the train along the river Loire every mile or two you can see a château sitting back on the hills above the river with its little village always grouped around it and on every side the fields of wheat and grain. They certainly know a lot more about intensive cultivation over here than in our own South – no ground that all goes to waste. Yesterday I ran out about 25 miles in a machine and was impressed with the same thing, both the way they cultivate the soil and the beauty of the country not to speak of the good roads. Expect from now on to have to get out in the country more and more and find it quite agreeable these summer days although it may be a different thing next winter. Speaking of summer days, they’ve surely been cool ones lately. I’ve worn a light topcoat most of the time in the machine and at night an extra blanket has gone very well.

The Gothas were with us Saturday night after leaving us alone for a week but as usual of late only one or two machines reached the city. By the way was reading an article yesterday in Colliers of, I think, May 22 by James Hopper about the first day “Big Bertha” fired on the city. If you haven’t read it you will find it most interesting and it’s quite true to life. We get most of the American magazines two or three weeks or a month late but they are much enjoyed all the sameB. Our apartment crowd has a magazine fund and I’m the buyer so drop by Brentano’s nearly every day and pick up something for the bunch.

Our apartment continues to be most satisfactory – I realized it particularly last week when I had to take several meals away from it. I am always praising the cook about her desserts and it surely pleases her. The other night was going out for dinner and stuck my head in to tell her I wouldn’t be there when she told me, “Ah Monsieur Montgomery, I am a desolated [sic] for I have a beautiful desert this evening.” She is a typical French woman, short and plump and about 45 years old and wonderfully capable.

But I must be getting out so “Au ‘voir et a biéntot” [sic],

Carl

O.K. Thomas C. Montgomery 2nd Lt. Inf. R.C.

June 10, 1918. [to Mabel] “Her desserts in particular are excellent and, if there is any left over, we match for it….”

His letter of June 10 goes to Mabel. He comments on the political season back home and “the number I see have announced for Governor.” He contends there is no news from Paris “for you know as much from the papers about what is going on at the front as I could write you…. Everybody seems much pleased with the way our men have been fighting where they’ve been into it and quite cheerful over the prospects.” U.S. Marines recently resisted a German advance at Belleau Wood to great media fanfare, though the second battle of the Marne is still underway.

“You would be quite amused I suppose to view our housekeeping management though as a matter of fact about all we do is tell the cook how much money we expect to spend for food and give it to her. So far the results of this system have been quite satisfactory, Eugenie being an able manager and I think absolutely honest. Her desserts in particular are excellent and, if there is any left over we match for it to the great delight of all three of our servants. They usually stick their heads in while this ceremony is going on. One of the two maids is an excellent seamstress and keeps our socks darned and buttons sewed on so we are well taken care of in every way….”

Monty found his three employees “through a friend, an American woman who has lived over here a large part of her life.” Apparently this gives him “drag” with the three servants who regard his words as “law and gospel.”

An instance of the “drag” was the other night when a French Major of the Chasseurs Alpin[s] whom I see a good deal of was coming to dinner with me. I told Eugenie about it and that I wanted a “tres bon diner” and she surely came across with one.

But her culinary talent seems otherwise spread rather evenly. “She makes wonderful hot cakes and we make our breakfast off them every Sunday morning.”

He relates the story of a recent acquaintance, “an American who has practiced law over here for nearly thirty years but is now retired.” The American is “President of this St. Cloud Country Club where I spend my Sundays.” They often eat together and he has learned a bit about the clientele of the country club—“there are quire a few celebrities among them”—and Monty has gotten “good advice on French law and leases in particular.”

“There is a prohibition on any packages at all coming this way.” There was some misinterpretation of the policy regarding signatures required. “As to the cigars guess it was a good thing they were turned back as I’ve never received a single one of the box at a time shipments.” We finally have an explanation for the missing cigars.

