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.

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