Had both the Gothas and “Big Bertha” with us during the past week but very little damage and they both increase the fighting spirit of the French rather than having any tendency to get their goat as the Kaiser seems to think. The communiqué yesterday P.M. spoke of a new push by the Hun between Montdidier & Noyan. Today it is raining so guess that will help stop him by impeding the movement of his artillery.

“But it’s time to start my afternoon round in my ‘jitney,’ so more next week.”

 

Transliterated letter:

A.P.O. 702, A.E.F.

June 10 1918

Dear Mabel –

Your letter of May 15th and mother’s of May 7th reached me in the same mail last week and enjoyed both as usual – also the clippings. The war seems to have increased political activity from the number I see have announced for governor – everybody whoever thought of running seems to have come out this time.

Nothing of great interest to relate here for you know as much from the papers about what is going on at the front as I could write you and I don’t know much more than that myself. Everybody seems much pleased with the way our men have been fighting where they’ve been into it and quite cheerful over the prospects.

Bob Cates, John‘s friend from Spartanburg, was in my office the afternoon. Got these last letters and was much interested in John‘s account of his flying, Bob being an amateur himself. Also enjoyed John’s letter and hope you will send me on a copy of each of them.

You would be quite amused I supposed to view our housekeeping management though as a matter of fact about all we do is tell the cook how much money we expect to spend for food and give it to her. So far the results of this system have been quite satisfactory, Eugenie being an able manager and I think absolutely honest. Her desserts in particular are excellent and, if there is any left over, we match for it to the great delight of all three of our servants. They usually stick their heads in a while this ceremony is going on. One of the two maids is an excellent seamstress and keeps our socks darned and buttons sewn on so we are well taken care of in every way and all of our guests who come in are quite envious. I was the one who engaged them through a friend, an American woman who has lived over here a large part of her life, and consequently they regard my remarks as “law and gospel”. The rest of the crowd accuse me of having a “drag” with them and it is partly true for the above reason so I have to be very careful what I tell ‘em. An instance of the “drag” was the other night when a French major of the Chasseurs Alpin[s] whom I see a good deal of was coming to dinner with me. I told Eugenie about it and that I wanted a “tres bon diner” and she surely came across with one. She makes wonderful hot cakes and we make our breakfast off them every Sunday morning.

One interesting man I’ve come to know in the last couple of months is an American who has practiced law over here for thirty years but is now retired. He is president of this St. Cloud Country Club where I spend my Sundays usually and fairly often I have lunch with him there. Naturally he knows everybody who comes out and there are quite a few celebrities among them whom he has told me about. Being a lawyer, he has also given me some good advice on French law and leases in particular.

Sorry now you got my khaki back from Kinley as there is a prohibition on any packages at all coming this way. The post office people at home were wrong in their interpretation of the order about packages before that. Getting the signature of your commanding officer applied only to soldiers, not to officers. As an instance of the absurdity of the way they applied it, I could have got any one of several Majors, Lt. Colonels or higher officers I know to sign for me and the post office at home wouldn’t have known whether they were my commanding officers or not. As to the cigars, guess it was a good thing they were turned back as I’ve never received a single one of the one box at a time shipments.

Had both the Gothas and “Big Bertha” with us during the past week but very little damage and they both increase the fighting spirit of the French rather than having any tendency to get their goat as the Kaiser seems to think. The communiqué and yesterday P.M. spoke of a new push by the Hun between Montdidier & Noyan. Today it is raining so guess that will help stop him by impeding the movement of his artillery. Anyhow the rain is quite welcome for a change as it has been quite dry for the past month or more. We had one week when it was pretty hot during the day but most of the time it has been just right. Even during this warm spell I slept under blankets every night. Guess it’s pretty warm now in “Caroline du Sud” as the French call South Carolina.

But it’s time to start my afternoon round in my “jitney” so more next week.

Love to all. Carl.

O.K. Thomas C. Montgomery 2nd Lt. Inf. R.C.